The following letter has been sent to the Marin Board of Supervisors in anticipation of their board meeting on the 25th.
At your 4/25 Board meeting, there's an agenda item (#7) for which staff recommends that you vote to accept the Transportation Authority of Marin's "informational" report.
That report contains, in part, a gameplan for pursuing a "renewal" and more likely an increase in TAM's sales tax. TAM's effort to raise the sales tax is premised in large part on fatally biased studies that are summarily referenced in the "informational" report. As was documented and discussed in a recent Marin Voice piece authored by Al Dugan and Richard Hall, public record requests reveal TAM's historical surveys are worthless.
TAM's polls have been completely compromised by survey bias skewed against individual motorists; TAM likely knew that was the case as the survey skew stemmed from the very nature of the survey design and the promotion of survey participation by special interest groups (particularly those using non-motorized transportation). As such, TAM has consistently relied on manipulated surveys and polls to justify spending priorities that don't align with what an unbiased survey would show is the major demand of most residents: more efficient roads and better road surfaces. The larger population does not buy into the notion that more bike and pedestrian paths will alleviate traffic congestion, and wants a greater proportion of funds steered to such uses.
By accepting TAM's misleading "informational" report you are in effect rubberstamping the studies upon which it's premised. I urge you, in the interest of transparency and good governance, to vote to reject the report and ask TAM to conduct surveys that are unbiased.
Also in the "informational" report is a timeline for TAM to try again for a transportation sales tax hike. The first step of their gameplan is to conduct polling in May 2017. Based on TAM's history, I have little confidence that, without your intervention, TAM's poll will be credible or independent. I am in fact concerned that the polls will be designed to produce the outcome TAM seeks -- i.e., to document which "sales tactics" and which "interest groups" can be used to produce the appearance of community support for a higher sales tax.
Al Dugan requested, over a month ago, that TAM disclose the questions, procedures, and techniques it intends to use in the May 2017 poll. TAM has dodged his request and produced no documents or reply that would provide the transparency that your constituents have a right to expect. By the time TAM is done evading a PRA, the next round of surveys, completed with our taxpayer dollars, will have been completed by TAM. The only way to prevent the possibility of TAM conducting a biased (or push poll) survey to support the higher sales tax it so keenly wants, is for you in your capacity as Supervisors and TAM Commissioners to require the transportation authority to conduct a truly independent unbiased survey whose questions and tactics are disclosed beforehand to both you and the public.
Separately, I ask that you keep this email for your records. It has come to my attention that it is considered acceptable procedure for Supervisors to delete incoming emails, which I believe you should all agree is bad practice insofar as it taints the public record.
Thank you for your consideration.