Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Tribune’
More shadiness and wastes of money in 2010 Census advertising campaign (this time by the City of Chicago)Monday, May 31st, 2010
Update: After speaking with the Census Bureau’s public information office, I want to clarify that this is not federal money but Chicago’s money that has allegedly been spent improperly.
I’m not sure how I missed this piece from the Huffington Post when it originally came out on 5/19, but I am now investigating the claims laid out here:
The cronyism, corruption and shady contracts continue to emanate from the Todd Stroger administration, as a new and yet all-too-familiar scandal involving US Census contracts is emerging Wednesday.
With a few hundred thousand dollars of federal grants left to publicize the census, Stroger’s spokesman Eugene Mullins told the Chicago Tribune that he and deputy chief of staff Carla Oglesby awarded contracts to eight publicity firms to spread the word. So far, so good.
But all of the firms — like Oglesby’s own PR firm, which is now under investigation — were awarded contracts of $24,995, five dollars less than the amount that would require County Board approval.
And, of course, as a little digging from FOX Chicago revealed, it gets worse. (Scroll down for video of the FOX investigation.)
Nearly all of the companies receiving contracts were incorporated just days before the contracts were issued.
One business was run by a convicted felon, and listed a vacant lot as its business address. One business appears to be a modeling agency. Two of the contractors submitted nearly identical invoices, and gave the same unlisted phone number.
The contracts were all paid up-front, before any services were rendered.
Story continues below
And, the Tribune writes, “leaders of the Cook County Complete Count Committee, appointed by Stroger to conduct census outreach, said they were unaware of the contracts.”
How did Mullins respond?
When asked about the contracts on camera by FOX, Mullins was silent. Anchor Jeff Goldblatt said on air that “he called me late tonight, a profanity-laced phone call” in which he “basically threatened to sue” for “defamation of character.”
Mullins gave an on-the-record quote to the Tribune: “Either we can spend the money the best we can or it goes back to Washington,” Mullins said.
Both Mullins and Oglesby, who signed off on all the census contracts, are themselves involved in other Stroger administration scandals.
After Stroger’s defeat in the February primary, the lame-ducked Cook County Board President gave Mullins a $10,300 raise — despite a pay freeze that had been on the books for months.
And Oglesby is only recently back at work after a five-day suspension for steering a similar $24,995 contract to her privately-owned public relations firm, CGC Communications.
According to Finance Committee chairman John Daley, “All of this is under review by the inspector general.”
Here’s the video from Fox:
H/t to the Chicago Tribune for producing a lengthy piece of journalism:
By Oscar Avila, Dahleen Glanton,
Look in the mirror and what do you see?
When the census form arrives in mailboxes this week, the complex answers to that question will help paint America’s evolving portrait, with repercussions for a decade and beyond.
For most people, the census will be a simple 10-minute process. For others in this nation of Barack Obama, Jessica Alba, Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Apolo Ohno and Joakim Noah , questions of mixed race and ethnicity will prompt soul-searching over how to categorize themselves among a small but growing minority in the national fabric.
The census is a montage of self-portraits that will detail the ways a nation of nearly 309 million has changed since 2000, including migration, family size and housing patterns. While that data is easier to quantify, critics say a rote list of boxes and checkmarks can’t adequately reflect all the racial and ethnic transformations.
On Chicago’s South Side, the daughter of a black father and white mother will check both. Her brother will check black. Their children will write in “mixed” or “biracial.”
A Brazilian immigrant will mark a box that says Hispanic, though she doesn’t accept the label. A woman from Jordan won’t check Asian, though she is. A man born to a Japanese mother and white father considers himself white only at census time.
Another respondent may check four racial boxes like the multi-ethnic Woods, who invented his own identifier: “cablinasian,” a mix of Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian. Obama jokingly labeled himself a “mutt,” but he won’t find that box on the form.
Some bemoan the absence of a separate “multiracial” box to check. And beyond race and ethnicity, the form won’t account for the principal factor by which many Americans identify themselves: There is no category for sexual orientation, so some gay activists plan to protest by affixing pink stickers on the envelope.
“The lesson is that, like reality, like our lives, census data are messy,” said Jorge Chapa, a University of Illinois professor who has consulted for the Census Bureau. “But the messiness does reflect the growing diversity and our complexity as a people. It’s closer to the truth.”
Over the years, the census form has changed to reflect racial realities. A historic switch for the 2000 census allowed Americans to click more than one category, meaning that the son of a Kenyan father and a white woman from Kansas can now officially be both races. About 6.8 million Americans, 2.4 percent of the population, checked more than one racial box.
A Brookings Institution survey has shown a doubling of mixed-race marriages over the last two decades. A Pew Research Center report last month documented that younger generations were far more tolerant of racial mixing than their elders.
People who mark more than one race box are not counted more than once in the overall population tally. But they would add one additional person to each racial category they choose.
Susan Graham, executive director of California-based Project RACE, which advocates for multiracial families, said a hodgepodge of individual boxes is not sufficient to describe her children. She is white and was married to an African-American, and their children have a singular identity as multiracial American.
“The term ‘multiracial,’ we believe, is important and should be on the form. Words are important,” Graham said.
Researchers have found that people’s self-identities can be fluid: Over the course of their lives, they can more strongly identify with various parts of their ancestry at different times.
Kenneth Prewitt, who directed the 2000 census, said some civil-rights groups have resisted the concept of checking more than one race out of fear that it will dilute their influence.
Prewitt said the “Hispanic” term, one used mainly in the U.S., is especially confusing. The term, which the Census Bureau first used in 1980, describes an ethnicity pertaining to Spain but can include white, black and other races. He would include one catch-all category merging Hispanics with other race identifiers, or eliminate all boxes and have everyone write in their preferred identities.
(to continue reading this article click HERE)