Residents give S.F. government a C+ 

Residents continue to rate city government as barely above average, according to survey results released by the city controller on Tuesday, which showed residents increasingly frustrated with Muni and feeling less safe, but more families with small children nonetheless planning to stay in The City.

The 2007 City Survey is based on responses by 3,605 San Francisco residents who were polled in January and February, mostly by mail, but also by telephone and Internet surveys. The last survey was done in 2005.

When asked how good a job local government is doing at providing services overall, those polled gave The City a "C+" grade, the same as in 2005.

According to the survey, The City makes a good first impression with new residents, but dissatisfaction with city services increases the longer one lives in San Francisco.

Two out of three residents who have lived in San Francisco less than a year given The City an A or a B grade; after a year, less than half of residents do so.

The report does note, however, that more respondents this year gave City Hall a grade of "B" or above than in any other survey year — 40 percent in 2007 compared with anywhere from 32 to 37 percent in previous years.

Lackluster approval was given to The City’s Recreation and Park Department and street and sidewalk cleanliness, with both service areas in the "C" range, the same as in 2005.

Muni took the hardest hit of all city services, with respondents giving The City’s public transportation agency an overall "C" average and its lowest points for convenience of routes, fares and communication to passengers since 1997.

Respondents also said they feel less safe on Muni this year than in 2005, and 25 percent of passengers gave drivers a poor or failing grade in the art of courtesy, which received a "C" grade.

Respondents to the 2007 City Survey differ in some respects from the San Francisco population, the report noted. Survey respondents tended to be more educated, more likely to be over 44 years old, had lived in San Francisco longer and included more white and fewer minority respondents.

The demographics of the respondents skewed results. For example, the report notes that the area of The City in which a resident lives, as well as race, income and age, are tied to how safe they feel.

While the report notes that respondents from southeastern parts of The City are less likely to report feeling safe, overall survey respondents gave The City a safety grade of "B-".

Although 80 percent of respondents said they felt safe or very safe walking alone in their neighborhoods during the day, that was down from 83 percent in 2005. Seven percent of respondents said they felt either unsafe or very unsafe during the day, up from five percent in 2005.

The most optimistic bit of news that the survey contained was a finding that 28 percent of respondents were very or somewhat likely to leave San Francisco, down from 33 percent in 2005.

How San Francisco rates in the eyes of residents


» More residents give favorable ratings than before

» Most are pleased with water quality

» Higher grades from people who use more services

» Newer residents give more favorable grades


Safety: C+

» Residents in southeastern neighborhoods feel less safe

» Feelings of safety down slightly from 2005, higher than in 1990s

Public transit: C

» Muni ratings decline for third time

» Ratings on Muni timeliness and reliability fall most in western part of city

Cleanliness: C

» Grades holding steady

» Southeastern neighborhoods and District 6 less likely to be clean

Pavement: C-

» Ratings of conditions continue to decline

Parks: C+

» Ratings significantly lower than 2004

» Frequency of park visits similar to previous years

Libraries: B-

» Ratings mostly steady

» Frequent users give higher ratings


» Children, youth and families: Fewer families plan to leave city

» Health insurance: Most residents insured, slight rise from 2005

» Technology: Disparity in Internet access by demographic factors increasing

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Bonnie Eslinger

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