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Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Informal Survey Finds Majority of Bogus Polls Support NSWMA

Continuing with those NSWMA talking points:

70% of Maplewood citizens in City conducted poll opposed government managed organized collection.

Sounds impressive, doesn't it?  Though you might be wondering, "What city-conducted poll?  Why did I hear nothing about this?"

In the August 2009 city newsletter (here's the page), then-mayor Longrie described her "informal survey to citizens throughout Maplewood as part of a 2009 citizen outreach initiative."  That sure sounds like a euphemism for "reelection campaign," especially when paired with a list of potential campaign issues for testing.  And she asks you to send opinions to her "office" -- not city hall, but her law office/campaign headquarters.

Her opinion article tells us that, of the first 65 people Diana Longrie thought to ask if "the City should mandate one designated residential trash collector," 45 of them said no.  I would not surprise me if a large majority of them also predicted her landslide re-election.

Needless to say, like the so-called polls of NSWMA, this is useless in terms accurately measuring resident opinion.  It certainly raises questions about the reliability of any information that NSWMA gives us, if they're willing to offer this as a data point.

I should add: Apparently the City of Maplewood once hired an outside firm to do a real survey of residents on a variety of city topics, back in 1996, including organized collection.  That survey found that 57% of residents supported some form of organized collection.

While mysteriously failing to mention that survey, the NSWMA goes on to talk about their own postcard "poll":

Over 1,000 households in Maplewood expressed their opposition to proceeding forward by sending postcards to the City Council before the special council meeting on October 4, 2010.

Of course, this means that up to 13,882 households didn't send in those postcards.

Let's put this in perspective. The NSWMA sent its mailer to many thousands of households, with pre-stamped postcards inside and a slanted letter designed to provoke a knee-jerk reaction. (They do this every time a community talks about organizing, and they have it down to an art.)  Easier to send in those postcards than to vote, wouldn't you say? I wouldn't say that Longrie successfully made organized hauling a campaign issue in 2009, but even she got more votes than NSWMA got postcards.

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