They sent out a survey to the ‘doughnut’ residents (people who live in a ring around the outer edge of the city of Whitefish) asking who they prefer to manage planning and zoning, the county or city of Whitefish. Instead of mailing surveys to the registered voters in the area in question, they sent the surveys only to corporations and property owners.
The the lack of transparency seems to be an issue here is well, though the county claims that, “the survey is not a voting ballot measure,” [GOP County Commissioner Jim] Dupont said in the Flathead Beacon. Commissioners also apparently believe it “doesn’t require a public notice process” either.
It’s just a “tool in the toolbox” in the effort to bring clarification to an issue in need of it.
Over at the Informed Whitefish forum, word is that some sixty surveys went to a single Whitefish address (one for each parcel of land the individual owns in the area) while others expressed outrage that many of the surveys were mailed to out-of-area addresses – including Texas, California, Canada, Switzerland and England.
In fact, some say most of the surveys that the County mailed went to owners who do not live in Whitefish: Forty percent of the survey votes were actually mailed out of Montana. Flathead County surveys our Canadian neighbors to the north 300 times. Texas gets 70 votes, Missoula 60, and California got nearly 160 surveys.
Here’s Commissioner Jim Dupont explaining the merits of the GOP-ers’ plan:
“Then we’ll have exactly what the people in the doughnut think because I don’t know – I hear so much one way or the other,” Dupont said. “I don’t know why anyone would want to complain about it. It’s a simple answer.”
Perhaps next the Commissioners can throw out any surveys from women and people of color. Whitefish is 45 percent renters, Flathead County is 27 percent and Montana is 31 percent.