Carlsbad City Councilman Keith Blackburn (far right) questions the usefulness of the city’s resident survey during the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. Photo by Rachel Stine

Carlsbad Councilman questions usefulness of city survey

CARLSBAD — While residents may have given Carlsbad high marks in the 2012 resident satisfaction survey, Councilmember Keith Blackburn criticized the survey at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. 

“Year after year we spend money on this and then all sit around in the back room and pat each other on the backs and say, ‘Boy, we’re great.’ And that means nothing,” said Blackburn.

The city produces the Resident Public Opinion Survey and State of Effectiveness report annually.

This year’s survey showed that 94 percent of Carlsbad residents are satisfied with the city’s efforts to provide city services. It also showed that over 90 percent of residents were satisfied with library services, city park maintenance, trash and recycling services, emergency services, law enforcement, and water services.

Yet Blackburn asked why the city did not ask residents why they were dissatisfied with certain services or for suggestions on improvements for the city.

Carlsbad Senior Management Analyst Greg Hermann, who presented the report before City Council with Josh Williams from BW Research Partnership, Inc., said that it was difficult to analyze the reasons for residents’ satisfaction with a large-scale phone survey.

Blackburn still asked for the city to find a way to make this survey and other similar reports to be more meaningful in the future.

The 2012 survey was conducted by phone in September and October last year and sampled about 1,000 residents.



Tappleg* January 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Good point Keith, at a minimum lets rotate this ‘feel good exercise’ to every three to five years and delve into some of the problems in Carlsbad; engage with the citizens to explore solutions and identify suggestions. And is BW Research aware that fewer and fewer households have land lines, how can a phone survey be representative of the population if 65% of the households no longer have a land line?

Dr. Martin Buncher January 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I am CEO of an internationally know marketing research company based in San Diego, and have been involved in major community reseasrch programs since 1977. It sounds to me like the design of the survey is not adequate to meet the needs of the community. The council woman makes a good point. Whoever thinks we cannot delve deeply into community issues, both positive and negative, via phone surveys is extremely naive about the science of marketing research. We would be glad to review the questionnaire and results at no cost to the Carlsbad community.

penny johnson January 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm

For the last several years the question of land use and open space has not been asked. I think the council does not want to hear about the unsatisfactory use of the Quarry Creek area and the building of 656 homes which will destroy that pristine open space……and the high number of people who are in disagreement with the current plan.

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