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 ‘partnership programs’

UPDATE: MyTwoCensus Investigation: Census Bureau’s lack of photo IDs for employees and use of cheap black canvas bags as “uniforms” aid scammers because impersonating a Census Bureau enumerator is all too easy

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

UPDATE: FOR THOSE WHO READ AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS PIECE, SEE THE UPDATE  PRESENTED NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE.

On Sunday, I discovered an alarming piece of news from Washington state: Census Bureau polo shirts and black canvass bags were on sale at a local Goodwill store. As Steve Jost, the Census Bureau’s Associate Director of Communications wrote in a blog post yesterday, “Census workers will be easily identifiable: Each will have an official government badge (identifiable by the seal of the Census Bureau) and a black canvas census bags.” This should raise red flags, because by giving out these materials (that were subsequently donated) the Census Bureau is actually enabling fraud to take place. The other way that the Census Bureau has enabled fraud to take place is by failing to give its 600,000 door-to-door workers photo IDs. In a day and age where photos can be printed instantly on an office computer, this is ridiculous. The Census Bureau’s ID cards used by these employees are flimsy and extremely easy to replicate.  Yesterday, I questioned the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office about this, and received the following DENIALS from the Census Bureau:

E-mail from Stephen Robert Morse of MyTwoCensus.com: It came to my attention that  polo shirts with 2010 Census logos and black 2010 Census canvas bags have appeared in thrift shops and on Ebay – presumably these were leftover partnership materials. As you said, there are two ways to identify Census workers – by their black bag and their name badge. I am concerned that people, particularly the elderly, may be duped by scammers.  I have two questions: 1. Why, knowing that black canvas bags are used by enumerators, did the Census Bureau distribute black canvass bags with 2010 Census logos as partnership materials?  2. Why did the Census Bureau choose not to use photo identification for official Census workers? I worry about this because it is extremely easy for criminals to replicate the ID badges.

E-mail back from Michael C. Cook,  a Senior Marketing Specialist at the Census Bureau: A search of Ebay by Census staff found only Census 2000 shirts.  There are no 2010 enumerator bags or back packs currently on Ebay.  The child’s drawstring backpack for 2010 and the enumerator shoulder bag share nothing in common, not size, not logos, not shape, not dimensions, other than the color black.   If a member of the public is not certain of the identity of a census employee, they may ask for a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, or a phone number for the local census office to call and confirm the individual’s employment.

Now, this is truly a great way to dodge the questions I asked. Fortunately, I was also able to get Mr. Cook on the telephone and he said that the Census Bureau couldn’t make the photo IDs because “it had to do with the volume and the fact that there is a short amount of time between the time we identify the workers, to the time we hit the street — it wasn’t cost effective to take photos.” So the Census Bureau has no problem spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on ads, but has no budget to authenticate its workers’ identities in picture form to protect people from scammers…

*Note: My one mistake in this investigation was not taking a screen capture of the black canvas 2010 Census bag that was being sold on EBay. For all I know, the Census Bureau Public Information Office could have purchased it in the time before they responded to my query. Nonetheless, most Americans wouldn’t know that Census Bureau employees only use black bags. And despite this, there is still a 2010 Census tote bag on EBay that the Census Bureau PR team scouring the internet failed to notice. This time, I took a screenshot:

I’m not saying that scammers even need Ebay or thrift stores to obtain these materials. In fact, the Census Bureau’s partnership specialists have handed millions of them out for free! Did you get any Census Bureau swag? If so, let us know in the comments section!

Here is a photo of the all-too-easy-to-replicate canvas bags and non-photo IDs used by actual 2010 Census enumerators:

UPDATE: A READER JUST SUBMITTED US A PHOTO OF A BLACK CENSUS BAG THAT WAS FOUND ON EBAY…IT LOOKS AMAZINGLY SIMILAR TO THE 2010 CENSUS BAG. IN FACT, I AM 99.99% CERTAIN THAT THE PERSON WHO LISTED IT ON EBAY PUT IT UP AS A CENSUS 2000 BAG IN ERROR. TO ME, IT APPEARS TO BE A 2010 CENSUS BAG…ANY RESPONSE TO THAT PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE?

Cheap Advertising Available For Those Who Wish To Send Pro-2010 Census Message

Monday, October 19th, 2009
I received the following letter from Blulinemedia, a 2010 Census partner that plans to donate unsold advertising space on busses across the nation to organizations who want to spread pro-2010 Census messages (at significant discounts):

As a 2010 Census national partner, we have unsold advertising space to donate on municipal/city bus INTERIORS in various markets

for an advertising term of Feb. – Apr. 2010 for 2010 Census messages (i.e., encouraging citizens to participate and be counted).

DONATED AD TERM
Feb. – Apr. ’10 (3 months)

COSTS TO PRINT

The ad space is donated to each participating organization.

Each participating organization is responsible for design of the artwork and the cost to print the ads.

Below is the cost to print for each market:

Market with 200 buses: $4,872 (retail value: $14,950 to $19,950, depending on the market).

Market with 100 buses: $3,872 (retail value: $12,950 to $17,950, depending on the market).

Market with 50 buses: $2,872 (retail value: $10,950 to $14,950, depending on the market).

All printing has to come through Blu Line Media, pursuant to contracts with the bus companies.

ARTWORK

Artwork due date:

Dec. 21, 2009

Size: 27″ wide by 11″ high

Live area: 26″ wide by 10″ high

Format: High-res. PDF

DPI: 300

Delivery: email to dannyp@blulinemedia.net

AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE MARKETS

(Parentheticals indicate the number of minimum buses to use in a market)

Alabama
Birmingham (100)

Arizona
Phoenix (200)
Tempe (100)
Tucson (200)

Arkansas
Little Rock (100)

California
Davis (100)
Sacramento (200)
Stockton (100)
Modesto (50)
Marin (incl. San Rafael) (50)
San Francisco (200)
East Bay (Contra Costa County, incl. Concord & Walnut Creek) (200)
East Bay (Alameda County, incl. Oakland) (200)
San Mateo County (incl. Redwood City) (200)
Santa Clara Valley (incl. San Jose & Silicon Valley) (200)
Santa Cruz (100)
Monterey (incl. Salinas) (100)
Fresno (100)
Bakersfield (100)
Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties (200)
Los Angeles County, North (incl. San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena) (200)
Los Angeles County, West (incl. Santa Monica) (200)
Los Angeles County, South and East (incl. downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach) (200)
Los Angeles County, South Bay (incl. Torrance & the Beach Cities) (200)
Los Angeles County, Suburban (San Fernando Valley) (200)
Lancaster (100)
Coachella Valley (50)
Inland Empire (incl. San Bernardino & Riverside Counties) (200)
Orange County (200)
San Diego County, North (incl. Oceanside & Del Mar) (200)
San Diego County, Central, Eastern & Southern (200)

Colorado
Aspen and surrounding communities (100)
Colorado Springs (50)
Fort Collins (50)
Mesa County (incl. Grand Junction) (50)
Denver (200)

Connecticut
Bridgeport (50)
Hartford (200)
New Haven (incl. Wallingford) (100)
Norwalk (50)
Stamford (50)
Waterbury (a/k/a Central Naugatuck Valley), New Britain, Bristol, and Meriden (50)

Delaware
State of Delaware (200)

Florida
Broward County (incl. Fort Lauderdale) (200)
Daytona Beach (50)
Ft. Myers (Lee County) (50)
Gainesville (100)
Jacksonville (200)
Manatee County (incl. Brandenton) (50)
Melbourne (100)
Miami (200)
Orlando (200)
Palm Beach (100)
Sarasota (50)
Clearwater (incl. St Petersburg) (200)
Tallahassee (100)
Tampa (200)

Georgia
Atlanta (200)
Augusta (100)
Gwinnett County (incl. Lawrenceville) (50)
Savannah (50)

Hawaii
Island of Oahu (City of Honolulu routes) (200)
Island of Oahu (Rural routes) (200)

Idaho
Boise (50)

Illinois
Champaign (100)
Chicago (200)
Chicago, Suburban (incl. Arlington Heights and Skokie) (200)
Macomb (50)
Madison County (incl. Granite City) (100)
Peoria (100)
Rockford (50)
Rock Island County (incl. Moline) (100)
St. Clair County (incl. E. St. Louis, IL) (200)

Indiana
Bloomington (50)
Fort Wayne (50)
Gary (50)
Indianapolis (200)
Lafayette (100)
Muncie (50)
South Bend (50)

Iowa
Ames (100)
Des Moines (100)

Kansas
Topeka (50)
Wichita (50)

Kentucky
Lexington (50)
Louisville (200)
Northern Kentucky (incl. Ft. Wright) (100)

Louisiana
Baton Rouge (100)
Lafayette (50)
New Orleans (100)

Maryland
Annapolis (50)
Baltimore (200)
College Park (100)
Montgomery County (200)
Prince George County (100)

Mass.
Amherst (100)
Boston (200)
Brockton (50)
New Bedford – Fall River (100)
Springfield (incl. N. Hampton and Univ. of Mass.) (200)
Worcester (100)

Michigan
Ann Arbor (100)
Detroit, City of (200)
Detroit, Suburban (200)
Flint (200)
Grand Rapids (100)
Kalamazoo (50)

Minnesota
Burnsville (50)
Duluth (100)
Minneapolis-St. Paul (200)
St. Cloud (50)

Missouri
Kansas City (200)
Springfield (50)
St. Louis (200)

Nebraska
Omaha (200)

Nevada
Las Vegas (200)
Reno (100)
Stateline (incl. Lake Tahoe) (50)

New Hampshire
Concord (50)

New Jersey
Gateway Region (200)
Skylands Region (200)
Shore Region (200)
Delaware River Region (200)
Greater Atlantic City Region (200)
Southern Shore Region (200)

New Mexico
Albuquerque (200)
Las Cruces (50)
Santa Fe (50)

New York
Albany (200)
Binghamton (100)
Buffalo-Niagara (200)
Ithaca (50)
Nassau County (Long Island) (200)
Rochester (200)
Rome-Utica (50)
Suffolk County (Long Island) (200)
Syracuse (200)
Westchester County (200)

New York City
Bronx, The (200)
Brooklyn (200)
Manhattan (200)
Queens (200)
Staten Island (200)

North Carolina
Chapel Hill (100)
Charlotte (200)
Durham (50)
Greensboro (50)
Winston-Salem (50)

Ohio
Akron (100)
Canton (100)
Cincinnati (200)
Cleveland (200)
Columbus (200) (call for availability)
Dayton (200) (call for availability)
Toledo (200)

Oklahoma
Oklahoma City (50)
Tulsa (100)

Oregon
Albany (100)
Corvallis (50)
Eugene (100)
Portland (200)
Salem (100)

Pennsylvania
Allentown (100)
Cambria County (incl. Johnstown) (50)
Erie (100)
Harrisburg (100)
Lancaster (50)
Monroe County (50)
Philadelphia (200)
Reading (50)
Scranton (50)
State College (incl. surrounding townships) (50)
Williamsport (50)

Puerto Rico
San Juan (200)

Rhode Island
Providence (200)

South Carolina
Charleston (100)
Columbia (100)
Greenville/Spartanburg (100)

Tennessee
Chattanooga (50)
Clarksville (50)
Knoxville (100)
Memphis (200)
Nashville (200)

Texas
Austin (200)
Corpus Christi (100)
Dallas (200)
Fort Worth (200)
El Paso (200)
Houston (200)
Laredo (50)
Denton County (incl. Lewisville) (50)
Lubbock (50)
San Antonio (200)

Utah
Logan (50)
Park City (50)
Salt Lake City (200)

Virginia
Alexandria (100)
Arlington (50)
Fairfax (200)
Hampton-Norfolk-Virginia Beach (200)
Loudoun County (incl. Leesburg) (50)
Richmond (200)
Roanoke (50)
Williamsburg (100)
Woodbridge (50)

Washington
Bellingham (50)
Bremerton (100)
Everett (200)
Grays Harbor (50)
Jefferson (100)
Kenosha (50)
Olympia (50)
Richland (50)
Seattle, North (200)
Seattle, Central (200)
Seattle, South (200)
Spokane (200)
Tacoma (200)
Vancouver (100)
Wenatchee (Chelan and Douglas Counties) (50)
Yakima (50)

Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. (200)

West Virginia
Charleston (100)

Wisconsin
La Crosse (50)
Madison (200)
Milwaukee (200)
Racine (50)
Waukesha (50)

Please call or write with questions. I’m happy to help.

Danny Pouladian
Blu Line Media
310-729-5190
www.blulinemedia.net
dannyp@blulinemedia.net

The Census Bureau ramps up efforts to count minorities

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

As MyTwoCensus has been noting for quite some time now, the Census Bureau is making significant efforts to count minorities and immigrants, specifically by reaching out to community groups and using the ethnic media. According to the American Chronicle:

WASHINGTON, DC. – Chairman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri, pressed the Acting Census Director and the media group in charge of national and local census advertising to detail how they plan to reduce the national Census undercount among minorities and other hard to count populations. Mr. Clay, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, the Census and National Archives, conducted an extensive hearing earlier this week which included testimony from Acting Census Director Thomas L. Mesenbourg; Government Accounting Office Strategic Issues Director Robert Goldenkoff; New York City Census Coordinator Stacey Cumberbatch and Jeff Tarakajian, Executive Vice President of DRAFTFBC Media.

In his testimony to Mr. Clay´s subcommittee, GAO Strategic Issues Director Robert Goldenkoff reported that “The Bureau has made notable progress in rolling out key components of its communications campaign; if implemented as planned, the campaign will help the Bureau to address the undercount. For example, to help promote the Census, especially to hard to count groups, the Bureau plans to partner with state, local and tribal governments; religious, community and social service organizations; and private businesses to secure a more complete count. Thus far, the Bureau has secured partnerships with more than 10,000 organizations for 2010.” Chairman Clay´s questioning of Acting Census Director Mesenbourg and Jeff Tarakajian, Executive Vice President of DRAFTFBC Media, revealed that with the addition of $1 billion from the Obama stimulus plan, the total communications budget for Census 2010 is now $312 million. That figure is $50 million more than in 2000.

“The Census partnership programs and targeted media are critical to reaching the audiences who are most likely to be missed. In 2000, the Census missed 3 million Americans. Many of them were African American or Hispanic, most were poor, and all of them deserved to be counted,” said Chairman Clay. “I expect the Census Bureau, the Partnership organizations and the advertising campaign to aggressively target these hard to count populations and to make serious progress in reducing the chronic undercount of minorities. The Census is really about three things: information, federal funding, and proper political representation. When we miss any American, we deprive his or her community of all three of those precious resources. Every American counts, and every American deserves to be counted.”

Within that projected budget, $258 million will be spent on paid media, both at the national and local levels. In terms of actual media buys, the Bureau plans to spend $63 million on national media, which is primarily targeted at Americans whose first language is English. $83 million will be targeted at the local level via print, broadcast, transit, web and other forms of advertising to reach hard to count populations. Those local media buys will include messages in 19 languages.

Acting Census Director Mesenbourg also reported to Chairman Clay that the Bureau has learned valuable lessons from 2000 which will greatly improve targeting for 2010. For instance, the evidence proves that the strongest indicator of whether an individual will complete and return a Census form is the composition of that household. Traditional households, headed by both a man and a woman, are the most likely to respond. While single parent households, especially those headed by women, are the least likely to respond. Census 2010 targeting efforts will be adapted to reach these harder to count Americans. Acting Director Mesenbourg also told Chairman Clay that the bureau was making a special effort to update its mailing address canvass to reflect homes lost to foreclosure.