I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What does the Data Mean?!?

These are not the droids you're looking for.....
This morning I was flipping through the radio dial and heard the tail-end of an interview about the alcohol ordinance on Pensacola Beach's Quietwater Beach Boardwalk.  This revised ordinance-- that I voted against --sought to continue an open-container prohibition on the boardwalk.  The sloppily concocted revision inadvertently allowed open containers in the parking lot and on sidewalks--an unintended consequence--so this ordinance is once again on the agenda for this week.  A couple of things stated during this morning's  interview that were incorrect grabbed my attention....

First off--it was stated that the revised ordinance that was enacted last month did not/does not go into effect until June 1st.  This is incorrect.  According to our attorney, once the board voted upon the revised ordinance, and once that ordinance was transmitted to and received by the Department of State in Tallahassee--it went into effect right then-at that moment.  It has been in force for about two-three weeks now and it will be in force until the next revision is voted upon by the BCC and received by Tallahassee---which will not happen before this weekend's Memorial Day festivities at the beach.  That's number 1.

The second inaccurate statement that was made in this interview was that "One Commissioner (me) was purposely misrepresenting the crime data."  This is untrue.  I am not misrepresenting anything. When this matter was first brought back to the BCC when several local business owners and another commissioner did not want the ordinance to sunset, crime stats were provided as back up to us to help us in our decision making process.

A very topical and cursory glance at two years' worth of data showed that several categories of crimes not only did not go down--- indeed, several categories went up since enactment of the open container ban on the boardwalk.

Several went up significantly.

Now, when the discussion was first had at the agenda review, this initial data was touted by one podium speaker and two commissioners as "proof" that the ban was making the boardwalk safer.  Specifically, these individuals touted "fewer fights and affrays" from the data provided by the Sheriff's office  as proof that the ban was/is working...and that the ordinance should not sunset but rather should be extended.

So I immediately requested several more years' worth of data so a better, more valid analysis could be made. 

Once I received this data, I performed an analysis and I shared these results with my counterparts at meetings and also on this blog here and here. 

Apparently, it is perfectly acceptable to look at one category of crime that appears to have decreased slightly and marginally since the ban (affray)--and it is scientifically sound to say this infraction's decrease is attributable to the ban on open containers being enforced on the boardwalk. 

However, apparently, it is unacceptable to look at the other categories of crimes that have skyrocketed since the ban was enacted (DUI's, Battery on LEOs, non-family disturbances, substance abuse, under 21year old DUI's, miscellaneous crimes, etc. etc.) and draw any connection whatsoever to the alcohol ban at the boardwalk.

Here's the thing, you can't have it both ways.  We either look at all the data or we look at none of it.  I'm not going to suffer fools and stand by as "some" data is cherry picked and paraded around to

support this ban, while other, less flattering data is marginalized, ignored, and discredited.

This mindset reminds me of the "science" manmade global warming fanatics attempt to present as gospel--never mind the fact these people are at a loss to explain how the last six ice-ages ended before man walked the planet....  Nope, according to these folks, global warming is 100% man-made and anyone who does not accept this lock, stock and barrel is a heretic!  More blizzards, it's manmade global warming!  No blizzards, it's manmade global warming!  No Hurricanes--it must be manmade global warming.... More Hurricanes, it's manmade global warming.  Record ice in Antarctica--it's manmade global warming.  Pacific water temperature cooling--it's global warming!

It's perfectly acceptable to have some skepticism about what this data shows and proves--I agree that drawing conclusions based upon four years is fraught with issues.  But if we're going to look at any data in an effort to support this oppressive jelly donut discipline, I'm going to look at all of it.  And I don't misrepresent what is plainly evident--many categories of crime at the beach have gone up since the ban.  That is a plainly-evident, known fact of reality to the most casual observer....

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