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Sneak Preview of 2009 Community Survey

Click on the following links for the 2009 Richmond Community Survey results that will be discussed at the may 26 City Council meeting.


·         http://sireweb.ci.richmond.ca.us/sirepub/cache/2/w2v2qeubohsczoatscs4dke2/12226005222009082908572.PDF

·         http://sireweb.ci.richmond.ca.us/sirepub/cache/2/w2v2qeubohsczoatscs4dke2/12226105222009082958511.PDF

·         http://sireweb.ci.richmond.ca.us/sirepub/cache/2/w2v2qeubohsczoatscs4dke2/12226205222009083022745.PDF

·         http://sireweb.ci.richmond.ca.us/sirepub/cache/2/w2v2qeubohsczoatscs4dke2/12226305222009083051840.PDF

·         http://sireweb.ci.richmond.ca.us/sirepub/cache/2/w2v2qeubohsczoatscs4dke2/12226405222009083115450.PDF


The last community survey was two years ago in 2007. See Additional Survey Information, June 4, 2007 ,City Survey Reports, June 4, 2007 and  Richmond Survey Shows Rock Bottom Satisfaction with City Services and Quality of Life, June 2, 2007.


I guess that if there is any good news, the percentage of those surveyed rating many quality of life categories as excellent or good in most categories increased marginally, some statistically significant. For example, “street repair” increased from 9% to 14%, and “availability of affordable quality housing” increased from 19% to 29%.


However, in the policy question portion of the survey, those rating services and conditions as “much worse” typically far outnumbered those rating the same categories as “much improved.” For example, 5% rated crime much improved” while 17% rated crime as “much worse.” Similarly, 2% rated rundown buildings as “much improved,” while 19% rated rundown buildings as “much worse.’ And so on.


Finally, in the section entitled “Benchmark Report,” which was marked “Client Confidential” and “Not for Public Review” indicated that those surveyed in Richmond remained, as last year, near or at the bottom in their perception of Richmond compared to those surveyed in other cities. For example, in the category “Overall quality of life in Richmond,” the score for Richmond was 350 out of 351 cities where surveys were conducted. In the category “Recommend living in Richmond to someone who asks,” Richmonders scored themselves 73 among 74 jurisdictions queried. Typically Richmond was dead last in most categories 2007, so rising to next to last has to be an improvement we can embrace. I don’t know why the Benchmark Report is confidential. It was released to the public in 2007.


Overall, this survey has proven, in my opinion, to be extremely useful despite fleeting thoughts of utter despair. What does puzzle me, however, is the extraordinary level of pessimism, cynicism and criticism that is apparent among Richmonders as reflected by this survey. We all know there are problems and challenges in Richmond, but they just don’t seem to me to be as downright dismal as the survey reflects. As I reported in 2007, “The depth and breadth of malaise in Richmond truly surprised me.”


Particularly right now, we have crime rates that have dropped since 2007, a new (old) civic center, a balanced budget and no layoffs in a financial crises that has hit many other cities much harder and improved response to graffiti and code enforcement. When I talk to people all over town, most of them seem to like living here and seem to think things are improving. Sure, they talk about problems, but they also seem to have optimism, believe things are getting better and are often looking for ways they can pitch in and make a difference.