The Pulse of Concord is an on line Survey of views of issues in and around Concord, CA. You can get the Survey at www.PulseOfConcord.com. Results from the August Survey are available now, and we start of with the question, “Should Concord’s Mayor be elected directly? See the surprising results below.
1. Should the mayor be directly elected?
The direct elected mayor (regardless of the power level) is always popular. The valid arguments against it is that it is harder to get rid of a bad mayor and that a direct elected mayor may have no experience in running a Council meeting or otherwise. The valid counter arguments are it is just as hard to get rid of a bad councilmember, and otherwise there is nothing but back room deals on the mayor that are not transparent since the so called ‘rotation’ tradition has no written guidelines or expectations and recent times have shown no real pattern. An interesting concept that we polled before was the idea of having the city represented by 3 Council folks by district and then the Mayor and Vice Mayor elected at large. Maybe a rotation amongst the top two would be the best way to handle some of the negatives?
2. Should there be term limits for City Council?
Yes 8 years: 63.9%
Yes 12 years: 14.3%
Yes 16 years: 3;.4%
No opinion 4%
The popularity of Term Limits locally appears to be growing slightly since we last asked this question more than a year ago. Then 54% wanted a 2-term (8 year) limit while the over all concept of some limit was just under 80% as compared to 82% now. On the current Council there are two in their first term, one retiring from his 2nd term, one in his 3rd and running for a fourth (though 36 years apart) and another in a fourth term.
The argument against it has always been given by the incumbents that there is always term limits when there is an election. However the reality is that getting elected once gives you so many advantages in name recognition and incumbent support that barring any outrageous scandal the people are in the post till they want to leave. For myself I can see 2 terms as a reasonable limit.
3. The Fire Department is asking for a $75 parcel tax to support the Department and prevent closure of Fire Stations. Will you vote for the measure?
Don’t Know: 16%
This is a very interesting split. The Todos Santos downtown fire station (#6) has lost one of its two teams because of this year’s budget crisis. The Fire Chief has promised that this station will be back at its full compliment if the measure passes. Weighing in against the measure is an alliance of media columnists and anti tax people who want to keep the focus on the cost of pensions in the Fire Department (FD)as well as changing the service model of the FD to include lesser paid ambulance/medical response folks. The problem with that is that the people who make the decisions on the pensions and the model change are not the ones being voted on in the measure. It is sort of like when your house is on fire you cut the water supply because you are afraid of next month’s bill. Insurance companies are already making noises that they will raise fire insurance rates by more than the amount being asked to buy time for the process to be changed.
The question for the political folks is simple- if this is seen as a show down on pension reform then it will fail and people will be hurt by a loss of service. If it is seen as buying time to get something done it sets the stage for that battle if anyone is willing to keep focused on it.
4. There are two State Wide Tax measures on the November ballot. How would you vote today?
No on both 46.2%
Yes on Brown (#30) no on Mungers 18.5%
No on Brown and Yes on Mungers .8%
Yes on both 2.5%
Need more info 21.8%
Do not know 10.1%
This was stunning since the projections are that the Brown measure (#30 ballot measure) was close where as this sample shows a major rejection. While negative positions tend to have a boost in self-selecting surveys, this is a large shift. With schools and other social programs dependent on this passing this is not good for them. However this is also before the Pension Reform bill passed the state legislature that may have some impact. Though indicated here the gap may be too broad to over come.
5. Buchanan Airport should have small commercial passenger jets to Las Vegas, L.A. Portland etc.
Yes-up to 4 flights a day- 42.4%
Yes- up to 10 flights- 16.1%
Yes- as many flights as possible- 20.3%
Don’t know- 6.8%
This is a big boost for the bringing of some commercial flights to the city and something that we had 27 years ago when Pacific Air tried flights to Long Beach. (I took many of those at the time.) This is also a popular position with the Chamber of Commerce and something to work on for economic development.
6. The current campaign limits are $1,000 per individual and $1,500 for a PAC. Should this be revised?
Yes Higher for individual less for PAC. 10.2%
Yes Higher for both 11%
Lower for both 26.4%
Higher for Pac less for individuals .8%
There is a common myth that the lower limits help the little guy when in fact the opposite appears to be the case. The incumbents are the ones that can and have gotten large conglomerates to turn around and issue a check for the max amount from each of their board of directors and each subsidiary company as well as to finance the independent hit pieces and confusing slate mailers that are made specifically to confuse voters and get a local election swung by pushing the secondary votes to people. How many remember the 2006 city Council election where a certain Independent Expenditure group sent out a bunch of slate mailers featuring Helen Allen and the other candidates just so they could try (and they succeeded) in getting the secondary votes of the candidates?
7. Do you support the extension of Measure Q sales tax (currently .5%)?.
The sales tax increase is suppose to sunset in 2014 however there were a couple of probes from the City’s politico’s after the Redevelopment Agency was disbanded about maybe keeping the tax going to replace the city’s income loss from those funds. More survey results like this do seem to point out that it is going to be a hard sell.
8. There is a state proposition (#32) on the November Ballot to stop Payroll Deductions for Political Contributions. Do you support this?
Need more info 24.4%
Don’t know 6.7%
This is most disturbing in that the proposition does is basically one sided: to silence all union fund raising and positioning in the political realm while doing nothing to alter the impact of corporate funds and exempts PACs and super PACs. Companies decide and act on sending money to campaigns by the executive simply writing a check sometimes without any other consultation. They never make it a payroll deduction. Only people who are in unions do so and then it is voluntary at the moment. To remove that capability is according to union folks to play into the start of a round of attacks on unions who are muzzled by this measure so that in the next round of the ‘Horray for us and to hell with you’ they will have no organized opposition.
9. Candidates in a City Council Race should be given a set of questions, and their responses mailed at taxpayer expense in a booklet to all registered household voters?
14.4% Strongly Agree
13.6 Neither agree or disagree
25.4 Disagree srongly
This is a form of campaign finance reform. However it is also often described as financing a series of attacks on other candidates with taxpayer money since there is a problem with censorship in the regulations and the Free Speech positions of the First Amendment. Yet for the folks who want to run without major backing from Developers, wealthy special interests and their allies, it would appear that this alternative is not acceptable. So how do we or maybe we should not approach this problem of unequal say in local politics?
10. If the Presidential election were held today would you vote for?
11.9 Don’t know
This almost reflects the Democratic vs Republican party registration in the city.
So thanks again for your input on questions and suggestions for new Topics and NEUTRAL questions. Write to EdiBirsan@astound.net