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Survey Shows Strong Support for CSUS Project

The phone survey showed that 62 percent of respondents supported Crystal Springs Uplands School's proposal to build a new middle school in Belmont.

The potential financial benefits to the City of Belmont, the possibility of the creation of 200 construction jobs, and the projection of a boost to the local economy, all proved to be influencing factors in the show support by Belmont residents for the Crystal Springs Uplands School proposed project.

In a September telephone survey conducted by Godbe Research, 62 percent of those surveyed said they either strongly or somewhat supported the construction of the new middle school on Davis Drive; 26 percent strongly or somewhat opposed the project, and 24 percent responded "mixed opinion or don't know."

The 17-minute survey was conducted using 401 respondents who are registered voters. According to Bryan Godbe, president of Godbe Research, registered voters are selected for surveys because they typically represent people in the community who are engaged and care about local issues.

Respondents were asked to rank various features of the development project--both positive and negative.

The biggest positive influencing factor was the statement that CSUS will provide $150,000 more to the city than the current warehouse and office building that occupies the Davis Drive site. (74 percent said they were more likely to support the project based on this.)

Godbe pointed out that of all the influencing supporting statements, the one that ranked the lowest, (CSUS is committed to diversity amongst its students), still had the support of a simple majority (52 percent). Overall, the project received a 62 percent show of support.

"62 percent is a very strong place to be," said Godbe.

Of the negative influencing factors, traffic ranked the highest. 

According to David Bowlby of The Bowlby Group, CSUS has offered to sit down individually with the Belmont city councilmembers and the pollster to present the results.

"We are pleased to see that the Belmont community overwhelmingly supports our project," said CSUS board member Jill Grossman.

The Belmont City Council will consider the General Plan Amendment, Planned Development Rezoning, and Conceptual Development Plan for CSUS at its Oct. 23 meeting.

Belmont Resident October 13, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I am in strong support of the CSUS project and can't understand the strident opposition of a small minority. Whereas other communities debate having nuclear waste disposal and cell-phone towers, we have a bunch of cranks that think having a progressive, modern, reputable school build a beautiful and green educational facility is somehow a drawback? Even from a financial point-of-view, the durability of private schools is far more dependable than start-ups (a vast majority of start-ups fail). Not only that it adds to our existing leading school population and builds on Belmont's reputation as a community with great schools. Yes, there will be issues with traffic and there may even be some noise relating to kids enjoying themselves at school (the horror!), but clearly the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I'm sure mitigation plans can be drawn up that help minimize the issues as well. I wonder if the people in opposition have a predilection for opposition. Let's let Belmont take another small step forward in a great direction.
Jeff Selman October 13, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I am a proponent of CSUS building the middle school. I live on Chula Vista and have children attending Cipriani and Ralston Middle. In order to get them to school, either my wife or I have to leave our house at 7:55 a.m. just as the Carlmont dropoff rush ends. Round trip after driving Chula Vista to Alameda to Ralston (past IHM), dropping off at Ralston Middle, and then circling over to Cipriani dropoff before returning to Chula Vista is between 25 and 30 minutes. In addition, I work in the financial district in San Francisco and usually begin the commute after completion of the above-described school dropoff. If I leave my house at 8:30 a.m., and drive up Ralston to 92 and then 280, I'm parked in my garage north of Market Street 45 minutes later. The above are facts. My opinion is that this is traffic that I can tolerate. I recognize that others may view this differently. That does not impact my support of building the school.
DON CURRAN October 14, 2012 at 12:36 AM
I HAV LIVED HERE FOR 55 YEARS N ALL U YAHOOS THAT THAT DON'T LIVE IN THE O ZONE DON'T CARE, WHY DON'T THEY LEAVE THEIR AREA THEY LIVE IN ,NOTICE THE ONES WITH THE PLUS FOR IT WON'T EVEN GIVE THEIR NAMES, I HAV NOT GOT A PHONE CALL N NO ONE I HAV CK'D WITH IT HAS, I DON'T THINK THAT400 PEOPLE MAKE A FEELING FOR ALL BELMONT,AS WE ALL NO POLLS CAN TELL U WHAT THEY WANT U TO HEAR, PUT IT TOO A VOTE SO WE GET A FAIR FIGURE, THEY CAN PROMISE U THE MOON NOW N A YEAR OR SO WE WILL NOT GET WHAT THEY PROMISE, PLEASE WAKE UP BELMONT, LET NOT BE TAKEN AGAIN.....DON CURRAN , MONSERAT AREA , THE 0 ZONE..OK, HERE IS A POLL 8000 AGAINST IT;;;;;;;;;
DON CURRAN October 14, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I AGREE WITH LYNNE, LET THEM BUILD IT IN HILLSBOUGH, N C HOW MANY WILL BE AGAINST IT.....DON C.
DON CURRAN October 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I AGREE WITH JOE 100 %, WHEN I GOT THAT BOGUS MAILER SHOWIN THE BAC SIDE OF THE BUILDING N MY FIRST THOUGH WAS , SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE, N I HAV WATCHED THE CONCIL MEETINGS N THEY R TRYING TO SHOVE THIS TO US, LETS NOT LET THEM WIN THIS TIME, PROMISES R NOT WHAT WE WANT,,,,DON C
Jeff Selman October 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Further to my post on Saturday, here is an additional factual experience. This morning at 7:45 a.m. I backed out of my driveway onto Chula Vista which was backed up with Carlmont High dropoff. I was at Ralston and 92 on my way to San Francisco at 7:52 a.m. The total time to get up Ralston Ave past Davis Drive and Ralston Middle School (including dealing with Carlmont High traffic) was 7 minutes.
blog reader October 15, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Mr. Curran, has anyone ever told you that writing in all caps equates to shouting?
Timothy E. Strinden October 15, 2012 at 07:15 PM
The photo was clearly misleading, Charles, and for you to say otherwise shows your bias. The photo is about the most unflattering possible of the property, and does not show the attractive building fronts and landscaping, and beautiful mature trees. Almost any property has an unattractive viewing angle but that should not be the focus if your goal is to give an honest impression. Of course, that was not the goal of CSUS.
Annie October 15, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Mr Curran, when you write in caps it is hard to read, so some folks just don't read your posts at all.
Timothy E. Strinden October 16, 2012 at 02:39 AM
I don't believe the phone survey results are meaningful because the survey takers presented only the most positive aspects of the proposal and thus manipulated the results, just as CSUS did with its flyer. I believe that most Belmont residents were like me and had never even heard of the proposal before they received the phone call, and thus accepted what they heard at face value. Of course, when the caller said they'd solve any traffic problems and pay more than current property taxes, it sounded great. However, if they heard the other side that traffic problems may be unsolvable and revenue from schools may be less in the long run, they may have responded differently. Many of those who did more research afterward probably regretted their responses.
Joan S. Dentler (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Hi Tim....thanks for your comment. To clarify, the survey that was conducted by Godbe Research was structured in such a way that, in the first part, respondents were given just the basic facts of the development project i.e. size, location, purpose--without any aspects either positive or negative. Influencing statements, both positive and negative were introduced later in the survey and the final number of 62% in support of the project is the average of the responses given at the beginning and the end of the survey.
Annie October 16, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Timothy E. Strinden, did you ever head of this project before the phone survey? I am not sure,but wasn't the flyer that you are complaining about sent before the survey? Every home in Belmont received the flyer, so if the survey was after the flyer was sent, the community members should have been aware of the proposal. Why is it that survey after survey has the same results, they must have been manipulated?
Tim Hoffman October 16, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Joan- Thanks for clarifying the 62% figure. Do you know if the topline results or other summary of this survey have been provided? It would be great to see the questions asked and individual tabulated results themselves. BTW: Go Giants.
Timothy E. Strinden October 16, 2012 at 03:28 AM
The phone survey was on 9/7/12 and the flyer was on 9/11/12 or later.
Annie October 16, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Timothy E. Strinden the mailer was sent around 9/9/12 according to the blogs on the Belmont Patch, and what I can see from what is on the Belmont Patch, the time when the survey became an issue is when the Belmont Patch took a poll and it matched the survey. I could be wrong.
Timothy E. Strinden October 16, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Annie, I have email messages and written notes showing that I took the phone survey on 9/7/12. I received the flyer on 9/11, just before the city council meeting.
Annie October 16, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Tim, the first blog was on 9/9/12 against the mailer. Joan explained earlier how the poll was conducted: "Hi Tim....thanks for your comment. To clarify, the survey that was conducted by Godbe Research was structured in such a way that, in the first part, respondents were given just the basic facts of the development project i.e. size, location, purpose--without any aspects either positive or negative. Influencing statements, both positive and negative were introduced later in the survey and the final number of 62% in support of the project is the average of the responses given at the beginning and the end of the survey." I appreciate your opinion, (by the way Go Giants!). My point is that polls that don't go the way you want them to go are not a against you, this specifies others opinions. Other polls have the same results.
Timothy E. Strinden October 16, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I believe it is clear that the survey was before the flyer, but it doesn't really matter because they were both misleading and manipulative and just reinforced each other. Residents needed to hear the other side to make an informed judgment. You can't argue that the phone survey adequately explained the negatives because I took the survey and know it glossed over the negatives.
steve October 16, 2012 at 01:43 PM
enough already! Give it a rest...truth nor facts matter to you
Charles Stone October 16, 2012 at 04:10 PM
The photo on the mailer was accurate. It was not doctored. It is not as though the parking lot is full during the day and they waited until all the cars had left. It accurately depicts a large part of the property in question. Should CSUS have gone through the expense of producing a nice video showing all sides of the video in addition to the ridiculous amounts they've had to spend!?!?!? I hope and pray that the commercial real estate/development community is not paying attention to how the gang of three that run the City Council have handled CSUS' proposal. If they have, they'll pass up Belmont for San Mateo and San Carlos at every option.
Charles Stone October 16, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Members of my family use Ralston to commute to 92 every weekday. I also have two children who will be starting Ralston in 2014 and 2016. So my family is probably one of those who will be affected more than most others if there is a problematic increase in traffic.Yet I am a vigorous proponent of the proposal.
Belmont October 17, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Here is an article from today's San Mateo Daily Journal. Apparently, the Godbe Research poll showing strong support of CSUS will have very little affect on the votes of some members of the Belmont City Council....Wow! I wonder if there is any way Belmont could be taken to court for not negotiating in good faith...since the Belmont City Council voted for this project 5 - 0 in April 2011 and sent them down this path. CSUS has probably spent close to $2 million on their proposal. Is there anyway the taxpayers in Belmont could be on the hook for this? I have no idea. I am not a lawyer. http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=1756580&title=Poll%20shows%20support%20for%20CSUS%20expansion
ken Cooper October 17, 2012 at 04:47 PM
sounds to me like the Council needs to get with CSUS and hammer out a deal on a new totally acceptable Development Agreement, which is probably a good thing for all...
Up on the Hills October 17, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Litigation is not the answer to all questions. There are way too many lawsuits! Assuming CSUS has spent over $1 million on this proposal to-date, it would make sense for CSUS to improve the terms of their offer to Belmont. My guess is, on October 23, City Council will voice their remaining concerns (traffic, money, etc.) and ask CSUS to come back one final time to mitigate the issues.
ken Cooper October 17, 2012 at 05:50 PM
agreed, then a real deal can be cut
Up on the Hills October 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM
City Council is correct. While evidence points to the general support of the CSUS proposal, interests of the minority group need to be protected. Having said that, I do not support the working attitude of Coralin in this matter. When you levy too much ego into anything, judgement will be compromised. As a wise woman said before, don't confuse leadership with stubbornness.
Rob October 17, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Amen "Up on the Hills". Her ego is way way in her way at this point. She doesn't seem rational in her thinking. Mary Beth...I agree...it's sad that she and Warden aren't listening to those who voted them in office. I can't wait for next November after witnessing the blind leadership we seem to have in a few who sit on the Council. Time for big change. They have had their time for many years. Time for Belmont to move forward with the rest of Silicon Valley. This narrow mindless leadership has become old to listen to. CSUS is positive for Belmont. They will and should be held accountable if they don't vote for it.
resident October 23, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Rob, I understand your frustration, but don’t give up on our current Council too fast. I believe the Mayor is still making up his mind and he has shown the potential for significant leadership in the past. I have a sense that he is more forward-thinking than some others on the Council and possibly not as beholden to some interest groups. We may still get the right decision for Belmont. And, if not, all the great connections that have been made among the citizens of Belmont over the past few months are the perfect start to a new, grass-roots movement for change next November.
Another resident for improving Belmont October 23, 2012 at 04:10 AM
It looks like the city is trying to get CSUS to solve the existing problems rather than mitigate any impact they might have. Are the Planning Commission and the School District working on solving the Ralston Middle School problem or are they waiting to find the Davis Drive prospective tenant to do this? Belmont has a traffic problem without increased occupancy of Davis Drive. CSUS would be the least problematic as far as increasing traffic. Let's not transfer the existing problems to the prospective occupants unless you want the site to remain vacant.
Annie October 24, 2012 at 05:36 AM
That seems to be the plan by the nay sayers and the 3 no votes on the City Council.

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