Update on Project Activities
This week we extended the deadline for survey responses to November 10 in an effort to solicit more feedback from business representatives and employees. We touched base with Alex and Julie, who will distribute the links again via Facebook, Twitter, and email lists. At Alex’s suggestion, our surveys will also be forwarded to members of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. Including the Chamber of Commerce members does alter our initial goal of surveying only downtown-based businesses but will hopefully offer a more holistic snapshot of the economic situation in Mountain View in addition to increasing the rate of response. We further revised the survey by making it accessible to users without Google accounts; hopefully no further changes will be required on this front. As of November 3, we have received 16 responses from business representatives and 14 from employees, which unfortunately is only four more responses than last week. We will be looking for more responses in the next week before we close the link to begin conducting analysis.
What We Observed and Learned
Since the survey link remains open, we have not begun analyzing the data. The response rate has been rather underwhelming; hopefully we have not lost valuable time and responses by continually having to check the link accessibility. We will be intrigued to learn how the inclusion of Chamber of Commerce businesses will affect our results, as Alex informed us that one-third of those businesses are registered non-profits, which tend to pay lower wages. We are also exploring the possibility of taking another trip to Mountain View to gather more responses from business representatives, as it is simple to overlook emails or not have time to respond to a survey.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
The team will meet Alex for brunch this Sunday at noon to discuss next steps, hopefully including more visits to Mountain View, and to refresh our project objectives. We hope that expanding to include more businesses in the Mountain View area will enable us to provide a more inclusive and accurate depiction of the current state of economic development. After November 10, we plan to close the survey and begin analyzing that data while including interview feedback to inform our conclusions.
In terms of class work, we found Tuesday’s readings especially relevant to the project. It was interesting to note that of the Bay Area’s “low- to low-middle-wage” workers, which comprise over one-third of the Area’s labor force, a majority earn less than $12 an hour (SPUR Economic Prosperity Strategy, page 8). As the Mountain View ordinance shifts the city’s wage from $11 to $15, thereby raising workers above that $12 per hour standard used in this publication, the city could be a trendsetter for other local governments, which places even greater emphasis on the outcome of our analysis. Furthermore, we appreciated the class simulation and found the experience of learning how to enhance economic development from a policymaker’s perspective to be valuable moving forward.