One concern is that the Chamber released the survey too late for either of the county’s weekly papers to publish the report prior to the vote. We would have typically taken such information and sought reaction from both sides of the issue. I’m relatively certain the Chamber is aware of our deadlines and if they aren’t, shame on them.
More important, though, is the information contained in the statistical portion of the survey. Much of it, if not all, did not provide any insight into what might take place in our county. The counties selected for statistical analysis were not those with the most closely related circumstances to Marshall and the statistics themselves could be questioned for pertinence.
In Sunday’s Paducah Sun, Trooper Dean Patterson of the Kentucky State Police cautioned against reading too much into statistics regarding DUI arrests and convictions. He pointed out what often takes place between the time an arrest is made and a conviction is handed down and said any you can’t draw a lot of conclusions.
In the months leading up to the vote the staff of The Tribune-Courier has taken a look at many statistical reports, including those of Gene Gilliland, who compiled the report released by the Chamber. We chose to stay out of the numbers game, because as any accountant will warn you, you can make the numbers say just about anything you want them to.
It’s difficult to imagine why, with the Chamber’s membership so heavily centered on businesses either directly or indirectly related to tourism, they would have chosen to release a report with information that did not seem to draw any legitimate comparisons to a wet scenario in Marshall County.
Early on in the debate, the Chamber vowed not to take a stand on the issue of legalized alcohol sales in the county. Given that decision, they would have served themselves well to have stayed out of the research and surveying business altogether.
Many in the tourism sector are angered by the report and best we can tell, they have good reason to be.