Where do you put your trust?

Published 12:57 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

By Staff
Do you trust me? According to a new survey by the Alabama Education Association's Capital Survey Research Center, hometown newspapers rank below banks and public schools but far above the Alabama Legislature in confidence among Alabama voters.
The &#8220Confidence in State and Local Institutions survey,” conducted every year, gives the highest confidence ratings to churches - 53 percent of voters have &#8220great confidence” in them, with another 35 percent showing &#8220some confidence.”
The medical profession and law enforcement rank next in the survey. In fact, when you combine ratings for &#8220great confidence” and &#8220some confidence,” churches, doctors and police officers are neck and neck.
While I certainly trust the folks at our hometown institution, Jefferson Davis Community College, I was surprised that with all the negative stories surrounding some of the other colleges in the state, community and technical colleges rank fairly high on the confidence list. Small businesses, local banks and local public schools also ranked high.
But who is lowest on the list? The Alabama Christian Coalition garnered only 17 percent great confidence and 34 percent some confidence, but its no confidence rating was 13 percent.
Nursing homes for the elderly, the state Legislature and lawyers were also low on the list, but unions were the lowest - with only 34 percent expressing great confidence or some confidence in them.
So what does this tell us? It's hard to say. The AEA conducted the survey, but in general schools and school boards were in the middle of the pack in terms of confidence.
The Capital Survey Research Center says that, in general, voter confidence in all Alabama institutions has been declining since 1999, when the survey began.
All in all, the list just backs up what most of us believe when you consider different professions and institutions in general. But each institution or profession has good and bad apples.
Take the much-maligned attorneys, for example. I haven't met any in our community that deserve to be so far down on the list of confidence - but the perception is that the profession is rife with bad apples.
The Alabama Legislature gets a lot of knocks - including on this editorial page - but I also know a lot of hard-working people who are elected and try to serve their communities to the best of their ability.
Perhaps in some cases, the bad apples simply get more attention than the good ones.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewtonstandard.com.

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