|PHOTO: Doug Wilson
Back in 2006, the survey results were interpreted to mean that there was not enough of a solid political constituency to support Puget Sound recovery, and that it was necessary to 'move the needle' above 25 percent and build that constituency to support funding and enhanced regulatory efforts.
I don't think that needle ever got moved nor the constituency built, and, if it were not for federal funding, there would not be what funding there is, no thanks to the recession and the state's budget crises.
Would it matter today if the needle had been moved and half or two-thirds of the people thought Puget Sound to be in not too good of a shape? Would it have been possible to move that needle? Would people be behaving differently today?
Maybe we were looking out of the wrong end of the telescope. People thought the Sound was generally in good shape and they still do. Michael Goldberg of Action Media who conducted focus groups this past summer points out that if you keep telling someone something they don't think is true ("Puget Sound is in bad shape"), they will shut your out and stop listening.
What people think is that Puget Sound is generally in good shape. Try looking at them as a pretty large constituency of like-minded people. Can they be organized to speak with one voice?-- "We've come a long way in improving the health of the Sound and there's still some important things that need to be done to keep the Sound a healthy place for us and for our children and their children."
Go ahead, tell me it isn't that simple.