Letter: Please Take The City’s Residents Satisfaction Survey

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Once again, the pro-development powers at City Hall are playing Lagunas residents.

Just in time for the busy holidays, they finally released the residentssatisfaction survey online for residents to take.

Whats wrong with this $32,000 survey? Dont ask me – take the survey and see for yourself here.

First, note that in early November, the City mailed 2,700 invitations to take the survey to all business owners and supposedly random residents. 1,200 residents and business owners received a paper survey. 1,500 residents received a postcard invitation to respond online. The goal was to obtain a representative sample.

However, all Laguna Beach business owners were contacted by mail and asked to take a slightly different business survey. Why this inordinate attention to businesses for a resident survey? Will these early business mail responses be weighted more heavily than resident online responses? Note that business owner Heidi Miller has stated she received four requests to respond (three for her businesses, one personal).

Then on Dec. 20, with little fanfare, residents were allowed to participate in the residentsonline survey until Jan. 10—during a Christmas/New Years period notorious for low survey response rates. Why not instead mail a postcard to all 12,000+ Laguna households long in advance?

Anyone taking the survey will immediately notice many poorly phrased questions that are geared to business interests and couched to elicit answers that can be skewed to support increased tourism and commercial development. All while neglecting any number of pertinent resident-oriented issues.

You wont find a single specific question that asks how residents feel about increased tourism, more development, the Downtown Specific Plan (recently opposed by residents in an Indy poll by 67%), the reduction in parking requirements for businesses, the appraisal-less $2.7 million purchase of the South Laguna fire station site that wont work as a fire station site, Brown Act violations, traffic congestion, and more.

Wheres the question that asks residents to prioritize the Citys biggest problems? Poof. Nothing.

Instead, we get loaded questions such as the one asking us to rate our support for building new parking structures in town… without asking how much should be spent and who should pay for these structures that will primarily help businesses and increase downtown commercial real estate rents and values.

And thats the real point of this survey—to provide the pro-development City Council false justification for increased business and development at the taxpayers expense.

But there are two shining bright spots in this survey—Questions 9 and 10 ask residents in general terms how they feel the City government is doing. I sincerely encourage everyone to let them know.

Jerome Pudwill, Laguna Beach

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Agree. The community distribution outreach plan and asinine holiday release timing alone was riddled with controversy and confusion. I still talk to locals who have no idea it exists.

    A disappointment for sure. Sadly, it was clear this wasn’t an honest attempt to understand what residents want for their city but rather what options city leaders will allow them to choose from. Flawed survey = flawed results. And potentially flawed Council future decision-making.

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