Eureka's Own Push- Poll?
Speaking of push- polls, as we often do in the Humboldt blogosphere, what do some of my fellow Eureka residents think of the poll that just came in the mail regarding the $100 per parcel fire tax proposal?
It's no surprise that public agencies would send out literature promoting a tax for this or that but, by law, I don't believe they're supposed to advocate one position over another. This poll probably stays on the legit side of the line, if only barely.
Basically, you get a flier entitled City of Eureka Fire Department Official Survey. It has the official City of Eureka emblem to the left of the title and starts off with the Question, Why did you receive this survey?
It then says Enclosed is a questionnaire that will allow property owners to voice their priorities and opinions on a potential property- owner funding measure for improved fire protection and emergency medical services.
The flier then goes on to describe the supposed problem and what the proposed tax would supposedly do to take care of those problems. It ends with some Emergency Response Facts, going on to say how early response can reduce fire damage and save lives. Duh! But I understand everybody has to have a clincher for their argument at the end.
So they've made their pitch and then they go one step further and add what I thought was a push- poll, at first glance. Looking at it closer, though, they can probably wiggle out of that accusation because they only ask questions and give you five possible ways to respond.
It's titled almost the same as the flier: Official Survey, City Of Eureka Fire Department and it starts out with: In order to:
- improve fire protection services in the City and provide additional professional firefighters,
- improve medical emergency response services, and
- reduce response times to save lives and property
Possible answers range from Definitely YES to Definitely NO
The other thirteen questions are below. Interesting that, except for the last two questions, the questions all sound like the original push- poll type sales pitch:
Question #1: This measure would improve year- round fire prevention and suppression services in the city to reduce the damage caused by structure fires.
Question#6: Replace outdated equipment such as fire trucks and safety equipment
It isn't until question 12, of 13, that they ask a nay type question:
Question#12: We shouldn't have to pay more for local fire protection services. The Department should just learn to make do with its current revenues.
Five possible answers are allowed to all those questions ranging from Much More Likely to Much Less Likely to support the measure.
Pretty clever way of promoting the tax and probably even legal. Still, kind of gets my goat that they bother going to that length since it's usually not too hard to scare people enough to pass a tax by threatening to fire all the cops and firefighters in town if the tax doesn't pass. They do it every time Eureka's Utility Tax comes up for renewal.
On the bright side, at least they provide a post paid envelope to mail the survey back in. Oh, and I just noticed: The envelope is addressed to City of Eureka Fire Dept, c/o SCI Consulting in Fairfield, CA. Hmmm???