Federal money and Congressional seat at stake in 2010 Census

Group wants centers established to offer support in filling out questionnaires

The 2010 census will have critical ramifications to state residents with a congressional seat and billions of dollars in federal money at stake, according to a spokesman with the governor's office.

Spokesman Eric Alborg said that every effort is being taken to get a representative count of California's diverse population.

"California is an extremely diverse state. That makes for a big challenge," Alborg said. "We have the added job of making sure that we create strategy that reaches people in hard to count areas. We hope everyone makes an extra effort so that California gets a fair amount of resources."

An array of Silicon Valley community and business leaders, along with representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office recently gathered in Mountain View for the sixth time to discuss outreach strategies in "Hard To Count" populations, such as households that do not speak English, and residences with multiple families.

The census questionnaire will have 10 questions and be offered in 58 languages.

Alborg said census officials are planning in advance this year due to a challenging fiscal environment and high unemployment rates.

Officials discussed establishing centers that would offer support in filling out the questionnaire, finding community leaders who would serve as trusted messengers, and promoting the importance of the census through the media.

An undercounting in California could lead to the loss of census-driven federal money and impact public schools and community services, Alborg said.

Some people who may be distrustful of the government and refuse to fill out a questionnaire should know their responses will be strictly confidential, he said.

"We really think it's important given what's at stake here in California with the possibility of losing a congressional seat and billions of dollars in funds. It's important that people fill out the forms."

Khalida Sarwari, Bay City News

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Posted by Messiah
a resident of Avignon
on Aug 26, 2009 at 3:24 am

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Like this comment
Posted by Bonnie
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 26, 2009 at 11:16 am

Supposedly, one must speak English to pass the US citizenship test. Census is toget a count for district representation. So we need a US Representative in districts where they do NOT speak English so we can distribute our taxpayer $$ to them easier, faster and not miss anybody. Right ! I certainly want to make it easier.

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