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Annual survey says city 'less excellent' in 2007

Original post made on Jan 11, 2008

Fewer Palo Altans rated city government services "excellent" in 2007, although more Palo Altans considered municipal government "good," according to an annual survey conducted by the city auditor's office.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 12:39 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm

I thought this was published a few months ago.

However, we received a survey during the summer. It was to be filled in by the adult with the most previous birthday which was my husband. His excellent response was due to the fact that it is me who deals with utility problems, visits the library (to pick up his stuff as well as mine), signs the kids up for classes and camps, spends more time at parks because of kids' sports, etc, etc,. If I had been the most recent birthday, many of these things would have scored much lower.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 11, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Dear Another PA Neighborhood Resident,

I'm not sure that your one survey would have caused the results to be in your words, "much lower." My we think highly of ourselves don't we. It does appear that in the survey of your husband's responsibilities at home however, he failed miserably.


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Posted by Love my hubby
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 11, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Pat, how would you know. Maybe her husband works 16 hours a day to pay the mortgage and expenses for 5 kids. My, we're quick to judge, aren't we?


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Posted by Ignore-the-Survey-Results
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2008 at 6:37 am

> It was to be filled in by the adult with the most
> previous birthday which was my husband

This is another example of how badly designed this survey is. If it turned out that the "oldest" person in the home more often than not turned out to be the husband, and the wife turned out to be the one that paid the bills (or dealt with the details of running the home), then the person with the least contact with the city government be asked to complete the survey would be the less qualified to answer these questions than the wife.

Having both husband and wife participate would be a better choice, or perhaps the person who feels that they best understand the issues associated with service levels of the city government being evaluated.

This is not a good survey and its results should be taken with a grain of salt (at best).


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Posted by Fireman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2008 at 7:46 am

Just one more web site type job. Just one more Willy-Nilly flag issue, Just one more 3 week time out for Emily, Just one more drop of water in the storm drains that do not work.{The ones you paid to fix} Just on more Enron. Just one more cover up that the Citizens of Palo Alto must accept. Etc,etc,etc.... Just one more City manager to make rich and house at the Citizens loss of services...etc,etc


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Posted by terryg
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 15, 2008 at 8:15 am

ignore-the-survey,
why do you think it went to the "oldest"? most recent is not the "oldest" - it's whoever had the last birthday. If it was an August survey and you have a March bday and your spouse has a July bday, the July bday fills it out
you're sounding a little paranoid


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Worth noting:
Only 437 people responded to the survey, which is about 0.73% of our population (60,000).

86% of respondents rate their city good or excellent, which is 376 people.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

pat, perhaps you can manage to discover a new polling paradigm, where everyone gets polled at once. It might be worth a few bucks. Until then, maybe you can learn to live with what polls say.

My informal poll says that you never agree with any poll, so why do you bother reading them?


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Posted by Ignore-the-Survey-Results
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm

> paranoid ..

Being paranoid speaks to an unwarranted fear of harm to one's self. As such, this word is inappropriate in the context of a discussion about the poor design of a resident survey on the impression of local government/services quality.


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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Ignore-the-survey;
Maybe some leaders might be getting a little "PARANOID" That one day someone{citizens} might care enough to do something about what has been going on for too many years...

.73% might be good for you Mike... as long as it is your .73%???


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Posted by Adam
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 15, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Only 437 responded out of 60,000. But remember that about 50 to 60% are children and don't deal with the city that much except in the schools. So 437 of (estimated) 22,000 households is 1.9%. Most polls have a lower responding rate than that.

I'm going to recommend that the city spend some more postage and send the survey to at least 15% of the households. The additional cost and analysis would be about $1000 for postage and maybe up to $1500 in additional processing costs.

For all those dissatisfied with any aspect of the city, complain to the council by e-mail. It's cheap. Like the drip drip of a water torture, it will have an impression on the council member whether he/she responds or not.


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