Valley Hospital presented something of a bombshell on Thursday at the council "H-Zone" hearing, with VP and counsel Robin Goldfischer telling the officials and audience members that the results of a survey conducted over the summer confirmed Valley's suspicion – that .
According to the survey (attached to the right of this article), conducted by a Brooklyn-based public affairs firm Berlin Rosen over the month of August, 62 percent of 3,468 residents polled support the expansion project. Twenty-two percent were undecided, and 18 percent did not support the "Renewal," Goldfischer said, adding the majority of those persons lived around the hospital.
Valley claims in its report that it visited each of the 8,430 homes in the village over several weeks.
Surveyors questioned support at the beginning of the survey (which was 53 percent in support) and then again at the end after "being informed" of the project by the "unbiased" surveyor, where support moved up to 62 percent. After completion of the survey, residents were provided a "fact-based" sheet on the proposal.
Data was then broken down according to polling districts. Megan Fraser, Valley spokesperson, said "it's a political process" and as such, the survey is reflective of that.
According to the hospital, it spoke to residents in the presumed "We-don't-want-it" districts around B.F., Travell, RHS (12, 15, 16) on more occasions "to ensure that we heard the perspectives" of the neighbors.
"Overall opposition to Renewal is highly localized to the hospital area, with 34% of the total opposition coming from precincts 12, 15, and 16, which include or abut the hospital," the survey states.
Yet some are wholly unconvinced the survey is legitimate. Concerned Residents of Ridgewood (CRR), the grassroots group opposed to the expansion, said the study should not even be considered by the public.
"It's been our contention from the get-go that survey was very flawed, very biased and not scientific," said McKenna. "It should not ever be reported in public. We have had a number of people tell us several times that that they were not free to say, 'No, we don't support this.'"
Resident Cathy Benson said the survey "wasn't fair" and said she a surveyor “tried to get me to change my mind.”
Fraser took issue with statements made that the survey was manipulative.
"They're not speaking very well of their neighbors to say they [residents] would be swayed," she said. "Plus, it didn't happen," Fraser added.
The spokesman said Berlin Rosen – whose motto is "We look for tough fights and we like to win" – is a "very professional" firm and the conductors studied the facts of the proposed project "for hours" before conducting the surveys.
"There was no bias, no spin," she said, adding surveyors "did correct misinformation" when they heard it from residents.
The council cannot use the results of the poll in its decision to approve or deny the ordinance.