These questions arose as the result of feedback from members of the community who participated in the parks poll.
During the course of conversations, questions arose as to why the caller ID from these calls identified, Ultra Clean Pools, as the source of the call.
We made the decision to inquire as to how this came to be and whether there is a legitimate reason why the company owned and run by a sitting Davis City Councilmember would be involved with a vendor that has a city contract to conduct surveys and create a parks master plan.
Based on these questions, a letter was drafted to City Attorney Harriet Steiner and copied to the entire city council, City Manager Bill Emlen, and City Clerk Margaret Roberts.
The decision was made to ask these questions in a public manner including a full disclosure of the letter to City Attorney Harriet Steiner.
Davis City Councilmember Stephen Souza responded on the Vanguard:
“There is no relationship. You are confusing a poll on school board candidates and Measure Q with a survey being conducted by Godbe Research.”
City Attorney Harriet Steiner confirmed Mr. Souza’s contention.
“It is our understanding that there is no relationship between Stephen Souza and either Godbe Research or MIG. Rather, it is our understanding that Stephen Souza permitted the use of his phone lines at Ultra Clean Pools to be used to conduct telephone polls related to Measure Q. This survey was not done by the City and the City had no role in this survey whatsoever.
One of my associates has spoken with Bryan Godbe of Godbe Rearch. He explained that Godbe Research uses two primary data collection firms, Mountain West Research and EMH. A call from these data collection companies would likely register as an 800 number; the calls would not have been made from the Ultra Clean [line appears cut off].”
I appreciate the very quick turn around by the City Attorney on this matter. In fact, I have never gotten a response as quickly as this from the city.
The City Attorney further informed me that since the questionnaire is only a draft, it is not subject to a public records act request. The final questionnaire will be released when the survey and results are finalized, so as to not bias the survey itself.
This information clarifies that there was likely some confusion between the two surveys. However, some questions remain as to why and for whom Mr. Souza was conducting those polls and whether he was sharing the information generated from those polls with others including the school board candidates he supports, their campaigns or the campaign in support of Measure Q.
Mr. Souza states:
“The 3 question automated phone poll I conducted on school board candidates and Measure Q is completely separate from the live survey that Godbe Research is conducting on parks and recreation.”
Again, when questioned by citizens and readers of this blog about who had requested or was benefiting from his polling efforts Mr. Souza’s response to questions on this was less than satisfying and raise more questions than they answer:
“I am a citizen who is interested in the outcome of Measure Q. It will have an effect on our community and I wanted to see if it was passing. I wanted to see if I needed to do more to help assure its passage.”
So the central question in our inquiry has been answered and addressed, but others still remain.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting