Saturday, June 6, 2009

Do you want 3% of the population setting "community standards"?

Ginny Maziarka keeps going on about how the library isn't listening to "community standards." How do we know if Ginny is accurately representing the standards of West Bend?

Well, she brags here (comment #21) that she's turned in over 1,100 signatories to her petition. That sounds impressive, but let's do the math.

First, we must recognize that Ginny's petition was knowingly targeted to people outside the city of West Bend. But, for the sake of argument, let's assume she's already scrubbed those signatories from the list of names she submitted to the library board.

So, that's 1,100 people, out of a 2008 city population of 30,320. That comes to 3.6%.

Hmm......Ginny convinced 3.6% of the city to sign her petition. That means she must be accurately representing the "community standards", right?


  1. also, don't forget that the "community" that the WBCML represents is not just the city of west bend, it is also a percentage of the surrounding townships. in library land, this is called the service population. this number is based on the share of total circulation to county residents that live outside of municipalities that maintain a library. west bend's service population is much, much larger than 30,000.

  2. Of course the Ginny petition included names from outside the service area, including that of the rabidly anti-gay, anti-equality, anti-no-fault-divorce CEO of the Madison-based Wisconsin Family Council, Julaine Appling. But getting back to the idea of a "majority": should things like free speech rights, freedom of access to ideas, even unpopular ones, and other civil rights be determined by a simple majority vote? Of course not. Public opinion does not drive civil freedoms.