Unknown callers poll Vincent citizens about quarry

Published 3:53 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

Over the past several weeks, reportedly some Vincent citizens have received phone calls from callers claiming to be representatives of White Rock Quarries and asking slanted poll questions.

White Rock spokesperson Stephen Bradley said the callers are not with White Rock and are asking questions that purposely cast a negative light on the proposed quarry project, such as “Do you know quarries can cause toxic chemical byproducts?”

The idea that quarries can cause toxic chemical byproducts is patently false, Bradley said.

“We have not conducted any polls in Vincent,” he said. “When they call, sometimes they say it’s for White Rock, sometimes they say it’s for a company in South Florida. This is an unethical thing to do. It misleads people.”

The poll questions are part of a “push poll,” which pushes people towards an answer that the caller wants.

“(The callers) are trying to do two things. They’re trying to get the person to say what they want them to say, which is that they’re opposed to the quarry. And they’re trying to influence the people they’ve talked to,” Bradley said.

Rick Heartsill, a consultant with EBSCO, said his company is not behind the slanted polling. EBSCO officials have been outspoken opponents of the proposed limestone quarry in Vincent.

“One thing we’re not doing at all is anything negative or saying we’re from White Rock,” he said. “That’s not appropriate for someone to say they’re calling from a company and they’re not from the company. We would not be involved with anything like that.”

Vincent Historical and Environmental Society member Jo Mudd said the organization doesn’t have the money to do any polling, negative or otherwise.

“We don’t have that kind of money,” she said.

Mudd said she had heard other citizens talking about the polling, and realized impostors were likely behind the calls.

“I don’t believe it is (White Rock), not with the questions they were asking,” she said.

Bradley said White Rock’s real concern is letting the citizens know these polls are fraudulent.

“We just want people to know that someone, we don’t know who, has decided to employ this unprofessional, misleading tactic,” he said.