Reminder: Deadline Feb. 21 for City of Edmonds housing survey

The deadline is Feb. 21 to reply to the City of Edmonds online housing survey. The survey is aimed at obtaining community input on issues that relate to topics the Edmonds Citizens’ Housing Commission may address this year. 

The housing survey is available at www.citizenshousingcommission.org, with translations in three languages besides English. Everyone is welcome to take the survey.

Survey results will be shared with the housing commission and public. Also, community meetings and activities in the coming year will provide for more dialogue and engagement. 

The housing commission is a 15-member body appointed in 2019 by the city council (with one member appointed by the mayor). The commission’s mission, as adopted in a city council resolution, is to “Develop diverse housing policy options for Council consideration designed to expand the range of housing (including rental and owned) available in Edmonds; options that are irrespective of age, gender, race, religious affiliation, physical disability or sexual orientation.” 

Recommendations from the commission are due to the city council by the end of 2020. The recommendations are advisory. They will get additional public input and be considered by the council in 2021. 

Information on the housing commission’s work is online at www.citizenshousingcommission.org. 

 

19 Replies to “Reminder: Deadline Feb. 21 for City of Edmonds housing survey”

  1. If you take the City of Edmonds housing survey, do you know what, if any of your or your family’s information is being collected behind the scenes (beyond the city’s privacy statement)?

    If the City is not tracking any of the information, and is not connecting or keeping any information, and is not allowing any of it’s undisclosed linked websites have access to any of the information, a simple statement to that effect would suffice.

    Survey Monkey, the survey company being used for this project, highly recommends specifically disclosing what is being tracked. Survey Monkey also recommends participants sign off on a statement before taking the survey.

    Did the City and consultant and all involve turn the computer ID off or on?
    and if computer ID is it being connected to names on file with that computer ID?
    And, or, if Computer ID is it being connected to location ? (Connection to Longitude and latitude, and or address)?

    There are many more questions like this the city can easily bullet point disclose without paragraphs of jargon.

    https://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/surveymonkey-gdpr#respondents

    https://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/Are-my-survey-responses-anonymous-and-secure?bc=Your_Data

    https://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/How-can-I-track-the-names-and-emails-of-respondents?bc=Tracking_Anonymity

    The city can easily be transparent about the process of what is being tracked, what is being kept, who will have access to it, for how long, and why. Simple as that. No need to veil anything. Citizens need to be able to trust in the City and its processes.

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  2. Why was this survey not distributed by the City to those of us who are signed up to receive Housing Commission information?

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  3. Is it ok if the city tracks if the same computer was used for multiple entries?
    Would it be ok if a paper survey were available and entered into the system?

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  4. In the world of technology there are flaws. These flaws can be manipulated not only in voting but other processes of data capture. Right now the voting mechanism that is supposed to insure a more complete and accurate survey of the Iowa causes vote, failed, and we do not know why. The internet is not clean of purveyors of fraud. Identity theft became an issue when credit cards were/are so easy to acquire. If you want a clean report of your input, go to the next meeting with a written one page or one sentence opinion with your thumb print for the record. Simple records may take space, but after an important vote it is worth knowing it is not subject to modification. DATA can be useful if the original numbers are accurate; technology can be a handicap if time and oversight are compromised.

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  5. A problem as I see it is our city doesn’t have a strong information technology staff that is able to oversee and advise the city staff when they decide to use technology from vendors. Vendors are able to do a lot of data sharing and selling in the background that the user has no idea is being done. The city IT staff consists of 3 people, capable for what they are tasked with, but question the ability for deep drilling down to discover what information is being gathered and sold. Private personal information needs to be assured of security by the city whenever the city uses a vendor to perform their technology tasks. If the vendor can’t insure this, find another vendor.

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  6. Surveys like this one for the Housing Commission are not true random surveys of public opinion; they are not “scientific” in that they cannot be replicated. At best they represent only the opinions of those who choose to respond, and we should not presume those opinions hold true on a citywide basis.

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  7. Roger you are technically correct. A correct sample size to get to +- 5% for Edmonds needs about 400 in the sample. The parking survey for example had 705 responses. There were some responses that came from a common computers. That could have been 2 in the household or the same person entering twice. 705 responses were a great response. Given the public meeting next week and the other notifications will hopefully generate a large enough response to provide an indication of what people are thinking.

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    1. You cannot calculate a margin of error described on a non-probability sample regardless of how large or small the sample size. An online survey using a non-peobabolty sample ie in this case an open invite is not a probability sample this you cannot calculate the error around these estimates.

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      1. I should have been more clear. I recall consultants doing statistically valid studies have said to get a valid study for Edmonds the sample size is a bit under 400. While the 705 responses for the parking survey was NOT statistically valid, it was one of the largest surveys we have done. While it was not statically valid, we got a lot of good information with which to understand what people were thinking. That was the point and I am sorry if it sounded like I was claiming those 705 folks represented a statistically valid sample size.

        If 4 people fill out the Housing survey that would be a shame. If 4000 people do the survey we may learn what folks are thinking.

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    2. Please, everyone commenting here on survey sample size and error margin, read about what that “error margin” means, mathematically. Several of the statements that follow are mathematically nonsensical. Pew Research explains the meaning of sample size and error margin, and confidence level here: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/08/understanding-the-margin-of-error-in-election-polls/
      Then, it’s important to know that the American Statistical Association has recommended that confidence/significance testing be dropped or seriously downplayed in studies (https://www.amstat.org/asa/files/pdfs/P-ValueStatement.pdf). It has be so grossly misinterpreted, by statisticians, nonstatistician scientists, the media and the public, that it is most often useless and sometimes harmful. As a research scientist, I have been instructed to focus on other ways to evaluate the results of studies.
      Finally, recognize that any survey is just a sample, and all samples have some selection bias. This survey will give some insight, but without the other Commission activities Darrol, Lori, and others have noted, it is not the full picture.

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  8. Roger Pence,

    You have valid points. Once again, another survey of the city of Edmonds may be relatively useless. Roger, one of the biggest areas of agreement we have is we cannot presume these results represent a city wide basis. There are many ways the city could have valid and reliable surveys of populations and know how well a sample represents the city. To my knowledge, no one employed by the city who truly understands research methodology, even to know how to hire a qualified research consultant, has made themselves known. I do not know if the city takes surveys seriously as research as I have yet to see a survey conducted with professional methodology with delivery methods, representative samples and calculating for margin of error. I also have yet to see the City budget the funds for a professional survey, whether it be U.S. postal mail, online, phone, or any other method. It is my understanding the Housing Commission was given a cap of $80,000 for 1.5 years to include research and facilitation outreach work. I sincerely believe the director in charge of the project is doing the best she can with the resources she is allowed. She is most likely following previous research processes but has improved it from others. And yet, it still highly problematic. I don’t know to what extent the research consultant informed the project director of what would be provided, what anonymity questions the city should play a role in, and what rights should be disclosed to the survey participants. Those in business who contract with professional research companies, know a one time professional survey for a city-wide project, would have bids for the majority of the $80,000 if not the full amount, especially in this geographic location. One has to wonder how serious the city is about accurate information. There are ways to get representative samples from specific groups, however the City has not yet chosen to go this route. The city could also have included a question, with an insert of the district map, to get an idea of where survey participants say they live. If the consultants and city have not turned on anonymity for the survey IP addresses, websites, linked connections, the city site, the city’s undisclosed linked connections, Facebook, and other ways shown in Survey Monkey anonymity options, the Consultant and City, will, to some extent, most likely be able to verify Residents. If that happens, then they will be able to get better information by sorting and cross tabbing the data, if they have a representative sample and calculate the margins of error. I have an email into the city regarding these anonymity questions. However, I am in favor of anonymity and survey participants’ rights and disclosure of those rights.

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  9. I would urge everyone to fill out the survey and go to the public meeting next week. If you are concerned about the survey and your private information you can go to the meeting first, ask about privacy and then do the survey or even ask for a hard copy to fill out. You views are important. There are some important questions in the survey and their is even a way to explain your response. That part of the survey is very important. Let me give you an example of a question that needs a further response to correctly express your opinion.

    Question: Is it important to me that people who work in Edmonds can afford to live here. The answer could range from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. The question is misleading. Does it mean workers in Edmonds should be paid more so they can afford to live here? Does it mean that we should tear down a single family home and replace it with duplex or other multifamily housing? Does it mean the city should find a way to build subsidized housing? Does it mean the city should use its own land or find state land in town that can be used for housing? This is just 4 different ways to interpret the question.

    I would bet that if these 4 questions were asked instead of the question as phrased it would have produced responses that would capture the mood of our citizens and provide the Housing Commission members with much better input on which to do their important work.

    You should take the survey but be sure to explain your answer.

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    1. Posting on behalf of Brian Potter, who was having difficulty getting through:
      Recognizing that the Commission is constrained by what the city allows, in both funds and regulations, the survey is likely to completely miss the communities most impacted by housing issues. Is anyone taking paper copies around to the homeless shelters, or to low-rent housing? Is anyone standing in front of 99 Ranch and passing out surveys? In front of local churches? Not everyone has access to a computer. And no, the computers at the library are not easily accessible by working low-income families (even if they hear about the survey….online).
      The Commission itself is too small to effectively do all of this, but if low- and middle-income communities aren’t approached with a way to engage, the online-only survey will only reflect the more affluent, less likely to be housing-impacted, residents of the city. Interested citizens could, arguably, take paper copies around to the places I mentioned, but then the issue Darrol mentioned, multiple surveys from one computer, may be a concern – if that is being tracked.

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      1. Multiple surveys from same computer will happen. 2 people using the same home computer. Any number of members of a household to respond even if they use the same computer. I do not know what the city is doing with this survey but with the parking survey we did know if there were multiple responses. I recall the number to be very low. Something like 40 out of 705 responses. As a part of the team doing the parking scope work I read all 705 responses. My impression of the comments was their was no ballot box stuffing. 20 votes on a question would not have tainted the information gathered for parking. These surveys are to help gather viewpoints not a vote for a tax.

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      2. What about cell phones?? Simplify the survey so it is easily viewable on a smart phone…many people in different walks of life always have smart phones…although tedious, smart phone, e.g. Obamaphones, can be used to fill in a simple survey…

        …just sayin’

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  10. Brian Potter, Your comments are well worth while. I strongly encourage you, and those who have similar thoughts to your above statements, to view the Housing Commission Videos. You will find how Housing Commission members offer to help deliver the survey in different forms to some of the populations you suggest. I never saw on video or documented any go ahead or further discussion on the topic. Perhaps they are going door to door with surveys and meeting people at food pantries. Also there are presentations on the videos of how there is commercial competition with the obstacles and challenges of getting developers to build housing that includes some affordable housing units at 80% of the Average Median Income. Also, the Commission has been repeatedly instructed to not focus on people experiencing homelessness- that the City is taking care of that issue with other cities. The Commission Members asked questions at multiple meetings on this subject. Also the mission for the Housing Commission does not match the top goals of the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan includes economic diversity and disability. In the Housing Commission’s mission the economic demographic range was removed and disability was limited to physical disability. Again, I strongly encourage you to watch the videos. The agendas are not formal and there are no minutes. Hopefully the survey delivery gets to the populations you suggest. I know Commission Members want all of the populations to have an opportunity to have their opinions documented and or recorded. Many Commission Members, who are able, were / are willing to meet populations where they are. In order for the survey / research results to be worthwhile, hopefully the City and Consultants are guiding appropriate direction. One of the Commission Members reminded me, no survey is perfect, well…

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    1. When we do a reminder often it’s just a reposting of the existing story with the new date — and the comments go along with it..Sorry for the confusion.

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