Census 2010 Council updated on impacts

March 10, 2010
Santa Paula City Council

The 2010 Census will be short, painless, impersonal and vitally important to future funding, the City Council learned at the March 1 meeting. Planning Director Janna Minsk updated the council on the census, which is poised to mail questionnaires on April 1.

Undercounting, said Minsk, “is something we would like to avoid,” as the loss of each person in the count has a value of $1,400 in future funding. Responses to the census are required by law, and Minsk noted the organizational and informational effort for the 2010 effort was launched in 2008.

“The difference from 2000 to now is then they had a short form or a long form,” but for the 2010 Census “everybody is going to receive the short form” of 10 questions or less. “How data is used is a variety of ways important to all of us,” including among others Medicaid, Community Development Block Grants, targeted grants for education and determining boundaries for legislative districts. 

The promotional campaign for the 2010 Census includes posters and brochures, as well as media public service announcements. Posters are already displayed, and many area businesses “have been kind enough” to help in the campaign by making brochures available.

The city website will carry general Census 2010 information, and Minsk said the outreach effort will be coordinated with area employers and the faith-based community, among others. Questionnaire assistance centers will be opened at Blanchard Community Library, City Hall and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, among others. Minsk said census workers would make home visits to those who do not return the mailed questionnaire by the Census 2010 deadline.

“There’s been a lot of stuff on the Internet about the 2010 Census,” which, noted Councilman Bob Gonzales, urges “how people should not cooperate,” partially due to privacy concerns and other issues. But information gathered by the census is “very valuable,” and Gonzales suggested localized cable programming on the census to clarify that taking part in the program is “harmless” and actually impersonal, and the financial benefits would foster a positive reaction.

Gonzales asked if the form is invalidated if not fully completed, and Minsk said partially completed forms would warrant a home visit by a census worker. The form, she noted, is basic and does not request too much personal information such as Social Security numbers that would raise privacy or other concerns. “We want to ally the fears of what the census is and what it is not,” she noted.

Councilman Dr. Gabino Aguirre said outreach on Census 2010 has already begun and workers are being sought. He recommended those interested in working for Census 2010 contact Partnership Specialist David Rodriguez at 258-1800.

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