Council Debates New Phone System and Citizen Survey

A new telephone system, a citizen satisfaction survey and a traffic enforcement report took center stage at the February 7 city council meeting.

Telephone system

The city’s phone system is wearing out. Keys get stuck, calls are dropped and LED readouts that let staff know who’s calling don’t work, the city’s IT manager, Brain Lewton, told the council. Worse, the manufacture no longer supports the 12-year old system.

A new telephone system would cost $385,000, an amount Mayor Richard Bailey couldn’t countenance. “This is a stiff price tag for what sounds like a superficial item,” Bailey said.

Lawton argued that the city would eventually have to replace the system anyway and there is a chance that the system might break down before then. That would not, he stressed, put the public safety at risk.

The newly updated 911 system is separate. People just wouldn’t be able to pick up a phone and call Public Services about a pot hole or Community Development about a building permit.

Despite his skepticism, Bailey did join the rest of the council in voting to approve a request for proposal. This does not green light the project. The council will have to approve the contractor before the project goes forward.

When that happens Bailey said that he “hopes the staff does a better job of explaining why a new system is necessary.” The vote was 5-0.

Citizen Satisfaction Survey

Bailey also objected to the city spending $25,000 for another citizen satisfaction survey.

The city commissioned scientifically-valid surveys in 2011 and 2014 from the National Research Center. Money for the project is included in this year’s budget. Bailey said in his five years on the city council he had never seen a policy decision based on results from the surveys. “I don’t see the point of doing this survey if we’re never going to use it,” he said.

Councilwoman Carrie Downey disagreed. She said she uses the surveys to focus on broader community concerns and not just what comes into her e-mail box. “It allows us to move more slowly and not think that everything is a crisis.”

Bailey favors surveys that address issues unique to Coronado. These are more expensive. The city went that route in 2003. That venture, according to City Manager Blair King, cost the city $32,000.

King noted that previous citizen satisfaction surveys had led to the creation of the Cultural Arts Commission and improved programming on the city’s cable television channel.

Bailey dismissed the idea. “We moved forward not because of the survey, but because citizens wanted us to move forward.” he said.

He suggested doing both a general and policy specific survey. There was concensus for this. The vote was 5-0 to bring back this item with both types of surveys.

Traffic Safety

Coronado Police Chief Jon Froomin
Coronado Police Chief Jon Froomin, [Photo courtesy City of Coronado]

“Traffic safety rests on three pillars — enforcement, engineering, and education”, said Police Chief Jon Froomin.

Of these, Coronado only has control over enforcement. The two most dangerous corridors – Routes 75 (Orange Avenue) and 282 (Third and Fourth) – are state highways and are overseen by Caltrans.

Through traffic enforcement the city hopes to improve behavior, creating what Bailey has called a zero-tolerance enforcement policy.

“We will never have an officer at every single intersection,” Bailey said. But the city could improve safety by “setting ticket expectation high enough to meet community expectations.”

Chief Froomin reported that citations increased roughly 16% (4022 issued in 2015, compared to 4679 in 2016).

Ticketing improves safety in general. “It causes everybody to slow down,” he said.
To further increase safety along Route 282, the city installed lidar and radar along heavily trafficked corridors to improve safety. Lidar registrars a vehicle’s speed and posts it on a sign, encouraging drivers to comply with posted speed limits.

Other council actions:

  • Accepted the 2017 Street Tree Masterplan.
  • Approved mid-year budget adjustments for FY 2016-2017.
  • Made several commission appointments. Judith Mansfield to the parks and recreation, and Vicky Curry Lambert and Darron D. Thompson to transportation.
  • Appointed Mike Donavan to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Bayshore Bikeway Working Group.

Get breaking Coronado news in your inbox >> SUBSCRIBE
SHARE

A freelance writer in San Diego for more than 30 years. She has written for a number of national and international newspapers, including the Times of London, San Diego Tribune, Sierra Magazine, Reuters News Service and Patch. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@ecoronado.com