17 January 2007

An Honest Mistake (possibly)

Just like Hayduke and Evan, I have been going over “the coalition’s” position paper. I have much to comment on, both good (actually, really good) and bad. To get things started, I wanted to point out what may be an oversight, wishful thinking, or just bad research.

Paragraph two of the introduction (page 5), “the coalition” states:

Day One of the Charrette began with citizens spontaneously and overwhelmingly affirming the values that guided Columbia’s designers - and that have made this area what Money magazine has called, “the best place to live east of the Mississippi.”

The Money magazine reference is not sourced (which is a big problem, not only here but throughout the paper), so I assume “the coalition” is referencing the Money magazine article in which Columbia and Ellicott City were collectively named as the 4th best city. I do not have the hardcopy issue of the Money magazine article, but the Money magazine webpage associated with the city rankings makes no reference for Columbia or Ellicott City being “the best place to live east of the Mississippi. Moreover, a review of the list of “best cities” reveals that the city ranked No. 2, Naperville, IL is located here:


I would think that the fine, studious folks over at “the coalition” would vet their claims before publishing. I am hoping it is an oversight, and that a rough draft was mistakenly published. Otherwise, I am at a loss for why this error occurred. I can only wonder what “the coalition” response would be “the county” published an error of such magnitude.


Alan Klein said...

Well done, Bill! You have caught us in an honest mistake. We kept hearing it said that the Money magazine article had Columbia/Ellicott City being voted the best place to live east of the Mississippi. Apparently we should revise that to "east of Illinois."

Thanks for the correction.

Evan said...

I had not realized that Naperville, IL was #2. Clearly it is also east of the Mississippi. Out of curiousity what was one and three? I seem to remember that at least one was in Colorado? Anyway during the editing nearly all the discussion was on the substance.

As to what if the county made such a mistake all I can say is that all of my comments on the plan have been on the substance.

Thanks for helping us fix the paper.

B. Santos said...


Thanks for your comments. I have a question: Is this kind of mistake indicative of your review process? Is your editing focus mainly on substance? Who is doing the fact checking?

numbers.girl said...

To Alan Klein, re "We kept hearing it said..."

I think this may be a recurring problem with the paper. Before attributing such quotes, facts should have been checked.

There are a lot of ideas in the paper, but I think it lacks substance and analytical, rational detail. Mistakes such as this don't help your cause.

Anonymous said...

Umm, not to nitpick the nitpicking, but, regardless of geography, their paper quoted Money Magazine and you, yourself, admitted you have not obtained and read that issue of the magazine to fully confirm that their quote of the magazine was incorrect.

Why would you then change what you initially describe as "may be an oversight" to the concluding definitives "I am at a loss for why this error occurred" and "an error of such magnitude"?

You win today's - wait, to be more accurate, yesterday's - doublesided finetoothed flea comb award for simultaneously bringing attention to meaningless minutiae and committing the very thing for which you were criticizing others.

Surely there's more substantive material, accurate or otherwise, in their paper which you can analyze here. Where's your A game, B?

Watch out, Alan. With Naperville not being east of the entirety of Illinois, "east of Illinois" might be the next incredible oversight exposed here.

Anonymous said...

Oops, nevermind Alan, "east of Illinois" was correct as you were referencing Columbia, not Naperville.

Anonymous said...

A link to the Money magazine article listing Columbia/Ellicott City as such a fab place to list can be found here: http://odum-real-estate-blog.com/housing-prices-up/