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 ‘federal’

Rahm Emanuel Wants A Re-Count For Chicago – Disputing 2010 Census Results

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

In the run up to the 2010 Census, Rahm Emanuel took a significant amount of flack for trying to bring the 2010 Census under the auspices of the White House. Republicans were enraged that President Obama’s then chief-of-staff had the chutzpah to try to transform an independent agency into a White House subsidiary. But now Emanuel is in the news for other reasons. As Mayor of Chicago, Emanuel is fighting for the $1,200 that each resident is worth in terms of annual federal subsidies. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is mounting a challenge to 2010 U.S. Census estimates that Chicago lost about 200,000 residents.

Big city mayors regularly contest the once-a-decade census results, which determine how much federal funding flows to different parts of the country. Chicago would gain about $1,200 annually for the next decade for each person added to the official population, according to Emanuel’s office.

Emanuel’s predecessor, Mayor Richard Daley, launched an unsuccessful bid to get Chicago’s 2000 population numbers increased. In 1990, Daley and other mayors tried futilely to get Congress to give them additional time to fight the census results.

The 2010 census estimated Chicago lost about 181,000 African-Americans and about 53,000 whites. Meanwhile, the Latino population grew by about 25,000 and the Asian population went up more than 20,000. Overall, the city’s estimated population in 2010 was 2,695,598.

City workers used estimates of the occupancy rates of housing units in particular neighborhoods to come up with areas they believe the census numbers were low, according to a news release from the Emanuel administration.

Detroit News: Bribery probe targets former U.S. Census official (Dwight Dean)

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Since June 1, 2010, I have reported about problems in the Detroit office of the US Census Bureau involving Dwight Dean, who was booted from his once-stable perch in the Census Bureau hierarchy in August 2010. Today, I give a hearty thank you to Robert Snell and the Detroit News who have reported that the “former top-ranking U.S. Census Bureau official in Michigan and two other states is being investigated for allegedly accepting bribes and awarding an $857,000 no-bid contract.” MyTwoCensus.com urges federal, state, and local investigators to also investigate the many other Dwight Dean cronies who were very likely conspirators in his activities. Furthermore, as other MyTwoCensus.com pieces demonstrate, at the Detroit office of the Census Bureau, it oftentimes appeared like the inmates were running the asylum.

(Click here for a list of MyTwoCensus pieces involving the Detroit office that name many of the individuals I am referring to.)

Here’s the Detroit News piece (in full HERE):

A search warrant affidavit unsealed Monday in federal court indicates that in November 2010 a grand jury was investigating Plymouth resident Dwight Dean. He was the highest-ranking Census official in Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia until he was abruptly, and inexplicably, replaced in August 2010. No criminal charges have been filed.

This investigation involves a federal official in Detroit, which has been the focus of several ongoing corruption investigations involving City Hall and two Detroit pension funds.

Federal investigators did not put a value on the alleged bribes, which involve dinners at expensive restaurants and what appear to be free tickets to the North American International Auto Show charity preview.

The Detroit businessman named in the search warrant, who admitted giving Dean auto show tickets and paying for dinners, denied doing anything wrong.

“That’s not bribery,” Motor City International President Louis James told The News. “That’s a business meeting.”

Dean had served as Census regional director since 1987 and oversaw a crucial headcount last year that ended with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing vowing to appeal figures that showed a steep population drop. The census is used to determine the amount of federal funding cities receive.

Dean, 64, did not return phone messages seeking comment Wednesday.

The search warrants were executed a year ago and the current status of the investigation was unclear Wednesday.

There is no indication the allegations affected the 2010 census count.

“Over 39,000 people hired locally in the Detroit region worked on the 2010 census. At all times, we conducted extensive quality assessments of operations and census results,” Census Bureau spokesman Michael Cook said.”The assessments of the Detroit region are consistent and within the norms of what we found nationally.”

Federal agents raided Dean’s offices in Detroit one year ago, searching for evidence he accepted gifts, loans or money between August 2008 and August 2010, according to the search warrant affidavit unsealed Monday.

 

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.

2010 Census workers can’t report child abuse…

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

NBC Miami shares the following:

The government’s census workers are out and about in South Florida neighborhoods and beyond, going door to door and being invited into homes, but a little-known law is being criticized by local child advocates.

Under the law, census workers can’t say anything about or report sex abuse, child abuse, or any type of abuse of kids they may get a whiff of while visiting a home.

In fact, Federal law not only prohibits them from speaking out, but anyone who does could get a $5,000 fine and five years in jail if they do.

Census Workers Can’t Report Child Abuse

Census Workers Can't Report Child  Abuse

WATCH

Census Workers Can’t Report Child Abuse

In Florida, teachers, doctors, nurses, the clergy, and law enforcement officers must report child abuse when they see it.

Lissette Labrousse, attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, said there’s a reason for the law.

“The Federal law is designed to have people come forward and speak to census workers without fear,” said Labrousse. “Under the law it is required that the census worker keep everything confidential, they cannot release any information to any government agency.”

The census told NBCMiami that it’s very unlikely one of its workers would run across abuse, but if they did the law stops them from reporting it.

But child advocates claim the law hurts their efforts to get the public to come forward anytime children are being abused.

Trudy Novicki, Executive Director at Miami‘s Kristi House, which provides counseling for about 750 abused kids each year, said she called the Census Bureau when she was told of the law.

The Reno Gazette-Journal Fact Checks the Census Bureau…

Monday, April 5th, 2010

A nice piece from Nevada:

Fact checker: Census value rounded up — way up

By Kelly Scott

Last week, a news release from Nevada Census 2010 claimed that “for every resident counted, Nevada stands to receive nearly $10,000 each year of our fair share of federal funding during the next decade.”

Being that Thursday was the once-in-a-decade census day, I decided to see how that number actually breaks down.

Reno Gazette-Journal articles have reported that the state gets “more than $900 a year per person in federal tax dollars” each year for the next decade based on census answers.

Background

The census is used to calculate the numbers for a great deal of federal funding and other things. Among the types of programs based on census results are the Washoe County School District’s free lunch program, transportation funding and money to help senior citizens. Census numbers are used to divvy up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Analysis of the numbers

My first thought was that there was a rounding error in the numbers. Maybe the news release just rounded up?

Well, here’s how it breaks down according to our data guru Mark Robison:

Nevada gets $917 a year per person in federal funds because of census data. That adds up to $9,170 per person over 10 years, not $10,000 over a single year. Robison said he thinks the official state news release we received was likely an honest mistake because other promotional materials have used $10,000 per decade as the amount of additional funding the state stands to receive per person. But that still rounds up $9,170 to $10,000, when customary rounding would normally lower the figure to $9,000.

To find the source of the funds-per-resident claim, Robison dug into a SAGE Commission report sent to Gov. Jim Gibbons last year that urged the state to actually spend money on trying to get people to participate in the census because the state stood to gain more than what it likely would spend.

Here’s an excerpt from the report: “According to the Census Bureau, over $3 trillion in funding is allocated nationwide based on census figures. In 2000, the Legislative Counsel Bureau estimated that the state lost $670 per person per year for every Nevadan missed by the 2000 Census. Recently, the Legislative Counsel Bureau, Nevada State Data Center, and Nevada State Demographer came together to update that figure for 2010. Due to the combined effects of inflation and expanded federal investment returning to Nevada, their collective estimate is that Nevada will now lose $917 per person per year for every Nevadan missed in the 2010 Census.”

For the rest of the article click HERE.

Washington Post: Muslims Wary Of Census Participation

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

The following piece from The Washington Post reiterates a position that MyTwoCensus.com has expressed for quite some time now, because as recently as 2004, confidential data from the decennial census was handed over to federal law enforcement officials:

By Tara Bahrampour

Tuesday, March 9, 2010; 4:02 PM

The millions of blue forms being mailed this month in the first census count since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, do not ask about religion. But the idea of answering any questions posed by the government makes some Muslims uneasy, so community leaders are worried that many may avoid the Census altogether.

“A lot of people, they have the concern,” said Raja Mahmood, 50, a Manassas taxi driver who moved to the United States from Pakistan 25 years ago. “The majority of Muslims, they don’t want to draw attention.”

Although he plans to fill out the census form — and the Falls Church mosque he attends, Dar Al-Hijrah, has encouraged it — Mahmood said many Muslims he knows are wary about why the government, which treated them with suspicion in the years after the terrorist strike, wants to collect information about them.

“They can look for the count of how many people live here, and that’s a good thing,” he said, “but God knows what is in their heart.”

Muslim leaders have been holding forums to explain the process. Last week, the Justice Department said that information-gathering and sharing provisions of the Patriot Act do not override federal confidentiality laws related to the Census, with stiff penalties for sharing information about an individual.

“That would go a long way toward calming fears,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Still, community leaders say they understand why people might be cautious. Many remember the trepidation that arose after 9/11, when men from some Muslim countries were required to register with the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service. The requirement led to deportations for visa violations or minor infractions unrelated to terrorism, Hooper said, adding that “whole neighborhoods were emptied.”

(more…)

MyTwoCensus Investigation and Editorial: Skeptical Over Sparkman Outcome Until More Details Are Provided

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Since yesterday’s revelation by the Kentucky State Police, FBI, U.S. Forest Service,State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Clay County Coroner’s Office, that the death of  Census Bureau employee William E. Sparkman, Jr., “based upon evidence and witness testimony” was “an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide,” many eyebrows have been raised.

Now, insurance fraud is definitely a common occurrence, but to take one’s own life for a small payout is extreme, and cursory searches on Google reveal that this case provides many of the top hits when searching for a suicide that was staged to look like a murder. Thus, this is a very rare occurrance, so these conclusions should be further examined before the door on this case is shut forever.

According to the Associated Press, “Sparkman ‘told a credible witness that he planned to commit suicide and provided details on how and when.’

Authorities wouldn’t say who Sparkman told of his plan, but said Sparkman talked about it a week before his suicide and the person did not take him seriously. He told the person he believed his lymphoma, which he had previously been treated for, had recurred, police said.

Sparkman also had recently taken out two accidental life insurance policies totaling $600,000 that would not pay out for suicide, authorities said. One policy was taken out in late 2008; the other in May.

On November 12, The Huffington Post reported the following:

“If it’s deemed suicide, there’s no point in even looking at insurance,” Josh Sparkman said. “There’s no such thing as suicide insurance. The money is not the concern. I just want to know what happened to my dad.”

Sparkman’s naked body was found Sept. 12 near a family cemetery in a heavily wooded area of southeastern Kentucky. One of the witnesses who found the body said the 51-year-old was bound with duct tape, gagged and had an identification badge taped to his neck. Authorities have confirmed “Fed” was written on his chest likely in pen.

Josh Sparkman, 20, who is unemployed, said he’s convinced his father could not have committed suicide, even though law enforcement officials previously told the AP on condition of anonymity that they are looking closely at that possibility and increasingly doubt he was killed because of his government job.

Yet after yesterday’s announcement, Sparkman’s own mother wrote to the Associated Press, referring to the swift conclusion of the case, “I disagree!”

With so many people worried about a lack of participation in the 2010 Census, federal and state agencies had every reason to end this case quickly and quietly. Until the hard evidence about how Sparkman masterminded his own death is provided, this conclusion should be taken as theory, not a fact. While it is interesting to hear basic details in the AP report (“On Tuesday, authorities for the first time released key details such as Sparkman’s wrists being bound so loosely that he could have done the taping himself. Kentucky State Police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski said an analysis found that the “fed” on his chest was written “from the bottom up.” He was touching the ground almost to his knees, and to survive “all Mr. Sparkman had to do at any time was stand up,” she said.), more evidence that goes beyond circumstantial evidence must be provided to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no other parties were involved in this heinous act.

An autopsy report on Sparkman’s body is still pending, so we await the result of that investigation, as well as a more comprehensive report from the federal and state agencies responsible for overseeing this case.

Kentucky State Police Report on Bill Sparkman’s Death

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

The following is the Kentucky State Police Report on Census Bureau employee Bill Sparkman’s death:

The Kentucky State Police Post 11 in London, with the assistance of the FBI, the U.S. Forest Service, the State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Clay County Coroner’s Office, has concluded the investigation into the death of William E. Sparkman, Jr. The investigation, based upon evidence and witness testimony, has concluded that Mr. Sparkman died during an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide.

While all the details of the investigation will not be released at this time, the unusual level of attention and speculation attributed to Mr. Sparkman’s death necessitates this release of information. The investigation indicates that Mr. Sparkman died of asphyxiation/strangulation at the same location where he was discovered in Clay County, Ky. Despite the fact that Mr. Sparkman was found hands, feet and mouth bound with duct tape, rope around his neck and the word “FED” written on his chest, analysis of the evidence determined Mr. Sparkman’s death was self-inflicted.

A thorough examination of evidence from the scene, to include DNA testing, as well as examination of his vehicle and his residence resulted in the determination that Mr. Sparkman, alone, handled the key pieces of evidence with no indications of any other persons involved. Witness statements, which are deemed credible, indicate Mr. Sparkman discussed ending his own life and these discussions matched details discovered during the course of the investigation.

It was learned that Mr. Sparkman had discussed recent federal investigations and the perceived negative attitudes toward federal entities by some residents of Clay County. It was also discovered during the investigation that Mr. Sparkman had recently secured two life insurance policies for which payment for suicide was precluded.

All tips and leads, including those from the public, were thoroughly investigated but were found to be inconsistent with any known facts or evidence. It is the conclusion of the Kentucky State Police, the FBI, the U.S. Forest Service, the State Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Clay County Coroner’s Office that Mr. Sparkman died in an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide.

MyTwoCensus Data Capture Center Investigation Part 3: From the Federal Penitientary to the Federal Government

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

We urge you to please read our first post about security concerns at America’s three data capture centers before reading this post.

Situation: You’re an ex-con, fresh out of prison, and you need a job. Who do you turn to? Well, if you live in Baltimore there’s a high likelihood that you would turn to Maryland New Directions, a non-profit organization that assists people finding jobs. This is surely a noble mission, but it may make some Americans queasy if they knew that the people reading, logging, and scanning their 2010 Census data had gone from living at a federal penitentiary to working for the federal government (Of course they are actually employed by subcontractor Computer Sciences Corporation, but you get the picture: These people are bound by the same regulations as all other Census Bureau employees so it’s a fine line they’re walking.).

*Also note that Baltimore public defender Coriolanus A.J. Ferrusi is on the Maryland New Directions board.

How do you count the drunks on Bourbon Street? Go bar to bar.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

The following report from the Associated Press makes us wonder if we are really living in the year 2010 or 1910, as technology continues to elude us and door-to-door interaction is on the rise. Nonetheless, the MyTwoCensus team applauds the decision of Census Director Robert M. Groves to accurately count the residents of New Orleans without succumbing to the partisan interests of New Orleans’ often-controversial mayor, Ray Nagin. Nagin’s call to count former residents of New Orleans who no longer live there as current New Orleans residents is selfish and detrimental for the rest of the country. If former residents were counted as still living in New Orleans, then the municipalities where these people currently reside would not receive the proper federal funding that they deserve and need to compensate for the extra bodies.


By BECKY BOHRER (AP) – 6 hours ago

NEW ORLEANS — Census forms will be hand-delivered in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita to get the most accurate count possible following concerns that the region could lose federal representation and funding.

The measures announced by U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves on Tuesday did not go as far as those sought by Mayor Ray Nagin and some advocacy groups to locally count potentially thousands of former residents scattered across the country who are trying to come back.

By at least one estimate, 75 percent of New Orleans’ pre-Katrina population has returned in the nearly four years since the Aug. 29, 2005, storm and levee breaches. In some neighborhoods, there remain huge swaths of empty homes.

Groves said he shared Nagin’s concerns, but “the proposal to count people where they want to be is something that would really be a massive change.”

Census rules dictate people be counted “in their abodes,” as of Census Day, he said, and Congress has not changed the law to reflect situations like refugees of Katrina and other disasters, missionaries spending time overseas or noncitizens being included in the count.

“So we have to follow the law,” Groves said. “In the 2010 Census, we’ll count people where they usually live.”

Census workers in the region are expected to hand-deliver an estimated 300,000 questionnaires to homes in 11 south Louisiana parishes affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Additional hand deliveries are expected in parts of Mississippi’s Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties, also affected by the 2005 storms, and parts of Galveston Island, Texas, which was hit by Hurricane Ike last summer, said Jeff Behler, deputy regional director of the census’ Dallas office.

Census officials said 2,400 workers would be hired in the New Orleans-area office, but they could not immediately provide a total cost for hand-delivering forms. They said hand deliveries are sometimes used in very rural parts of the country and on some tribal lands.

Nagin repeated his call Tuesday to include former residents who moved away from the city and are working to come back, saying an accurate count is “essential” for the future of the region and providing needed services to displaced residents when they return.

“We’re looking forward to a good count, as high as we can possibly get it,” Nagin said.

There’s a lot at stake: the 10-year count, which starts with surveys going out in March, will help decide congressional representation and distribution of at least $400 billion a year in federal funds across the country.