Community Survey Indicates 95 Percent Say SoPas ‘Excellent’

Survey results indicate that 95 percent of residents share favorable opinions of the quality of life in South Pasadena. Photo by Harry Yadav

More than nine in ten respondents said South Pasadena has an excellent quality of life, according to the city-sponsored survey gauging the opinions of local residents.

Known simply as The Community Survey, administered by the professional polling firm, True North Research, the questionnaire needed more than 400 respondents to ensure an accurate reading of residents, according to South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe. The survey cost the city $18,000 and ended up with 593 adults. It was used for recruiting purposes voter files, city-maintained files and privately sourced databases. A small percentage of respondents were also recruited in-person at local events. Hosted at a secure, password-protected website, it was administered between April 13 and April 29.

The report was presented to the South Pasadena City Council during its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday night.

Under the heading, “Just The Facts,” the survey summarized its findings this way: “More than nine-in-ten respondents (95 percent) shared favorable opinions of the quality of life in South Pasadena, with 47 percent describing it as excellent and 48 percent as good. Just 4 percent of residents reported that the quality of life in the city is fair, while less than 1 percent used poor or very poor to describe the quality of life in South Pasadena.”

South Pasadena City Councilmembers were encouraged by the survey results, saying, in general, it confirms the long-standing view that the city is an excellent place to live but also shows that improvements should be made.

“Although our residents are overwhelmingly satisfied with the city’s municipal services, and quality of life, residents noted several priorities for improving the quality of life,” City Councilman Michael Cacciotti said in an email to the Review. “These included improving infrastructure – city streets, sidewalks, reducing traffic congestion, addressing homelessness, (and) providing affordable housing.”

Councilman Robert Joe echoed those sentiments, saying all is good but the city can do better.
“The survey is very encouraging,” Joe said. “It shows us that on the whole residents feel their quality of life is good and that the city is doing an excellent job with core services.  At the same time, the survey gives us some strong input on city priorities that the Council will be using to make decisions about next year’s budget.”

The council got its first look at the city’s draft budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 also at its Wednesday meeting (see related story Pg. 1).

Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Marina Khubesrian also shared her colleagues’ optimism.

“The results indicate that our residents overwhelmingly, over 95 percent, enjoy a high or satisfactory quality of life and the majority place high priority on street and infrastructure maintenance and public safety services,” Khubesrian said. “The City Council has significantly increased the investment in our streets and efforts to maintain robust public safety services…”

DeWolfe said the survey was undertaken because the city is entering the budget process for fiscal year 2018-2019, which runs from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. The City Council will be holding public hearings during its budget sessions coming up in May and June, as they craft its fiscal plan for the upcoming year. The first such hearing was this past Wednesday.

The survey required a minimum of 400 respondents to be a statistical accurate representation of the residents’ viewpoints, and it accomplished that with the 593 respondents.

The survey was conducted by True North Research out of Encinitas, De Wolfe said, because in large measure the firm had been involved in helping the South Pasadena Unified School District get input on a recent ballot measure.

The 37-page survey includes a summary of the most important factual findings followed by a more detailed analysis of individual topics. The report was presented to the council Wednesday night by Dr. Timothy McLarney from True North.