Monday, November 20, 2017

Exclusive: The City Increases the NRC Library Survey Postcard Mailing from 1,500 to 5,000

Mod: Sometimes it pays to be a noodge. Not only do you find things out, but once in a while you can also make something happen. Which came first here is not made totally clear in the following conversation, but if people hadn't complained about the NRC's possibly curated Library postcard survey mailing to only a select list of Sierra Madreanos, I am not certain we would have gotten the following result. Here is how the revelatory conversation I had with City Manager Gabe Engeland went on 11/17.

Tattler: So the survey cards will be non-partisan and neutral on those 3 questions. But this NRC confab determines who will get the postcards, right? If my understanding is correct, companies like that do demographic profiling. They determine who will get the survey cards, and this is based on curated data. That is why those cards won't be going out to everyone. Some are being left out to help determine the result.

Gabe Engeland: No, they don't curate data.  NRC loads the zip code  data set and the addresses are assigned at random.  This is the only way to ensure statistically significant data. There isn't a conspiracy theory here.  The survey is going to 5,000 addresses, which is likely every residential, non-P.O. Box in town.  You couldn't curate that data, even if you wanted to. It is too large a percentage of the total.

Link

Gabe Engeland: This looks like a screen grab from the staff report that went to Council last month.

TattlerYes. It identifies the amount of household receiving the card as 1,500, not the 5,000 you stated this morning.

Gabe EngelandThat was the staff recommendation as this is the number needed to get statistical significance.  After the council discussion the direction was to increase the number receiving the survey.  The final decision is to send the survey to 5,000 households.

Tattler: Where was that stated? I've been following this pretty closely and I don't recall that.

Gabe EngelandAt the end of the discussion council talked in general about the desire to increase the number of households and a discussion on what that increase may cost. I took the conversation as direction and increased the amount from 1,500 to 5,000 recipients.

TattlerHow was it budgeted? Who approved that additional spend? As I recall the City Council rolled with the 1,500, and even talked about it not going out to everyone. I can isolate some video if you like. This isn't making much sense, Gabe. Don't go getting Elaine on us.

Gabe EngelandI approved the budget for this item, the amount is well within my authority. The decision to have the survey or ballot measure was up to Council. How to implement the survey, once that is the option they selected, is up to me. I authorized the increase from 1500 to 5000 and I approved the increase in budget. I think we may be having a disconnect.  The increase in the total number of people being surveyed is generally viewed as a good thing.

TattlerYes. I would agree. Can you send me some documents showing this is happening. Trust but verify as someone who was way into deficit spending once said.

Gabe EngelandHaha. Yes, a healthy mistrust of government is good. I will get a copy of the contract to you.

Gabe EngelandThis is where we are currently at, but we are still working to finalize all of the details. Exhibit A lists the number of households which will be surveyed as well as costs.  It also describes how NRC receives the addresses (purchased directly from USPS) and how they are allowed to weigh the statistical analysis (as closely to the most recent Census data as possible for all adults).

Mod: What follows is a portion of the as yet incomplete and unsigned contract from the NRC. The original is 7 action packed pages long. I'm only posting the last portion of that (Exhibit A), but if you want the whole thing drop me an email and I will gladly send you all of it. The move from 1,500 Library survey postcards to 5,000 is not yet a done deal, at least not yet. It is a work in progress. But it does look like we're getting there. Hopefully I'll be able to post a finished and signed document before too much longer.


Mod: I don't know if you noticed, but besides the mailed postcard residents of Sierra Madre will now be able to complete the survey on-line as well. That also looks to be new. Pretty cool, actually. So even if you don't get a survey postcard in the mail, you'll still be allowed to participate. Weighted data and all. Of course.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

57 comments:

  1. Thats all great news. Do we know what the questions are yet and when the survey is going out?

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    1. This is what I posted the other day. In a way it is the first part of today's story.

      City Manager: Sierra Madre Library Survey Postcards Go Out On December 1st
      https://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2017/11/city-manager-sierra-madre-library.html

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  2. If people want to mobilize them now is their opportunity. Some people have to lead the charge. A sample of 5000 seems pretty large to me and combined with Internet access is about as fair as anyone could hope for. If people really don't want to see the present library torn down then they have to form a group and take action. If you don't do that then stop complaining.

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    1. Personally I don't care what happens to the library.

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  3. Hot dam, this IS good news. Now if we can just get the residents to respond by card or on line, we stand a fighting chance at getting what the residents desire! Let's hope the questions don't have a bias. Go Mod!

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    1. Don't care what happens to the library.

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  4. The additional hand holding from Gabe is sweet. Hope it doesn't get old, or take much time from his daily schedule; if only residents attended City Council meetings, but then again, we are all so extra special.

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    1. Gabe is doing the things the City Council should be doing. Making hard decisions and dealing with what both sides of this question are concerned about. It is more than hand holding. The City Council lacks the spine to do what needs to be done, and he has to fill the gap.

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    2. Come on, 7:02 - this is the best City Council we've ever had!

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  5. The Tattler is now public comment.

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  6. Mod, you have inspired me. After reading this post I have decided to start a Grover Norquist type PAC to only elect noodges. I will call my newly founded organization Americans for Noodge Toleration International (ANTI). We will aim to elect politicians that will only sign our Noodge Protection Pledge papers.

    Tax-exempt donations are much appreciated.

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    1. Why would you do that?

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    3. Noodges Need NomineesNovember 20, 2017 at 8:14 AM

      Dear 7:37 and fellow noodge. It should be obvious to you. Noodges get things done.

      In this do-nothing political climate we need all the help and work we can get. That and its easy to force candidates to abide by my pledge documents if I am not up for election myself, and thus have no real consequences to my popularity/electability. That and getting free tax-exempt monies is all the vogue. Helps me draft more Noodge Protection Pledges and get more clout.

      Join your fellow ANTI Americans won't you?

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  7. What does "needs to be done"?
    Lack of spine to do what?
    Yes; the town finally has a manager and that is what a manager does, manage.
    A manager serves at the pleasure of the Council, guidance is what was lacking from the retiree.

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    1. You know why nobody goes to City Council meetings anymore, right? There is no point. The City Council gives out nothing but bromides and BS. Everything is already decided. The staff report comes out, and it is followed by an automatic unanimous vote rubber stamp by the City Council. That is what makes this case so telling. The City Council rubber stamped that 1,500 card amount in the staff report. The City Manager, realizing that this was not going over very well with the public, fixed it. The council wasn't even asked.

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    2. 7:35 Direct democracy is refreshing, in this instance though. The tech side is helpful as well. Having the survey sent out to pretty much all 5000 households means every citizen can have their say. I especially like the option of "mailing it in" electronically.

      Sometimes I wish there would be some sort of electronic feedback for city council meetings as well. I think that the lack of anonymity during CC meetings makes it harder for people to say controversial opinions during meetings.

      State your name and address and say your piece in 5 minutes has a way of silencing dissent, wouldn't you say?

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    3. The PLANNING Commission doesn't rubber stamp anything, even though the council works against them.

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    4. 8:18. Some people just need to put on their big boy pants and speak up.

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    5. In Sierra Madre there is a culture that if you care too deeply about things like this, you're "not nice." I think it is defensive. Most people just don't understand what is going on, and are afraid of being looked down upon.

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  8. Has the fund raising begun for the intention of saving the current Library?

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    1. You mean did I pay my taxes? Yes.

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    2. The library doesn't need saving. It needs a retrofit, and a cheap one too. Let's live within our means so we can fix those darn pipes.

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    3. Yes, agreed 8:19, let's live within our means. If the Library is moved to the YAC, heaven only knows what those hidden costs could be.

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    4. Agreed, 8:52. And we could be taxed down the line to keep the new (more expensive) library in operation, too!

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  9. So paying taxes has generated enough money then. The long list of repairs necessary for the library to remain operational should be covered?

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  10. 7:35, same deal with Arcadia city council, very few residents attend. The biggest audience occurs when Sho Tay spreads his anti Caucasian, whites-are-racist lies on WeChat. Then his uninformed supporters go blab at the meeting and make asses of themselves on camera. Pretty funny how his CC colleagues agreed to make him Mayor Pro Tem knowing there would be little chance of him being Mayor since he’ll likely lose the election in 2018. Not that being Mayor requires any special skills, but seeing how confused and lost he is, it would have been terrible idea to let him be the Big Mayor.

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  11. 8:18am. Have no fear, you are fortunate that you live in America.
    ps-it is 3 minutes that you have your say.

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  12. I have a friend who lives in Hastings Ranch and uses the library. I wonder...will patrons who live in the nearby cities be able to participate in the online survey, too?

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    1. Your friend should have NO say.

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    2. I think the Hastings Ranch residents should be able to voice an opinion since they use our Library. I would welcome their input as to what services they would use.

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    3. Like we would get a say about the Pasadena library. They have no $kin in the game.

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    4. Your friend in Hastings Ranch can always donate to the library. Come to the Wine Tasting!

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  13. Lack of transparency, Sierra Madre's own Deep Six.

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  14. The reason the City Council needs to send out a card is they have no idea what people are thinking. They've isolated themselves to the point where they have little connection to the community.

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    1. This city council got rid of a dysfunctional city manager, hired a highly functional one, and codified the preservation policies desired by the majority of residents through the approval of the General Plan. They've made some mistakes, yeah, but they've been the best we've had in years.
      People don't turn up much at meetings because they don't have to.

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  15. Why waste money surveying 5,000 if a sample size of 1,500 is statistically significant?

    It been quite a while since I did any statistical sampling and even longer since I took the subject in college, but doesn't a sample size of about 1,500 provide a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of slightly more than 2.1% for a population size of 5,000?

    Or is 1,500 really not statistically significant due to a lower expected response rate? It would be nice to see how the sample size was calculated.

    Not an analogy, but it reminds me of the US Census, where Republicans exploited peoples' ignorance and fear of math by fighting against using statistical sampling and insisting on a direct count of everyone. The real reason? They knew a direct count was impossible due to the homeless and undocumented, resulting in severe undercounts and loss of congressional seats in Democratic states like California--an implicit national gerrymandering.

    One thing you can always count on (pun intended) is that the Rs will always work hard through the night to be insidious in every way possible.

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    1. The least expensive and by far the most transparent and democratic would be to put the question on the ballot. This survey postcard idea smells a little funny.

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    2. I think SM children should also be surveyed, perhaps through the schools. They're completely disenfranchised on an issue that affects them the most.

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    3. Good idea 1:20, I spoke to a teacher with students who was visiting the library and told her to have the school teachers voice their opinions about the move. I can't see them walking to the YAC for a Library field trip.

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    4. Kids don't pay taxes. Let their parents vote for them.

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    5. I like that, 4:02. Sierra Madre School teachers should talk to parents about what a mess this would be for their kids.

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  16. Statistically the Dems would have illegals vote and statistically they keep homelessness as an election talking point, and do virtually nothing to assist those in need, least they loose their funding for useless programs like taking statistics on how many are homeless.
    The D's advocated no plastic bags, now they have removed the smallest decency of toiletries available for the homeless, what's next? Discouraging the homeless from Library visits?

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    1. So 1:23 seems to be saying that California should not have representation based on the number of people in the state, and should continue to ship a disproportionate share of CA tax dollars to red states as though the homeless/undocumented do not exist in CA, not get any offset to cover the costs associated with the homeless/undocumented, AND pay additional local and state tax dollars to pay for those costs.

      So 1:23 stands squarely in favor of higher taxes and less representation for Californians.

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    2. I'll bet 1:23 can't wait to lose that federal deduction on his CA taxes to help multimillionaires and billionaires put away money that perhaps their great great grandchildren might spend.

      MAGA--Make Americans Gullible Again

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    3. A fool and his money, as they say.

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  17. The grandkids are on their own, learn the value of work not counting on grandparents to kick the bucket.

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  18. Men and their disheveled robes!
    Charlie Rose is told he just taped his last show!

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    1. At least he’ll have Fox News as a safe space

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  19. With the increased mailing costs along with a larger survey pool just what does 'city hall' want to accomplish? It's holiday season and this survey will get tossed in the trash along with those who are on vacation until 2018 no one will be meeting the replay dead line to be counted int he survey?

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  20. 5:25: Today's kids will be paying for your social security and Medicare benefits, will be paying for the national debt incurred to make your life better, and will be changing your Depends.

    The least we can do is let them voice their opinions on something that affects them, thereby also introducing them to public participation.

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    1. I have paid into Social Security all of my life. It is my money. Stop your foul mouthed lying.

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    2. You'll get back more than you put in.

      The two earner couple gets back one third more than they pay. A couple with one earner gets back double what they paid.

      So who is lying?

      Face it: you're a socialist.

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    3. Face it. You're an idiot.

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