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East County Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 6 years ago

LETTER: Incorporation opposition harbors valid concerns

by: Dr. Robert S. Stepleman

Dear Editor:

Michael Griffin’s letter attacking Daniel Moriarty’s earlier letter as a “personal attack” would be much more persuasive if Griffin’s group favoring Lakewood Ranch incorporation had followed its own advice.

His group has relentlessly in public meetings impugned the motives of those against incorporation — including myself. Because like me, some in the opposition group have histories of public service to the Lakewood Ranch community, his group falsely and without a scintilla of evidence has claimed the reason that they are in opposition is to “protect their jobs.”

This views that no one could sincerely oppose incorporation because they are right and it is bad for the community also run through his letter. He wrote, “I know those who have dug in their heels against incorporation likely will not budge.” Why should they budge when they’re right and the evidence for incorporation is so deeply flawed?

He uses the Fishkind study and a review of it by Dr. Tim Chapin of Florida State University in an attempt to persuade residents incorporation is economically feasible. Based on my more than three decades of experience in modeling in the electronics, energy and financial areas — and spending untold hours reviewing the study — I’m convinced that the overall methodology of the study is deeply flawed and has numerous internal errors and inconsistencies. It is not surprising Chapin, in the limited time he was paid to spend on it, didn’t uncover these problems. The study is many pages long, and it takes many hours to carefully review and understand it.

Finally, Griffin lauds his group’s openness when he writes, “The group has sought input from neighbors and even changed some aspects of the (city) charter based on this feedback.” Aside from the fact that the changes were minor, what he doesn’t explain is what gives his group the right to accept or reject any input? Whose city is it? The group’s members act as if the city belongs to them. They should keep in mind they are only a small self-appointed Lakewood Ranch club.

Dr. Robert S. Stepleman
Lakewood Ranch

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