The Cactus Speaks: SeaTac Citizens Delphi’ed Again

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at [email protected].]

by Earl Gipson

The “discussion” of the SeaTac Resident Satisfaction Survey put on by the City last night (Thursday) went according to the Delphi Method of group manipulation. The Delphi Method was developed over 50 years ago to control outcomes of groups and has been used by government entities to make attendees feel like their input is valid while feeding them propaganda and convincing them that the result of the groups’ input magically matched the facilitator’s desired “correct” responses. PLEASE read this article (especially if you attended) and you will realize this is exactly what occurred.

What the City did not want was actual feedback. Consider the extremely small and targeted survey distribution. The City staff/Council know what and where the problems are and none of them happened overnight but they desire for you to think the results are new to them and they will get right on the solutions. They will not and mission accomplished using the Delphi Method.

What is the alternative? When the survey results were received (weeks ago) I requested the results be posted immediately on the City website. The City refused. Next I did a Public Records Request for the results. They stalled until the day before the meeting and then sent me an unreadable copy. Had the City posted the results before the meeting the Public would have had a chance to formulate their own questions and pose their own solutions BEFORE the meeting. That was the last thing the City wanted.

Last night’s meeting was a City catered affair. The attendees were plied with food and drink before being broken into groups and then FED the questions the City wanted asked and received the answers/concerns they already knew. Some might think I am just seeing a conspiracy when none exists. Hardly and it is not a conspiracy. It is a method that you will see in School Board Public meetings and elsewhere. Read the article above and you will recognize it and then you must break it to actually get results from our government entities.

I always try to break the Delphi Method as I did last night but it takes more than just me. It must be recognized and assaulted for what it is. It is group manipulation for a desired and pre-planned outcome and not community involvement as was advertised. My vocal and fun input last night was greeted with dismay by City staff. City Manager, Todd Cutts, stated to me “I was making a fool out of myself.” He’s been doing that for years and of course I said that to his face. Thankfully my wife had to work and could not attend. She would have hid under the table and disavowed any relationship to me.

On the bright side the active Citizens got to meet each other and I got the “socialization” a Cactus needs on occasion. See you at the Council Meetings and hopefully you can attend the Town Hall meeting on June 6th. Should be more fun and don’t worry about introducing yourselves to me. I’m harmless, really.


3 Responses to “The Cactus Speaks: SeaTac Citizens Delphi’ed Again”
  1. Mike Condon says:

    Wish I could have been there, Earl but alas I was looking at homes in Coeur d’ Alene. Maybe if the council incumbents are voted out I may change my mind.

  2. jellybean says:

    I had to cancel the day before as I had a meeting with a real estate agent at 6:30pm.

  3. Melissa says:

    It was something else! They didn’t answer questions, the data wasn’t accurate and the results didn’t show what the people were really thinking. Plus, how can you even begin to believe this “data” when only 299 peple took the survey? There are about 23,000 people in Seatac. Who are liasons? Nobody knows…nobody would give the answer. Leonard Luna asked that question a few times and each time was told “they’d get there”…but never did. It was shocking how proud of themselves they were. Big deal! It told us nothing! Earl, way to give it a shout out of the scandal they’re trying to throw at us! I’ll join you in that sooner than later! Seatac PLEASE do your homework before you vote!!!