City Asks 'How Are We Doing?' in Survey

Novato residents might receive a survey in the mail about how the local government is doing with performance and services.

The City of Novato is conducting a survey to gather information regarding residents’ satisfaction with city services and performance. A randomly-selected sample of 3,000 residents should expect to see the survey in their mailboxes in the next two weeks.

The mailing process is as follows:

  • Residents receive a post card announcing that the survey will arrive in a week (mailed Feb. 26)
  • The official survey in paper form and a link to the survey online (residents may use either the online form or paper form)
  • A “reminder” one week later to encourage residents to complete the survey

The survey is available in English and Spanish, and responses should be received by mid-April.

Also, to incorporate all residents’ opinions, beyond those in the survey sample, the survey will be accessible to all residents on the city’s website once the mailed surveys are collected. The results, though not statistically significant, will be compared and considered with the results of the formal survey.

For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

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janna nikkola February 26, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Who is the person who submitted the comment marked "We The People Who Vote Say"? Sounds like it came from the city manager's office because I know of NO ONE in Novato who feels that way -- and the pictures of city council members' and city manager's on the new highly disputed and controversial and unpopular city hall? Are you kidding me? I also don't know of anyone in Novato who thinks of the city council or the city manager as "leaders" (other than the city council and the city manager). They're more often thought of and described as the "shove it down our throats" group who ignore the wishes of Novato taxpayers. Doesn't the Patch require that commenters identify themselves and provide an actual email address?
janna nikkola February 26, 2013 at 04:54 PM
I can offer a preview of my opinion (and I doubt I'll be sent a survey because they don't want to hear my opinion). I've never trusted this city manager since I downloaded a copy of his first presentation to the city council meant for a closed meeting which I suspect someone at the city mistakenly posted online. From this presentation I observed his plan for announcing the city had a $5 million/year deficit but when analyzing the financial statements that wasn't the case at all. This presentation also included his recommendation to lay off police officers and fire fighters first to cut expenses but retain city clerical and administrative positions. Is there any Novato taxpayer who favors the apartment building currently housing the Whole Foods Market that was meant to be condominiums and is far too big for the site? Is there any Novato taxpayer who was in favor of spending $6.7 million on renovating the old outdated non-functional wooden city hall building that had long outlived its usefulness and is now locked up and goes unused other than for twice a month city council meetings? If there any Novato taxpayer who is in favor of the location of the new city hall currently under construction that is being squeezed into the back of the parking lot behind the rat-infested community center/theater building? Does anyone approve of the manager's empire building in his own department even as critical staff positions have been eliminated?
janna nikkola February 26, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Does any Novato taxpayer feel the City should have purchased the defunct Novato Theater which has cost the City $3000/month in loan payments since the date of purchase? Is it in the City's jurisdiction to purchase a privately owned theater with the intent of finding someone else to renovate it which never happened? Does any Novato taxpayer feel their opinions are valued or considered by the city council or city manager? Has anyone kept track of the number of new positions created in the city manager's department even as other critical positions have been eliminated?
Carol February 26, 2013 at 05:07 PM
I think you've consumed too much Kool-Aide!!!!
Keith Parker February 26, 2013 at 05:11 PM
No matter what decision a government body makes, some group or number of people will feel it was "shoved down our throats". No decision is a decision and at least the manager and council will make them, a key role in leadership.
Carol February 26, 2013 at 05:41 PM
You are absolutely correct. I just feel that the arrogance of "We The People Who Vote Say" stating that they represent ALL "Voters" is not only rude but extremely offensive. However, I believe that was their intent. I guess I should congratulate them - they got me to react! If that's how they wish to fill their time, well then, I guess they succeeded.
Mark Schoenbaum February 26, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Just one of the resident trolls. You may have seen them post as Bud Light, My Way or the Highway, et.al. This is his same old tired message and if you disagree with him he will tell you to run for office...
T.Sprocket February 26, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Janna your anger and frustration about our city council is felt by many who are watching what they have done and continue to do. The Sherman remodel, the city office complex, the failure to sell the theatre to Tallan & Kashan, the wasteful expenditures on consultants and surveys.. All of these are examples of blatant government waste and a complete ineptitude on the part of our 5 council members. A few people held out hope that Eric Lucan would stand up for what he said he would and for what he knows is right, namely fiscal responsibility. However he has has shown that he doesn't have the backbone to stand up to the other 4 who continue to make horrific decisions with taxpayer funds. Instead he chooses to blog about plastic bags. Why? Because he is more concerned about his next term or moving on to become a supervisor...
T.Sprocket February 26, 2013 at 06:39 PM
..As far as Michael Frank is concerned, I view him as the least culpable. He reminds me of a coach that Al Davis would have hired. Has some smarts but finds out quickly who he is dealing with (ownership=city council) who shouldn't be running a lemonade stand much less a 60,000 citizen city or an NFL team. Frank either goes along with the plan or he is sent off to to manage another city that pays him a lot less or ends up as Santa Rosa JC's special team coordinator. He is concerned about his job/paycheck is the bottom line. Want more proof of that? Note that in 2010 he and our former economic development officer (Ron Gerber) authored a report that told the city council they should "buy existing and not build new" city offices. Frank reversed field the very same day he walked in to a closed door city council meeting where they were to "review his performance". Ha! He came out that very morning on Patch and blogged that the city "should build new" offices. You can't write this stuff! Finally, anyone that believes this survey is going to have any affect on how the council operates is officially "high". Consider that the downtown specific plan which was developed by citizen committees over decades was walked all over last year when the city council voted to build their city office complex on the very spot where 30+ years of Novato resident input called for a parking garage. Again, you can't write this stuff, anyone who believes this survey is "real" is "high"
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Nope. There is no way to guarantee who is who on the Internet. I know it's frustrating for many, but there is no way to police it. I could create a Facebook page saying I'm Hortense McGillicuddy right now if I wanted to. You could create a YouTube profile saying you are Stephen Spielberg. All Patch can do is urge people to use their real names.
Eleanor Sluis February 26, 2013 at 08:50 PM
The most recent survey on line about the city economics and where people shop and what stores they feel are needed in Novato misses the mark. There needs to be questions on pre-planning for Redwood Blvd. and on the empty lots at Hamilton. Do people favor setbacks for trees, and openness or concrete roads to concrete buildings? Do people favor 2-3 stories with parking or 4-6 stories of high density and few parking spaces? Would people prefer an outstanding transportation or train or auto or a combination of the two or transportation throughout history, museum near the railroad which could be a tourist attraction and bring in revenue or a Lowe’s or Macy’s for example with 4-6 story high density housing? Will businesses, landlords, and developers cooperate with residents in planning for Redwood Blvd. and Hamilton? What alternatives are statistically better in terms of raising revenue? How important are the federal funds to Novato with constraints of increasing population and high density of low-income people? What are other alternatives to focus on in preserving the rural, suburban town of Novato? Please go to the Novato city's web site for the most recent survey and also write your opinions to the city council and city manager. City of Novato seeks input for Retail Strategy http://www.ci.novato.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=637&recordid=1399&returnURL=%2findex.aspx City of Novato seeks input for Retail Strategy
Ventress Dugan February 26, 2013 at 09:55 PM
How are these randomly selected?
Steven Norwin February 27, 2013 at 05:09 PM
How are you doing city of Novato? You are doing a fine job of ignoring the citizens of Novato!
janna nikkola February 28, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I just took the two surveys WHICH HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH "SATISFACTION OF CITY SERVICES AND PERFORMANCE". What a waste of time AND TAXPAYERS' MONEY. If the city council was more respectful of taxpayers who attended city council meetings and allowed more than three minutes for each speaker and the moderator was more polite and respectful to speakers, the city council could get more useful feedback. Rather than listen to taxpayers, this survey forces answers to irrelevant questions and is looking for ways to attract more businesses to move to Novato. I have worked in an office in Novato and it was not a good place to be because it's too hard to attract clients from outside of Novato so I moved to an office in Mill Valley. I have never considered Novato an appealing place to own or run a business -- it's just a nice small town in which to live and raise a family and that's all. There are enough grocery stores and other retail stores for basic needs, but I drive to Northgate when I want to shop for clothes for myself. These two surveys were JUST A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING!
janna nikkola February 28, 2013 at 01:37 AM
The city council has actually HURT business and foot traffic on Grant Avenue. The building at 999 Grant Ave @ Redwood Blvd stood vacant for 10-12 years because it was built by a bank and had a huge vault so was suited for banking. Circle Bank (now Umqua Bank and formerly Marin Community Bank) negotiated in good faith with the city council for an entire year to lease that building and occupy it, but the city council WOULD NOT ALLOW this bank to move there because they didn't want banks on the east end of Grant Ave (in Old Town). The building structure is complete now, but they've not moved in, so I'm not sure what the problem is -- it may still be that the bank entrance cannot be on Grant Ave and has to be situated on the side or rear of the building. This is one of the stupidest things the city council has ever done and has caused a restraint of trade/business with this dumb ruling. Banks on Grant Ave are about the only businesses that stay and that have stayed open during this bad economy. The city council should be far more accommodating to this new bank in town and do WHATEVER IT TAKES to help them get up and running, rather than forcing ingress and egress to the building to be from the back and sides of the building. Too bad so many taxpayers are not aware of this dumb rule. To improve the business environment we must remove the current city council and city manager.
Jerry March 03, 2013 at 07:05 PM
It's not a city council "ruling", it is a zone ordinance passed over a decade ago after a lot of public hearings and much discussion as part of the $10 million upgrade of Grant Ave. It was pushed for by many down retailers who are still behind a limited-to-retailing store fronts ordinance on Grant Ave. The zone only runs on Grant Ave from 4th street to the depot. Recent city councils have been far more open to local businesses than many others. That does not mean businesses get everything or even much of what they want, but things are more positive. To learn more about downtown business why not attend the public meetings of the Novato Downtown Business Association (DNBA) (www.downtownnovato.com) or the joint Novato Chamber of Commerce - DNBA Downtown Action Committee (www.novatochamber.com). And hey, while you're at it, why not go talk to some City Council members? All of them are friendly people and they all return phone calls and emails promptly. Their phone numbers and email addresses are open to the public on the City's site www.cityofnovato.org.
T.Sprocket April 02, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Janna, the problem with the bank not having moved in to 999 Grant is that they realize they do not have enough parking. 21 spots on site. 50-60 employees and a retail bank branch. Rumor has it that they are negotiating to buy or lease parking spaces somewhere downtown. It will be interesting when (really if) they move down to see if they can lease the other 7,500 square feet of space to anyone. I am not sure who would lease that space with the serious parking issues that face Grant Ave. You can thank the city council for causing this dilema.


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