Critic Calls Urban Growth Survey Biased

Dave Davis Quits Plan S.B. Outreach Committee

A private polling firm hired by Santa Barbara City Hall conducted this past weekend a telephone questionnaire of nearly 400 random adults on their attitudes about future growth and development over the next 20 years and what should be given priority. The purpose of the survey was to provide members of the City Council and city planners greater insight into community sentiment relevant to the city’s general plan update process, a.k.a. Plan Santa Barbara. But former Community Development Director Dave Davis was so upset by what he termed the political bias of the questions that he resigned from the Plan Santa Barbara Outreach Committee. “It was election campaign type propaganda,” Davis said of the questions. Davis is a proponent of increased “sustainability,” which is code for denser development in the urban core and which often finds itself at odds with more traditional “slow-growth” advocates. Davis also complained that the outreach commission was given no time to comment on the questionnaire, let alone make any changes to it. Current Community Development Director Paul Casey conceded the commission could have been given more time, but said the questionnaire was fair. “I’m getting people on all sides telling me how unbalanced the questions are,” he said, “so we must be doing something right.”

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