Friday, March 16, 2007

The Survey

Ms. Donna Littlejohn's article concerning the poll appeared in the March 16 2007 edition of
the Daily Breeze.

It is important, IMHO, to note a very important "error" at the beginning of this post, concerning the telephone survey.

Respondents to the telephone poll were read a series of four points in the description portion of the phone poll where the pollster read verbatim from a script the four descriptive sentences about the project.

Here is the first sentence of the description of the project given to respondents:

The project is a "mix of single-family housing, condominiums, and townhomes affordable for middle income families and first time buyers."

Reading that description would logically steer folks to believe that "single-family housing" was separate from "condominiums, and town homes" because all three types were described and there was no indication that the "single-family homes" were actually planned to be homes inside condominium and townhome buildings.

Just after the description was presented, and audience member asked the pollster if that description was an error because there has never been "single-family housing" as one would logically imagine as detached homes for families at the project. The pollster did acknowledge that the description was an "error."

Further questioning about this acknowledge error brought the comment from Bob Bisno that he was responsible for creating that particular description of the project and therefore, it was his error he admitted to. I asked Mr. Bisno directly if this "error" was intentional. After being heckled by the few supporters in the room, Mr. Bisno looked at me and said, "That's a very fair question."

It seems to me that Mr. Bisno, a lawyer, crafted the primary descriptive sentence for the entire project to include a type of housing that he knows he will not offer at Ponte Vista, but is one type of housing that many folks who would be called, live in. Reasonable people will believe that "single-family housing" means detached homes within a development and that Ponte Vista would include single-family detached homes along with condominiums and townhomes, based on the description authored by Mr. Bisno, himself.

I feel that there can be no true survey of what folks really think if misinformation is included in a poll, especially as the first description of the project that, according to poll results, almost 70% of the community knows little or nothing about.

Ms. Littlejohn accurately provided posted results of the survey in many areas. She also interviewed Mr. Bisno and must have been in communication with folks on Ms. Hahn's staff.I think her article is accurate.

Both Bob Bisno and I were surprised that 41% of the folks surveyed feel that there should be more housing for middle/low income families. Mr. Bisno and his supporters have been pushing hard for senior housing which it seems only 16% of the folks who took the survey seemed to want more of.

I was also saddened to learn how few community members know much about, or even seem to care about what happens at Ponte Vista. I think both supportive groups and folks opposed to having 2,300 homes built at Ponte Vista have not done enough to inform more community residents about the project. All sides should probably redouble their efforts to get whatever words out that benefit their side of the issue.

Ms. Littlejohn's article is the first print work I have read that includes discussion by Mr. Bisno concerning compromising about the number of homes at Ponte Vista. While I was very encouraged to read that, recent events have given me pause to wonder just how believable Bob Bisno is. I won't feel confident that Bob Bisno would actually concider an actual number of homes fewer than 2,300 until I read or hear him say it, directly. Even then, I may be skeptical.

Mr. Bisno claimed at the roll out meeting that his staff at Ponte Vista Development was against having the telephone survey conducted in the first place. Mr. Bisno terminated the services of Victor Griego, the CAC's facilitator without any advice from the members of the CAC. Bob Bisno is now attempting to provide an employee of his organization as the interim facilitator for the CAC without going to the CAC for approval.

Perhaps Mr. Bisno still doesn't wish to adhere to the four words I usually keep in mind when I write something or speak about the project. Is it reasonable, realistic, responsible, and respectful?


Anonymous said...

Shame on you!

You said you would publish the results of the poll as soon as they were revealed to the CAC and the article by Donna Littlejohn was published.

Instead, you cherry-picked the parts supportive of your position and dismissed the rest.

I was at the meeting and also received a copy of the report. Since you have chosen to not make a post of it, I have to insert it as a comment.

I was at the meeting and my recollection of it is much different than yours. While everyone will remember things differently, it still does not excuse the deliberate slanting of what you report.

Many times in the course of this blog you have promised to relay accurate information and to allow those who disagreed with you an open forum to do so. You have done neither.

You should tell the entire story and let people make up their own minds.

Unfortunately blogspot doesn't take graphics in the comment section. So I had to transcribe some parts of the report which were imbedded in graphics. The full report will be posted on the Ponte Vista site and everyone who wants to see the true report should check for it.

This comment will most likely be deleted by Mr. Wells since it disagrees with his position. However, perhaps there will be a few people it will reach before he does so.

TO: Community Advisory Committee

FROM: Richard Maullin and Rick Sklarz
Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates

DATE: March 8, 2007

RE: Summary of Public Opinion Survey


Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (FMM&A), an independent public opinion research company, was recently engaged by the Ponte Vista residential community project to conduct a random sample survey of 500 registered voters living close to the proposed project to assess the extent of support for the project. The survey was conducted by telephone starting February 9th and ending February 12th of this year.

The survey’s respondents were selected at random from voters living within the 90710, 90717, 90731, 90732, and 90275 zip codes and within the following geographical boundaries:

· South of Lomita Boulevard on the north
· East of Palos Verdes Drive East on the east
· East of Miraleste Drive on the east
· North of West 9th Street on the south
· West of Gaffey Street until it runs into the 110 Harbor Freeway, and then west of the 110 Freeway

The survey’s margin of error due to pure chance is plus or minus 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error for the subgroups within the sample is higher depending on the number within a group. To ensure all voters could participate in the research, the survey was translated into Spanish for those who preferred to answer in that language.



More than three-fourths of voters in the survey area consider the area’s quality of life to be excellent or good. (See Figure 1) Among voters with a positive assessment of the area’s quality of life, nearly three in five believe the quality of life will remain the same while 22 percent think it will get better in the future. But almost one in five (19 percent) think it will worsen. For the 21 percent who say that the quality of life in the survey area today is just fair or poor, four in ten have expectations for the future that it will continue as it is today and nearly an equal number (39 percent) believe it will get worse. But 20 percent are more optimistic and believe the quality of life will improve. (See Figure 2)

Figure 1
Perception of Quality of Life in the Survey Area
(“Overall, how would you rate the quality of life in your area?”)

Excellent - 30%
Good - 47%
Fair - 17%
Poor - 4%
Don't Know/NA - 1%

Figure 2
Things Getting Better/Worse Among Respondents Saying Quality of Life is
“Excellent/Good” and “Fair/Poor”

(“In the last two or three years, do you think things in your area have gotten
better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?”)

Much better - 8%
Somewhat better - 14%
Stay the same - 57%
Somewhat worse - 13%
Much worse - 6%
Don't know/NA - 3%

Much better - 6%
Somewhat better - 14%
Stay the same - 40%
Somewhat worse - 22%
Much worse - 17%
Don't know/NA - 1%

Survey area voters identify traffic concerns and the cost and availability of homes to own or rent as the most prominent issues or problems facing residents of the survey area. Other significant concerns include property tax bills, air pollution, particularly from the Port of Los Angeles, and crime. (See Figure 3).

Figure 3
Problems in the Survey Area
(“Now I am going to read you a list of issues or problems we have heard people talk about in your area. After I mention each one, please tell me how serious of a problem it may be for you personally?”)

Extremely/Very Serious Problem S.W./Not Serious Problem DK/NA
Traffic congestion on local roads 64% 34% 2%
The availability of homes that working class families can afford 57% 34% 8%
The cost to rent an apartment or home 55% 35% 10%
Traffic on Western Avenue 54% 42% 4%
The amount people have to pay in property taxes 50% 36% 14%
Pollution from the Port of Los Angeles 48% 51% 2%
Air pollution 42% 54% 3%
Crime including drugs dealing and abuse 36% 58% 6%
Sinkholes and potholes on local streets and roads 34% 64% 2%
Crime such as gang violence 33% 66% 1%
The rate of growth and development 32% 63% 6%
Cuts in funding for city services such as police and fire protection 32% 55% 14%
The quality of local public schools 32% 52% 16%
The availability of open space for recreation 31% 65% 4%
The availability of adequate public transportation 31% 58% 11%
The availability of recreation areas and/or parks 28% 71% 2%
The availability of good jobs close to home 28% 60% 14%
The need for senior citizen housing in the area 27% 57% 15%
The availability of funds to pay for local services and programs 27% 48% 25%
The quality of police services in your area 23% 71% 5%
Students from outside the community attending neighborhood public schools 19% 56% 25%
Abandoned and blighted property in your area 13% 82% 6%

Perceptions of growth and development in the survey area

Figure 4 reports that large percentages of survey area voters agree with statements that more residential and commercial development can be expected in the local area, revitalizing abandoned and blighted property improves the local economy and quality of life, and that there is a shortage of housing for the area’s growing senior population. On a separate note, more than eight in ten (84 percent) agree that more funding is needed for anti-gang programs.

Figure 4
Agreement with Statements About Growth and Development
(“I am going to read you some statements about growth and development in your area.
After hearing each one, please tell me whether you agree with it or not?”)

Total Agree Total Disagree DK/NA
We need more funding for anti-gang programs to keep kids out of gangs 84% 13% 3%
In general, revitalizing abandoned and blighted property improves the local economy and residents’ quality of life 79% 14% 7%
There is not enough housing for the growing population of seniors in our area 76% 20% 5%
It is inevitable that there will be a lot of residential and commercial development in San Pedro and the Palos Verdes Peninsula because Los Angeles continues to grow and more people want to live here 73% 23% 4%

Respondents were asked whether they personally consider each one of the factual statements provided in Figure 5 to be serious concerns or not. As Figure 5 reports, three-quarters consider the fact that housing prices in California are the most expensive in the nation to be an extremely or very serious concern. Seven in ten express a similar degree of concern over the fact that fewer than one in five Californians can afford to own the home in which they currently live.

Figure 5
Concern About Housing in California
(“I am going to mention some facts about housing in California and your area of the state. After hearing each one, please tell me whether you consider that fact to be a concern for people living in your area?”)

Extremely/Very Serious Concern S.W./Not A Concern DK/NA
California’s housing prices are the most expensive in the nation 75% 22% 2%
Fewer than one in five Californians can afford to own the home in which they currently live 70% 29% 1%
The Los Angeles area ranks second to last in homeownership rates in the nation, with only New York City having a lower rate of homeownership 47% 47% 7%
Census data shows that San Pedro and the entire Harbor community have produced too few new housing units over the past several years to accommodate the area’s population growth 43% 51% 6%
In the last five years only about eleven hundred new housing units have been built or are under construction in the San Pedro and Wilmington communities 27% 69% 5%

When asked to assume that a new residential development could be proposed somewhere in the survey area and to name the one or two features most desired for that development, survey area voters volunteered the responses captured in Figure 6.

Figure 6
Volunteered Responses About Desirable Characteristics for Future Residential Developments
(“Suppose a new residential development project was proposed for your area. In a few words of your own, what are the one or two characteristics or features you would most want the project to have?”)

I would not want a new residential development project in my area - 16%
Affordable - 15%
Replacing trailer parks with homes/single family spaces - 15%
Adequate traffic control/parking - 13%
Parks/recreation areas - 9%
Security - 5%
Senior citizen center/housing - 3%
Build new roads - 3%
Family oriented - 2%
Attractive homes - 2%
Offer public transportation - 2%
Better air quality/water - 1%
Needs to be around shopping outlets - 1%
Don't know - 23%


As Figure 7 shows, overall, 59 percent of survey area voters say they are aware of the Ponte Vista residential project. However, slightly less than a third of all survey area voters (31 percent) claim “to have heard or seen a lot” it. The remaining 28 percent say they only have heard or seen “a little.” The largest percentage of voters (41 percent) says they have not heard about the project.

Figure 7
Seen/Heard About Ponte Vista Residential Project
(“I would like to ask you about a specific project in your area.
Have you seen or heard anything about the Ponte Vista residential project?”)

Yes, a lot - 31%
Yes, a little - 28%
No, have not heard about it/ Don't know / NA - 41%

Voters in the survey area who are fifty years of age or older are somewhat more likely to be aware of the Ponte Vista project (64 percent) compared to voters under fifty (58 percent), as are White Anglo voters (69 percent), Republicans (65 percent) and Rancho Palos Verdes residents (75 percent) in the survey area. Familiarity with the project (66 percent) is greater among those living within 1.5 miles of Ponte Vista and substantially less (49 percent) among those living 1.6 miles or more from the proposed project site.

After respondents were asked how aware they may be of the Ponte Vista project, they were asked, “In general terms, based on what you already know or my just mentioning it, do you favor or oppose the Ponte Vista project,” with no further description or information other than the project name. As Figure 8 illustrates, the largest percentage (40 percent) said they needed more information or did not have an opinion.

Survey respondents were then provided the following basic descriptive facts about the Ponte Vista residential project and, after hearing them, were asked, “Having heard this description, does the Ponte Vista project sound like something that you would favor or oppose?”

· The project would have 2,300 new homes, with a mix of single-family housing, condominiums and town homes affordable for middle-income families and first-time homebuyers;
· The project reserves twenty-five percent of the homes for residents over the age of fifty-five;
· The project’s homes would be built on a vacant 61.5 acre plot known as the Old Navy Housing site on Western Avenue and Green Hills Drive in San Pedro;
· The project plan preserves forty percent of the land as open-space, which includes parks, gardens, waterscapes, hiking and biking trails, and public recreational areas including two new Little League fields.

More than three in five voters (63 percent) in the survey area, as Figure 8 shows, said they would favor the Ponte Vista residential project -- more than double the “before information” support level -- while opposition slightly diminished. In FMM&A’s experience, this level of support for a major urban residential project is exceptional and illustrates the potential for broad acceptance and support for the project within the survey area.

Figure 8
Support for Ponte Vista

Before information:
Favor - 30%
Oppose - 30%
Need more information/ Don't know - 40%

After Project Description
Favor - 63%
Oppose - 28%
Need more information/ Don't know - 9%

With basic information in hand, women (66 percent) are more favorable to the Ponte Vista project than men (59 percent) who are somewhat more undecided. Those under age 50 are more supportive (77 percent) compared to those who are 50 years of age or more (48 percent). Republicans and independent voters favor the project more than Democrats, 65, 69 and 59 percent respectively. However, opposition percentages according to party registration are nearly the same as Democrats have a larger number of undecideds (14 percent) compared to Republicans and independents (4 and 6 percent each). Support is greater in the San Pedro and Lomita portions of the survey area – 67 and 62 percent respectively – while a plurality of 46 to 38 percent favor the project in the Rancho Palos Verdes section of the survey zone. Distance from the project -- initially important for basic awareness of the project -- is not a factor in support or opposition once the project’s basic description is provided to survey respondents.

The primary reason volunteered by respondents to explain their support for the project is the need for more housing for middle and low income families, including the elderly. Additional reasons for support include the Ponte Vista residential project cleaning up the degraded Old Navy Housing site and providing open space and recreational amenities that would benefit the surrounding community as well as Ponte Vista residents. (See Figure 9) These volunteered reasons for supporting the Ponte Vista project strongly echo the sentiments of survey area voters when respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree with general statements about growth and development in the San Pedro/Palos Verdes Peninsula area as presented previously in Figure 4.

Figure 9
Reasons for Supporting/Opposing Ponte Vista Project
(“In a few words of your own, why would you (Support/Oppose) the Ponte Vista project?”)

Reasons for Support % Reasons to Oppose %
The area needs more housing for middle/low income families 41% It will increase vehicle traffic/congestion 48%
It benefits the whole community 17% There are too many people already/Area is already over populated 26%
It offers affordable housing for seniors 16% There is a lack of space /Too many houses already built 16%
It created public recreation areas 9% There are no plans for additional roads 6%
It preserves open space/parks 8% There is no need for project 6%
It will fix up the Navy base 3% The housing is not affordable 3%
It will improve traffic 3% It is a poor location 1%
It will provide additional off road parking 1% The land should be for homeless people 1%
It includes a new public school 1% Seniors/55 and over should have their own houses 1%
Don't know 16% Don't know 12%

The primary reasons volunteered by those opposed to the Ponte Vista project are 1) concern that the project with increase traffic in the local area and 2) general opposition to additional population growth in the area. However, as figure 10 illustrates, voter support for the Project reduced only slightly – remaining twice as great as opposition – even after respondents heard the following statement voicing these traffic concerns, as well as two other opposition statements:

§ “Ponte Vista will generate thousands more daily vehicle trips in and around San Pedro resulting in major gridlock, damage to our roads and highways and to our quality of life”

§ “Ponte Vista is too large for San Pedro and the surrounding communities. The Ponte Vista developer wants to build 2,300 homes on land zoned for only 500 or so homes.”

§ “Ponte Vista does not set aside enough land as open space and parks that can be used by the public. Less than ten percent of the property would be open to the public if this project is built.”

Figure 10
Overall Support/Opposition for Ponte Vista Project

☼ Support Before Information
Favor - 30%
Oppose - 30%
Need more information/ Don't know - 40%
☼ Support After Project Description
Favor - 63%
Oppose - 28%
Need more information / Don't know - 9%
☼ Support After Positive Statements
Favor - 65%
Oppose - 24%
Need more information / Don't know - 10%
☼Support After Negative Statements
Favor - 59%
Oppose - 30%
Need more information / Don't know - 11%


Figure 11 shows the percentages expressing support for and opposition to the number of potential housing units that might be included in the Ponte Vista project.

Figure 11
Assuming Number of Residential Units, Favor/Oppose Ponte Vista Project
(“Would you favor or oppose the Ponte Vista Project if ____ residential units
were included in the project?)
☼ 2,300 residential units
Favor - 38%
Oppose - 48%
Don't know - 14%
☼ 1,900 residential units
Favor - 44%
Oppose - 42%
Don't know - 14%
☼ 1,700 residential units
Favor - 50%
Oppose - 37%
Don't know - 13%

Figure 12 shows the rank order of importance assigned by survey area voters to community amenities that could be provided to the local area by the Ponte Vista project’s developer.

Figure 12
Importance of Funding Specific Community Amenities

(“Let me name some amenities that could receive funds from the Ponte Vista project.
After hearing each one, please tell me if you think it is important or not for that benefit or
amenity to receive funds from the Ponte Vista project.”)

Very/S.W. Important Not Too/Not At All Important
A free community shuttle service in and around San Pedro 81% 17%
A little league baseball park 80% 19%
Community center with facilities for seniors and youth 77% 22%
A new library in north San Pedro 74% 24%
A road connecting Western Avenue and Gaffey Street 74% 21%
A community swimming pool 49% 49%
A dog park 48% 50%

Figure 13 provides a list of Ponte Vista Project features or effects where, after hearing each one, 65 percent or more of the survey’s respondents said that having that feature or effect would make them more inclined to support the project.

Figure 13
Impact of Ponte Vista’s Specific Features, Elements or Effects on Project Support
(“I’m going to read you a list of specific features, elements or effects associates with the Ponte Vista project. After I mention each one, please tell me whether that aspect of the project makes you more likely or less likely to support Ponte Vista?”)

Total More Likely to Support Total Less Likely to Support No Difference/ DK/NA
The developer will pay for synchronizing traffic signals and installation of computers and sensors to reduce traffic congestion at 23 intersections over 5 miles on Western Avenue 72% 12% 16%
Ponte Vista will pay for a six-acre public park with picnic areas and other community amenities, including parking 70% 13% 16%
Ponte Vista will contribute fund to smooth out traffic flow at Five Points 70% 11% 18%
Purchases by Ponte Vista homeowners will contribute more than one hundred million dollars to the local economy each year and provide hundreds of family-supporting jobs for local residents 69% 11% 21%
Ponte Vista will permanently protect almost 25 acres, or forty percent of the land, as open space, which includes recreational centers and acres of streams and lakes 69% 8% 23%
Ponte Vista will contribute funding to upgrade local traffic intersections and widen roads to improve traffic flow throughout the area 67% 9% 24%
Ponte Vista would build a permanent access road for the new Mary Star of the Sea High School Campus to prevent traffic congestion in the Taper Avenue neighborhood 66% 12% 23%

Figure 13, Continued
Impact of Ponte Vista’s Specific Features, Elements or Effects on Project Support

Total More Likely to Support Total Less Likely to Support No Difference/ DK/NA
Ponte Vista will be located on approximately sixty-two acres of abandoned and blighted vacant land in San Pedro on Western Avenue 66% 12% 22%
Ponte Vista will require that at least twenty-five percent of the homes sold are for residents over the age of fifty-five 66% 9% 24%
The Ponte Vista community will include a seniors only community of at least 575 homes, which requires all residents to be over the age of fifty five 65% 17% 18%
Ponte Vista will generate more than eight million dollars in new tax revenue every year to fund local police and fire services, hospitals, schools, street repair and other critical local services 65% 16% 19%
Ponte Vista will contribute funds to improve the Anaheim and Pacific Coast Highway on-ramps to the 110 freeway 65% 9% 26%

M Richards said...

Anonymous, Thank you but double shame on you!

First, thank you for reporting on the report. I did not take a hard copy of the report with me because, as a CAC member, I knew the Bisno Development would be dropping a copy of on my porch in the coming days and I chose to let a copy of the report be given to folks, like yourself, who might not normally have received the report on their doorstep!

Shame on you again, for not being very informed on my position. Supporters of Mr. Bisno's current plans seem to believe that I am not able to find compromise and only am interested in R1 at Ponte Vista. You and people like you are not only dead wrong, but fail to be reasonable enough to actually acknowledge that I am not only supportive of senior housing at Ponte Vista, but I actually support increasing the number of senior housing units at Ponte Vista. You and I both know that any senior housing at Ponte Vista would require zoning at higher than R1 level.

Shame on me for not revealing today, what you revealed, but I simply gave away my privilege of having a hard copy to folks like you. You did part of my job for me and as a result, you have allowed me to credit you with providing the results on a specific post.

Your double shame on you comes because you seem to not be willing to reveal your true identity in order to have a better discussion on the issues. If you are so supportive of Mr. Bisno's plans than you should have the courage and fortitude to identify yourself and stop shielding yourself behind the "anonymous" identity.

Not I strongly urge you read, with more objectivity what I really write on this blog. I have repeatedly stated that I am not one of the folks who demand R1 zoning if proper mitigation is achieved for zoning higher than R1.
It is true that I do not support building 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista, but I am also aligned with the majority of respondents to the article that suggest that fewer than 2,300 homes would be better.

Please, think about compromise just like Mary Jo Walker commented about at a CAC meeting and Carol Rugnetta wrote about in a letter to the editor. You really don't need to follow Bob Bisno in lock-step with his current proposal.

Also, you need to re-read many of my posts where I write that the current proposal by Mr. Bisno is just that, his current proposal. I take great pains to allow for open discussion and free comment and I do my best to be as accurate as possible, considering that a blog's publisher is under no obligation to be fair, balanced, or even include discussion they may be opposed to.

It's time to come out and play responsibly, reasonably, realistically, and respectfully.
Do that in the best interests of all of our community instead of the minority of followers of Mr. Bisno's current plans which have divided this community more than any other issue has in a very, very long time
MW, that is Mark Wells if you don't already know.