Menlo Park's biennial survey by Godbe Research, circulated randomly among residents in early December to gauge their satisfaction with city services, raised concerns for some respondents that the way several questions were phrased may result in wrong conclusions.
Specifically, several residents emailed the City Council to say that questions regarding a plan to rebuild the Menlo Park main library appeared to be written to generate support for the project.
"I strongly support rebuilding (or just building) a new library for the 'Bayside of 101' but hugely do not support rebuilding the Main library," Dana Gleson wrote. "I feel that the questions were biased and worded so as to support rebuilding the Main library."
An email signed Teddy and Robert Wilson says: "I can’t imagine that the answers to the questions as written would provide any useful information. Of course an improved library would provide all the services described and would be a good thing. Agreeing that those are a good thing is not the same as agreeing that the city should accept the developer’s offer of financing."
City Manager Alex McIntyre said the library-related questions were designed to ascertain general public opinion. He acknowledged that some respondents may favor a new Belle Haven library over a new main library.
The survey also asked what residents think about the possibility of a seven-story, mixed-use parking garage being built on a current parking lot. There are no plans to build such a parking garage, Mr. McIntyre noted.
He pointed out that at the start of the year, the council made it a priority to look into a parking structure; the survey will determine if there's public sentiment to move forward with the concept. Doing so would require changing the zoning in the downtown specific plan, he said.
The survey was conducted via internet and telephone and was available in Spanish. The surveyors hoped to receive responses from at least 400 Menlo Park residents who are registered voters, according to city analyst Peter Ibrahim.
Godbe Research will present the survey's findings to the City Council.