LETTER: Take a survey about Burien Animal Control

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

A Better Burien for Animals – take the survey!

My organization is Feral Cat Assistance and Trapping, my name is Pamela Staeheli. I would like for you to participate in taking this anonymous survey so that I can provide the Burien Council and candidates with community feedback through this survey. The Council might be revisiting the animal control contract sometime this year. The survey will help clarify what the community wants and provide the council with better information to make a decision.

Animal control service will also be important during this year’s local Burien elections where the voters of Burien will be electing four Burien council members. To help inform voters, each of the 12 candidates will be asked to take the survey and participate in an endorsement process.

Please support this effort by taking the survey, telling your friends and neighbors about the survey, and finding out about Burien candidates. We’ll post the results of the survey at several different locations.

Please click on the link below:


– Pamela Staeheli

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33 Responses to “LETTER: Take a survey about Burien Animal Control”
  1. Angela says:

    I hope B-Town Blog will post results of this survey

  2. kat says:

    Survey closes June 30th, so please take NOW! I’m sure results will be posted as well brought to the counsel meeting.

  3. Laura Stiles says:

    Is there a feature of this survey which prevents more than one response from a particular computer? If folks “load the ballet box” either way (positive or negative), it will totally skew the results. As it is, it is not a scientific survey, because there is not a random group of citizens being asked to respond (such as, a random phone survey of a large number of people). Also, people who don’t like something are more likely to want to comment. This group may in fact be in the minority – there is no way to know in this type of survey. So, while it’s fine to do this and the results may be interesting and useful in some ways, it’s not the same as conducting a scientifically valid survey or having individual voters actually vote on an issue. Hopefully, citizens who have opinions to offer either way will also contact their council members, as they will be the ones who actually decide how to proceed.

  4. Laura Stiles says:

    I presume there is not a feature of this opinion poll preventing a person from participating over and over again? This is just one of the many factors that can skew the results of non-scientific polls such as this one. Others include: bias on the part of the party creating the questions (Pamela has been a vocal critic of CARES), the tendency of people “against” something to be more likely to want to express an opinion, and the fact that not everyone in Burien will know about the poll, which is only one of the reasons the sample is not random. More information about the limitations of on-line surveys can be found at http://www.ncpp.org/node/4/#10. The results of this poll may indeed be interesting, but their accuracy will be unknown. Just something to keep in mind. Fellow citizens, go ahead and participate in the poll (once), but also do your own due diligence, and let your city councilpersons know your opinions directly. They are our representatives and decision makers.

  5. Cindy says:

    I was invited to take the survey and went ahead and submitted it. I was informed however, that you can take the survey as many times as you want. This is unfortunate as people wishing to sway the opinions can make the numbers lop sided. Very sad that the final numbers may not be accurate. Is there a possible way to have a setting in the initial set up of the survey that makes it to where you can only take the survey once? Would seem a bit more fair and honest I would think.

  6. The designer of the survey who does not live in Burien so he neutral.

    One survey per computer or devise.


    • dcollier says:

      Pamela/FCAT Unless the survey could show that it is one vote per one computer, you cannot count the results. John Poitras has already been busted for using several names on one issue to make it seem like many people are for his cause. There are several people on this blog who do the same thing. Members of city council know this and they read this blog and when this survey is presented, they will bring up this fact and shoot down this whole effort. Because of the dishonesty of a few people, we all suffer.

      • TcB says:

        There are really only 5 people who ever comment on a regular basis. The rest are aliases.

        I wonder if my little troll will com out to play? Lalala tum the tum.

      • John Poitras says:

        Dcollier >>>or whatever troll you actually are this week . I am guessing you’re one of the NHUAC pro annexation fanatics. I have not been “busted” as you call it for anything unless you call false accusations with no facts to back them up as evidence.
        At least I have the guts to post under my own name unlike you who I have no doubt has posted under many alias’s. I think there is a aphorism that is appropriate here>>like “a dog can’t smell its own scat.” That aptly describes you. .Your only distinguishing characteristic is you are one of 3 or 4 lake burien hating, pro-annexation, sore loser, mike martin supporters who posts under many different pseudonyms and then makes de-flammatory statements about me to deflect attention from your own malfeasance because I am anti annexation pro burien and see Mike Martin for what he was >> a miserable failure as city manager.

        I quote from an exit interview he just gave because he is out of here on July 24th (Hallelujah).
        Martin characterized the attempted annexation of White Center and North Highline to Burien as an accomplishment that defined the city limits.

        “We clarified what the community wanted,” Martin added. >>>> What a pile of hooey >>>Thats a out and out lie.

        Asked if he would have proposed annexation if he had known how soundly it would be rejected, Martin answered “absolutely.”

        >>>So this jerk would still have spent hundreds of thousands of city tax dollars promoting annexation even knowing it was a waste of money?? Thats irresponsible don’t you think?

        In another gentle jab at his opponents, he added, “I am proud of our CARES (animal services) program.”
        He is proud of our CARES program?? I think that self aggrandizing bit of propaganda speaks for itself.
        As far as commenting on CARES I have not taken any survey but imho it is woefully inadequate and needs to be vastly improved. Lets throw more money at it and see if that works?

    • Anybody says:

      Hey FCAT,
      How does one go about getting ahold of you to borrow one of your traps to trap this momma feral that lives somewhere around me. It actually got into my attic once ( I think, to have a litter.) I always see it in my driveway and last summer one time I was actually able to close enough to pet her and almost pick her up.
      But I can`t have her having any more kittens, she has already had 2 litters that I know of.
      But I cant anywhere on you site to contact you.

  7. I want to let everyone know the results will be presented July 1, 2013 at the Burien City Council meeting. (unless it gets canceled)

    After that I will post them directly to my webpage. http://www.feraltrapping.com

    I appreciate everyone’s time in taking this survey.


    @lauren, the residents have let the council members AND mike martian about their thoughts on “cares” and many other issues, but has fallen on deaf ears.

  8. My name is David Preston and I created the CARES Survey posted on the B-Town Blog and elsewhere in Burien. People have been asking the sponsor questions about the survey’s credibility, and those questions have been passed along to me, so here’s some information. I hope it answers any questions you have:

    1) I do not live in Burien. I live in West Seattle. I do not belong to or contribute to the sponsor’s organization (FCAT). However, I am friends with the sponsor and we designed and tested the survey together. Carefully.

    2) The survey is configured so that a person can only take it once from any single computer connected to the Internet. It cannot be easily tricked into accepting more than one survey from a single computer. However, it can still be tricked, if someone is determined.

    3) The survey is not intended to be a scientific gauge of public opinion on any specific subject. As we designed the survey, we tried to make the questions general, thoughtful, and unbiased.

    4) If the survey has a “slant” I hope that it would be toward demonstrating that the people of Burien really DO care about their community and that they want their opinions to be heard by lawmakers, especially on the topic of animals. In fact, that relates to how the survey came into being. One day the sponsor told me she sometimes got the impression that people in Burien don’t care about animal-related issues. “I bet your wrong,” I said. “And I can prove it.”


    • Linda says:


      It sounds to me that now that Martin is leaving you are very concerned that the CARES gravy train will be leaving with him.

  9. dcollier says:

    I am sorry, David. You sound like you have tried to cover your bases on making the survey as foolproof as possible. The reality is we have been watching some of the people on this blog who want things their way and they are some of the most dishonest people I know. If there is any way they can beat the survey, they will do it and then tell their friends how to do it. In the end it will be the same 10 people casting 200 votes. I know it and so does our city council and in the end it will be dismissed.
    Unless people sign the survey with a first and last name and and address then it has no validity.
    I applaud your effort.

    • Mary says:

      To dcollier It sounds to me like you are a big CARES advocate and want the survey to see things your way. It sounds like the “WE” you are talking about who have been “watching the blog” are connected to Deborah George and now that your biggest advocate (Mike Martin) is leaving you are terrified that CARES will actually come under some real scrutiny.
      I suspect that does not bode well for CARES getting the extra $50,000 dollars that Mike Martin tried to hand over to you last month.

  10. @dcollier, i want to be as transparent and honest as possible.

    Actually only one person was able to take the survey twice,otherwise everyone pro or con seems to have been honest.

    We are up to 186 responses, FYI no I don’t even have a clue as to what way it is going, even he won’t give me that info till the deadline.


  11. dcollier says:

    Thank you, Pamela for keeping an eye on the results. I hope it does work out. I would truly like to know what the citizens feel. The real test will come when a decision needs to be made about what we do and will the taxpayers need to spend more money to get better service.
    Good luck on your efforts.

  12. Anybody

    easy to find me
    [email protected]




    Yes mike is finally leaving. Again I can not stress enough get out there and INTERVIEW the candidates. I know there are many others issues concerning Burien. Interview as many candidates as you can.

    I have interviewed 3 so far and I like all of them. At least they looked me in the eye when they spoke to me. I like all of their ideas.

    Burien’s biggest issue coming up is the “new” city manager. How is that going to be decided.


  13. TcB says:

    I’m sorry but I broke your security. I took the survey, used an easy cache cleaning program, and (started) to take the survey again. I didn’t finish it, because I don’t believe in “voting” multiple times. But it’s far too easy for “some” of the blog readers to do this (and they are Blanche, they are)

    Hate to break it to you if you’re on the council and reading this.

    The survey is not trustworthy.

  14. TcB again this IS NOT scientific. God get over yourself. I am least trying to do SOMETHING. What are you doing? I am sure this is NOT at the top of your list of so many issues bogging the city of Burien down, fine.

    Again I truly believe people are being honest and that is all I can hope for. See at least you were honest for that I can say thank you.

    • TcB says:

      If it’s not scientific, how can you report findings as anything to give any weight too?

      Dear Council, here are the results of a survey that could possibly show facts or might show nothing. Make sure you base your decisions about this issue on something that is not scientific in any way. Or don”t.

      Either way I get my name in the blog.

      Sincerely, Pamela.

      • Marianne says:

        At least when Pamela/FCAT’s name is on the blog it is because she truly cares about an issue AND is working to solve it. When TcB’s name is here it is all “blah, blah, blah.”

      • kat says:

        this is an OPINION survey – “what would you like to see in Burien”. What scientific data is needed?

        A LOT of businesses, companies, individuals use Survey Monkey for surveys. The purpose and function is to get FEEDBACK. That is what is being done here – gathering the opinion of the citizens of Burien.

        What the counsel choose to do with that feedback will show whether they value the opinion of their citizens or not. They can continue to ignore the people, and hopefully they will be ‘rewarded’ by the people voting them out.

        Assuming the worst of the people of Burien speaks volumes about you.

        • TcB says:

          Again, when you can’t trust the outcome, what weight do you give it, opinion, scientific, or otherwise?

        • Laura Stiles says:

          When saying a survey is statistically “scientific,” it refers to how the survey is devised, who takes it, and whether the results actually accurately represent the opinions of the total group (all citizens of Burien, in this case). For example, a survey is not scientific if the group of people taking it is not randomly chosen, as is the case here. Only people who find out about it and choose to participate will be responding.

          And, despite what Pamela says, many of the questions ARE biased, and do not cover all of the aspects of animal control that might make the difference between which service to select. I don’t recall there being a question about whether people prefer having the shelter be located in Burien, Kent, or somewhere else, for example. Or a question about choosing between a regional service where the officer would cover a large geographical area which includes Vashon Island, or the city of Burien only. Or a question about how much money the city should allocate towards animal control services. For example, if we returned to using regional services, how would we cover the extra quarter-of-a-million-dollar per year cost?

          Overall, I found the survey biased and simplistic. It doesn’t address the fact that various cities are trying different ways of providing animal control services, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. The budget for CARES was apparently arrived at as sort of a “guess” or hoped-for amount (by the city), since there was no pre-existing local service as a point of reference, and it doesn’t seem too amazing that once the service is in place, adjustments will need to be made. Personally, I think they’ve done an amazing job with the very modest budget they’ve had to work with. The commenter who referred to CARES as a “gravy train” is just off-base – they’re a non-profit, the executive director receives no salary, and shelters are essentially never self-supporting because they don’t really have a way to generate income – the fees charged to people don’t cover the costs. If everybody with a pet purchased licenses for them, that would certainly be helpful.

          So all you folks that are trying to do something positive to make things better, step one is to license your pets and encourage others to do the same. Because it really isn’t enough to just complain and criticize is it? Anybody can do that (and usually do so anonymously).

  15. Cuppa Joe says:

    TcB, I’m pretty certain the IP addresses are visible/verifiable on these surveys too, but anyone who needs to cheat this survey has waaaay to much time on his/her hands.

  16. TcB says:

    If you support a cause don’t obfuscate. For your marketing purposes come out and say, I want to get rid of CARES at all costs. I want to be with King County. Here’s how much it will cost. Each taxpayer will pay (x) amount more a month.

    Then end it with some nice spinz.

    Hey that’s less than the cost of (x) a day!

    Easy. No other work needed. All people want to know is how much it will cost. End of story.

  17. Cuppa Joe says:

    I suggest an online petition, using a format like change.org. “Would you like to see KC resume animal services in Burien?” Clear enough? Just a bunch of residents asking to be heard. Perhaps stop trying to dissect what I’m sure is meant to emphasize a point that the council is not listening to its constituents. If you want to write it up in detailed legalese then do so and let the voters decide. Tho I doubt that would happen because it takes the whole deal out of the back room and what fun would that be? What an embarrassment.

  18. OK, if you think everything’s cool with CARES, then this come to the Council Meetings and say that. Get involved so we can have a lively debate, ‘cuz there are obviously a bunch of people who disagree with you.

    Yes, the survey questions are slightly biased, but nowhere in the survey does it criticize or praise CARES or talk about whether CARES is making too much money. It’s ridiculous to even bring that up. And for each one of the “biased” questions, the survey respondent has the opportunity to disagree and counter the bias. Example: Yes, I think CARES is doing a good job. Yes, I think the BCC is doing a good job, etc.

    The survey is really just about getting people involved. Given that, the B-town Blog is the most logical place to start. It’s where people who care about Burien are likely to be. We’re not going to go out on the sidewalk and ask 100 random people: “Do you care?” That’s just a waste of time. The fact that they’re answering the survey at all indicates that they care, and those are the people we want, so we’re asking them their opinion.

    It’s the people who participate in public discussions and vote who make the decisions in society, so naturally those are the people whose opinions we’re looking for.


    • TcB says:

      No one really CARES if the job that’s being done is super fantastic! Or just marginally acceptable.

      They just want t know..

      How much will it COST?

      How come you never tell me?

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