The Town of Exeter website, under the Planning Department, includes a portal to a survey that was apparently designed by Town Planner, Sylvia von Aulock. This survey is self-serving in that it is biased to create responses in favor of her intended goal. Ms. Von Aulock has on her personal agenda the implementation of a form-based code (FBC) for the further development of Portsmouth Avenue. Aside from what FBC is, this is just another instance where some in the Town government manipulate things to meet their needs.
Here is an example to support my contention: One question asks, “Do you ever bicycle on Portsmouth Avenue?” To this I answered, “No.” A few questions later it asks, “Is bicycling on Portsmouth Avenue pleasant for you?” Answer yes, no, or unsure. I already said I don’t bicycle on Portsmouth Avenue so why wasn’t I given the choice to answer, “N/A.” This is only one example of similar poorly designed questions.
Survey questions should be impartially written so as to obtain an unbiased response. The questions in this survey are extremely biased so as to drive the respondent to give the answer the surveyor wants. Also, the questions give no context with respect to cost, traffic or pedestrian safety, etc. This methodology makes any survey results useless, except to justify the surveyor’s preconceived position.
To top off this exercise in subterfuge, one can take the survey more than once by using a multiple of computers, tablets and Internet search engines. In fact, anyone throughout the country (or world) could vote. So, why not send out the link to everyone in one’s address book and tell them how to vote. Electronic ballot box stuffing at its best.
I think taxpayers are more than irritated by these single-minded attempts to pursue personal agenda at our expense. Cut out the game playing and pay attention to what really matters to voters and to the development of our town.