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 ‘GOP’

ACORN Loses Funding…A Probe Underway?

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Just days after MyTwoCensus worried about potential trouble from ACORN as the 2010 Census gets underway, Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves severed ties with the organization in its role as a community partner. The Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor (83-7) of withholding millions of federal dollars from ACORN. Here’s the report with some important updated from the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Congressional Republicans stepped up calls to end federal funding of Acorn and begin an immediate investigation of possible criminal violations by the community organizational group whose activities have long been criticized by conservatives.

House Republicans wrote President Barack Obama on Tuesday asking him to end federal support for the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn. The White House had no immediate comment.

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., are cosponsoring legislation to bar federal funds for Acorn pending an investigation by Congress, the Justice Department or the Internal Revenue Service.

Acorn spokesman Brian Kettenring said the group’s members are focused on “solving the health-care and foreclosure crises that Rep. Boehner is ignoring. We encourage him to write letters all he likes, but we would also advise him to focus on the real needs of his constituents and the American people.”

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, also urged a close look before Acorn receives another penny of taxpayer money, including any funding through a $787 billion economic stimulus package.

The Senate voted 83-7 on Monday to prevent Acorn from receiving federal housing funds in fiscal 2010, which starts Oct. 1. The move comes after Acorn employees in several cities were videotaped offering tax tips and mortgage-application help to individuals posing as pimps and prostitutes; the applicants actually were conservatives who secretly taped the discussions.

Separately, prosecutors in Florida last week issued warrants for several Acorn employees who allegedly falsified voter-registration records in Florida during the 2008 election.

Acorn has received more than $53 million of direct federal funding since 1994 and likely received more indirectly through federal block grants to states and local governments, House Republicans said. But recent allegations are taking a toll: Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau severed plans to work with Acorn on the 2010 census.

Shelby’s concerns were outlined in letters Tuesday to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and to the inspector general of the Housing and Urban Development Department. Besides the videotapes, Shelby cited reports of Acorn employees’ involvement in voter-registration fraud outside Florida, embezzlement by a relative of Acorn’s founder, and the loss of federal grants after Acorn was found to have improperly used funds for lobbying.

Acorn’s spokesman responded by calling for an investigation into Shelby’s support for financial deregulation, which he said hurt U.S. consumers and contributed to “the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

Shelby was one of eight U.S. senators to vote against a 1999 law that loosened Depression-era restrictions on U.S. commercial banks.

A spokesman for the Alabama Republican pointed to Shelby’s efforts to strengthen bank capital standards and overhaul federal mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), and his receipt of a 2005 public-service award from the Consumer Federation of America.

“Senator Shelby’s record on these matters is clear,” his spokesman said in a statement.

Spot Check: ACORN

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

So, the Census Bureau has assured members of Congress that ACORN is NOT involved in the recruiting process for candidates hoping to be among the 1.4 million Americans who will work for the 2010 Census. I decided to contact a bunch of ACORN offices throughout the country and ask them if they could help get me a job to see if this was true. Here’s what I found:

Note: More than half of the ACORN offices I called had phone lines that were no longer active. Some of the e-mail addresses I contacted were also no longer working and bounced back to me. (Hmmm…Do you think that ACORN’s bad publicity during the past yer could have caused the organization to lose just a little bit of non-profit funding? It certainly looks that way to me.)

When I called each office, I said, “Hi, I heard that you could help me get a job with the 2010 Census. What do I have to do?”

Washington DC ACORN – “We have no idea. You have to take a test with the Census. Do you know how to go to that site? We have nothing with the Census Bureau. You have to go on the web site then go to www.ACORN.org…”

Pittsburgh ACORN – “We don’t have that contract.  I don’t know who has it. You know the Hill House? They have a new employment center. Those people should know who’s hiring for the 2010 Census.”

Philadelphia ACORN – “I don’t know too much about the census. We are one of a couple of thousand partnership organizations. We haven’t had any information yet, but you should try back in a couple of weeks.”

Atlanta ACORN – “Go online to ACORN.org and that’s where you’d have to put the application in. That’s where you would put your application in.”

At this point, her phone line went down and she kindly called me back from her cell phone. She had me send her an e-mail with my request as her land-line phone was experiencing problems. I sent her an e-mail but it bounced back to me.

Among the ACORN offices I e-mailed, I received only one response, and it came from the Southern regional office:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am currently out of work, and I heard that ACORN was hiring for the Census. Can you please let me know how I can work for the Census in our area?

Thank you very much,

Stephen Robert Morse

The e-mail responses:

Dear Mr. Morse:

Thank you for contacting ACORN.

Unfortunately, no one we know of at ACORN has any idea where this notion came from.  We have no census work, never heard of any and don’t expect to hear of any census work.

Please contact the U.S. Census bureau or your local congressperson for information regarding working with the census.

Best regards,

G. Brown

CONCLUSION: At this time, it doesn’t appear that ACORN is recruiting on a national level to attract candidates to work for the 2010 Census, but that’s today, September 2. Local offices, such as the one in Atlanta, were quite quick to help me out.  The major recruiting efforts for the 2010 Census don’t take place until later this fall, so we’ll just have to wait and see what involvement ACORN has in this process.

Louisiana GOP Hopes To Take Drastic Measures To Prevent The Loss Of A Congressional Seat

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Here’s the scoop from the New Orleans Times-Picayune (click HERE for complete article):

BATON ROUGE — The chairman of the state Republican Party said Saturday the state party is looking at ways to prevent “illegal aliens” from being counted in the 2010 federal census. The goal is to preserve a congressional seat for Louisiana, he said.

Roger Villere of Metairie told the Republican State Central Committee, the party’s governing board, that if illegal immigrants are counted in the census, Louisiana likely will see its congressional delegation drop from seven to six House members. House seats are apportioned based on each state’s population in the census.

Villere said states such as Texas and California would pick up representation in Congress because of the large number of immigrants living in them. Federal policy is to count all residents, regardless of their legal status, at the time the census is taken.

“If they do not count the illegal aliens, we would not lose a seat” despite population declines caused by recent hurricanes, Villere said.

“We feel like we need to protect our sovereignty,” he said. “If we take the illegals out of the mix, we could retain one of our congressmen. … We are investigating our options. This is something we are seriously looking at.”

Villere said a decision will be made by year’s end on whether to file a lawsuit or lobby the administration and Congress for a policy change to exclude illegal immigrants. He said he has been in discussions with “people of national stature” on the matter but refused to name them.

“It is not a Republican problem,” he said after the committee’s quarterly meeting. “It is a Louisiana problem.”

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, estimated that 8 million illegal immigrants living in the country are now getting health care paid for by taxpayers.

During the meeting, committee members rejected a plan to hold a nominating convention in Lafayette, Baton Rouge or New Orleans next year to rally the party around one candidate each for a U.S. Senate race and the seven congressional seats.

A convention would energize and unify the party while drawing media attention, according to main proponent Mike Chittom of Baton Rouge.

Next Year’s Census Count Promises to Rejigger Political Map

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Here’s an interesting forecast on redistricting as a result of the 2010 Census from the Wall Street Journal (click HERE for the full piece):

By Stephanie Simon

The federal government has hired tens of thousands of temporary workers to prepare for the 2010 Census — a population count that could remake the political map even as the foreclosure crisis makes it more difficult to account for millions of dislocated Americans.

Early analysis indicates that Texas will likely be the biggest winner since the prior count a decade ago, picking up three or four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and Election Data Services Inc., a political-consulting firm. Other states poised to gain at least one seat include Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Florida and Utah.

Growth in these states is driven by factors including migration from other states, immigration and birth rates. The economic crisis has put the brakes on some of this expansion — Florida just reported its first year-over-year population decline since 1946 — but in general, Sun Belt states have grown faster than others over the past decade.

Since the number of seats in the House is capped at 435, the gains in the South and West have to be offset by losses elsewhere.

New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts and the recession-battered industrial states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania each stand to lose a House seat. So does Louisiana, where the population still hasn’t rebounded from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which displaced so many residents that census takers face a difficult task in tallying them all.

A state’s votes in the presidential Electoral College depend on the size of its congressional delegation, so the census will likely tilt the balance of power slightly, with reliably Republican “red states” gaining several votes while Democratic strongholds such as New England lose clout.

[Balance of Power chart]

The effect in Congress is less clear, said Karl Eschbach, the Texas state demographer. Texas, for instance, is solidly red when it comes to presidential elections. But Democrats have begun to make inroads in the state Legislature, buoyed by a flow of newcomers from more-liberal states such as California. So political analysts believe one or more of Texas’s new seats in Congress may well translate into a Democratic pickup.

Michele Bachmann Doesn’t Slow Down Her Census Protests

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Michele Bachmann, the darling of Minnesota, is at it again.

Republicans Encourage Bachmann to End Census Boycott

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

The following is a press release from Rep. Patrick McHenry’s (R-NC) office:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Brock McCleary
July 1, 2009 Phone: (202) 225-2576
Republicans Encourage Bachmann
to End Census Boycott
WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3), and Congressman John Mica (FL-7), Republican members of the Census Oversight Subcommittee, released the following statement regarding Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s boycott of the 2010 Decennial Census.

“We share Ms. Bachmann’s concerns about ACORN’s involvement in the 2010 Census and will continue pressuring the Bureau to follow their own guidelines for partnering organizations and dump ACORN.  However, we can not emphasize enough how important it is for every individual to fill out their census forms.

“Every elected representative in this country should feel a responsibility to encourage full participation in the census.  To do otherwise is to advocate for a smaller share of federal funding for our constituents.  Boycotting the constitutionally-mandated census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country.

“The unfortunate irony is that Ms. Bachmann’s boycott only increases the likelihood that ACORN-recruited census takers will be dispatched to her constituents’ homes.  Anyone who completes and returns their census form will remove any need for a census taker to visit their residence.

“Furthermore, a boycott opens the door for partisans to statistically adjust census results.  The partisan manipulation of census data would irreparably transform the census from being the baseline of our entire statistical system into a tool used to wield political power in Washington.”

NOTE: The 2010 Decennial Census, not to be confused with the American Community Survey, will strictly utilize a short-form questionnaire for the first time ever.  Under Sections 9 and 24 of Title 13, information collected by the Census Bureau is confidential and not shared with any other federal agency.  Only an act of Congress could alter this statute.

###

Press Release from Sen. Tom Carper

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2009

CONTACT: Bette Phelan (202) 224-2441

SEN. CARPER URGES SENATE TO APPROVE CENSUS DIRECTOR

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2009) – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Census Bureau, issued the following statement today after urging the Senate to vote to confirm a new Census Director:

“We are just six months away from the first surveys going out nationwide for the decennial census, and already the Census Bureau has encountered serious challenges that threaten to jeopardize the success and cost-effectiveness of the 2010 Census.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Robert Groves as the nominee for Director of the Census Bureau. He is a qualified, experienced candidate who has received support by members on both sides of the aisle, and yet the Senate has failed to vote to confirm him.

“A leaderless Census Bureau is not likely to pull off an accurate count or to avoid the costly mistakes that have already plagued preparations for the upcoming census.

“Addressing these problems and getting the 2010 Census back on track gets harder each day the Senate delays confirmation of Dr. Groves.

“I urge my Senate colleagues to put partisanship aside.

“The best thing we can do right now is to confirm the President’s nominee to lead the Census Bureau and let him get to work as soon as possible.”

###

Associated Press: Locke urges end to GOP block on census nominee

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
The following article from the Associated Press echoes MyTwoCensus’s opinion on the stalled confirmation of Robert M. Groves:

By HOPE YEN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Wednesday urged Congress to immediately end a GOP block on President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the 2010 census, saying continued delays are putting the high-stakes head count at risk.

Initially put on hold by an anonymous GOP senator, Groves is now among roughly 30 Obama nominees in limbo after Republicans protested the quick timetable for hearings on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation. Under Senate rules, a senator can hold up a nomination without going public or providing an explanation.

Robert Groves, a veteran survey researcher with the University of Michigan, was easily approved by a Senate committee last month. But Republicans have stalled Groves’ full confirmation vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Republicans aren’t yet in agreement on Groves; his office says it has no information as to why.

“The Census Bureau cannot wait for strong leadership any longer,” Locke said in a statement. “The longer this nomination is held up, the greater the risk to the accuracy and success of the 2010 census. Robert Groves stands ready to run the agency with the independence and professionalism that the American people expect and the Constitution demands.”

Groves, 60, has drawn skepticism from House Republicans. As a former census associate director, Groves pushed for the use of statistical sampling in the 1990s to make up for an undercount of millions of minorities who tend to vote for Democrats, but was later overruled by the Republican commerce secretary.

In his confirmation hearing last month, Groves sought to allay GOP concerns by ruling out the use of broad sampling in the 2010 census, which is used to apportion House seats and redraw congressional districts. Groves has also pledged to resign if he encounters undue partisan interference in tallying census figures.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security committee which considered Groves’ nomination, said she believed it was necessary for Groves to be confirmed soon.

“The Census Bureau has acknowledged that it is experiencing critical problems with its management and testing of key information technology systems,” she said. “I do not know who has placed a hold on Mr. Groves’ nomination, nor do I understand the rationale for holding him up. I am very eager to get this qualified candidate on the job.”

The delay on Groves comes as the Census Bureau heads into its final critical months of preparation for the 2010 head count, including an aggressive outreach campaign aimed at hard-to-find groups such as immigrants, non-English speaking residents and displaced homeowners.

The agency has already acknowledged that tens of millions of residents in dense urban areas — about 14 percent of the U.S. population — are at high risk of being missed. Groves has said that if he is confirmed, one of his first steps would be to conduct a thorough risk assessment study to pinpoint ways to improve the count.

Congresswoman Refuses To Participate in 2010 Census

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

According to the Minnesota Independent, “Rep. Michele Bachmann told the Washington Times on Wednesday that she will not be filling out all the questions on next year’s census because ACORN will be one of the federal government’s many community partners for conducting the census. But what she is proposing to do is illegal, the Times reports.

“I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home,” she said. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”

“There’s great concern that’s being raised because now ACORN has been named as one of the federal partners… This is very concerning because the motherload of all data comes from the census,” she said.

But as the paper reports, Bachmann is “misreading” the law — and it could cost her family $100 per question left unanswered.”

NOTE: Below, please find an audio recording of Bachmann’s interview with The Washington Times.

Open Letter to the GOP Senator Who Blocked Robert Groves’

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Dear Senator,

It is now known that one GOP Senator has blocked Robert Groves’ nomination to become the next Census Director. MyTwoCensus.com is very interested in learning why this has occurred. If this nomination has been held up for a good reason, please contact us and share your story. Keeping your colleagues and the public in the dark won’t help anyone.

Best regards,

Stephen Robert Morse and the MyTwoCensus Team

UPDATE: MyTwoCensus Scooped The NY Times: Editorial: The U.S. Senate Must Confirm Robert Groves ASAP

Sunday, June 7th, 2009
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

UPDATE: MyTwoCensus scooped The New York Times. Check out their editorial, written 24 hours after ours!

Even though Robert Groves’ confirmation hearing to become the next director of the U.S. Census Bureau took place more than three weeks ago (23 days to be precise), the United States Senate still has not scheduled  a vote to confirm Mr. Groves for his new position. This unnecessary delay is just another example of the bureaucratic nightmare that has long been (and most likely will always be) the United States Congress’s lackadaisical work schedule.

MyTwoCensus believes that Senator Tom Carper and his colleagues on the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security that is responsible for the 2010 Census must urge the rest of the Senate to schedule an immediate vote to confirm Mr. Groves. For each day that Robert Groves is not officially in charge of the Census Bureau, the American people lose out on the possibility of achieving the most organized and best managed decennial headcount possible. A ship without a captain is bound  to run into serious problems, and the Census Bureau is no different.

Obama Administration employment figures are lies: Why the numbers don’t add up…

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

As MyTwoCensus has consistently reported for the past few months, the U.S. Government’s unemployment figures are completely misleading. The government factored the 140,000 people who assisted with the Census Bureau’s first round of address canvassing operations as having new jobs that were created during these most troubling economic times.

However, as hundreds of our readers have expressed through their comments, contributions, and by contacting us, most of the employment for these early canvassing operations was extremely brief, lasting anywhere from a few days of training (without ever being called in for the actual job) to a couple of months (for the luckiest of employees).

Only now, after months of  neglecting these misleading statistics and happily toeing the Obama party line about job creation, is  the mainstream media beginning to pick up on these reporting errors, about the very limited job creation for 2010 Census operations. Thanks to the Associated Press for the following report:

Part-timers form a hidden unemployment rate

TOWNSHEND, Vt. (AP) — When the monthly unemployment figures come out Friday, Greg Noel will go from collecting government statistics to becoming one. Again.

Noel, 60, was among more than 60,000 Americans hired in April to help with the 2010 Census. But he’s out of work once more and moving back on the unemployment rolls because his temporary gig is finished.

It’s a familiar predicament in today’s economy, in which some 2 million people searching for full-time work have had to settle for less, and unemployment is much higher than the official rate when all the Americans who gave up looking for jobs are counted, too.

For the past month, Noel and more than 140,000 Census workers fanned out to create a map of every housing unit in the country, part of what will be the largest peacetime mobilization of civilian workers.

He roamed the spine of the Green Mountains with a handheld GPS unit for several weeks, wandering down dirt roads and chatting with people whose livelihoods are also uncertain. Work was good: The sun was out, the snow was gone and the blackflies hadn’t begun to hatch.

Because of the surge of Census hiring, April unemployment only rose to 8.9 percent — a much slower increase than had been feared. But the latest unemployment figures aren’t likely to get similar help. Thousands like Noel who were among one of the largest segments of the work force — people who have taken part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time work — have returned simply to being unemployed.

Consider the numbers:

_The 8.9 percent April unemployment rate was based on 13.7 million Americans out of work. But that number doesn’t include discouraged workers, or people who gave up looking for work after four weeks. Add those 700,000 people, and the unemployment rate would be 9.3 percent.

_The official rate also doesn’t include “marginally-attached workers,” or people who have looked for work in the past year but stopped searching in the past month because of barriers to employment such as child care, poor health or lack of transportation. Add those 1.4 million people, and the unemployment rate would be 10.1 percent.

_The official rate also doesn’t include “involuntary part-time workers,” or the 2 million people like Noel who took a part-time job because that’s all they could get, plus those whose work hours dropped below the full-time level. Once those 9 million workers are added to the unemployment mix, the rate would be 15.8 percent.

All told, nearly 25 million Americans were either unemployed, underemployed, or had given up looking for a job in April.

The ranks of involuntary part-timers has increased by 4.9 million in the past year, according to a May study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Many economists now predict unemployment won’t peak until 2010. And since employers generally increase the hours of existing workers before hiring new ones, workers could be looking for full-time jobs for some time.

“You haven’t seen job loss numbers like this before,” said Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress in Washington. “It’s been such a sharp dip down that you’ll see a lot of employers taking on temporary and part-time workers before they add employees.”

For tens of thousands of people like Noel, a part-time job isn’t their dream position, but it beats the alternative. A Pennsylvania native and veteran of the Silicon Valley boom-and-bust cycle, Noel settled in southern Vermont in 2003. He’s worked a series of jobs, commuting to his latest position as an auditor for a family-owned food and beverage distributor in Brattleboro before being laid off in early spring.

Vermont is in better shape than most states — but not by much. Real estate and tourism, pillars of the state’s economy over the past decade, are staggering.

Many parents who were frantic last year about sons and daughters serving in Iraq and Afghanistan — the state has sent a disproportionate share of its young people overseas — now are relieved their children have a steady job with benefits. Financial jobs are few. “The economy?” Noel asks between bites of a bison burger in a tiny diner. “You just don’t know if it’s ever going to come back. We may never have it so good again.”

When the Census Bureau offered him a part-time job mapping houses nearly an hour from his Windham home, Noel jumped at it. The money, between $10 and $25 per hour plus 55 cents per mile, was a big factor. But Noel said he also wanted to be part of a larger community effort, and the 2010 Census is nothing if not a large community effort.

When the first numbers are released in December 2010, the Census Bureau will have spent more than $11 billion and hired about 1.2 million temporary employees. The government conducts its Census every decade to determine the number of congressional seats assigned to each state, but the figures collected also help the government decide where to spend billions of dollars for the poor and disabled, where to build new schools and prisons, and how state legislative boundaries should be designed.

It hasn’t been the perfect job — that would be a full-time position with benefits — but Noel says the Census job worked out well. It eased the pain of being unemployed, giving him something to do, and made him realize his entire life doesn’t have to be about financial management.

“It’s just statistics,” said Noel, “but it’s important.”

But last week, he was unemployed again, a victim of the Census Bureau’s efficiency. Since the government was able to draw from a well-qualified but mostly out-of-work pool of applicants, the work done by more than 140,000 field employees went far more quickly than expected.

“We’ve always done well, but this time around was amazing,” said Stephen L. Buckner, a Census Bureau spokesman. “It’s a tough economic time.”

For some temporary workers, the outlook is brighter. Ian Gunn spent five weeks “being paid to hike. It was great.” Gunn, an 18-year-old high school senior heading to Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute next year to study computer science, hopes for a better economy when he graduates, one that offers more security than a series of part-time jobs.

“It’s going to take time,” he said, “but I’ve got four more years.”

Noel, though, is uncertain about the future. It’s possible he’ll be called back to work later in the fall for the final push. The Census Bureau expects to send roughly 1.2 million workers out to count people who don’t return their questionnaires; the hiring will push down unemployment numbers for several months during that period.

For now, Noel says, he and his wife are living without frills. He looks for another job and she runs Green Mountain Chef, a catering business near Stratton Mountain. Demand has slowed dramatically since the economic meltdown began, as it has for most tourism-dependent businesses in Vermont.

Noel hopes to avoid being a statistic for too long. Unemployment insurance will give him about $425 per week — enough to pay the mortgage, and maybe the health insurance bill. Right now, the couple pays about $280 per month, but that will climb to $850 in September, when his government-subsidized COBRA policy expires.

“I hope something comes up,” he says. “But there’s not an awful lot out there.”

Editorial: For most accurate 2010 Census, use as many nationalities as possible

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

After weeks of discussion that Caribbean Americans and the legislators who vouch for them are seeking to create a new “Caribbean” category on the 2010 Census form, another group has come out of the woodwork to seek space to display their own unique identity: Dominicans.

According to the Dominican Today newspaper, “Dominican residents in the United States launched a nationwide campaign to be included in the 2010 Census, under the auspices of the Dominican Round Table in
which several organizations, elected and government officials take part.

The campaign was announced in a gathering in the Bronx’s San Nicolas Tolentino church, in which City Council and State Assembly members spoke about the initiative.

The strategy seeks to prevent what took place in 2000, when Dominican residents in the U.S. were excluded from the boxes regarding ethnicity of that country’s census. If excluded, Dominican community organizations wouldn’t receive the funds necessary to sustain their social programs.

The campaign “One plus One” also includes Puerto Rico, where several hundred thousand Dominican nationals also reside and demands that the Federal Census Bureau include a box specifying the word “Dominican,” which didn’t figure in the previous census.”

MyTwoCensus wholeheartedly agrees that an “accurate” count means getting as much specific information as possible. We feel that the government should want to know the specific makeup of its people because this knowledge will serve many purposes down the road. For example, knowing the ethnic/national composition of people in a specific area would make it easier and more cost efficient to arrange social services and other benefits for more highly targeted groups of people.

And for the many Americans who identify with more than one ethnic background, people can check off a box for each nationality/ethnicity that represents them.

Since filling out the 2010 Census form is required by law, MyTwoCensus sees many benefits to making this portion of the survey more comprehensive.  We don’t believe that sharing additional background information infringes on any individuals’ right to privacy.

Though the 2010 Census is just around the corner, there is still time to improve the paper forms before they are printed. We urge Robert Groves and the U.S. Congress to prioritize this issue and not let petty political bickering stand in the way of taking action to create a form for the 2010 headcount that maximizes the amount of relevant information that it can gather in its 10 short questions.

King no longer?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Peter King, a long-time GOP Congressman from Long Island, New York, is now the target of Democrats’ redistricting efforts that will take effect in 2012 after the results of the 2010 Census is complete. The New York Post’s Elizabeth Benjamin reports on the story:

Democrats eyeing Peter King’s district for possible 2012 gains

Monday, June 1st 2009, 4:00 AM

Democrats have Pete King in the cross hairs.

National and state party officials are plotting to weaken King, one of New York‘s three remaining Republican congressmen, by redrawing the lines of his Long Island district.

The next round of redistricting, in which the congressional lines will be reconfigured based on the 2010 census results, is more than two years away.

Still, Democrats are planning an overhaul of King’s district in hopes of making him easier to beat in 2012.

Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to get rid of King for years.

The outspoken conservative, who was first elected to the House in 1992, has emerged as one of the most visible – and viable – members of the beleaguered state GOP and is often touted as a potential statewide contender.

A source close to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith confirmed “serious discussions” between Democrats in New York and Washington are underway about King’s district.

“It’s an obvious choice because of the population of the area,” he said.

Long Island was once a Republican stronghold, but it has been trending Democratic since the last census.

The GOP still has a 46,072-voter enrollment edge in King’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The number of Democrats has grown faster since the last redistricting, with 16,843 voters added to their ranks since 2001, compared with the Republicans’ 1,336.

King isn’t concerned about being on the Democratic hit list.

“This is dream talk,” he said. “It’s three years from now. I don’t know if I’ll even be alive.”

King, 65, has at times flirted with seeking a statewide office. He ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 1986 and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor or even U.S. senator.

King said he had been “99% sure” to challenge Caroline Kennedy had Gov. Paterson picked her and not former Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton‘s old Senate seat.

He said he’ll make a decision by Labor Day, but sounds all but certain to seek reelection for his House seat.

New York’s upstate population loss has caused the state to grow more slowly compared with other states.

As a result, it has consistently lost House seats and is poised to lose at least one, and possibly two, in the next redistricting.

The Democrats‘ ability to control redistricting hinges on whether they hold onto the Senate majority next fall.

New York’s House members are increasingly worried that Paterson, with his historically low poll numbers, will drag down the 2010 ticket, returning the state Senate to the GOP.

“If this was 2014, [Paterson] would be able to ride it out,” a congressional source said. “But never underestimate the power of self-interest of members of Congress with redistricting looming.”

Boring interview with our fearless leader, Gary Locke

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke sat down with The Chicago Tribune for an interview…unfortunately the interview revealed nothing that we haven’t already heard 200,000 times:

WASHINGTON — The third time was the charm for Gary Locke, a former governor of Washington state who was tapped as commerce secretary after President Barack Obama’s first two choices pulled out. In an interview, he discussed the 2010 census.

Q Tell us what models you’re developing to ensure that all ethnic groups and minorities are accurately counted in next year’s census.

A Well, for the first time, we will be sending our forms in different languages and specifically in Spanish. So populations, communities with a large Hispanic population, will actually receive a census questionnaire. We’re going to be very specific. From past information, we know, for instance, in which parts of Houston there’s a large Vietnamese population. We know where in Los Angeles … in the Southwest, we have large populations, blocks of Hispanic families, and so we’re going to be very strategic and very targeted.

Q Will you, in part, rely on (popu- lation) sampling, even though the Republicans are dead-set against it?

A The United States Supreme Court has actually ruled that we are not allowed to use sampling apportionment. Nor do we have any plans to use sampling for any other purpose connected with the 2010 census.

Q Every White House has tried to play a role in the census. What will be this White House’s role in the census?

A The census director reports to me, and, of course, I serve at the pleasure of the president. … It will not be politicized, and the White House assured me that it has no interest in politicizing it.

GOP Budget Committee gives “Boondoggle Award” to the Census Bureau

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Well, your taxpayer dollars are hard at work in many ways, as the GOP Budget Committee has taken up some house.gov server space to criticize government spending on the 2010 Census:

Costly Counting: The 2010 Census

May 12 , 2009

In its zeal to go “high tech,” the usually redoubtable Census Bureau has already assured the 2010 head count of U.S. residents will be the most expensive in history, even after adjusting for inflation. At a projected $14.5 billion, next year’s census will cost more than twice the expenditure for the 2000 enumeration – mainly because agency officials contracted for a half-million hand-held computers, and then mismanaged production of the devices. The result is $3.6 billion in wasted taxpayers’ funds – and the latest Budget Boondoggle Award.

Here is how events unfolded:

  • After the 2000 census, top Census Bureau officials sought to replace the paper-and-pencil method of data collection with automated hand-held computers. But instead of buying off-the-shelf technology and coordinating with those who would actually use it, the agency paid a vendor more than $600 million to “custom-build” 500,000 hand-held devices for its temporary field enumerators.

  • The hand-held instruments had to do just two things: 1) enable enumerators to input information from households who did not return their census questionnaires; and
    2) update the location of every household in the country. They succeeded in neither. Census Bureau officials failed to articulate or oversee technical requirements, resulting in a poorly designed and inferior technology. In dress rehearsals, it became clear the devices were too complex for workers to use, incapable of transmitting the amounts of data necessary, and full of “bugs.”
  • How to solve the problem? Spend more money, of course. By April 2008, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, home of the Census Bureau, admitted to Congress that the program had “experienced significant schedule, performance, and cost issues,” forcing census officials to scrap plans for the computer devices and spend an additional $3 billion to revert to a traditional paper-based system.

  • This $3.6-billion mistake has pushed the overall price tag for the 2010 census from roughly $11 billion to an unprecedented $14.5 billion – more than double the $6.5 billion spent on the 2000 census. Yet despite the additional spending, the Government Accountability Office and other nonpartisan watchdog groups deem the forthcoming census “at risk,” leaving many worried about its accuracy.

After repeating the same constitutionally required task every decade since 1790, the Federal Government should by now have a handle on how to take a census, from which congressional districts are established, and billions of dollars in State, local, and research funds are allocated. But by trying to “modernize” procedures, the Census Bureau has actually regressed. The results raise doubts about the government’s ability to run, say, auto companies, financial institutions, or U.S. health care

Politico: Acorn vs. the GOP

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

We’ve interrupted our Saturday endeavors to bring you this story from Politico…Here are the highlights that discuss the 2010 Census:

But ACORN’s past problems and its new partnership with the Census Bureau has given Republicans more than enough reason to pounce. During the debate over the government stimulus package, GOP lawmakers complained bitterly that federal funds for “neighborhood stabilization activities” and other programs could flow to ACORN. At the time, ACORN’s CEO, Bertha Lewis, denied that her group would be eligible to receive such funds

In an interview with POLITICO, McHenry said that after this week’s law enforcement action in Nevada and Pennsylvania, he would continue to press the Census Bureau to end its partnership with ACORN.

“Not only are we talking about an organization that is a nonprofit and engaged in political activity of a partisan nature, not only are we talking about a group that gets government funds, we’re talking about an organization that has an imprint and stamp of a partnership with the Census,” McHenry said. “I think reasonable folks on both sides of the aisle should be concerned about ACORN’s involvement.”

Breaking News from South Carolina: GOP uses “fake” census for fundraising scheme

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

We hoped that the GOP learned a thing or two after their robocalls backfired prior to the 2008 presidential election, but apparently no such lesson has been learned as they’re up to such shenanigans again in Pennsylvania. Taking the deception one step further, the GOP recently started mailing “fake” census forms to people in South Carolina to raise money for the party. Our calls to national GOP leaders and South Carolina GOP officials have not yet been returned since it is after business hours. We hope to quickly determine how widespread these mailings are and to whom they have been sent (only  to registered party members or to the general public). The Anderson, South Carolina Independent Mail broke this most shocking story:

3rd District ‘Census’ form is actually GOP fundraiser

A fundraising letter sent by the Republic Party National Committee that appears to be an official U.S. Census form for the state’s 3rd Congressional District is not endorsed by U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, a spokesman said.

The letter, and accompanying “census” form, also seeks donations for “strengthening our Party for the 2009-2010 elections.”

Emily Tyne, a spokesman for the congressman in Washington, D.C., referred questions to Barrett’s gubernatorial campaign spokesman.

“He wouldn’t have anything to do with that,” said Jim Dyke, a spokesman for the Barrett campaign.

“He would hope there wouldn’t be any confusion about this Republican Party fundraiser and the actual census,” Dyke said. “The census obviously is of great importance.”

The GOP “census” includes questions on a range of issues and appears to be an official document. On the envelope is the wording “Do Not Destroy Official Document.”

The form inside includes the words “2009 Congressional District Census,” “Census Tracking Code,” and “Census Document Registered To:” and is similar to an official census questionnaire.

Each section contains questions, and Section V, under “Census Certification and Reply,” asks for donations from $25 to $500 or “other.”

At the end of the document are the words “Paid for by the Republican National Committee.”

Dyke said Barrett “didn’t have any control over it.”

B.J. Welborn, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said official census documents have a phone number for recipients to call to verify the mailing or ask questions. Census workers usually go door to door and have a badge and a hand-held computer, she said, but the agency does mail some questionnaires.

“What we send out is very clearly identifiable,” Welborn said.

“I couldn’t really comment on the GOP (letter),” she said. “We just want to make sure what is from us. If it is a mail survey, it is pretty easy to identify that it is from the U.S. government.”

People with questions can go to www.census.gov, she said. Two census offices opened in South Carolina in 2008 to supervise the current address canvassing operation, according to a statement. The phone numbers are (843) 323-4000 in Charleston and (803) 239-5012 in Columbia. Six more local census offices will open in the state to support 2010 census operations.

A U.S. Postal Service inspector did not respond by press time. An Anderson County Republican Party official did not return a phone message.


Note: MyTwoCensus is hoping to obtain an original copy/scan of the documents and envelopes discussed above. Please send any information/tips to MyTwoCensus @ MyTwoCensus.com.

Live from New York…

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

America’s favorite Big Apple newspaper has finally weighed in on the concerns by the GOP about how the Census will be conducted. Check out this article that appeared in today’s New York Times (written by the Associated Press).