Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Polls say...

As far as I can tell, nobody is doing any scientific polling regarding the local issues of the day. Over at the site readers are invited to take an online survey of whatever issue the Miner presents. Certainly an online poll is not to be confused with a real scientific poll, but for the most part I have felt (especially growth related issues) that the results of the poll speak to what the average citizen is feeling.

Because of the quotes by the Mayor that appear in this article, I thought I'd take a look back at some of the results of various polls that the Miner has run. I'm doing this to perhaps remind the other elected leaders what this community is thinking on important issues, and maybe the possibility that they will also speak out (for or against) the same issues. It is time to take sides on the future as well as the present. We need to know who to support or defeat in the next election cycle. It isn't too early to think about it.

First, because I've already admitted that the polls aren't scientific -- I still want to validate them to some degree. So the first one I copy and paste will be the poll that was asking who the Kingman voter will choose for the two remaining city council spots before the general election.


Which two candidates would you vote for in the May 20th City Council election?

60 (14%) Pennington/Schritter
36 (9%) Pennington/Walker
69 (16%) Pennington/Young
60 (14%) Schritter/Walker
60 (14%) Schritter/Young
137 (33%) Walker/Young

This was the only poll that asked for an outcome, and those that responded to this poll turned out to be correct as Keith Walker and Carole Young were indeed elected by the voters to take the remaining seats in the last election.

It is the best I can do to lend some viability of the survey that appears. You see where I'm going.

So the results of this next poll were actually posted before the last general election and the subject was those scurrilous 'impact fees'.


Kingman impact fees raise the cost of new homes an average of $2,900 and more than $26,000 for a 5,000-square-foot commercial building, with the fees earmarked to pay for city infrastructure needs. Do you support the impact fees?

167 (36%) Yes
266 (58%) No
29 (6%) Not sure

Pretty clear that those that responded to this survey are against the impact fees. And now some 15 months later we haven't seen this very important issue dealt with by the elected leaders. Unless of course you count the time the council raised the cost of the fees.

I posted this next one before...


Do you think RAID (Residents Against Irresponsible Development) is helping Kingman, or hurting it?

161 (27%) Helping
435 (73%) Hurting readers overwhelmingly show their disapproval of the political action group made up of local citizens. Our elected leaders should remember this poll looking ahead.

Posted this next one before here at MOCO...


Would you object if your closest neighbor constructed a wind turbine in his/her yard?

116 (14%) Yes
742 (86%) No readers favor private property rights... well that is what I take from these results. Your mileage may vary.


Do you plan to use the recycling trailers the city is going to buy with its recently awarded grant?

494 (79%) Yes
133 (21%) No

I'll share something anecdotal on this one. I play softball in the summer leagues at Centennial Park. If my game is on either field six or seven I park near the recycle bins located at the park. Almost without fail, each time I park there I see somebody dropping off stuff in the bins. Again, anecdotal but in a way does lead to some validity to the results of the reader poll.


Do you think lowering impact fees to build in the city will bring more business to Kingman?

380 (62%) Yes
233 (38%) No

Impact fees again. Hey... elected leaders... are you listening?? Bringing more business to Kingman will have a better result on sales tax receipts than trying to guilt people into 'Shop Local!' will. Having more places to 'Shop Local!' would be a good thing.


Do you agree with the developer's decision to drop the convenience store from the Tuscany Village rezone plan?

212 (30%) Yes
488 (70%) No

Another hall of shame moment in the weird political history of Kingman, thanks to the NIMBY's. This is the one that had the developer claiming that he would never spend another dollar in Kingman. It is no wonder that Kingman is viewed as an unfriendly community towards business. It is clear that our Mayor, based on his quote in the article linked above, understands this and is actively and publicly doing his best to change the perception. The other six council members need to help. No excuses.

Speaking of the Mayor, he was the subject of this next poll...


Do you think Kingman Mayor John Salem has done a good job his first year in office?

274 (60%) Yes
186 (40%) No

I bet that number goes up if run again today in light of his comments. He gets it, now it is on the others to do the same.


If you could create anything in Kingman, what would you choose?

70 (7%) Art/Culture center
107 (10%) Roller rink
211 (20%) Water park
286 (28%) Shopping mall
40 (4%) Movieplex
45 (4%) Civic center
279 (27%) Other

62% of those that answered selected something that would lead to more jobs, opportunity, and tax revenues. Eleven percent chose something that would cost the city tax revenues up front in some form or another.


How often do you shop in downtown Kingman?

32 (4%) Daily
77 (9%) Weekly
66 (7%) Twice or more a month
145 (16%) Once a month
586 (64%) Never

Not as many people have concerns about the downtown area. Not for commerce anyway. Probably not all that convenient of a location... certainly not as convenient as something near Interstate 40.

While I agree that it would be great for Kingman if the downtown area was improved in some development sorta way, I seriously doubt that downtown should be the prime target for expensive improvement at this time. At best it should be a side project... at least until there is enough other positive growth that would allow for the funding needed for real improvements. readers overwhelmingly do not head downtown for much so the needs just aren't there, therefore downtown should not be at the top of the list of things to accomplish. Cross off some of the other things first.



Would you be willing to pay a slightly higher sales tax at a new retail center, as opposed to an increase in the citywide sales tax?

109 (17%) Yes
85 (13%) Yes, but only if the new businesses sell items that can't be purchased elsewhere in town
299 (45%) No
166 (25%) Maybe, but I would want more information on it

Nearly half the people responded no. Half the people that responded yes want certain conditions placed a new retail center. Conditions that would likely help whatever new venture that may have been thinking about Kingman, to look somewhere else beyond this community.

Now for the last poll I'll share, it just closed today and replaced with a poll asking to choose who makes the best hamburger in Kingman. This one covers the biofuel plant, see for yourself the results you see for yourselfers...


Do you support the biodiesel plant as proposed?

742 (72%) Yes
289 (28%) No

I will reiterate that these polls are not scientific so they may not amount to even a hill of beans, but on the other hand it my opinion that the folks who are taking part in these polls reflect much of how this community feels on the subjects featured in them.

Also, MOCO Real is likely the only online source with fresh content that is actively supporting growth here in the Kingman area of Mohave County. While I love this little hobby of mine, I know that MOCO is not nearly as popular of a stop that the site is. I bet I get less than a single digit percentage point of the visits that the Miner gets. Even Loyd has a larger readership, and most likely the head water worry wart does too with her new blog. So it is not like MOCO is having a huge impact on public perception. MOCO is NOT a king-maker.

Not once has my email box been delivered a notice that there is a such and such poll on the site so make sure you vote this way or that way. Also, if I've ever pointed to a poll and asked readers here to participate it was well after the poll was established and it was obvious that what I might have said in a MOCO blog post made zero impact on the results. I've yet to see any call to action regarding these polls... yet the results speak for themselves.

As I said throughout this post, I hope that our elected representatives in all levels of local government are at least considering the results of the polls. If anything, at least enough to question the other side of the arguments just a little more. There is a silent majority here in Kingman, but it is not who many seem to think it is and it is time to represent them (many need jobs). Turn that sign around at the city complex so it reads... "Kingman -- Open for Business"... and don't flip it back around again.

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