News Archive for April, 2012

For Immediate Release: April 24, 2012

FM3 Poll: Four in five California voters believe that the state’s school discipline policies need changes

Suspensions more common for minority, disabled students

Joanna Lin, California Watch

From the article:

A number of bills currently in the state Legislature seek to change suspension policies and require districts to address high suspension rates – efforts that a recent poll found many California voters would support.


Four in five voters believe that the state’s school discipline policies need changes, according to the survey, which was commissioned by The California Endowment, a statewide health foundation that also provides funding to California Watch, and conducted by the public opinion research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. Nearly 3 out of 4 voters said suspensions should be used as a last resort after other approaches to correct misbehavior have been tried, except in very serious cases.


“Nobody’s arguing that we should not ever use out-of-school suspension. It should be a tool that educators have in their kit to respond to behavior,” Losen said. “It just defies common sense, the frequency at which some kids are being kicked out of school – especially in light of these better alternatives.”


For Immediate Release: April 24, 2012

FM3 Poll: Fresno County residents overwhelmingly support the extension of a sales tax for public libraries

KSFN-TV Fresno: Fresno County Voters Appear to Favor Library Tax

Fate unclear for Fresno County Measure B library tax

Kurtis Alexander, The Fresno Bee

April 23, 2012

From the article:

Fresno County residents overwhelmingly support the extension of a sales tax for public libraries, according to a new poll.

The poll results, which show more than 75% of voters in support of the tax, come as good news for county leaders who are likely to put a measure on the November ballot to renew the levy. A similar effort failed in 2008.


A two-thirds vote would be required to extend the tax, which was established by Measure B in 1998. The length of the proposed extension is yet to be determined.

The new poll indicates that 77% of county voters would “definitely” or “probably” vote in favor of the extension if the election were held last month, during the polling period. Just 15% were inclined to vote no and 8% were undecided.


The poll was conducted by Santa Monica-based firm FM3 at the request of the county.

Richard Bernard, a vice president at FM3, called the results an excellent “starting point” for a campaign. He noted that constituents who haven’t been as supportive of the library tax in the past, such as Republicans and Clovis residents, appeared more inclined to back the initiative.

“Rarely are Republicans above the two-thirds mark on a tax measure,” he said, noting their 70% support in the poll.

Democrats, by contrast, were 88% in support.

After reviewing the poll results, county Librarian Laurel Prysiazny said she is “cautiously optimistic” about the measure’s passage.

Last year, the Measure B sales tax accounted for 45% of the Fresno County Public Library System’s $26 million budget, and Prysiazny expects it to be more than half in the coming budget year. Since taking effect, the measure has paid for new books, new library branches and new librarians.

Without the tax money, library officials say half of the library’s staff will be cut and half of the branches will close.

The report prepared by FM3, in consultation with county officials, identifies the following closures should the measure fail: eight of 12 branches in the city of Fresno, five of nine on the county’s west side, four of nine on the east side and one of three in the mountain areas.

In 2008, voters rejected the extension of the tax. Library officials, though, are quick to note that the previous measure asked for a tax increase, which the current proposal does not.

For Immediate Release: April 24, 2012

Poll: Solyndra and the US Election: is solar still a campaign issue for Republicans?

Solyndra and the US Election: is solar still a campaign issue for Republicans?

Felicity Carus, PV Tech

April 3, 2012

From the article:

Republicans may have attempted to capitalize on the failure of Solyndra. A Congressional investigation into the US$535m Department of Energy loan is still ongoing and the US Oversight and Investigations Committee has expanded its inquiry to loans awarded to First Solar.

But has Solyndra’s collapse earned valuable political capital for the party’s presidential candidate in this November’s elections?

Solyndra’s failure may be an attempt to win votes, seems to be the answer from pollsters on both sides of the aisle, but from Republicans opposed to Barack Obama’s administration rather than opponents of clean energy.

David Metz, partner at Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) in Oakland, California and Lori Weigel, partner at Public Opinion Strategies in Golden, Colorado, worked together on a national survey that asked how members of the public recalled the failure of the solar company.

In some cases, those polled couldn’t even recall Solyndra’s name until prompted, said Weigel.

“We had done a survey of renewable energy a few weeks before and wanted to get a very clean read on how much had people seen or heard about Solyndra.

“In focus groups people often refer to it but they often get the name wrong or they know there’s something out there but not exactly sure what it was.”

The survey found that the Solyndra story had “fairly concentrated recall” among Republicans. Of the 800 people surveyed, 41% who said that they had “heard a great deal” were Republican, 21% independent and 16% Democrat.


Weigel, a Republican, and Metz, a Democrat, both agree that support for the clean energy industry does not always split uniformly down partisan lines even after Solyndra.

“There’s an important distinction that we need to draw between the attitudes of Republican primary voters and the attitudes of Republican voters more broadly,” said Metz.

“About 35% of the population identifies as Republican. About 17–18% will be Republicans who also vote in primary elections and they are much more conservative on issues relating to clean energy and the environment. They’re much more negative about Solyndra and government involvement in developing these industries and more supportive of fossil fuels. When you look at the rest of the Republican party who are not active primary voters, they tend to be supportive much like the rest of the population on issues relating to energy.”

Weigel said: “What we hear is very consistent across the country that when people think about renewable energy they equate that with the future of energy.

They think that this is honestly a no-brainer.