My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Archive for June, 2010

A rumor grows in Brooklyn

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Latest Update:

I currently work at Brooklyn LCO 2225. I read on your blog (in the comments section) that someone stated that Jenny Ortiz-Bowman was among the two people fired recently from our office for helping with the faslification. This is untrue. Ms. Ortiz-Bowman has not worked in our office in months and was not part of the falsification of EQ’s. That was someone else. It was the manager who took Jenny’s place, Sonya Merritt, who got fired last week. Jenny was not part of it. In fact, she got fired months ago because she did not want to rush her operation and wanted to do things right.
-Anonymous

UPDATES:

1. Subject: bed bug infestation

Message Body:

rumors aren’t the only thing growing in brooklyn.  at lco 2226, the staff in the admin department are all sitting on plastic covered chairs.  the exterminator brought in the bug sniffing dog and confirmed their department is infested with blood sucking bed bugs.  you can’t make this up!

2. From the comments section:

“Let’s put names to these two losers….Mr ALVIN AVILES and MS JENNY ORTIZ – BOWMAN…..supervised by AREA Manager MS DARLENE LOPEZ…let the games begin LOL”

Any truth to this submission?

Subject: Brooklyn LCOM fired for falsifying EQ’s

Message Body:
At the RCC rumors are flying about an LCOM in Brooklyn that was fired for falsifying EQ’s, payroll and D-291′s.  Please investigate

Daily Sound Off: North Carolina problems not fixed…

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

This comes from North Carolina:

I started my Census work on April 27, 2010. At first, I was notified that my first week of Census work would be training and would be help near my home in Etowah, NC. At the last minute that was changed to a somewhat distant location in Asheville, NC.  The classroom instruction included complicated Census-taking requirements and presented quite a challenge with all the bureaucratic details from how to properly fill out time sheets (blue ballpoint pen only, times stated in quarter-hour increments and hours in 0.25 decimal blocks) to literally hundreds of pages of instructions. Even for me, a person with graduate degrees, this was a formidable amount of information to absorb. The last day of class was to use what is referred to as Address Assignment (AA) books which listed the addresses to be Enumerated. Howvere, the books were not available due to “computer problems”. So, no instruction in the use of the AAs could be done. The first experience with the AAs was the following week when we were actually performing the Census Enumeration.

Before we started Census work we all had to be fingerprinted. That is good and I have no problem with that security measure – except that I have read that convicted felons were accepted as Census-workers in spite to the figerprinting. A few days later I was notified that the quality of my fingerprints were unacceptable and that I needed to go to the Local Census Office (LCO) in Asheville to be re-fingerprinted. Of course, I was paid for my time ($11.50/hr) and mileage ($0.50/mile) to drive from my home to Ashville and back. As I came to find out a good percentage of my classmates also had to be refingerprinted.

When I started performing my Census work, instead of working locally, I was assigned to an area about 30 miles from my home. Again receiving time and mileage compensation to and from my house.

Every day we were all required to turn in our time-sheets for the previous day at the meeting place 30-miles from my home. An interesting aside is that even if one did not work on a given day they were required to turn in a timesheet for the prior day. In doing so they then needed to turn in a time sheet the next day for, perhaps, just the time and mileage incurred to turn in the time-sheet the previous day. This could prove to be a form of perpetual motion.

You have undoubtedly read or heard about the problems in paying the Census-workers. In spite of statements to the press by a Ms. Carla Gay of the Asheville LCO, payment errors were commonplace, not isolated instances, and, as best I can tell were NOT, in many cases, due to employee errors. Even if they were, Ms. Gay’s comments to the Press were unacceptable and just go to point out how complicated the time-sheet protocol was and what a lack of management experience she has.

Since many people took Census work due to dire financial situations, the paycheck error produced severe hardships. Those people who managed to reach the Regional Office in Charlotte were told that emergency checks would be sent by Federal Express to their home – allegedly at a cost of $25 per check! According to conversations I’ve had with Representative Heath Shuler’s office in Washington, Rep. Shuler has started an investigation in this but one example of mismanagement. I’m not optimistic that his investigation will go anywhere.

One problem I encountered early on in the Census was the lack of respondents that were home when I stopped at their residence. We were told in no uncertain terms in class, to seek out a “Proxy” – a neighbor to garner whatever information we could about the residence we were supposed to enumerate. We were further told that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES were we to know on any neighbor’s door to obtain Proxy information. The neighbor has be be outside on the street to approach them. Several weeks later when we were admonished for not competing more Enumerations we were questioned as to why we did not knock on neighbor’s doors to obtain Proxy inputs. We were then told we WERE supposed to know on doorrs. When we were permitted to do so our success rate increased appreciably.

Throughout the Census process I and others I spoke to were constantly asked by people we contacted why we were there since they had mailed in their Census Questionaires and, in many cases, had also been visited by other Census-workers. In my own case I mailed in my Questionaire before April 1 and yet, while I was out performing the Census a Census-worker visted my home to complete a Census.

I receive all my mail at a USPS PO Box. Toward the end of March was read a small notice posted in our Post Office that PO Box-holders would NOT receive Census forms. In my case I had to go to the local library, not the Post Office, to obtain a Census Questionaire. No PO Box holder I sebsequently spoke to ever knew that they would not receive a Census Form if they had a PO Box.  A month or so ago another notice was posted in our Post Office that, if you had a PO Box and wanted a Census form you could call an 800-number to have one mailed to you!

The last week presented a fiasco as far as Census Enumeration assignments were concerned. I was asked (on short notice) if I could perform Census work in some remote and distant locations (Cashiers and Highlands). This was fine with me, after all I WAS being paid time and mileage.I appears that many people were being sent to these areas and since the Census was clearly in a panic mode, several people were asked to deliver their completed Census form to the Asheville LCO. Again time and mileage for all.

A few weeks ago, for reasons I don’t know, we were informed to immediately turn in all Census forms and data, completed or not. Two days later materials were redistributed to we were told to continue our Census Enumeration.

One recent assignment I accepted was to drive to a “Wendy’s” in Cashiers, NC and wait for other Enumerators to turn in their forms so that I could drive them to the Asheville LCO. A sat there for about four hours, doing nothing. A census Crew Leader was already at “Wendy’s” and it appeared that if the LCO management could have waited aother hour after the first back of Questionaires were brough in the Crew Leader could have delivered all the Questionaires to Asheville. As it was, I made one trip and, supposedly, one hour later the Crew Leader made another one.

In taking to other Census-workers, it appears that my experiences were commonplace. The so-called Management for the 2010 Census is most definitely Reactive, not Proactive. Have they learned nothing from previos Census? Apparently not. I frequently encountered what I would call “panic management” with telephone calls informing me that so task had to be performed ASAP. I will stress that at no time was I subjected to pressure to enhgage in these assignments. But is was clear that panic as the motivation.

The above recounted episodes so upset me that I called Representative Heath Shuler’s, Senators Kay Hagan’s and Richard Burr’s offices in Washington.  At Senator Burr’s office I spoke to, Bryan, a staff member who informed me that the Senator has received number calls and had written a letter to Robert Groves, the Director of the 2010 Census. Ryan further informed me that Groves’ response addressed some issues but didn’t really provide satisfactory answers. In response to my question whether Dr. Groves (he is a Ph.D and a University of Michigan Professor), LuAnne Holifield (who, as far as I can determine, is the heard of the Asheville LCO) or Carla Gay could be fired, Ryan was pessimistic, saying that is is virtually impossible to fire anyone in Government employment. Besides, Groves was appointed, not hired.

Although I would never condone nor participate in violence to resolve issues such as this, I’ve come to understand and appreciate what would lead people to consider such acts. The feeling of the lack to power and the arrogance toward those who are suposedly there to serve us, the taxpayers, in infuriating.

As a side note, I recently had a brief meeting with Ms. Holifield. Her lack of any courtesy and just plain rudeness was disgusting.

Burmese residents of Northern California get help with 2010 Census

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

KALW and the San Francisco Chronicle recently collaborated on a piece about counting the Burmese population. As MyTwoCensus reported months ago, this effort would have been much simpler and more effective if the Burmese translations on forms were accurate. The below article implies that the Burmese in Northern California are using English forms and subsequently having others (who speak English) complete the forms on their behalf:

The Census Bureau has released its latest population estimates, ahead of announcing this year’s official census count, and some of the results may surprise you. As of July 2009, 317 counties, four states, and the District of Columbia were officially considered ‘minority majority’ areas, meaning that people of European descent are now in the minority there. The four states are Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii and–you guessed it, California. Demographers are attributing the jump to high minority birth rates, and a large influx of young immigrants and refugees.

According to the US State Department, among the half-million refugees who arrived in the US over the last decade 60,000 are from the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Many agencies, including Amnesty International, claim the ruling military junta in Burma has been committing human rights violations since the 1960s, when it overthrew the democratic government. No one knows how many of its citizens have fled, but in the last decade, more than 2,000 Burmese refugees have resettled in California. But this upswing in the Burmese immigrant community here might not get reflected in the 2010 census. Reporter Adelaide Chen has more.

*                                    *                                    *

ADELAIDE CHEN:  In Oakland, there’s a Burmese Mission Baptist church that’s been established only within the last decade. It has a special service to accommodate the Karen and Karenni ethnic minority groups that speak their own languages. Not all of the people who use the service are Christian, but as newcomers to the US, they come here to adapt, socialize and access social services.

After the service, families sit drinking ohn-no-kauk-swe, a traditional chicken coconut noodle soup with chilies. Pastor Aye Aye Thaw assists newcomer Me Reh in filling out a census form in English. Reh just arrived three months ago so the English capital letters that the pastor writes on his form are unfamiliar to him.

So you’re asking him to pull out his ID?

AYE AYE THAW: Yeah, because I need the house number. Because they do not know their house number.  And they do not know their apartment number.

Thaw understands how counting Burmese Refugees can be difficult for a census worker. She knows the Burmese don’t use last names.  She knows the people from refugee camps are not likely to have birthdates. Like in this case, the IDs of both Me Reh and his wife list theirs as January first.

See it says Jan 1 for both IDs.

AYE AYE THAW:  All are like that. At first I’m surprising too but now I’m used to that.

Thaw says when they tried filling out the forms for the first time, they were all puzzled by one question: The one about their ethnic group. To say you’re “Burmese” is to say you’re a part of the dominant ethnic group back home, often associated with the military junta. And at least a third of Karennis have been displaced by the military presence in their home state. Some of which resettled here as refugees and joined Thaw’s fellowship. So, she decided to list both groups.

AYE AYE THAW: I want to make sure that’s why I want them to fill it up with Burma and then Karenni.

There are about 20 major ethnic groups within the country known as Burma. So when it comes to the census, it’s especially hard to get an accurate count.

CARL KATCHER: To be honest, there’s a lot of ethnic issues in Burma.

Carl Katcher’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Burma in the seventies:

CARL KATCHER: As far as I understand, most of the Karens, most of the ethnic groups will just be filling out their group as the particular group. Whether it be, you know-Kachin, Shan, Karen, or Karenni.

So those ethnic groups might not make it to the final count. Mary Nicely, the government liaison of the census committee for the people of Burma, says in the last census her population was undercounted, and she’s concerned it could happen again.

MARY NICELY: And that’s why we’ve been working so hard to try to pull it together this time around because the only support services these people have are churches, family, and if they’re lucky they can get some sort of assistance and someone can help them.

WSJ: Census makes Obama’s re-election more difficult

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal detailing why 2010 Census results may make re-election more difficult for President Obama:

President George W. Bush would not have won the 2000 election had the 1960 map been in use. But the population movement that occurred over 40 years shifted enough electoral votes from states Democrat Al Gore won to states that Mr. Bush won to make the difference. And for that matter, President John F. Kennedy would not have won the White House had the 2000 Electoral College numbers been in place in 1960.

The best guess – and it is more than a guess since reasonably accurate population projections for the states are no secret – is that the following states are likely to gain one seat in Congress and one electoral vote: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Texas will gain at least two and probably three. One other state is likely to gain a seat, but it is not clear at this point which one it will be.

Five of those states, including Texas, went for Republican John McCain in 2008, but all except Washington backed Mr. Bush in the close 2000 and 2004 elections – an indication that if 2012 is as close as it was in those two years, this year’s census could give the GOP nine of the 10 votes.

Census Bureau “Media Specialists” cost taxpayers major $$$$ whenever they travel

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Here is a fascinating story from Louisiana that details an extremely cost inefficient policy…

BY STEPHEN LARGEN

The U.S. Census Bureau is using a travel policy for its media specialists that can cost taxpayers hundreds and even thousands of dollars for a single media interview.

Each time a media outlet like The News-Star requests to interview a census enumerator, a worker who goes door to door in local communities following up with residents who did not mail back their census questionnaires, Census Bureau policy dictates that a media specialist must be physically present at the site of the interview.

The bureau says the policy ensures enumerators do not unknowingly release information about their work that is supposed to remain confidential.

When The News-Star requested an interview with enumerators who are working in local neighborhoods for an update on how the process is unfolding, the bureau responded by flying a media specialist based in New Orleans to Monroe through Dallas.

The specialist stayed in a hotel the night before the roughly 30-minute interview, and used cab rides to travel while in Monroe.

Immediately following the interview with the enumerators, the media specialist headed back to Monroe Regional Airport and flew home

CLICK HERE for the rest of the story…

Monday Mailbag: Not allowed to report overtime

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Subject: Overtime pay

Message Body:
I work in Houston, and want to post anonymously due to not wanting a backlash, and loss of job.  I am a position of management for the Census, and what is being done is illegal.  We are expected to produce high numbers, in a short amount of period.  The worse part about it, is we are NOT expected to receive overtime.  We have been instructed to doctor our time cards,  in order to not be paid overtime (ie putting hours worked on the next weeks timecard).  The Census employee manual specifically states that this should not happen.  I hope this is brought to attention, to bring Census employees their rightful due.

Monday Mailbag: Why aren’t enumerators who are let go being given this paperwork?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Subject: Why Aren’t All Enumerators Being Given This Paperwork?

Message Body:
When I separated from the Census I was given my SP-50 along with this paperwork ( http://www.docstoc.com/docs/44201134/Census-Separation-Paperwork) which includes a form that advises me that I may be eligible for Federal Unemployment.  This is of interest to me since I’d already run out of EDD extensions when I began working for the Census.  When I visited the EDD website I learned that there was indeed Federal Unemployment Insurance money that is seemingly just for people who were recently separated from the military or some other branch of the Federal Government.  To apply for EDD under these circumstances one must fill out a supplemental Federal form along with one’s regular Unemployment Application (http://www.docstoc.com/docs/44200536/Unemployment-Claim-For-Federal-Employees).  The thing is I just spoke to two other enumerators who were recently separated from the Census and all they received was their SP-50s.  They did not get the additional paperwork I got.  Is the Los Angeles area Census attempting to keep Census workers from the knowledge that they are eligible for this type of unemployment?

Monday Mailbag: Information over the phone legit?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

We got a lot of mail this weekend. I’m going to try to answer some of it here and post the rest of it for readers to comment on:

Subject: Falsifying data

Message Body:
I live in midtown Manhattan.
I got a flier on my door asking me to call the census office and give them my information over the phone.  Is that legal? The commericials all say a census taker will come to the door.

ANSWER (from a New York Census official): YES, WE CAN NOT GET INTO THE &$%$^# BUILDING. LET US INTO THE &^%#*@ BUILDING!

Washington Post: Tales of abuse against census workers

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Today, The Washington Post published a very detailed story about incidents involving census workers. Click HERE for the full article. Some highlights:

“So far, the Census Bureau has tallied 379 incidents involving assaults or threats on the nation’s 635,000 census workers, more than double the 181 recorded during the 2000 census. Weapons were used or threatened in a third of the cases.”

“Steven Jost, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said it is unlikely that the policy prohibiting census workers from carrying weapons will be rescinded.”

“The number of verified incidents might go down after analysis.”

Let the Freedom (of information) Summer begin!

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Today, Michael C. Cook of the Census Bureau’s public information office wrote the following in the comments section of this post:

The Census Bureau publicly discloses on our website a status log of all FOIA requests to assist organizations like My Two Census and individuals to track the status of formal public records inquiries. In addition we have routinely provided My Two Census with status reports on your many requests.

On February 14, 2010 you requested records on the translation services contract with Diplomatic Language Services and we provided a response in 31 days.

On February 19 and again on the 26th you submitted a modified request for correspondence with various public officials and emails which contained your itemized list of 26 profanities. We have partially complied with this request.

On February 25, 2010, you requested travel records on all Census employee hotel stays for a 14 month period. As of today, we have not received from you the legally required fee to cover the cost of this substantial request.

On April 20, 2010, you requested all records relating to technology systems at the Census Bureau covering a three and a half year period beginning in 2006. As of today, we have not received from you the legally required fee to cover the cost of this substantial request.

On April 25, 2010, you requested copies of all emails between four Census employees during a one week period in February. As of today, we have not received from you the legally required fee to cover the cost of this request.

On June 14, 2010 you requested a log of all your requests.

Last night you requested information on an employee in our Chicago Region.

What you don’t see here is the exorbitant prices — in the range of $30,000 — that the Census Bureau tries to charge me to fill these requests. However, journalism organizations, like MyTwoCensus.com, are exempt from these fees. Nonetheless, though in 2009 the Census Bureau forced me to create appeals to claim my status as a journalism organization and then waived the fees, in 2010 the Census Bureau has not recognized MyTwoCensus.com (currently getting more daily hits than ever) as a journalism organization. Here’s what I wrote back to Mr. Cook:

How in god’s name do you expect me to pay these fees? I am working for myself and this site is no longer funded. Journalism organizations are excluded from paying fees, and I only request electronic copies as I don’t believe in wasting paper. It is an insult to have to have $30,000 on hand every time I want to make a request. What do you think?

In light of this information and the Census Bureau’s continuous effort to shield itself from damaging information being released to the public through MyTwoCensus.com, I will be starting the Freedom (of Information) Summer initiative, whereby I will make FOIA requests five times per week throughout the summer. As you already read in a previous post, the Census Bureau’s FOIA staff doesn’t get all that many requests, so I’m going to make them work a bit harder to encourage more government transparency.

My voice will not be silenced, and yours shouldn’t be either. If you would like me to request information on your behalf, please be as specific as possible (dates, terms, people, etc.) and I will do my best to file FOIAs that have legitimacy for you. Here is some more info for you to check out:

http://www.census.gov/po/www/foia/foiaweb.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Information_Act_%28United_States%29

Are there any payroll problems in your office?

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Apparently there are still some going on

KansasReporter.org: Spike in Census errors on campus

Friday, June 18th, 2010

The following piece comes from KansasReporter.org, which is a project of the Kansas Policy Institute, and is run by a team of veteran journalists:

By Gene Meyer, June 17, 2010

(KansasReporter) TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Secretary of State’s office has found a big spike in census errors on Kansas campuses that could affect the redrawing of electoral boundaries throughout the state.

Census workers in the secretary of state’s office found significant errors in 30 percent of 25,000 of the more than 100,000 responses they received this spring for a special survey that Kansas conducts each 10 years in connection with the federal decennial census.

By comparison, only 9 percent of the comparable forms turned in 10 years ago were flawed, said Abbie Hodgson, the office’s public affairs director. Many of the latest errors appeared to involve missing information, she said.

State workers need to contact students and resolve the mistakes now to avoid bigger problems as Kansas legislators redraw Congressional, Kansas Legislature and Kansas State Board of Education boundaries during the next two years, said Chris Biggs, Kansas’ secretary of state.

“It’s important that students complete the adjustment form so that they are counted in their hometowns during redistricting,” Biggs said Thursday. “We’re in the process of reaching out…to ensure that we have complete and accurate information.”

Federal census numbers are used to recalculate everything from boundaries for federal and state legislative districts to the equitable distribution of about $400 billion in annual, population-linked spending within each state, said Rich Gerdes, an assistant regional director of the U.S. Census, in Kansas City, Kan.

But exactly how states use those numbers to draw legislative boundaries and divide the money usually is up to state legislatures so long as their members follow broad guidelines regarding equal representation. Kansas and at least seven other states require lawmakers there to make some specific adjustments to federal numbers that most will receive nine or 10 months from now.

In Kansas, a constitutional amendment passed sometime before the 1990 federal census requires that college students and military service members  be counted as residents of their home towns, not the campus or military communities where they might live nine or more months a year.

“That’s different from how we list them on the federal census,” said Gerdes. “We would list them where they live most of the year.”

Legislators use the federal numbers to calculate U.S. Congressional districts and the state-adjusted numbers to determine state legislative and school board districts. And populations can change markedly between the calculations. Heavily populated Johnson County, in northeastern Kansas, gained nearly 2,600 additional residents in 2000, when absent college students were sent home statistically. Less densely populated Riley County, further west, lost more than 13,000 residents when Fort Riley families and Kansas State University students by the same process. (more…)

Congressman responds to Blagojevich-linked Census Bureau official with letter to Census Bureau Director Groves

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

MyTwoCensus.com is appreciative that Congressman Patrick McHenry’s office has taken up this issue. Now, we hope that William Lacy Clay and the House Democrats also jump on board to make this a bi-partisan effort…

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Josh Kahn
June 17, 2010
McHenry: Why Is a Census Official Tied to the Blagojevich Scandal?

WASHINGTON, DC… Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), sent the following letter to U.S. Census Director Dr. Robert Groves questioning the Bureau about a local Census official tied to the Blagojevich trial.

Rep. McHenry is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee overseeing the Census.  The letter is below:

June 17, 2010

Robert Groves
Director
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746

Dear Dr. Groves:

This week the director of a Census Bureau office in Chicago, Joseph Aramanda, appeared as a witness in former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial.  Although Mr. Aramanda testified under immunity and so will not be charged himself, he was involved in some extremely questionable money transfers at the direction of Blagojevich associate Tony Rezko.

This is unacceptable.  The Census is too important to be caught up in a corruption trial.  Mr. Aramanda manages a significant number of employees and his deep involvement in the Blagojevich scandal tarnishes the reputation of the 2010 Census.

I strongly encourage you to reassess Mr. Aramanda’s employment status with the Bureau.  I would appreciate your quick response on this timely issue.

Sincerely,

Patrick T. McHenry
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Information Policy,
Census, and National Archives

Update on today’s story…The Census Bureau hides behind the shield of FOIA once again

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The following letter is one that I wrote to Michael C. Cook, chief of the Census Bureau’s public information office for the 2010 Census…I am not at all pleased by his response:

Here’s the editorial I wrote and the link to the Chicago Tribune story is inside:

http://www.mytwocensus.com/2010/06/17/mytwocensus-editorial-current-census-bureau-official-involved-in-scandal-must-go-immediately/

Was Aramanda hired bc of politics? or merit? Do you have proof that we was hired bc of merit? How and when did he get this job? What is his exact position?

What is Aramanda’s record while working for the Census Bureau?

Will Aramanda be getting paid by the Census Bureau while he testifies at this trial?

Who is running the show at the LCO when he is across town at a trial?

Will he be fired immediately? (Note: I am urging that he is fired immediately as this is a huge conflict of interest).

I hope to hear back from you by COB.

Here is his reply:

Hi Stephen,

The federal Privacy Act governs what any federal agency can disclose about
an employee. You can find details about the Privacy Act at:
<http://www.justice.gov/opcl/1974privacyact-overview.htm>. We encourage you
to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in writing addressed
to:

Mary C. Potter, FOIA Officer
U.S. Census Bureau , Room 8H027
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233-3700

Best,

Michael C. Cook
Branch Chief, 2010 Census Media Relations
Public Information Office
U.S. Census Bureau

OK, this response makes me IRATE. I have filed NUMEROUS FOIA REQUESTS in the past 6 months, and none have been answered. The Commerce Department will surely find some grounds or other not to honor my request and then they will tell me that I have to file an appeal. I will then file the appeal, and keep contacting the appeals office, and then never hear anything ever again. Thank you Obama Administration transparency…Jesus Christ. The White House has become a PR firm. Enough said.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Current Census Bureau official involved in Blagojevich scandal must go…immediately!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

MyTwoCensus is disturbed to learn that a man so deeply involved in the Blagojevich/Obama-Senate-seat-for-sale scandal is now employed in an upper level management position by the Census Bureau in Chicago. Even if the man, Joseph Aramanda, has not been convicted (yet) of  a crime, his reputation for being involved in illegal activities seriously undermines the credibility of Census Bureau operations in Chicago. In a city with corruption linked to 2010 Census advertising, the public should not have to worry that upper management positions are being filled by individuals who are directly tied to government corruption and fraud. Furthermore, Joseph Aramanda’s experiences as a pizza franchise owner (his job prior to the Census Bureau gig) don’t qualify him to be in charge of 1,000+ employees. This is particularly troubling at a time when there are  many hardworking, educated individuals with office management experience in the Chicago area who can do the job just as efficiently. MyTwoCensus.com will be pressing the Census Bureau to fire this man immediately, as his association with the Census Bureau tarnishes the reputation of the 2010 Census. That the suits in Washington could let a man so deeply embroiled in scandal run the office of one of America’s largest LCO’s is extremely troubling and indicative of larger problems.

The following coverage comes from The Chicago Tribune:

Pal says Rezko lured him into becoming a middleman in money transfers

Transfers helped obscure cash illegally destined to Blagojevich, Rezko and others, prosecutors say

June 15, 2010

These days Joseph Aramanda manages a U.S. Census Bureau Chicago-area office and its 1,000 employees. But it was in a different capacity that he showed up for the government Tuesday at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse — witness in the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Aramanda took the stand to explain how he was lured by Blagojevich insider Antoin “Tony” Rezko into becoming a middleman in money transfers that prosecutors claim helped obscure cash siphoned from government-related deals and illegally destined for Blagojevich, Rezko and others.

Blagojevich wasn’t directly linked to the complicated chain of financial transactions described by Aramanda, who will return to the stand Wednesday. But prosecutors are clearly using his testimony to explain how Rezko, Blagojevich’s friend and political money man, operated to benefit himself and the ex-governor.

For the full article, click HERE.

Strange news of the day…Census worker “abused” in Tennessee

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

For the full story click HERE:

Suspect ‘tired of’ visitors stopping by

By CHRIS GRAHAM

A Chapel Hill man was arrested after allegedly holding a U.S. Census worker against his will.

James T. Brewer, 61, 3026 Highway 270, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Travis Ryder, 20, told deputies Brewer became aggressive toward him when he went to Brewer’s home June 9 to collect Census information. The victim alleged Brewer was aggressive toward him and took the identification badge from his neck, tore up his census documents and took the keys from his truck, according to an incident report.

The report states Brewer then took Ryder to an outbuilding on his property, melted a Coca-Cola can with a blow torch and asked the census worker if he knew what physical injury the blow torch would do to his hand.

Ryder told authorities throughout the ordeal Brewer acted as if he had a weapon in his pocket and told him that no more census workers should come to his home or “they might not leave.”

Brewer later told authorities he was only trying to scare the worker, saying four others had already been to his home and “he was tired of it.”

He was released from Marshall County Jail after posting $8,500 bond.

Census workers have increasingly been the target of violence.

Since late April, there have been 252 incidents nationwide in which Census workers were threatened or harmed — 86 of which involved weapons such as guns, axes and crossbows — according to The Washington Post.

Daily Sound Off: Census Bureau refuses to protect employees

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Here’s today’s Daily Sound Off…However, I will say that in my personal dealings with Mr. Le, he has been cordial, respectful, and helpful. I am not sure if it is is his responsibility as a media specialist or the responsibility others in management positions to deal  with these issues:

I am a crew leader in Oakland CA.
To date, crimes have been committed against two of my employees, including assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats.

As a crew leader, I have had to fight with the Oakland Police Department to ensure that the officers take reports on these crimes and report them to the District Attorney’s Office.

I reported the previous assault to my FOS and to management. To date, no one at the LCO has assisted in helping the harmed enumerator. I also reported the assault that occurred earlier tonight, but I don’t expect the LCO to help me.

This evening, I attempted to reach out to Sonny Le, the regional media specialist for the U.S. Census.  I explained that my enumerators were unsafe and that I needed his assistance in spreading the word to the community that residents must cooperate with the census and refrain from threatening enumerators.

Mr. Le was abrupt, rude, disrespectful and condescending.  He said he “doesn’t answer to me” and, in essence, threatened me with retaliation for daring to speak to him about what is happening to my crew.

Now I understand why the residents of Oakland think it’s OK to physically threaten the enumerators.  The LCO and the Regional Census staff have, through inaction, allowed this conduct to continue.

Here’s Mr. Le’s profile:
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/news/1004/gallery.census_workers/3.html

Did this happen in your office?

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

This comes from an anonymous tip:

Hi, the FOS told all the CL’s, CLA’s, and enumerators to bring EVERYTHING in this morning.  EVERYTHING.  Even eq’s / binders still in progress.  He said (talking about the LCO managers) “They said turn it all in this morning, they’ll finish the eq’s at the office.”

How are they going to “finish” the eq’s at the office?   They’re going to make stuff up, just like they did last year during mapping.   Fabricate the data, in order to meet the deadlines and make the LCOM and admins “look good”.

The Census Bureau makes follow-up calls to 10% of those who mailed in their forms

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The Census Bureau’s follow-up system appears to invite fraud as there is no obvious way to know if you are talking to a scammer or Census Bureau employee…

Census Bureau waste found…on Twitter

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Back in December, Emily Babay added a “Twitter Feed” to the MyTwoCensus homepage. This tool has proved all too valuable in finding out intricate details of Census Bureau problems. If you want to see why/how your tax dollars are wasted, look at the below Tweet for why. Great job payroll system! (FYI the term #lml stands for “love my life.”)