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Another Community Survey - Another Community Bill

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

This just in - Sacramento County’s residents main concern is homelessness and homelessness’s younger sibling affordable housing.

It only cost us $89,000 more to communicate that to the BOS…..again. Anybody else getting deja vu here?

Didn’t we just use the first million dollars of our AARPA funding to ask people what they most need from their tax dollars? ......and didn’t they already give us the same answer? 52% of Residents aren’t happy with the county’s direction. When the presenter from FM3 shared that this is a common trend in California. Supervisor Nottoli commented, “So nobody’s on the right track.” With homelessness running rampant all over the state, while our elected officials make exponentially more than the average citizen they’re supposed to serve, I’m surprised the ratings were that high.

Not to say public opinion research is unnecessary, but if I’m paying $77 per response, I expect to see some real changes from the answers gleaned from the research. Here are some highlight from FM3 $89,000 study:

A public commenter pointed out how combining police with public safety was not an accurate survey method. But either way the survey revealed that the public expects 25% of our budget to go to public safety (including the police) when currently the majority of our tax dollars go into our policing system. FM3 research also asked people to break down the use of $100 tax dollars:

Chief Fiscal Officer Amanda Thomas spent a good amount of her time ensuring the BOS knew that the $89,000 survey, and the hundreds of dollars in staff payroll preparing the results are in no way meant to supersede their decision making power. She also laid out some priorities:

I mean….I’m not trying to be overly critical here. It’s important for us to meaningfully communicate with our elected officials. But the most efficient ways can’t be to wait on hold for hours for a 2min one way phone call on public comment, or to be randomly selected for a survey that I pay $77 per response for.

And….I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. But after watching FM3’s survey methods, outreach, and detailed results - I can’t help ask myself how Deloitte managed to charge 10x more for a way less scientific approach, that still got the same outcome.

I wonder how many homes could have been provided for the $1,100,000 dollars it took to communicate to the BOS that homelessness is our main concern.


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