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Editorial: Survey shows we like Pleasanton

 

Here's more good news for Pleasanton as the city heads into another prosperous and productive new year. A new quality-of-life survey shows that those of us who live here, work here and go to Pleasanton schools are euphoric over our community, its resources, climate, location in the Bay Area and the economy.

The survey was prepared by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3), which specializes in public policy-oriented opinion research and conducts similar surveys throughout the state.

The city of Pleasanton has sponsored these surveys since 1995 to determine the public's view on a variety of issues, including facilities and services. FM3's survey was based on telephone interviews with some 600 randomly selected Pleasanton voters, including an over-sampling of Latino and Asian voters, using questions and responses from previous surveys as a baseline.

Solid majorities of all major demographic and geographic subgroups indicated they like living here, although Latinos, renters, lower-income residents and younger residents were less enthusiastic than others. Only 39% of Latinos consider the quality of life here to be "excellent," compared to 72% of whites and 68% of Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Those surveyed also said the local government needs to "pay more attention" to problems related to traffic congestion, growth and development. Of particular concern is traffic gridlock on the adjacent freeways and high housing costs that make it difficult for children of residents to live here as they join the workforce after completing their education.

"My commute has gone from 30 minutes to nearly an hour," one resident told surveyors. The price of housing was another concern. "My kids are grown, college-educated and make a lot of money, and still can't afford to live here," said another respondent.

These issues haven't changed much over the years, and, as home prices continue to rise, so-called "starter" homes are hard to find. With a one-bedroom apartment in Pleasanton now costing $2,000 to $2,500 a month, even rentals are out of reach for many college graduates starting their first jobs.

Still, overall, attitudes about Pleasanton remain overwhelmingly positive and have changed little since the surveys started, said FM3's Curt Below and Miranda Everitt.

"These surveys are helpful to us for overall public information and as a management tool for city government to see how well we are doing as a city," City Manager Nelson Fialho said. "They are not political. We don't ask how the mayor or City Council are doing. They're really a reading of the pulse of Pleasanton."

The survey reported that 96% of those of us who live here feel that Pleasanton is an "excellent or good" place to live, 94% said this is a good place to raise their children and 98% feel this is a safe place to live.

The survey showed that 96% of residents rate the quality of life here as "excellent or good," a finding that compares favorably with other California communities FM3 surveyed, including Orinda (also 96%), Carson (84%), Fremont (79%) and Oakland (73%).

City services deemed excellent or good and also stated as top priorities in the survey included water quality (94%), fire protection (93%), police protection (91%) and street repair and maintenance (87%).

The full survey can be viewed on the city's website at www.cityofpleasantonca.gov.

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