Poll: Redwood City Voters Oppose Cargill Development By 57% To 28%

May 17, 2011

A new poll of Redwood City registered voters demonstrates overwhelming opposition to Minnesota-based agribusiness giant Cargill and Arizona luxury home developer DMB Associates’ proposal to build a new city on restorable San Francisco Bay salt ponds.

"The more voters learn about this project, the less they like it," said Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis. "Redwood City residents do not want to build on the Bay, even after the developer has lobbied them intensely for years."

The poll, released in its entirety, found 88% of Redwood City voters are familiar with the salt pond development plan; 57% oppose it, while only 28% support the plan. The poll used the developer’s own description of the project as the "Saltworks 50/50 Balanced Plan" – even though the plan actually would develop well over half the site, where all development is prohibited by city zoning laws. After hearing a short list of concerns about the project, opposition rose to 64% to 28%.

For five years, Cargill and DMB Associates have bombarded Redwood City with tens of millions of dollars of mail, phone calls, and advertising promoting the project, pushed by a large full-time staff, consultants and lobbyists. In spite of that relentless effort, the poll found city voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the project, even knowing that it includes mixed use housing, businesses and schools, and land being dedicated for natural habitat and parks and recreation purposes.

The poll also found:

  • 78% of respondents agree that 12,000 new homes will make traffic on local streets and freeways much worse
  • 64% agree the Cargill salt ponds should be restored to tidal marsh for fish and wildlife
  • 62% agree that, with future sea levels expected to rise, building on the bay is a bad idea

Urban sprawl, massive Bay fill and diking have already reduced the Bay's size by one-third. Cargill and DMB Associates propose to build up to 12,000 homes for 32,000 people on Bay salt ponds that Redwood City’s General Plan says should "remain open space forever," and that are a priority for federal protection in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. 

"These developers and the City Council should heed residents' strong desire to halt this project and fully restore Redwood City’s salt ponds," Lewis said.

The poll of 350 Redwood City registered voters was conducted by J. Moore Methods from May 11 to May 15, 2011, and has a margin of error of +/- 5.3%.

About Save The Bay
Save The Bay is the largest regional organization working to protect and restore San Francisco Bay. Formed in 1961, Save The Bay is celebrating 50 years as the Bay’s leading champion, protecting our natural treasure from pollution and inappropriate shoreline development; restoring habitat; and securing strong policies to re-establish 100,000 acres of wetlands that are essential for a healthy Bay. We engage more than 25,000 supporters, advocates and volunteers to protect the Bay, and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders by educating thousands of students annually. Save The Bay is proud to have achieved this impressive milestone and remains dedicated to making the Bay cleaner and healthier for people and wildlife. www.saveSFbay.org