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Unscientific--and Untimely--Poll : Hedgecock Tops List of 'Movers and Shakers'

October 17, 1985|ARMANDO ACUNA | Times Staff Writer

This may be Roger Hedgecock's last week as mayor but he still tops the list of San Diego's "movers and shakers," according to a private poll, released Wednesday, that attempted to identify the city's upper echelon of leaders based on their perceived clout and influence.

The survey, however, was taken before Hedgecock was convicted last week on 13 felony counts stemming from illegal campaign contributions. The sponsor of the poll said the mayor's conviction probably would have had a bearing on Hedgecock's ranking.

"He has seen it and he had nothing to say," said Hedgecock's press secretary, Mel Buxbaum. "The mayor is not responding to any of these things at all. He's simply not making any comment."

Following closely behind the mayor on the Top 10 list were Horton Plaza developer Ernest Hahn and Great American Savings and Loan Assn. Chairman Gordon Luce.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 18, 1985 San Diego County Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 1 Metro Desk 2 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
A story Thursday about a private survey that identified San Diego's "movers and shakers" stated incorrectly that only one black, City Councilman William Jones, had made the 56-name list. Actually, County Supervisor Leon Williams, who is also black, was included on the list.

The survey, the third such compilation since 1977, was done by the San Diego public accounting firm of West, Johnston, Turnquist and Schmitt, which commissioned it as a public service, according to Jim West, a partner in the firm.

While the two previous polls were top-heavy with politicians, only Hedgecock and California Sen. Pete Wilson cracked the new survey's Top 10, which is top-heavy instead with bankers and businessmen.

Even so, the pollsters concluded that San Diego's leadership structure has broadened to include a wider range of people. This is particularly noticeable in the second tier of leaders following the Top 10. In all, 56 people were mentioned by survey respondents as being movers and shakers to one degree or another.

Not only are there more people identified as top leaders than in the two earlier surveys but, from top to bottom, the list reflects a diversity of interests, such as education and the arts.

At the same time, however, the list is dominated by white, middle-aged men. For example, Joan Kroc, owner of the San Diego Padres who inherited the McDonald's restaurant fortune, is the only woman in the Top 10.

Perhaps more revealing, no Latinos and only one black, Councilman William Jones, made the 56-name list, although blacks account for 9% of the city's population and Latinos make up 15%. In contrast, Padres first baseman Steve Garvey was considered a mover and shaker by 5% of those polled.

West said his intent was simply a civic one.

"I would guess that it's information for people, that's all. It's been awhile since we did the last one," West said after a press conference held at his firm's 5th Avenue offices, at which the survey was released.

Statistically speaking, the survey would probably not pass muster. Instead of taking a random sampling of opinion from San Diego residents, the pollsters selected 104 people they considered influential. These people were then asked to identify the 10 people they believed to be the movers and shakers of San Diego.

That was the only criteria. The respondents, using their own subjective perceptions, made their selections and in some cases told the poll takers the reasons why.

"This is what we call a qualitative survey," explained Marie Carey, who helped design and carry out the survey. "We asked the leaders who they think the leaders are."

The telephone poll, conducted during the 2 1/2-week period from July 29 to Aug. 16, didn't interview some of the city's leading politicians, which Carey said was unfortunate.

For example, neither Hedgecock, members of the City Council, members of the San Diego delegation to the state Senate nor the county Board of Supervisors responded to the survey, said Carey. The politicians said they didn't have time to answer, Carey said.

The first tier of movers and shakers, Carey explained, consists of people who were identified as having clout by at least 20% of the respondents. In the 1981 survey, only four people earned that distinction, led by then-Mayor Wilson; Luce; Kim Fletcher, chairman of Home Federal Savings and Loan Assn., and Helen Copley, publisher of the San Diego Union and Tribune.

But in the new poll, 11 people reached the 20% circle. In order, these first-tier movers and shakers include:

Hedgecock (63%), Hahn (61%), Luce (57%), Fletcher (38%), First National Bank Chairman Malin Burnham (33%), Wilson (32%), Kroc (29%), San Diego Chamber of Commerce leader Lee Grissom and Police Chief William Kolender (26% each), Signal Cos. Chairman Forrest Shumway (24%), and arts activist and patron Danah Fayman (20%).

Fayman, of Partners for a Livable San Diego, said it's a healthy sign that people like her, a Democrat active in promoting the arts, made it on the list.

"I hope some of the new people who are on it rise to the top next time," Fayman said.

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