In The News
Independent Poll Shows Residents Oppose Cargill Saltworks Development
Of 350 registered voters, 57 percent opposed the project while 28 percent were in favor of it.
By Stacie Chan
Redwood City Patch, 5/17/11
A Save the Bay initiated poll released today showed that Redwood City residents opposed the proposed Cargill Saltworks development project by a 2 to 1 margin. Nearly 9 in 10 residents are familiar with the project.
The city recently ended its first scoping period and will conduct a second notice of preparation in which residents can comment on the application. Applicant DMB Associates spokesperson Jay Reed said they are currently working with city planners to make refinements to their application.
However, Save the Bay Executive Director David Lewis said that this extensive timeline and still no majority support show residents’ opposition to the project.
“The more voters learn about this project, the less they like it,” Lewis said.
Independent company J. Moore Methods of Sacramento conducted the poll from May 11 to 15. The firm has conducted public opinion polls on the California Governor race and on other issues such as the California High Speed Rail and a Bay Area regional gas tax.
However, DMB spokesperson David Smith said Save the Bay was not a credible source to gage public opinion on this project.
“Their number one objective is to shut down any consideration of this project,” Smith said. “We want the public to engage with the city as mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA.)”
He added that back in 2008, Save the Bay conducted a poll and said that 71 percent of voters supported Measure W, which would require a two-thirds majority vote to allow developers to build on open spaces, including the Cargill property. The measure was actually defeated with 62.6 percent. Save the Bay faced criticism at the time for not releasing all its poll questions.
However, this time Save the Bay has released the entire poll and Lewis said the results speak for themselves. He said Save the Bay funded the poll because the organization wanted individuals to realize that their opposition was part of a “strong city-wide opposition.”
“Voters have already decided that they don’t want the land developed, and instead want the salt ponds restored,” he said.
Lewis said he hoped the poll results would aid city councilmembers’ decision to either move forward with the application or halt the project altogether. The poll showed that 54 percent of residents were more likely to support a candidate who opposed the project versus 27 percent who said they would be less likely to support the candidate.
“If officials ignore voters’ opinions, they do so at their own risk,” Lewis said. “This project is not only expensive, but divisive.”
But Smith said he believed the city of Redwood City was “fully capable of carrying out the application process."
“The facts will be made clear in the EIR,” he said.