Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Did Sam Adams Compost His Own Poll?

When Mayor Sam Adams holds says 87% of the people in a food scrap composting pilot program think it's great or are "satisfied" as the Portland Mayor puts it, I have an insatiable desire to see the poll and the poll questions for myself.

Alas, I can't see the poll because they can't find it.

Apparently the good apparatchiks at Portland's City hall in the Office of Sustainability and at the Mayor's office where my producer has called several times can't produce the poll that Sam keeps touting on the air and on his own website:

Eighty-seven percent of the pilot households reported being satisfied with the new system and garbage generated in the pilot area dropped by almost a third. What’s more, only seven percent of pilot residents upgraded to a bigger garbage can, and only 60 percent of garbage cans were full on collection day.

You'd think anyone with an 87% approval rating for a new program that will reduce services (garbage pickup) and cost MORE MONEY would be waving that poll like a big fat flag, but nope. They can't find it.

To be fair, it sounds as if there are two polls. One, in 2007, and the second sometime in the last year which produced that whopping 87% approval rating!

They can find neither.

Why do I ask? Because the last time Sam Adams waved a poll around saying everyone was in favor of banning "plastic" bags I nosed around and got a look at the question the pollster, Grove Insight, asked on behalf of the city.

Here's the ridiculous question they supposedly asked Portlanders:

"Single-use petroleum-based plastic shopping bags pollute our land, contribute to a swirling mass of garbage twice the size of Texas off Oregon's coast, and continue our dependence on dangerous foreign oil supplies. Making paper shopping bags is a toxic process that pollutes our rivers. To encourage more use of reusable shopping bags, do you favor or oppose banning plastic bags in the City of Portland and requiring a 5-cent fee on paper bags?"

They forgot to ask when you beat your wife last and have you drowned any puppies lately, but at least they actually had a poll.

Sam later disavowed the poll, telling me on the air recently that it wasn't their poll. He, however, couldn't produce the mysterious OTHER poll he'd been quoting from.

And you wonder why we ask the questions...

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