Basalt seeks Latino views
August 12, 2005
Basalt ran into a problem painting an accurate picture of its demographic image this summer while conducting an extensive community survey.Although conservative estimates place the town’s Latino population at 360, or 12 percent of about 3,000 total residents, only three respondents to the survey identified themselves as Latino.Some of the problem might have been methodology. The survey targeted registered voters, property owners and business owners. While scientifically sound for a survey, those samples might have excluded many Latinos.Linda Venturoni, director of special projects for the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and a survey expert, said Latinos have also balked at participating in similar efforts in towns like Eagle, Minturn and Leadville that she has conducted. “It’s just very difficult,” she said.The accuracy of U.S. Census data for the number of Latinos in places like Basalt and Carbondale is also in doubt. Critics contend some Latinos avoided census workers because they were suspicious or wary about the efforts.In 1998, when Basalt last conducted a community survey, town workers went door-to-door in neighborhoods where many Latinos live to try to increase participation. They still had a low response rate.Town officials haven’t given up trying to incorporate Latino views into this latest effort. The town is paying Spanish-speaking consultants to conduct personal surveys in the Pan and Fork, and Roaring Fork mobile home parks.