Follow-Up / Coverage In Depth
Survey Mayor Garcia Cited In Urging Sales Tax Hike Was Part Of Broader Survey That Sought Public's Opinion Of LB Police Officers, Of Him And Of Council, Included Results by Race / Gender / Age, And Wasn't Commissioned, Paid Or Directed Using City Funds, Resources Or Staff
|(Mar. 5, 2016, 2:55 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that survey results cited by Mayor Robert Garcia in a Feb. 11 letter urging the City Council to put a sales tax increase measure on the June ballot were part of a broader survey that sought respondents' opinions of Long Beach Police officers, of Mayor Garcia, of the City Council; sought responses on specific uses for the tax funds and generated survey results sorted by race, gender and age.
LBREPORT.com is informed by the City Attorney's office (in response to our inquiry) that the survey wasn't commissioned, directed or written by the City, and wasn't paid for and didn't use any City funds (including funds budgeted to the Mayor's office), resources or staff.
The revelations come as LBREPORT.com continues to pursue our February request under the CA Public Records Act seeking release of the full survey results, which still haven't been provided. However on March 2, the City provided LBREPORT.com with additional results from the same survey contained in an undated document directed to Mayor Robert Garcia. The document uses the same summarized format, listing additional questions asked by the survey firm of 500 randomly selected registered voters likely to vote in the June Dem/Repub presidential primary. LBREPORT.com provides details below.
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In response to an inquiry by LBREPORT.com, Assistant City Attorney Mike Mais emailed (March 4) that the City has now provided LBREPORT.com with all of the material in its possession regarding the survey; that the City spent no money or resources on the survey including money budgeted to any Department including the Legislative Department (which includes the Mayor's Office); and that the City did not in any way commission the survey, draft any of its content (such as questions) or provide any staff support in connection with it.
Among the documents released on March 2 to LBREPORT.com is an undated summary of the survey's results on the letterhead of Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates. (From the firm's website text: "For over thirty years, we have provided our clients with custom-designed quantitative and qualitative opinion research and effective strategic advice...We employ sophisticated analytical tools and interpret results in clear, understandable actionable terms that achieve our clients goals.") The undated memo is addressed to Mayor Robert Garcia.
Some of the survey results included in the undated memo to the Mayor were summarized in a Feb. 10 "to interested parties" memo from the survey firm released by the Mayor's office in connection with his Feb. 11 letter to the Council. Among the additional survey questions and responses not released at that time but obtained by LBREPORT.com now are the following:
"Please tell me whether you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of ________________?"
Long Beach Police Officers: 79% favorable; 12% unfavorable; 10% no opinion/NHO/DK/NA
"Do you approve or disapprove of the job Robert Garcia is doing as Mayor of Long Beach?"
"Would you say Long Beach city finances are in a generally good or bad condition?"
Good condition: 55%
"Over the next year, do you think Long Beach city finances will get better, worse, or stay the same?"
The survey firm's summary narrative text indicates when asked if they'd support a measure raise the city's sales tax one cent [on each dollar] to fund police and fire department services, repair roads, improve infrastructure and fund other cities services, there was little difference by gender or three selected demographic tiers while Latinos and African-Americans were among the strongest supporters:
"Please tell me how important that use of funds is to you personally:
Vote on City of Long Beach Budget Stabilization ("Rainy Day") Ballot Measure
Yes: 66%; No: 28%; Don't Know: 6%
LBREPORT.com caught up with Mayor Garcia today (Sat. Mar. 5) as he was on the run, dashing between Meet the Mayor appearances, and asked him who paid for the survey and where he got it. He invited us to email him and indicated he'd provide us with a response. We'll be emailing him shortly and will provide his response here as received.
The survey indicates it was conducted by telephone between Jan. 10-17, 2016. On its website, the survey firm states the following in describing its services:
...In all its survey research, FM3 works closely with the client to develop a detailed understanding of their research needs and custom-designs a survey questionnaire tailored to address those specific needs. In designing the survey questionnaire, the firm's staff draws on its knowledge of public opinion survey methodology as well as past research conducted among the target population. Where appropriate, FM3 will track questions asked in previous surveys in order to assess changes in public opinion over time.
Further to follow on LBREPORT.com.
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