Public Opinion In California Essay

1731 words - 7 pages

How do California residents feel about public housing? One indicator ofpublic opinion are the resluts of a survey reported to the Odum Institute betweenthe years of 1979 and 1991. The Odum Institute is the third largest archive in theUnited States of social science data available in computer readable form.Reviewing the results of this study can give us an idea of how (or even if) publicopinion changes over time. The survey examined whether adult residents ofCalifornia felt that tax money (at the state level) for public housing should beincreased, held the same, or decreased.The results indicate that the residents of California were generally felt thatthe amount of spending should either ...view middle of the document...

" A local resident reponded to thisarticle charging that the authors would like see the desires of the citizen'sdisregarded and "silenced" whenever the public will went against that of bigbusiness (San Diego Union- Tribune, 2003). Therefore, there is public support forthis new legislation that would bring new public housing developments into thearea.However, there is still more to this story- the legal basis for the ballotmeasure. Article 34 of the state of California's constitution states that,"no low rent housing project shall hereafter be developed,constructed, or acquired...until a majority of the qualified electors ofthe city, town, or county... vot[e] in favor thereof at an election to beheld for that purpose, or at any general or special election"While residents expressed their support for public housing by voting infavor of proposition A, the process did not start as a public issue. Residentsallowed for the creation of new public housing units, rather than forming agrassroots public demand for better and/or more public housing dwellings.Other communities in California do not hold so favorable an opinionregarding public housing. The city of Palm Springs recently recieved somenegative feedback from citizens regarding a public housing project. In Marchsome residents reacted to an article published in their local newspaper,The Desert Sun that discussed the current city plans. One resident wrote a let! terto the Editor referring to public housing as "a feeding trough filled with bonusesfor the homeless and people with HIV... the taxpayer ultimately foots the bill on allof this" (Desert Sun, 2003). Another resident stated that " we are the ones wholive here, pay taxes, enrich the local economy and vote..." This same residentalso resented the fact that the agencies involved in the project failed to include"adequate input from residents of the affected neighborhoods from the get- go"(Desert Sun, 2003).Efforts by Communities to Improve Public Opinion Regarding Public HousingSome communities in California are actively seeking to improve the imageof, and therefore the public opinion regarding public housing. The OaklandTribune (2003) reports that a new public housing project is aimed at attractingboth renters and home buyers with varying incomes. As is stated in the article,the project "represents the new model for public hous! ing because it will offer amix of low- to medium-income apartments , townhouses and even single-familyhomes" (Oakland Tribune, 2003). It is the hope of city officials that this new styleof public housing will help to reduce the negative stigma generally attached topublic housing projects.Media InfluencesTelevision highlights the reciprocal relationship between individuals andthe media. The media can serve to inform the public about issues as well as toportray attitudes regarding these public issues. In Philadelphia, the HousingAuthority sponsors a quarterly television show designed to inform area residents(including public...

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