Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Latest City Hall "Survey" is Yet Another Cynical Effort to Manipulate Local Opinion

Survey Includes not one question about "rising crime," "development," or "traffic congestion"

The City of Santa Monica just sent out a "survey" to residents and workers who live outside the city titled Your City, Your Voice... The survey begins by stating it's about "what's important to you personally and how we can make Santa Monica even better." But then what unfolds is an effort to manipulate your perspective.

The survey asks you to describe Santa Monica by rating these words on a scale of one to ten: caring, inclusive, diverse, thriving, equitable, neighborly, affordable, supportive, innovative, forward-thinking. But there is not one question in this survey concerning rising crime. Nowhere is the word "development" mentioned. And "traffic congestion" only appears once as a possible response (#8).

Instead, reality in our small city is being reframed. We are being "taught" to use City jargon instead of real words. Traffic is out; mobility is in. Over-development is out; affordability is in.

Despite the recent announcement that Santa Monica is #1 in property crime among California cities of similar size , crime is missing from the survey. After all, rising crime stats prove we are not "thriving."

The survey uses the word "homeless" more than 24 times. So why doesn't it tell us up front that homelessness is the real topic? Because survey's purpose isn't to ASK us what we think.

The survey's purpose is to TELL us how we are supposed to think. Is the City preparing residents for a new bond measure to fund a homeless campaign, possibly making Santa Monica even more of a magnet for unfortunate people living on the streets? Or will there be more of a push to build transitional housing in neighborhoods?

Of course, the City survey doesn't ask whether we think City development policies might actually displace the poor by incentivizing developers to demolish older apartment buildings to create new market rate micro units and condos.

This "survey" is a blatant and insulting effort to manipulate public opinion. It's also clearly about seeking numbers that can be used to support programs the City has already decided to advance. But there is a more insidious purpose: to gather information on residents for future bond measures and taxes.

Take a look for yourself - a copy of the survey is attached above as a pdf document.

Or you can take the survey at this link:

Looking forward to a good discussion at our NEN meeting on Monday, Nov.6 at 7 p.m. at the Montana Library.

Tricia Crane, Chair, Northeast Neighbors


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