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.

Posts Tagged ‘Court’

Freedom of Information? Hardly. Access denied!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Some months ago, after I received credible reports that Census Bureau employees were staying at Ritz Carleton hotels while on official biz, I wanted to know the extent of such spending sprees. I filed a Freedom of Information Act request and waited many, many months to hear back about its status. Today, I was fed up. I e-mailed Grant Book, the (presumably young) Commerce Department lawyer whose job it is to keep telling me “wait longer or sue us for the information.” Now, I’m not in the business of lawsuits, so I choose to wait for the info. Today, Mr. Book told me that my “final response” was sent out on June 22. I am 100% certain that this response never reached my inbox, as I searched for it repeatedly. Either way, here’s what the response looks like. The outcome: Negative. The trend toward increased government transparency continues…not! (And I’ve never seen so many court cases cited in my life for denying a FOIA request) Here it is, in all its glory:

The Commerce Department says “No” to my request for information.

Strange incident of the day #1: Census worker bullied in Hawaii; Feds step in on side of worker

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

From Hawaii (full story HERE):

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

A federal census worker on the Big Island was arrested for trespassing after he unsuccessfully tried to get a Puna resident to accept census forms in March.

Now the federal government has filed court papers to take the case out of the hands of Hawai’i County authorities, saying the census worker was performing his federal duties and is immune from state prosecution.

According to documents filed in federal court yesterday, the incident took place March 10 after census worker Russell J. Haas arrived at a fenced residential lot in an unspecified Puna subdivision.

Haas said in a written report that the area is “inhabited by diverse variety of people, most (of whom) live there because of the privacy allowed by the jungle environment and crummy roads.”

Haas said there were no signs on the fence, so he rolled open the driveway gate and entered the property. He said he closed the gate behind him to keep “loose but not threatening dogs inside the fence.”

Haas said he walked about 10 to 15 feet onto the lot when a man came out of the garage and said, “Please leave the property.”

Haas said he identified himself and was wearing his identity badge around his neck, and told the man he wanted to give him his census questionnaire.

When the man again asked Haas to leave, Haas asked him to come to the gate and accept the paperwork, saying he would leave the material on the gate.

The resident said, “I’ll call the cops,” and Haas said, “Fine, I’ll wait by the gate,” Haas wrote in a report on the incident.

While Haas was outside the gate and speaking to the man about the importance and value of completing the census forms, the man reached into his pants pocket and a badge fell out “onto the driveway,” Haas wrote.

Boston Defeats Federal Government In Population Count Challenge

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

From the Associated Press:

Boston has successfully challenged its U.S. Census Bureau population estimate.

The city won an argument with the federal government that Boston’s population was 620,535 as of 2008.

So far, eight municipalities have challenged their numbers, adding 22,295 to the Massachusetts population estimate.

Secretary of StateWilliam Galvin said today that Massachusetts now has an overall estimate of more than 6.5 million.

The 2010 Census in April will be critical if the state hopes to avoid losing one of its 10 House seats to southern and western states that have seen population growth.

The Population Estimates Program at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute assisted in revising Boston’s figures. And the Boston Redevelopment Authority provided specific data for the challenge that added 11,512 people to the city’s 2008 population estimate.