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Request for comment by Terry Evans

January 19, 2012

Terry Evans request was as follows: “Mainly I’m interested in what you think the survey says about how Watauga stacks up against neighbors in quality of life issues, or at least residents’ perceptions of those issues.”

As I’m lazy, I’m going to just copy most of what I sent to him and post it here.  I have no idea if he’ll use it or how, but here’s my answer.


First of all, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the survey. I’m only willing to do so because I believe your articles in the past have been a fair representation of my ideas. Thank you for your fairness.

Next, I must take issue with the concept of “quality of life”. It is an issue that it at the core of politics and is often swept under the rug. I brought this up during some correspondance with the City Manager this last budget cycle. I’ll see if I can’t find the whole letter and send it to you and post it on my blog.

My definition of “Quality of Life” is to be able to provide for my family without having government intrusion into every facet of my life. “Quality of life” means that I get to KEEP the dollars that I work for. More than anything else, “Quality of Life” means being left alone. By that definition, all levels of government are failing miserably; Watauga is just the closest level.

To speak to your specific inquiry, I don’t think the survey reveals anything significant at all. I think it was a complete waste of time.

For the survey to have any relevance, I’d say that it would need to be done by a well-informed survey group. This doesn’t have that appearance. I doubt that the vast majority of respondents would be able to say how much their tax bill for the city of Watauga was last year. I would guess that none would be able to say that 4 of the last 5 years, City Council has not funded road repair at all. I would guess that none would be able to tell you that in 8 of the last 10 years there were no capital improvements made to their water system. I would guess that none of those that responded even voted in the last municipal election since less than 4% of eligible voters did. I’d guess that less than 5% could name anyone that’s ever been a council member, much less one of the seven seated now.

The survey also fails to directly correlate money to some supposed benefit that they “feel”. For example, “Would it be worth an additional $100 on your property tax to feel more secure in your neighborhood at night?” Without any anchor in reality (i.e. dollars out of one’s wallet), the survey provides nothing useful.

I can only presume that the rest of the surveys were done by people as ignorant of thier municipal government, using the same set of false assumptions and without any relevance to money or reality and thus the comparison to other cities and even the nation at large has no value either.

That’s a link to another article I wrote with more of my complaints. I’ll try to work on it this weekend too to flesh out more specifics of why I think it’s a flawed instrument and unworthy of much consideration.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment, for your fairness in the past and your courtesy. I hope my “limited government” opinions will help tweak the liberal tendencies of your readers and make you and your advertisers some extra money. 🙂 If you are able to work it in, I’d appreciate a link to my blog: or




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