Pulse of Concord Survey Results: Reforms in the Wind?

Survey of Concord area residents in Spring 2014 covering views on lifetime medical coverage after 5 years on the city council, as well as perceptions and feelings on political restructuring of districts for the city and views of the US intervention in the Ukraine, noise in the neighborhood and radio interest.

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Pulse of Concord


To the extent Pulse of Concord reflects, suggests or implies a viewpoint, it is not intended or represented to be the viewpoint of the Concord City Council, the City of Concord, or City staff or officials (Living, Dead or Undecided). Nor was this survey or the results created, distributed, tabulated, evaluated or analyzed by the Concord City Council, the City of Concord, or its staff or officials. Finally any placement of shoe leather in one’s mouth is most likely the fault of Edi Ersalesi Birsan – or whatever other variation on that theme may be in vogue.  
(PS if you are Ralph E. Brown I didn’t do it, no one saw me, and you can’t prove it…and anyway you are supposed to be dead.)
EXCEPT where noted there was no significant differences in the responses for the residents (88%) and the non residents (you can figure %) in this survey. The number of responses was a little over 200, the questions were formed in February and responses collected between March and June 2014.

1. Have you or your family had direct personal contact with gang violence in the last year?
A total of 3% of the Concord residents have had direct personal contact. As reported in the Police last yearly summary there were a total of 8 gang incidents in the city for the year. The perception and reality in this area is real problem. To what extent there is under reporting of the events is not known. However, ringing the gang gong bell is always popular during election time which only heightens the perception.

2. Have you or your family had direct personal contact with the Concord Police in the last year (other than traffic tickets)?
Some 37.6% of Concord residents and 27% of non-residents have had contact with the CPD. This seems like a high % and could be a good thing showing community involvement. We will have to break down this some more to get a better view of the nature of the contact and see if we are getting positive or negative results.

3. With additional funding coming to schools, which two areas that were cut back on should be restored:
Non residents top three were: Librarians 42.9%, Elementary Music Classes 38.1% and Counselors for Academics/College/Careers 28.6%.
Concord Residents top 3 were: Elementary Music Classes 33.0%, Counselors 28.9% and After School programs 23.1%

The good news is that the Mount Diablo Unified School District (MDUS) has indeed started to bring in music classes in the 5th grade. Of interest is that Concord residents rated School Resource officers a much higher priority at 20.1% compared to non-residents at 9.5%. There is currently negotiations on cost sharing for police to return to schools in Concord.

4. The United States should consider military action if Russia moves to annex Eastern Ukraine?
With 53.8% completely disagree and 12.6% somewhat disagreeing, only 16.6% agree in any fashion and 17.1% are
neutral or undecided. The non residents have a slightly higher completely disagree position.

5. Concord should be divided into 3 districts with a Council member for each district plus a directly elected Mayor and Vice Mayor elected at large.
With a total of 41.6 % agreeing and 33.7% disagreeing, Concord residents have 18.5% neutral and 6.2% as not sure. This is a fascinating topic for exploration and is a matter that is under review in the State Legislature to force all cities over 100,000 to have districts, though the directly elected Mayor AND Vice Mayor asked about here would be a unique approach that would allow for the possibility for the both the top vote getter and his opponent to serve on the Council thus making it a more inclusive representation. It also opens up the possibility that with more diverse representation that there can be more friction, but it is hoped that at the local level, the is more to gain than lost. There are very valid arguments on both sides of the questions of districts as they apply to Concord and its 122,000 population (send me an email and I will send you a report). This may evolve into a step process of outreach and public discussion on the various points. Either way it will come down to a public vote at the time when the matter boils up in the body politic. The question is: are we at the point where it is a viable discussion point or is the status quo too well supported?

6. I have a clear understanding of sources of revenue that are funding, the general fund, unfunded liabilities, and unfunded annual required contributions.
An overwhelming 30.1% have no Clue and another 24.8% Disagree. Only 11.9% agree strongly and 19.2% agree somewhat. With the coming vote on the Measure Q coming we can expect that there will be a lot of outreach trying to tell people what the story is. Further with the common issue of a “balanced” budget typically thrown around in elections, that people are unsure of what is going on in the background of the budget means that the candidates may have a harder time with the subject should there be the simple arguments on it. The question remains that within the group of those who do not have an understanding how do they break down in their voting for or against a candidate who approaches on either the positive or negative side of the finance issues.

7. Would you listen to a call-in talk radio show/station that focuses only on Contra Costa issues and concerns?
Some 29.4% say yes, 44.3% maybe and 26.4% say no. There were more of a no response in the non-residents(19%) with a shift towards maybe. This question ties in with the next two to get a feel for radio interests. It should be noted that 92.1 is the closest thing we have to a local radio station in Concord.

8. What time of day do you generally use your computer at home? (Check all that apply)
Early Evening 7-9PM 68.9%
Early Morning 6-9AM 44.4%,
Late evening 10PM to Midnight 40.8%
Late Afternoon 4-6PM 37.2%
Mid Morning 10-noon 31.6%
Early Afternoon 1-3PM 26.0%
Wee Hours 1-5AM 14.3%

I was very surprised at the Early evening popularity. That must say a lot about the attractiveness of the current prime time TV shows.

9. Do you listen to internet radio services such as IHeartRadio, Pandora, etc.?
Yes 25.4%, Occasionally 28.9% and no 45.8%.

10. Should City of Concord employees (including police) have lifetime medical coverage after retirement?
28.3% No
26.7 Until Covered by Medicare
11.1 After 20 years
10.0 After 30 years
9.4 After 25 years
6.1 After 15 years
4.4 After 10 years
3.9 After 5 years

The current situation is that they get coverage after 5 years. This would seem to be in serious lack of support according to survey which ran from March to mid June.
It had been on the campaign radar in 2012 and at various other media points in the community as well as a call for a petition to end it. The city formed an ad-hoc committee in late June to look at this issue and with the new campaign for Council having two incumbents that would qualify under the 5 year rule as well as one that has already vested in it, this is a very big potential hot button issue if not resolved by the election season starting in earnest in September.

11. In the past year, have you had problems with neighborhood noise? (Parties, bands, etc.)
62.2% No problems
17.8 Yes-Not dealt with at all
10.0 Yes-dealt with unsatisfactory
9.4 Yes-dealt with satisfactory
0.6 I can’t hear you over the noise from next door.

The above numbers are for Concord Residents, and by comparison the non-residents have 85.7% responded as no problem, then again those outside the city that have had a problem are never satisfied with the dealing with it. As the increase in density continues, we can expect the issue of noise to intensify. There are some structural problems with the determination and enforcement of noise complaints since there are no scientific standards set down and measurement protocol’s that are applied such as how many decibels from what distance etc. It is very subjective and does raise tempers in the neighborhood. There is already a framework of dealing with noise but with a 50-50% satisfaction rate, what sort of priority do we want to make this for investment in time and money is the classic social engineering question?

12. I get enough information on the development of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station land.
34.8% Completely Disagree
22.4 Somewhat Disagree
16.4 Neither agree or disagree
15.4 Somewhat Agree
04.0 Strongly Agree
07.0 Don’t care

The city maintains a section of its website just for the base: www.concordreuseproject.org/
With the ever present movement of time towards the sale and development of the Base there seems to be a great need for more information on the this for the public. Essentially where we are is that there are 4 companies that have been chosen to bid on the Master Developer contract. Of local interest the Seeno group of companies were knocked out in this first cut based on the ratings of the staff and independent review committee (no members of the City Council were involved). This will be resolved by the first quarter of 2015 with the first sale taking place possibly taking place at the end of 2015 being the area from the North Concord BART station towards Willow Pass in a vaguely triangular shape cover about 330-400 acres of the area to be developed.

The new Summer Survey is out at www.PulseOfConcord.com and awaits your views.
To send new topics and questions (they should be neutral and easily formatted in a data friendly response) to EdiBirsan@astound.net

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Author: Edi Birsan

Concord Resident since 1983, raised two children here who went to the public schools. Working in the international container cargo business since 1973 with my own small business since 1986 involved in Container Technical Surveys and related services.

3 thoughts on “Pulse of Concord Survey Results: Reforms in the Wind?”

  1. One of the most telling is the Weapon Station development non-information. Far too many think that the development is protected out there by the plan that was created.

    What they fail to realize is that that plan is in no way binding. The city council with three votes can still do ANYTHING they want in any of those areas.

    There is also still a ton of leeway – the whole strip along the 4 that is designed as retail could wind up a bunch of huge box stores providing minimum wage jobs, and huge empty parking lots 11 months of the year like along the 80 in Pinole, or it could be developed with a nice park and many shops that would actually drive foot traffic and visitors year round and be a place people just want to go.

    All at the whim of who sits on the council.

    Make sure you know where your vote is going. And get it in writing.

  2. I enjoyed learning about the results of the Pulse of Concord survey. A minor complaint is that ALL the text in this report is italicized, and I find it more difficult to read than if it were in plain, old, upright text. Thanks…

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