All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

And the survey said.....

The Brookfield Community Attitude & Opinion Survey report was given Tuesday night. Here are a few of the results: the majority (44.4%) of the 392 respondents have lived here 20 or more years, the majority (24%) are 45 – 54 years old, 61.2% have no children 18 or younger in their household, 84.9% own their single family home, and the majority (41.4%) believe their homes are valued in the $200,000 - $299,999 range. (I fall into the majority category on all of these, or at least I will when my son turns 18).

The next question however, made me question the relevance of the remaining survey question responses: “Within which Aldermanic District do you currently reside?” A whopping 59.4% of respondents did NOT know what district they lived in! Their lack of knowing this pretty basic fact made me question: do they vote? and how much do they really pay attention to city issues?

Nearly all of the respondents thought the quality of life in Brookfield is excellent--53.6% or good--43.6%. I would agree, but I think that quality of life must be protected--not taken as a given. Most thought Brookfield was doing a good job--61.2% and excellent job--30.6% providing services. 26.5% of respondents said creating a new interchange between Moorland and Barker Roads was not a priority compared to 19.6% who thought it was a major priority. Maintaining the quality of schools carried the highest percentage of major priority: 45.7%. Ensuring the quality and stability of single family neighborhoods came in 2nd with a 36.2% saying it was a major priority.

The question about increased development was asked in two ways: “I favor additional development and redevelopment in selected areas as a way to reduce or control the City’s tax rate” with 67.6% agreeing or strongly agreeing, and “I am opposed to additional development even if it means raising city taxes” with 65.7% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. But both of these questions carry a bias; they assume the only way to reduce taxes is by increasing development. Another problem with asking these types of questions is that they are asked in the general—not the specific! Notice, it did not say, Would you agree if the development was in your neighborhood or created a traffic jamb every day on your commute? The survey did not ask any questions concerning future concerns in Brookfield such as: loss of greenspace, loss of quality of life, increased traffic, tax increases, etc.

After the report the aldermen were given a chance to comment. Alderman Berg mentioned that he received 2 phone calls regarding the survey and the opposing additional development even if it meant raising taxes question. I believe the word extortion was used in regard to that question! Alderman Blackburn a pointed out that the respondents were not asked if they would still favor development if they knew their tax dollars would go to pay for the project’s infrastructure (thus costing the taxpayer, not giving tax relief).

So, I think Disraeli was right when he said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, @#*$%& lies, and statistics"! (Mark Twain really liked that quote!) Not that the survey results are lies, but that surveys only ask what they want to hear. They don't always reflect the true feelings of the respondent.
P.S. Lisa Sink, from MJS made a great point regarding the City's high marks, "But the satisfaction seems at odds with the ouster of three incumbent aldermen."

Links: and
Weed control links: garlic mustard and garlic mustard's pretty cousin, Dame's Rocket. (It can take over native areas too.) Garlic mustard should be thrown in the trash--do not compost


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