Interested Parties Paul Maslin and Shakari Byerly Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates Survey Results Concerning Checks and Balances Plan December 27, 2011


From October 29-November 1, 2011, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates (FM3) conducted a telephone survey among 504 likely voters in the City of Sacramento to assess attitudes toward proposals to improve the effectiveness and accountability of city government.1 The survey results demonstrate a strong prospect for electoral success for the Checks and Balances Plan of 2012. Of more than a dozen specific items that are either contained within the proposal or are close in intent or specific meaning to provisions of the proposal, almost all received majority support from city voters, with most of the items supported by a two-thirds majority or greater. The combination of changes to Mayoral and Council responsibilities, ethics/transparency reforms and public re-approval is a very popular mix and produced an overall support level of more than 60 percent once all the proposed provisions had been read to respondents.

DETAILED SURVEY FINDINGS Current Mood of the City Opinions of Mayor Kevin Johnson are favorable. Sixty-three percent say they “approve” of the mayor’s job performance. In contrast, only 21 percent “disapprove.” However, the current mood in the City is somewhat depressed. A predominant share of voters (47%) feels that the City is off on the wrong track, compared with only about one-third (34%) who say things are headed in the right direction.


The margin of sampling error associated with the full sample is +/4.4%.
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Sacramento Voter Survey Summary of Key Findings—November 2011 Page 2 Voters’ feelings about city government mirror this trend, with only 41 percent holding a favorable opinion compared to 45 percent who say they have an unfavorable view. In particular, voters express negative feelings in two key areas: slightly less than one quarter (24%) express satisfaction with the City’s management of its budget and finances, and slightly less (23%) express the same opinion of the City’s promotion of job growth and economic development. Mayoral/Council Authority Voters express a high degree of interest in implementing a system of checks and balances as it relates to mayoral and city council responsibilities. There is particularly strong support for granting the mayor more authority with the City Council providing an important check and balance to that expanded role. Voter reactions to specific items concerning mayoral or council authority appear in Figure 1 on the following page. Figure 1: Voter Support for Increased Checks and Balances on Mayoral and Council Authority Provision Mayoral authority to prepare and present the annual budget, subject to Council approval Mayoral veto authority on budget items, subject to Council override Joint Mayoral and Council authority to appoint City Manager Create position of Independent Budget Analyst Mayoral authority to appoint and remove City Manager, subject to City Council approval Mayor to step down as member of Council to create checks and balances City Council as independent body with responsibilities separate from Mayor Mayor as chief executive with ability to align city leadership behind shared vision for the City Increase the number of city council districts from 8 to 9 Support 67% 67% 66% 62% 61% 61% 55% 52% 37% Oppose 24% 24% 19% 26% 32% 27% 28% 37% 40%

Sacramento Voter Survey Summary of Key Findings—November 2011 Page 3 Voters also demonstrate strong support for voter re-approval of reforms after the measure has been in place for a trail period. As part of the reforms detailed in the survey, we also included a voter re-approval item, which produced strong support: “Require that all proposed changes to the city charter contained in this proposal be enacted for an 8 year trial period, after which it must be placed before the voters again for any further extension” Sixty-eight (68) percent of likely voters support this provision, with only 26 percent opposed.

Ethics/Transparency As a part of the survey voters were also asked to judge a series of ethics and transparency provisions, with all receiving huge levels of support, as detailed in Figure 2 on the following page. There is particularly strong support for increased transparency and public access to information about city decision making and public meetings, with more than 85 percent of voters in favor of both of these provisions. Figure 2: Voter Support for Ethics and Transparency Provisions Provision Require audio and video recordings of all city meetings Sunshine ordinance making it easier for public to access information about city decision making and public meetings Establish mandatory, publicly available independent audits of city finances Independent citizens’ redistricting Commission to redraw Council District boundaries Ethics committee to oversee enforcement of all ethics and campaign laws Support 89% 86% 85% 74% 69% Oppose 7% 9% 10% 16% 24%

The provisions of the Checks and Balances Plan combine to produce a potent electoral mix of ethics and transparency reform that the public strongly supports. It should be no surprise that after these provisions were read to the public, they supported the overall proposal by a 63% majority, with less than a quarter (23%) of voters in opposition.

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