Oakwood postcard response is deceptive

Front of postcard


In the Observer article, "South Euclid to hold public meeting on Oakwood rezoning", one paragraph, apparently extracted from the McKenna report, caught my attention:

"McKenna Associates stated that the public opinion is important when considering rezoning and that the public appears to support the project, based on response to a mailing conducted by the developer. First Interstate sent 13,000 mailers to South Euclid and Cleveland Heights residents adjacent to the project site, asking them to mail in a postcard if they supported the project. 169 people responded positively, while only 19 people mailed in the postcard stating that they did not support the rezoning."

I live on Bainbridge Road and my back yard overlooks the Oakwood property. My wife and I received the brochure from First Interstate several weeks ago. We remember the postcard well. It said something to the effect "mail this in if you are in favor of the Oakwood Commons development." There was no place on the card to indicate that you WERE NOT in favor of the project. My wife and I are strong opponents of the project, and we considered putting a big red X over the card and sending it. But then we thought that every postcard received may be counted in favor, so we elected to just discard the brochure and postcard.

The implication of the paragraph you quoted is that there was a fair comparison of "yeas" and "nays," and that the ratio 169 to 19 is indicative of the level of support for Oakwood Commons. Clearly, this is deliberate deception. The wording of the instructions was carefully crafted, indicating that the writers were well aware of the deception.

It should also be pointed out that the postcards were addressed to South Euclid City Hall, not to First Interstate. Hence, there appears to be complicity in the deception by Mayor Welo's administration--this is not something the developer simply foisted on them. Mayor Welo's administration is playing fast and loose with the facts.

The issue of public opinion is, indeed, important--which, no doubt, is why you selected that paragraph to be quoted. PLEASE PUBLISH A CORRECTION. The only conclusion one can draw from the postcard experiment is that only 169 out of 13,000 households support Oakwood Commons strongly enough to bother to return a pre-paid postcard, while 19 households are so strongly opposed that they went to the trouble of modifying their postcards.

Rich Sones

 Rich Sones

Cleveland Heights

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 7:53 PM, 03.09.2011