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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 5, 2011 10:41 AM. The previous post in this blog was Oregon's twisted priorities on full display. The next post in this blog is Nurse Amanda has a real challenger. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't ask, don't tell in Lake O.

The Lake Oswego City Council voted a while back to take a survey of public opinion in town about the proposed streetcar from Portland to Homer Williams's ghastly new condo complex on the east side of Highway 43, euphemistically known as the Foothills District. But funny thing -- now the survey's been postponed, and the reasons given for the slowdown in the proceedings seem spurious indeed:

Two months later, Adam Davis of public opinion firm Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall Inc. says he’s "ready to rock and roll," but he isn’t sure now is the time to proceed.

"I’ve got a concern," he recently told the council. "I want to be able to deliver to you statistically valid information."

The survey would provide "a snapshot in time" based on the information now in the community, regardless of whether that information is accurate, he explained. But with additional work being done over the next six or seven months to analyze the project, information about Lake Oswego’s share of project funding, possible financing strategies and the streetcar line’s likely impact on the downtown area could change.

It will be interesting to see what part of "no" the council down there won't understand.

Comments (14)

Weird. Isn't this true of literally EVERY survey ever taken? Presumably it's understood that a survey indicates the mood of the community at the time the poll/survey was taken, and that future changes may change the opinion of people who took the survey.

Davis is telling the LO Council that the idea will bomb in a poll / survey now, but that if the Council majority "works" the issue for 6 months and spends a lot on PR, then maybe he (Davis) can bring home the affirmative result the Council majority wants to justify the toonerville trolley.

What part of "no" the council won't understand or simply don't want to understand?

What troubles me is how easily elected officials can turn their backs on the people and turn to all kinds of devious ways and PR ways to at least have the appearances that the community wants this.

Do they have subliminal messages running in city halls -
Never say No to $$ for pet projects
Citizens input doesn't matter here
Streetcars Yeah!

Recent polling results that I've seen from this firm indicate that they do not ask voters about the money these projects will cost taxpayers (e.g. their Portland school bond polling). To a large extent, people vote and poll their pocketbooks. If you don't ask about the money, your results won't really be statistically significant, no matter when you conduct your poll.

"but he isn’t sure now is the time to proceed."

vs.

"I want to be able to deliver to you statistically valid information."

He knows the thing is going down in flames.

"I want to be able to deliver to you statistically valid information."

If you're a good pollster, then by definition every poll you conduct will be statistically valid. It might not be what your clients will like, but it WILL be valid, no?

It's instructive to know that the current
"snapshot in time" based on the information now in the community
was enough for the council to vote and approve the streetcar but somehow it is indadequate for the voters to decide anything?

The identical approach is being used to delay a public vote in Clark County on the CRC/Light Rail.

The voters need more information.

In Clackamas County voters spanked the attemtp to avoid voters with a sever defeat of the vehicle registration fee/milwaukie Light Rail scheme.

Next up is the initiative petition to require vote on UR/Milwaukie Light Rail.

Inside sources say the conniving commissioners are sweating bullets while plotting schemes to channel around voters the $25 million promise to TriMet.

They really do not have any clue about how out of line they are.

I suspect 2012 will bring a reversal of majority on the board of county commissioners with resulting fiscal responsibility taking over the county.

I think the local council's play has two components: (1) Put enough resources into the "study" to justify the project - we've passed the point of no return, and (2) continue to not-so-secretly support a PR campaign in favor of the streetcar.

They have already, in just a few months, espoused the "data" that a vast majority of LO voters support the light rail extension. Except, when you read the fine print of the past survey, the question reads like any other piece of progressive fluff that can't really be answered in the negative because it is so lacking in detail:

"Let's assume that the current transit system will end civilization and kill all the babies ... you support the alternative, don't you? Don't you?!" No, you don't get to ask silly questions about the transit route, the cost, or whether there is more than one alternative.

"Would you like more police and prisons to lock up the bad guys?" No, I won't tell you whether the prison will be next door to you kid's elementary school, you're either with us or against us.

"Who likes ice cream in July?" No, you can't ask about flavors, you either like ice cream on a hot day or you're crazy.

Portland may have a kiddie council but it sounds like LO has a clown council.

The LO Council recently passed a motion to execute a Trolley survey "immediately". Why isn't the majority vote of the Council being adhered to? The Council members who voted in favor of the motion should strongly insist on compliance of the motion. If not followed then bring in state authorities like Kroger and/or Brown. That should do it.

I like Seattle's approach with the Monorail.

Put a public vote: "Do you want a Monorail?!" They said yes.

A few years later, "Do you want to pay taxes for a Monorail?" They said yes.

Next, "Oh, we thought it'd only cost this much. Now just ONE Monorail line is going to cost THIS much. Do you still want the monorail?" They said NO!

But it generated plenty of revenue to pay for staffers, consultants, office space, furniture and a few elections. And nothing else.

The 4 streetcar councilors conspired to delay the poll. How Portlnd of them.

Mayor Jack Hoffman (friend of creepy), Donna Jordon, Sidney Moncreif and Bill Teirney need to be thrown out of office.

In 2012 they will lose their 4-3 majority to the 3 honarable councilor Mike Kehoe, Mary Olson and Jeff Gudman.

The vote on whether a streetcar is good for L O has been put off until early 2012. This gives the city ( with only a slim majority in favor of trolly and WDW development) and Williams Dame White time to dazzle us thickheaded, backwards-thinking oafs with their magic PR and tell us what Paradise really looks like. In fact, you can see it here: http://www.ci.oswego.or.us/newsletters/2011%20Newsletters/July%202011Foothills%District%20(2).pdf.

They want your opinions folks! No, really. They said so. WDW is hosting an open house with a presentation (free food?) on July 14 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at LO City Hall. Since the invitation was sent to every address in town as an insert inside the city's monthly newsletter, they (LO or WDW?) must really want people to come so they can get things right, right?

"The 4 streetcar councilors conspired to delay the poll."

A lot times when they do studies or polls in the contract the govt agencies can have a cluse saying if they don't agree with the results they won't pay.

Not to mention the possibility of greatly diminished future contracts.

I'd be curious how much work CoP has sent EconNorthwest after they did that study on Randy's plans for PGE Park. Remember the one where Randy picked the one good paragraph out of 50 pages to quote?

Why anyone would trust a glowing one-sided report from any govt agency is beyond me.


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