The city of Dallas recently sent out a survey to a few thousand lucky residents asking them to assess the state of the city. It's partly for quality control, a way of ensuring the city is accountable to its customers, partly a self-congratulatory pat on the back, since the folks who took the 20 minutes to complete the survey, then didn't hang up on the followup phone call (a fairly impressive 30-plus percent) think the city's doing excellent.
Actually, only 15 percent of people said "excellent." Fifty-eight percent went with the more measured "good." Only 3 percent said "poor." All in all, it's not a bad showing. And what, you might ask, do residents love so much about Dallas?
Shopping: We know, we know. Dallasites love buying stuff. But they also love the vast money-spending opportunities the city provides. A whopping 86 percent rate the city's shopping as good or excellent. We're not sure exactly what the other 14 percent are after. European trophy wives, perhaps?
The arts: Here's where we start to suspect a little more strongly that the poll doesn't reflect a representative cross-section of Dallas. Eighty percent are satisfied or very satisfied with the city's arts and cultural offerings, which is about the same segment I'd say who don't really partake of they city's arts and cultural offerings. So take that with a grain of salt.
Firemen: The city's fire department has an 87 percent approval rating because, seriously, who doesn't like firemen? Hurling themselves headlong into burning buildings to collect your obese, arthritic cat, that's hard not to respect.
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City employees: Here, the survey loses a bit more credibility. Fully three-quarters of respondents rate city staff as courteous, knowledgeable and responsive. Some of them are exactly that. But some are not, as anyone who has run headlong into the wall of municipal bureaucracy no doubt knows.
It also gets good marks in neighborhoods, raising kids and a host of other categories. But it's not all roses. The city has its drawbacks, namely roads (39 percent positive) and Dallas ISD schools (33 percent positive). That's about the same number who say the government listens to its citizens.
But hey, who really needs education, transportation and democracy?
(h/t The Dallas Morning News)