Use of Voter Surveys to Plan Bond Campaigns for Parks and Recreation


  • James E. Fletcher
  • Michael King


Capital acquisition, general obligation bonds, open space acquisition, voter surveys.


The tax revolt of the late 1970s and 1980s has made acquisition of capital for the purchase and development of recreation and park areas and facilities increasingly difficult for local governments. During the late 1980s, East Bay Regional Park District in California needed to raise approximately $200 million to acquire open space areas on which it held purchase options. A general-obligation bond issue was one method that the District Board of Directors opted to investigate. To determine the preferred policy directions and possible voter support for a bond issue, the district commissioned a professional survey of its constituents. This telephone survey provided several policy directions preferred by several constituent groups which were utilized by district staff to guide the year-long bond campaign that followed. As a result, Measure AA, a $225-rnillion bond measure for open space, wildlife, shoreline, and parks, was passed by two-thirds of the district's voters on November 8, 1988. This article discusses the methodology used to conduct the survey, the relevant analyses completed on the data, and the important policy implications that helped to guide the bond campaign.





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