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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Portland State alum gets fishy-looking poll

An alert reader writes:

I'm a PSU grad and received this invitation for a "research survey" from the alumni office. It seemed like a legitimate survey from the email (on second thought, are any email surveys legitimate?), but clicking through makes it pretty blatant as an electronic "push poll." You will really enjoy the OHSU "adequate state funding" drivel towards the end of the question deck. Last question: "Would you be willing to volunteer for state advocacy...?" Research, indeed.
Sure enough, here is some of the content, written by p.r. firm Davis Hibbits & Midghall, "an independent and non-partisan opinion research firm specializing in education research":

For those of you just joining us, this is part of the snake oil pitch that the state universities are making to the legislature: "Borrow $800 million, hand it over to us for nothing, and then give us autonomy while you figure out a way to pay it back." Given that the state is deeply in the tank, it's a pitch only a real sucker would go for. But hey, real estate is slow these days, and that's what Portland State is mostly about any more. So we suppose the administrators have time on their hands to go along with a fat p.r. budget for this sort of thing.

Comments (11)

Boy am I glad the OR universities are spending what money they have on such important "research". NOT!
And they come pleading for money from alums all the time too.

It would sure be nice if Ted were to reexamine the propriety of the 8 percent return that was assumed in the 2 billion dollar state Pension Obligation Bond mess. I would like to see a report, an ordinary spreadsheet table would suffice, that shows a monthly balance (projected and actual) for each and every public body's account (from 1999 to the present) that was funded in advance for the purpose of investment/reinvestment in Wall Street.

I had a similar phone poll about a month ago from U of O.

Davis Hibbitts & Midghall are the same group that PPS paid almost $30,000 to show that Portlanders really, really want to pay $548 million to "modernize" its schools.

With all the public money these pollsters are blowing thru, they should rename themselves Davis Hibbitts & Rathole.

By my count, of the four "best" reasons to support OHSU, only one of them is actually true.

Portland State University used to be a half way decent education but anymore I see them mostly as part of central planning governance machine weighing heavily on the city's economy and debt levels. The latest census shows in just in the matter of a few years the median age of a Portlander has droppped from 38 years old down just over 35 years old. My guess is PSU brings in an increasing amount of younger liberal folks who then skew the city's voting towards more expenditure and debt.

"The latest census shows in just in the matter of a few years the median age of a Portlander has dropped from 38 years old down just over 35 years old"

I would ignore that Census data because it comes from the American Community Survey, which has too small a sample size to matter. It showed the opposite result a couple of years ago.

I think we should seperate OHSU from discussion of the rest of the system. They made their bed in the 90's by becoming a "public corporation."

If anything, the OHSU experience shows us what would happen if we give UofO $800 million to supposedly take care of themselves. What would happen is that things wouldn't work out as planned (i.e. they would mismanage it), and the University would continue to come begging the state for more funding on top of the $800 million.

Can someone provide specifics as to how OHSU mismanaged the state money? I'm a UO professor, there's lots I like and don't like about Lariviere's $800m bonding plan, and I'd really like some details on what worked and didn't work with the very similar OHSU deal.

UO Matters, I think the last paragraph of the last graphic above says it all. Fifteen years after becoming more "independent" to handle its own finances, OHSU is complaining about not getting adequate state money.

I have little doubt that UofO would follow the exact same course. The University would get their $800 million now, something would go wrong, and we'll still be supporting them with tax dollars. Bad for the public.

You can research OHSU's budget woes in the Oregonian most likely.

OSU alums are getting this, too. It may get used as evidence for making UO, OSU or PSU public corporations.

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