Historic Ellicott City. Flickr user Forsaken Fotos.

I came across this polling information yesterday on social media and thought…wow…this would be fun to share on the blog…if for no other reason…to see the comments I get from it.
Preservation Maryland published a post titled: “New Poll: Majority of Howard County Residents Support Alternatives to Demolishing Ellicott City’s Historic District” in which they detailed polling data that Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy conducted between September 17 and September 19, 2018. Here is some of that article:

74 percent of Howard County voters support alternatives to demolishing large portions of Ellicott City’s historic district, according to a poll released today by Preservation Maryland.
Additionally, according to the poll results, 69 percent of Howard County residents were opposed or were uncertain as to whether it was worth spending $50 million to reduce floodwaters on Main Street from 6’-to-8’ to 4’-to-6’.
The survey of 625 registered Howard County voters who are likely to vote was conducted between September 17 and September 19, 2018 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy. Those interviewed were randomly selected from a phone-matched Howard County voter registration list that included both landline and cell phone numbers. Quotas were assigned to reflect voter turnout by council district. The margin of error was +/- 4 percent.
““These poll results confirm what everyone suspected – there is broad and substantial public opposition to this plan. Spending $50 million and still leaving almost six feet of life-threatening swift water on lower Main Street is not a smart proposition – and Howard County residents clearly want to see alternatives.” – Nicholas Redding, Preservation Maryland Executive Director”
 

On Facebook…I saw this from Howard County Government:

A joint statement from Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman and Jon Weinstein – Howard County Council District 1 regarding poll results from Preservation Maryland regarding the 5-year Ellicott City Flood Mitigation Plan:
“Since taking office, we have appointed numerous advisory groups and work groups to study Ellicott City flooding. They have spent hundreds of hours in public meetings thoroughly analyzing scientific studies and weighing alternatives for flood mitigation. They agree that the mitigation plan we have proposed for Ellicott City is the best path forward for the town.

It is hard to take seriously a five-minute poll that tries to explain years of study, analysis and dozens of scenarios that were considered.
We appreciate the expense paid by Preservation Maryland for this survey. We hope we can count on its financial support as we continue our efforts to save the town and preserve its history. Describing the plan as ‘demolishing Ellicott City’s historic district’ is grossly misleading and inaccurate. The plan calls for removing 10 buildings on lower Main Street that traverse the Tiber River, which constitutes 5 percent of the buildings in the historic district — 95 percent of the buildings would remain intact.
At the Council’s public hearing, the majority of those most directly affected – the residents, businesses and property owners along Main Street and the West End – endorsed our plan. They understand, based on the best meteorological guidance, that time is not on our side. They understand our plan is grounded in the most current and solid expert science.
We are not making our decision based on the results of a poll. While we appreciate Preservation Maryland’s mission, our mission first and foremost is to protect lives. We will make our decision because it’s the best way to do that and to ensure a vibrant and thriving Ellicott City for centuries to come.
We have had multiple discussions with the leadership of Preservation Maryland. We have offered to continue to work with them and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the coming months and years, regardless of the outcome of the Council’s vote on Monday, Oct. 1.”

You can read the full polling data here:  http://www.preservationmaryland.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/howard-county-maryland-voter-poll-ellicott-city-by-mason-dixon-september-2018.pdf
So I read the polling data….and (to me) the questions are targeted towards a specific outcome….this is not the first poll with questions like that I have seen…and I am actually shocked that they shared the actual data. I am SOOOOOO looking forward to comments about this polling.
I hate that this is all happening in an election year…because this issue has stopped being about what is best for Ellicott City and Main Street and has become a Republican vs Democrat issue…basically that is everything right now…and even those of us that like politics are getting burned out on all of it (at least some of us are).
I have written in the past that I am in support of BIG ideas to address the issues of flooding in Ellicott City. I am not an expert on flood mitigation but the plan to me seems reasonable….yes, I like many others will miss the buildings at the bottom of Main Street….but flood after flood after flood…someone needs to do something…and little fixes are not the answer….when we continue to lose lives and destroy businesses because of the flooding…it is time for big ideas…not little fixes.
Obviously this is my opinion…and I know many may disagree with me…and some will agree with me…but I do want to know your thoughts. Let me know in the comments or in the comments on Facebook.
Scott E