The Survey Says! The EC Campus Book Club releases survey

Whoa . . . Detroit Lewis was almost 2 for 2 today in his predictions, but I still need a little more information.

First, lets go over what the survey said and how it was conducted;

There were more than 2,000 responses submitted over the two-week period of the survey, which surpassed the goal of the project. Lawrence & Schiller analyzed 640 responses to generate its statistically significant data.

First off, I find it interesting that Jodi had the lead on this story. Did the city or L & S pay her to put up this data? Not sure, but interesting move. The irony is I recently told a city official the only two people who have the historical knowledge of city government over the past decade is Jodi and me.

The above numbers are important. As a person who has looked at voter data in Sioux Falls and who votes in city elections, I’m guessing the magic number of ‘640’ wasn’t pulled from the survey taker’s butts. I can safely assume these are almost 100% registered voters. But the data might have also been whittled down into other categories like who most likely always votes in Sioux Falls elections, or special elections like the Events Center election (which of course wasn’t a legal bond election, but an advisory vote). I can guarantee these 640 special people were carefully selected.

So let’s move onto the data;

• Only 17% wanted to save the Arena. I actually thought that number was kind of high 🙂

• 54% wanted to see SF Stadium demolished, but only 12% wanted to NOT rebuild. I find this interesting because I still don’t find the value of keeping the stadium or rebuilding. I guess I don’t have a problem with rebuilding, but it has to be done with private money. But it needs to be demolished.

And then there is the ‘DUH’ factor;

Respondents also recognize the need to integrate more retail and dining to the campus to make it a more well-rounded experience.

This is the main reason why several city leaders and business persons did NOT want to build the EC in that area, and now we are paying for it and will continue to pay for it for decades.

Statema said the survey backed up many of the ideas the committee had discussed on campus development.

“It put into context some of our assumptions and highlights some things we weren’t thinking about,” Statema said. “It helped affirm the directions that we are going in.”

Of course it did. When you use a private marketing company who whittled away two-thirds of the respondents you can manipulate the results very easily. I really don’t believe the voting public as a whole support rebuilding a new stadium, especially using tax dollars to do it (but private money, sure).

So now for my prediction. As I mentioned recently I think the reason the survey wants registered voters is because the EC Campus Book Club is going to present one heck of a BHAG. I think they are going to recommend tearing down the stadium (with plans to build elsewhere in the future). I think they will use the space for a major retail center/hotel which will be a private/public partnership with tons of tax incentives.

They will either reformat the Arena or level it for more convention space. Either way, this has been a long time coming and no surprise.

My guess is that these ‘changes’ will have an initial cost of around $50 million. That means there will probably be a bond vote of the public (Mayor TenHaken has mentioned that he would probably bring it to a vote of the people).

This is why the survey respondents were probably selected based on if they are voters and what elections they have voted in. I would love to see the blender L & S used to come up with the magical 640, but I’m guessing I would never be invited to that smoothie party.

*It is also interesting to point out that when L & S presented these results they showed pictures of the debacle parking ramp DT and mentioned that the Arena and SF Stadium both lose $614K a year. When asked about these stats, the L & S rep said, “Oh, that’ a typo.” Didn’t someone from the administration proof read this report?! 


#1 Paul ElevenHaken on 06.27.19 at 7:44 am

I also wonder how or why they chose to only analyze 640 responses out of the 2,000. Was it based on completed surveys? Or did they go through and find enough to give a predetermined result mixed with enough polar opposite responses to look representative?

#2 D@ily Spin on 06.27.19 at 9:53 am

What’s not surprising in the results represent what the city wants. It’s also no surprise L&S aligned itself with their client, the city. The survey is not a true cross section and therefore irrelevant. I’d rather see monetary waste on empty parking garages than surveys propaganda. Demolish the 5 story parking garage instead of unprofitable but somewhat useful city pleasure palaces. The implosion would be entertaining.

#3 The Guy from Guernsey on 06.27.19 at 10:37 am

Interesting that they shared the flawed methodology. And the methodology is very flawed.
Unless there is solid reason for omission of the input from nearly 1,400 respondants, the results of the ‘survey’ and any inference which this task force tries to sell from those results should be totally discarded. No credibility. At all.

#4 Jannelle Cain on 06.27.19 at 10:49 am

Isn’t this the same survey that many of us tried to fill out and it asked us if we were over 18 and then locked us out? We couldn’t get in again because it said we’d already submitted a vote?

#5 The Guy from Guernsey on 06.27.19 at 11:07 am

“… need more flat floor space to attract conventions …”
Same tired saw which Ellis Schmidt peddled in order that the Arena remain in place, not withstanding that the Event Center was proposed to be built at that location.
Teri, flat floor space has less to do with the issue, than air travel and location within the city of the convention facilities.
The convention facilities are located in an uninteresting industrial area, albeit the ‘The Sports and Entertainment District[!!!]’; lacks enough hotel rooms in the immediate area; is not walkable; lacks public transit options for conventioneers to get about town.
The city also lacks plentiful, economical and convenient air travel into and out of the city. I recently attended a large convention in Reno, NV. Prior to the convention, every airplane flying into Reno was full for three days in order that attendees could travel in. People who missed flight connections never got into to town for the convention (could not reschedule to arrive until the convention was mostly complete). Flights departing near/after the convention concluded were overbooked for two days.

#6 Blasphemo on 06.27.19 at 11:31 am

I’m not endorsing the entire methodology of the survey or the results. Common sense would question – with such a relatively small number of completed surveys – why all of them were not tabulated. However, using just 640 out of “2000+ responses” MIGHT be a mathematically or “statistically” representative sampling. For example, there are 120m TV homes in the US. Just 17k are surveyed to produce TV rating results.

#7 l3wis on 06.27.19 at 11:51 am

As I stated, the 640 are likely registered SF voters that voted in the EC election. That’s who they will have to appeal to when trying to sell us on the bonds.

#8 verification on 06.27.19 at 12:49 pm

Unless they broke state law and election rules, how did they verify who was a registered voter?

#9 Taxpayers Owed A Discount on 06.27.19 at 2:23 pm

The City has hired Lawrence & Schiller many times.

This time they owe the taxpayers a discount for the work they did on the EC Campus Survey.

In their glossy, supposedly well-researched survey and presentation to the TF AND the taxpayers, they showed the Arena and the BB Stadium each showing the exact same annual loss of $614,000. When they were asked how this could happen their response was, “oh, I guess that’s a typo”.

And, how can a well-known MARKETING firm like Lawrence & Schiller be so lacking in political ‘street smarts’…..

Seriously, when you are talking to SF taxpayers about parking ramps, the only photo you could find was one of the DT ‘bunker ramp’ that has been mired in public controversy for months….where have you been!!

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