Longmont Times Call Noise Polls

As the Citizens for Quiet Skies (CFQS) quest to shut down, er, reduce Mile High Skydiving airplane noise to a reasonable level, comes to a head, I thought it would be interesting to compare two Times Call noise polls. The first took place in June of 2014, and the second (during the trial) happened in April of 2015.  The results of both polls are listed below:

June 2014 Results

screenshot-www.timescall.com 2015-04-24 23-58-55

April 2015 Results

screenshot-www.timescall.com 2015-04-24 23-58-32

CFQS frequently points out that in the June 2014 poll, “skydiving planes” had far and away the most votes of any other noise source in Longmont. Interestingly enough, skydiving planes was fairly low on the list until just before the poll closed, at which time the number of votes it received skyrocketed.The results were so suspect that the Times Call originally didn’t even include skydiving planes in the final listing, but under protest from Kim Gibbs at CFQS, they were later added but further down in the list, apparently where they would have been had the numbers not been padded (and it is obvious to anyone looking at it objectively that these results were fudged somehow).

A new poll was just conducted, and this time the numbers did not appear to be padded. Voting was certainly heavier, most likely as a result of the publicity the trial has been getting, but the results are pretty close to the June 2014 results…had the June 2014 results not been padded. And those results show what has been obvious to the vast majority of people for some time now, that skydiving plane noise is really only a big issue for a very small handful of people, and pretty far down the list of most annoying noises in Longmont.

So what else can be seen in this poll?  Two things stand out to me. First, the voting was much heavier this time, and I attribute that to the timing of poll and the immense unpopularity of CFQS and its cause. Second, and this is very telling, is that the number of votes for skydiving planes was nearly cut in HALF between June 2014 and the latest poll, IN SPITE of the trial publicity and the seemingly larger number of people who might now be more aware of any airplane noise than would have been a year ago and thus more likely to vote for it.

If everything from the June 2014 poll was legit, and if the CFQS cause was really that popular, the votes for skydiving planes should have also increased proportionally to the rest of the categories, but it ended up with much fewer votes. Clearly the June 2014 poll results were padded, and the April 2015 results are much more reflective of the current attitude of the population around Longmont.

The judge will rule soon whether or not CFQS has a legitimate legal argument against Mile High Skydiving, but public sentiment in Times Call articles has overwhelmingly suggested that they don’t. Now there is an accurate poll that puts that sentiment into statistical form. I wonder if CFQS will continue to reference the latest noise poll results as it argues that “thousands of people” think the noise is a problem. My guess is…not likely.

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Citizens For Quiet Skies

I had recently responded to a Times Call letter from Kimberly Gibbs, essentially saying that I didn’t think she would be happy with any airplane noise from Mile High Skydiving, and that she would only stop her fight if they were shut down altogether.

Well, Kimberly found my blog and responded in the “About” section.  I wanted to move the conversation to another post so as not to clutter things.

Kimberly Gibbs says:

Actually, this blog was created by cowards who don’t have the guts to put their name on their ignorant comments aimed at misleading the public. Case in point: “I think the misconception in Ms. Gibbs’ logic is that not shutting down MHS does not equate to “no progress in sight”. If she is waiting for that particular legitimate Longmont business to be shut down before she can claim progress was made, then I’m afraid she is going to be waiting quite awhile.”

  • Hi Kimberly!

    Thanks for your feedback. I get that some people have a problem with my anonymity (there is actually just one of me here), and that’s ok. Sadly, there are people out there that have a propensity to exhibit some rather nasty behavior toward those with different opinions or those who have been critical of them. My family doesn’t need that, so I prefer to remain anonymous. If anyone feels like that disqualifies my opinions, then there really isn’t anything I can do about that, and it is their right. I imagine if I told anyone who I was, the overwhelming response would be “who?”, as I’m not much more than just a casual observer to the political scene here. :)

    For those wondering, Kimberly is referring to this letter in the Times Call:

    http://www.timescall.com/opinion/letterstotheeditor/ci_24333140/kimberly-gibbs-only-3-candidates-responded-plane-noise

    I stand by my opinion that you would like to see Mile High Skydiving shut down, and I obviously disagree with you, but that is your right to take them to court. If you feel I’ve “mislead the public”, I’m happy to hear where you think I messed up. I very well could just be misunderstanding your intent, but everything I’ve seen from you and your proposed lawsuit is that you will only be happy with no plane noise, and I don’t know how that happens unless there are no planes.

    For anyone interested, Kimberly has also created a Facebook page for “Citizens for Quiet Skies”, and for those interested in the latest developments of her efforts, it is frequently updated. While there have been a much larger percentage of people who post in there to harass her than support her efforts, I have to give giant kudos to how she handles those people. There are definitely some skydivers and pilots out there who have been pretty harsh and disrespectful on her page, but I rarely see her losing her cool about any of them. More people should respond that way even when they have every right not to. So while we disagree on the MHS issue, I completely respect the way she is arguing for her side.

    So again, thanks for your comment. It is always better to have discussions that go straight to the source. :)

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Recently I’ve seen that the banter on her Facebook page has gotten rather interesting, as some posters there have pointed out that she is not supposed to be using a non profit organization such as CFQS for political endorsements.  Whether or not hers meets that definition, and whether or not the posts she’s made are against “the rules”, I don’t know, but someone may very well be challenging that in court.  Guess we’ll see what happens.

What was really sad to see, however, was that Kimberly called out one of the posters, a Jeff Lipton, and made this comment:

Citizens For Quiet Skies Jeff: We presented the views of all candidates who responded. You need to calm yourself down or I am going to call your daddy and have a talk with him about your conduct. As a candidate for Louisville city council, he may not appreciate your conduct and the potential negative effects on his campaign. http://www.liptonforlouisville.com/

While I’m not sure what she thought she could say regarding this issue to negatively impact Mr. Lipton’s father’s campaign, it was disappointing to see her go that route, as she had been doing a pretty good job of making appropriate responses to all the dissension.  Unfortunately, this was not one of those responses, and certainly those who seem to be the most against Ms. Gibbs’ mission are going to use it against her, as it really looks threatening and doesn’t help her cause at all.  This won’t end well.