phone survey about
respondents claim research
firm asking leading questions
For 25-years, IHR Research Company of
Las Vegas has been phoning and surveying countless numbers
of Americans during their dinner hours.
They dont like receiving callbacks,
however, as The Landmark learned.
In recent days, residents of the Platte
County and Atchison, Kansas area have reported receiving
survey calls from a company regarding the possibility
of building coal-fired power plants in the region. The
company making the calls has identified itself as being
IHR Research, a firm that purports to employ nearly
300 interviewers for its marketing surveys.
Specifically, residents say that the questions
seem to be overly technical and geared towards providing
a pro-power plant stance a stance many indicated
they arent willing to take.
When contacted by The Landmark, Lynn Stalone,
a 20-year partner of the firm and acting client representative,
refused to confirm that IHR was working on behalf of
KCP&L, the company proposing to build the plants.
When asked if she knew of any other Las Vegas firm calling
itself IHR Research that may be calling into the area,
Stalone admitted that the company had been calling into
the Kansas City area over the weekend but for an unspecified
Stalone said that the companys account
list was proprietary and then warned The
Landmark not to use her or her companys name in
an article about the situation.
When told that The Landmark did plan on
using both her name and the name of her firm in an upcoming
article, Stalone offered to put The Landmark in touch
with the companys senior partner.
Unfortunately, before Stalone could warn the senior
partner that she had a reporter on the line, the senior
partner made it clear he wasnt going to cooperate
Im not going to give him my
name or tell him who I am, said the unnamed senior
partner, unaware that the call had already been connected.
This is Ron Clark, said Stalone,
simultaneously blowing her partners cover.
The Landmark sought to confirm the identity
of the man to no avail.
Who is this? the man introduced
as Clark angrily demanded.
Someone who claims to be a journalist
from Kansas City, Stalone added, apparently skeptical.
Subsequent attempts to get the man Stalone
identified as Ron Clark to admit who he was proved fruitless,
the telephone interaction ending when he hung up.
According to the companys website,
Clark is the companys senior partner. The site
says that prior to forming IHR, Clark was senior vice
president with an alleged large advertising agency
in Southern California. The site also says that he served
in marketing research and marketing positions in New
York, Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco.
Tom Robinson, spokesperson for KCP&L,
confirmed to The Landmark that the company was, in fact,
using a telephone survey company to canvas the Platte
County area for opinions on the plant but did not give
specifics on the project.
Beatrice Shisler of Atchison, Kansas was
one such resident who received the telephone survey.
Expecting the survey to be about the upcoming presidential
elections, Shisler was surprised to find out the questions
were related to the power plant issue. She was even
more surprised to learn that the surveyor considered
Atchison to be a part of the greater Kansas City metropolitan
They even asked how I thought Kay
Barnes was doing as mayor, Shisler said with a
Shisler said she didnt find the surveys
methods to be very funny, however.
The questions were being asked in such a way that
it seemed you were for the power plants, even if you
were vehemently against it, Shisler said. They
would ask questions like do you support jobs more
than releasing things into the air.
Platte County resident Ruby Crouse relayed
a similar experience.
They asked an awful lot of questions,
Crouse said of the survey that lasted, in her estimate,
close to 10 or 15 minutes. They asked about KCP&L,
whether I was a Republican or Democrat, and then they
focused on the power plant for about four or five questions.
Crouse said the survey asked "leading"
questions and that at times she had to have the questions
repeated because of the confusing manner they were asked.
She said that the survey asked if she would be for the
power plants if they were to hypothetically meet pollution
standards, to which Crouse replied no.
But they didnt ask why,
Crouse said, adding that she was primarily against the
proposed plants because it was her belief that they
were to be merchant plants and their generated power
would go elsewhere.
KCP&L, Great Plains Power changing story again
The news of KCP&Ls recent surveying
came as no surprise to members of the Concerned Citizens
of Platte County and the local chapter of The Sierra
Club, the two groups most closely associated with being
in opposition to the proposed 800-megawatt power plants
near Weston and Atchison. At a fundraiser held Saturday
at the Red Barn Farm in Weston, the more than 100 people
in attendance were heard discussing the latest trend
and speculating on what it could mean.
More than likely, the company will be
using the data to arm executives when the company begins
its own series of public forums in mid-June.
The company announced on June 1 that it is currently
looking at four options to meet the areas
growing need for electricity and cleaner air.
According to the company, the potential options include:
·Accelerated environmental investments
of $300 million to $350 million for selected existing
·Investment in up to 200 megawatts
of wind generation;
·Ownership of up to 500 megawatts
of an 800- to 900-megawatt regulated coal-fired plant
at the Iatan site in Missouri;
·And technologies and programs
to help customers conserve energy.
The announced measures are significant
for those following the story of the proposed power
plants. They are the first time the company has outlined
an investment in wind generation and conservation since
the issue began to take shape. More significantly, the
stated ownership of 500 megawatts of a potential regulated
coal plant at Iatan changes the overall scope of that
If built, a 900 megawatt plant would be
even larger than the originally planned plant that already
has some residents up in arms. Ownership of up to 500
megawatts could also mean that the company is not projecting
robust sales of energy, at least for now. Great Plains
officials have already said that their original plan
to sell energy in 50 megawatt bundles has not met with
great enthusiasm on the open market.
In a statement, the Concerned Citizens
of Platte County said they are encouraged by the companys
consideration of a variety of possible strategies.
Were especially pleased that
the company will invite the community to participate
in the discussion, and that they specifically mention
renewable (wind) energy and energy efficiency as among
the options being considered, the statement read.
The Sierra Club was decidedly more skeptical.
We remain suspicious of their intentions
considering all of the secrecy and flip-flopping GPE
has engaged in concerning the proposed coal burning
power plants, the statement begins. We agree
with GPE that these are important decisions for
the future of our region and for all of us who live
and work here, and we want to emphasize that the
decisions for how to meet the long-term energy needs
for the region belongs to the community, not to profit-seeking
corporations. We encourage community leaders and individuals
to fully participate in these community forums.
The public forums which will be hosted
by Kansas City Power & Light in Clay, Platte and
Jackson counties in Missouri and Atchison and Johnson
counties in Kansas. No times or dates are available
as of this writing. The Concerned Citizens of Platte