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Burbank survey — a high grade for city services

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Burbank City Hall 275 East Olive Avenue

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Burbank City Hall 275 East Olive Avenue

City Hall officials are fiercely working to spruce-up and polish Burbank’s image ahead of those all important local election coming up in a few months. First, that highly touted, but rather bland monthly newsletter, Burbank USA, popped up around town and in utility bills.

Recently, a lengthy article on the effort to quote “refresh the city’s image” appeared in the Burbank Leader. Now comes the results of the Burbank Citizen Survey 2010. In September, Godbe researchers conducted phone interviews with a “cross section”  of 400 Burbank residents. A summary of the survey and the results are posted on the Burbank city website.

At the Tuesday, November 16, city council meeting, Mayor Anja Reinke raved about the results: “Burbank has one of the highest citizen satisfaction rates, 96 percent overall satisfaction in the way our city is being run our services the whole gamut of things in the city of Burbank.”

Well, that’s not quite correct. Those surveyed were questioned about city services and the quality of life in Burbank. None of the questions asked were about the police scandal, those lawsuits, the millions being spent to fight those suits, the jack-up of utility rates this past summer, and oh yes, those plum raises for selected Burbank Water & Power executives and some other city personnel. I spoke with one of the 400 Burbankers who took part in the survey and he confirmed this.

However, both the mayor and City Manager, Mike Flad, concluded the survey results indicated residents do not care about the police mess or other controversial city issues. Mayor Reinke put it this way,”… inspite of some of the police problems that we still have very high citizen satisfication with our police services and they have not suffered as a result of any of the problems in the police department that are winding their way through the legal system.”

Mike Flad said,”… we’re in an economic climate in an era of scrutiny in the wake of the Bell scandal and the public scrutiny surrounding public employee compensation and pensions. I think it’s absolutely extraordinary, I think the city employees have done an absolutely outstanding  job to keep our satisfaction rate at that 96 and 94 percent level for both the quality of life in Burbank and the public’s perception of the city services in Burbank.”

The only real criticism came from Councilman David Gordon: “I did have some questions and concerns about the sampling size.” Burbank has around 110,000 residents with 80,000 of them registered to vote. The research sample of 400 people seemed small to Gordon and he suggested a larger scale survey in the future.

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