Every other year Albemarle County surveys the citizens to determine their opinions regarding county services etc. While The Free Enterprise Forum has raised concerns about the survey, we continue to believe the exercise has value. The University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Survey Research has released some preliminary numbers from this year’s survey, the full results will not be released until December.
Some members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors are already working to “spin” the results of the survey. In a recent BOS meeting, the survey results that said citizens were interested in preserving the rural areas as a high priority were used as the justification for increase level of land use planning.
Later, in the same meeting, as the historic preservation committee presented its findings supporting the creation of an HP ordinance, when the results of the survey were mentioned (citizens were fairly happy with the current state of historical protection) one Supervisor seemed to infer the survey respondents were ill informed.
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is attempting to have it both ways. If the survey data supports their position it is considered a public mandate for action. If the survey does not conveniently fit their philosophical position, they see it as an opportunity to educate the public on the issue. The latter is both condescending and inaccurate. Such philosophical arrogance presupposes anyone who is educated on a specific topic would agree. If you do not agree with me, you must be ignorant.
The Free Enterprise Forum spends significant resources covering meetings and working with members of the communities we serve. On important issues I find the citizens in this region to be some of the best informed in the state. The high level of competency of our citizens should not be questioned.
To dismiss citizen opinions as uneducated or ill informed because they disagree with your political view is regrettable and, ultimately, politically short sighted.