SPECIAL REPORT: Putting Down Roots : The Times Poll : Most Have Become a Regular Somewhere


When Zona Deckelman's Ford LTD needs attention, she takes it to the Shell station kitty-cornered from the Carlsbad City Hall, because she likes the master mechanic there.

When she needs a haircut, she goes to Lynn, who does a dynamite wedge cut at Katherine's Beauty Salon.

When she and her husband want good Mexican food with just the right amount of zest, there's no question where to go: Fidel's.

And when she's not feeling good, there's always good ol' Dr. Clark down the street.

Zona Deckelman has lived in Carlsbad for 23 years, and she knows just where to go to get things done.

"It makes you feel part of the community, to know where to go for those kinds of things," says Deckelman, who is involved in civic affairs to boot. "When you've lived in an area long enough, you learn where to go to find the competent people. It's a wonderful feeling."

One in five North County residents, like Zona Deckelman, has a "regular" hairdresser, restaurant, doctor and auto mechanic in the community where they live, the Times Poll found.

Sociologists say one way of measuring how "rooted" or settled down a person is in his or her community is to determine whether he or she regularly turns to the same person or store for particular services or goods.

While the poll found that people who feel settled are very likely to have established regulars in at least some of those categories, people who don't feel rooted have too.

There is little difference in the percentage of rooted and unrooted who've developed an association with a restaurant, hairdresser or doctor. There is more of a difference in the mechanic category: 34% of the unrooted have a regular mechanic in their community and 57% of those who are rooted do.

Of those four services, about half--47%--of the adults in North County have at least three in their own community; three-quarters have at least two; 91% have at least one and only 9% don't have any of the four.

Although they may make some refinements in their list of regulars over the years, most people establish those connections fairly soon after moving into an area.

Among those who've lived at their current address two years or less, 70% have regulars in their community in two or more categories; and of those who've lived in North County two years or less, 67% have.

Most newcomers have had success in finding a physician. Of those who've lived in North County two years or less, 85% have been able to connect with a doctor either inside or outside their community. In the same amount of time, 65% say they've found a regular mechanic; 77% have found a regular hairdresser; 88% a regular restaurant.

More than half, 56%, of North County residents have a regular doctor in the community where they live and another third travel outside their community to get to their doctor.

More than four out of five North County residents have a favorite restaurant, and among those who do, three times as many say the restaurant is located within the community where they live as say it is outside.

Having a regular barber or hairdresser whether it's inside or outside the community is the case for 80% of North County residents. But there are more male repeat customers: 86% of men go to the same person over and over to have their hair done, compared to 75% of women.

Just over seven out of 10 people in North County--72%--have a regular mechanic either inside or outside the community. In this case, there's virtually no difference if you're a man or woman, but age is a factor. Among 18- to 25-year-olds, 58% have a regular mechanic; among 45- to 64-year-olds, 80% have a regular mechanic.

SERVICES If you have a regular hairdresser, is that person located within the community where you live?

59% Inside community

21% Outside community

20% No regular hairdresser

If you have a regular auto mechanic, is that person located within the community where you live?

52% Inside community

20% Outside community

27% No regular mechanic

1% Don't know

If you have a regular doctor, is that person located within the community where you live?

56% Inside community

33% Outside community

11% No regular doctor

If you have a regular restaurant, is it located within the community where you live?

64% In community

20% Outside community

15% No regular place

1% Don't know

ADDRESS How long have you lived at your current address?

39% 2 years or less

25% 3 to 5 years

15% 6 to 10 years

8% 11 to 15 years

6% 16 to 20 years

7% More than 20 years

Do you expect to be living at your current address in five years? If not, where would you move to?

50% Haven't considered


13% Same community

11% Another state

9% Elsewhere North


5% Elsewhere San Diego


1% Orange County

1% Riverside County

4% Elsewhere S. California

1% Another country

5% Don't know

MOBILITY Other than work, what is the main reason you leave North County and go to other areas of San Diego County?

28% See friends/family

26% Shopping

24% Entertainment

16% Cultural

13% Beach

11% Sporting event

10% Balboa Park

6% Medical

2% School

8% Other

1% Don't know

11% Don't leave

ENTERTAINMENT What do you most often do when you go out for entertainment?

58% Dinner

43% Movies

10% See friends

9% Theater

8% Participate in sports

5% Cultural event

5% Dancing

4% Shopping

4% Sporting event

2% Drinking

17% Other

3% Don't go out

How often do you go out for entertainment?

3% Every day

25% Several times a week

30% Once a week

16% Several times a month

17% Once a month

9% Less than monthly

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