Representation questioned in community survey results

Plus, 5 other things to know from last week's city council meeting.

Representation questioned in community survey results

Participation was low among young and non-white residents in the 2022 Redlands community survey.

Why it matters: The survey results are used by the city staff and city council to make decisions on where to focus resources, time, and attention. The survey asks residents to rate the city’s infrastructure, economy, safety, and quality of life. The survey results show a gap in engagement with certain populations, particularly residents of color and those under 55.

  • 24% of respondents identified as not white alone and only 11% identified as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino. This is below the target for both categories based on census data.

  • Participants’ age skewed older with 69% of survey responses coming from residents aged 55+.

    Concerns about representation: To address the lack of representation, the survey responses were weighted based on census demographic data. Senior Survey Associate at Polco, Joe Dell’Olio, who presented the survey results, said “demographic reweighting” is an effective way to make up for the “non-response bias” that is often seen during survey efforts. He also said it’s important to look for ways to continue to improve accessibility and engagement with The National Community Survey.

    Survey Distribution: All residents in Redlands were eligible to participate in the survey conducted by Polco. The survey was mailed to 2,800 randomly selected households. About 13% - or 339 residents - completed the surveys. The survey was also available online for 2 weeks in October last year and received 108 responses. In total 465 surveys were returned.

    Here are some of the survey highlights:

    1. Residents report feeling less safe, especially in downtown Redlands.

      • 69% of respondents say they feel safe in downtown Redlands - a 17% drop from the last survey.

    2. Residents raise concerns over development and affordability

      • Just 19% of residents are positive about affordable quality housing in the city. This is below the national benchmark.

      • Positive feelings around the quality of neighborhoods and public places declined by nearly a quarter since 2020.

    3. The city’s utility infrastructure is important to residents (87%).

      • Most are satisfied with the services. Garbage collection and sewer services were given the highest ratings. Affordable high-speed internet was rated excellent or good by 43% of respondents - a three percentage point decline from the last survey.

    4. Most respondents showed dissatisfaction with parking and transportation.

      • Only 4 of 10 respondents positively rated public transportation and the ability to find parking. Most respondents (82%) use their car to get downtown and 9 out of 10 say parking 1-2 blocks away from their destination is reasonable.

    5. Homelessness and public safety were most often selected as top priorities for the city.

    A full report on the survey results can be found here.

2. Mayor Rotation

The new rotational method of selecting a mayor was finalized at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Here’s what changed: Instead of the city council members choosing the mayor among themselves, members will rotate into the role based on seniority.

Why the change: City Council member Denise Davis, who championed the proposal, said the new method would improve equity by giving each district the chance at having their council member become mayor. She also noted that other similarly sized cities use the rotational method. Davis originally proposed a 1-year term.

Those who opposed the change said the system in place worked well and the two-year role of the mayor was important in establishing relationships. There was also concern that all council members would have the time and interest in being mayor.

In a compromise, the council voted for a 2-year term on rotation. Any council member who does not want the role of mayor is able to opt out. The policy change was made by way of a resolution on Dec 20, 2022.

Deep dive note: Redlands’ municipal code (which governs the way the city council operates) was amended last week through an ordinance to remove details about how the mayor is selected. The details of the process are now defined in the new resolution. It’s important to note, an ordinance is adopted over two meetings and can only be repleaded by another ordinance. A resolution can be adopted in one meeting.

Mayor of Redlands: In December, before the rotational method went into effect, Mayor Eddie Tejeda was chosen among his peers to serve a 2-year term as Mayor. Tejeda has served on the city council since 2016 and is the first council member from District 2 to have the role.

In a new year letter to the community, Tejeda said he’s committed to focusing on community, economy, and quality of life.

“These commitments reflect my personal beliefs about what our city government should be focused on. I believe that working on and keeping these commitments will result in many residents being confident that they live in a place that is safe to live and raise a family.”

3. Water Pipeline Replacement Project

A $4.744 million dollar construction contract with Tryco General Engineering to replace 3.5 miles of water pipelines was approved at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Why it matters: As the community grows, aging and deteriorating water pipelines need to be replaced. The budget for the 2022 Water Pipeline Replacement Project comes through revenue from the water utility rates.

Bids for the contract ranged from $4 - $10 million and Tryco General Engineering came in the lowest.

4. 4th of July Fireworks

City Council approved a $30,000 contribution to the Fourth of July Committee for the 2023 firework show at Moore Middle.

Why it matters: Prior to 2020, the Redlands 4th of July celebration was held at the University of Redlands. The city waived fees for the event but did not make a contribution from the general fund.

  • Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there was no firework show in 2020. The show returned in 2021 at Moore Middle School with $30,000 of funding from the city.
  • Despite controversy over the location, organizers say the show continues to be held at Moore Middle School because of limitations with cost and logistics.

5. Community Events Approved

Downtown Art Walk

The city council approved the 10th annual Downtown Art Walk to be held March 26 from Noon-5:30pm.

Giving Sundays

A chance to give back to the community and shop local small businesses is coming to Ed Hales Park in Redlands.

The local non-profit Stronger Together Now and Redlands Makers Market are teaming up to host seven community resource drives this year.

  • Organizers are working with Redlands Unified School District Family and Community Engagement (FACE) to determine the needs of families in Redlands.
  • The group also plans to bring local artists and music to the events.

Unanimously approved by city council, the first event will take place Jan 29 from 11am - 7pm in Ed Hales Park.

The January event will host a blood drive and book donations.

Vendor Sign-Up for 2023

Current City Commission Openings

Parks and Recreation Commission

Airport Commission

Street Tree Committee

Traffic and Parking Commission

Citrus Preservation Commission

Apply here.

The next City Council meeting:

Tuesday, Feb 7
City Council Chambers
35 Cajon St. and by Zoom
The closed session begins at 5pm, followed by the public meeting at 6pm.

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