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Polling political footballs

A Kansas public opinion outfit aims to end-run San Diego “community activists”

The mayor did not announce that the polling will cost taxpayers $150,000.
The mayor did not announce that the polling will cost taxpayers $150,000.

San Diego officials have denied a link between a "public satisfaction" survey now on the streets and online here and the embattled efforts of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer to keep the Chargers in town with taxpayers’ money.

But one question asked of respondents concerns their satisfaction with the "Quality/variety of entertainment, expositions, and sporting events at the Convention Center, Petco Park, and QUALCOMM Stadium."

Beyond that, the poll, being conducted by ETC Institute of Olathe, Kansas, avoids addressing any specifics of the raging subsidy debate involving Faulconer, facing a test of his political viability in the Chargers confrontation.

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Sponsored

"We help corporate, governmental, and non-profit organizations gather and interpret data from the general public and special interest groups about a wide range of issues," ETC says on its website, adding that its polls are designed to counter the power of what the firm calls "community activists."

"Special interest groups often dominate local-decision making processes because they actively participate in community meetings and share their ideas with local officials,” according to the pollsters.

“While input from special interest groups is important, the needs of the general public can be overlooked if community leaders only have input from well organized groups and community activists. ETC Institute’s surveys are designed to ensure the needs of the entire community are represented."

Much of the impetus for pursuing football-related questions evaporated in early September, when Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani made it clear that the team was not interested in negotiating a deal in time to put the stadium question on the ballot in January, as the mayor desired.

The current survey sticks to queries about more prosaic issues like pothole filling — another of Faulconer's flagship issues — asking, "Are you satisfied with the process of reporting problems (i.e., potholes) to the City?"

Another question asks respondents "how important" it is for the city to "support sustainability in the community," including preparing "for more frequent storms, increased flooding, extreme heat events, increased wildfires, and severe drought."

Additional requested feedback includes queries about "outreach to keep the public informed about capital projects,” “the city's television channel," and "access to city officials.”

Officials have been closed-mouthed about how much the poll would cost taxpayers; the November 6 contract between the city and ETC reveals that the venture’s not-to-exceed expense is $150,000, "throughout the entire length of the contract, including any options to renew."

A draft of the report is due by December 31, according to the contract, obtained following a request to the city under the state’s public records act.

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The mayor did not announce that the polling will cost taxpayers $150,000.
The mayor did not announce that the polling will cost taxpayers $150,000.

San Diego officials have denied a link between a "public satisfaction" survey now on the streets and online here and the embattled efforts of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer to keep the Chargers in town with taxpayers’ money.

But one question asked of respondents concerns their satisfaction with the "Quality/variety of entertainment, expositions, and sporting events at the Convention Center, Petco Park, and QUALCOMM Stadium."

Beyond that, the poll, being conducted by ETC Institute of Olathe, Kansas, avoids addressing any specifics of the raging subsidy debate involving Faulconer, facing a test of his political viability in the Chargers confrontation.

Sponsored
Sponsored

"We help corporate, governmental, and non-profit organizations gather and interpret data from the general public and special interest groups about a wide range of issues," ETC says on its website, adding that its polls are designed to counter the power of what the firm calls "community activists."

"Special interest groups often dominate local-decision making processes because they actively participate in community meetings and share their ideas with local officials,” according to the pollsters.

“While input from special interest groups is important, the needs of the general public can be overlooked if community leaders only have input from well organized groups and community activists. ETC Institute’s surveys are designed to ensure the needs of the entire community are represented."

Much of the impetus for pursuing football-related questions evaporated in early September, when Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani made it clear that the team was not interested in negotiating a deal in time to put the stadium question on the ballot in January, as the mayor desired.

The current survey sticks to queries about more prosaic issues like pothole filling — another of Faulconer's flagship issues — asking, "Are you satisfied with the process of reporting problems (i.e., potholes) to the City?"

Another question asks respondents "how important" it is for the city to "support sustainability in the community," including preparing "for more frequent storms, increased flooding, extreme heat events, increased wildfires, and severe drought."

Additional requested feedback includes queries about "outreach to keep the public informed about capital projects,” “the city's television channel," and "access to city officials.”

Officials have been closed-mouthed about how much the poll would cost taxpayers; the November 6 contract between the city and ETC reveals that the venture’s not-to-exceed expense is $150,000, "throughout the entire length of the contract, including any options to renew."

A draft of the report is due by December 31, according to the contract, obtained following a request to the city under the state’s public records act.

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