Posts Tagged ‘census’

The San Francisco Elections Commission Wants YOU to Serve on the Great 2011-2012 Redistricting Task Force

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Now I’ll tell you, all I know about electoral redistricting is on the state and Federal level. Like remember when Willie Brown cooked up a plan to have a Senate district go right down the middle of Castro Street back in the day as a kind of F to the U to any potential gay candidates (like Carole Migden) what might have opposed Willie Brown:

At a fundamental level, it’s a symbolic issue, and using Castro Street as a dividing line is really a slap in the face of the community,” said Paul Hogan, chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.”

Good times.

Or this purple thing Down South, crafted so that San Luis Obispo-type cowboys wouldn’t be in the same district as beach-side hippie types. It’s as narrow as 150 yards wide at high tide, our 23rd Congressional is:

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Now don’t you want to get in on the fun? Well then answer the Call put out this AM by your City and County of San Francisco Elections Commission. Deets below.

Now I’ll tell you, I’d apply for this thing, you know, just to mess with peoples’ heads (by putting the houses of three sitting supes all in the same district, stuff like that) but it turns out that criterion #2 is “represent[ing] San Francisco’s diverse population.” And I’m the least diverse person you could possibly imagine so I’m DNQ’ed from the get-go.

But you, they’d love to have you.

All the deets:


What is redistricting?

Every ten years, the Federal Government conducts a census to determine the number of individuals living in the United States. After the census is completed, the Charter requires the Director of Elections to determine whether the existing supervisorial districts meet the legal requirements established by federal, state and local law. If the existing supervisorial districts no longer comply with these legal requirements, the Charter requires the Board of Supervisors to convene an Elections Task Force to redraw the supervisorial district lines. The process of redrawing the supervisorial district lines is known as redistricting. The Director of Elections has not yet made this determination (as of March 28, 2011), but in the event that he finds that the districts must be redrawn and if the Board of Supervisors convenes a task force, the Elections Commission wants to find outstanding candidates as quickly as possible.

How Does Redistricting Work?

If convened, the Elections Task Force will consist of nine members. The Mayor, the Board of Supervisors and the Elections Commission each appoint three members. These nine individuals work with City staff and outside consultants to determine how the supervisorial district lines should be redrawn so that the districts comply with the legal requirements established in federal, state and local law. As part of this process, the Elections Task Force holds multiple community hearings to receive input from the people of San Francisco. Throughout this process and based on community input, the Elections Task Force will make several changes to the existing supervisorial district lines. The Elections Task Force must present a final plan outlining the new supervisorial district lines to the Board of Supervisors in April 2012.

What are the legal requirements for supervisorial districts?

The members of the Elections Task Force must consider federal, state and local legal requirements when redrawing supervisorial district lines. For more on these legal requirements, please see

What are the criteria for appointment to the task force?

Each of the three appointing authorities – the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, and the Elections Commission – probably have different criteria. By unanimous approval at the March 16, 2011, meeting of the Elections Commission, it has selected the following minimum criteria for its three appointments. Applicants must:

(1) Be registered to vote in San Francisco and have voted in San Francisco at least once since January 1, 2006;
(2) Represent San Francisco’s diverse population;
(3) Have not been paid by a political campaign since January 1, 2006;
(4) Not currently a direct-hire employee of an elected official of the City and County of San Francisco;
(5) Have general knowledge of San Francisco’s neighborhoods and geography;
(6) Have flexible schedule for attending meetings; and
(7) Not have a conflict of interest that is prohibited under conflict laws applicable to other City officers.

How can I apply to be appointed by the Elections Commission?

It goes on and on…


Has San Francisco’s Population Really Grown the Past Decade? Probably Not

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I don’t know, I sort of think the Feds would have “included” the “eight most underserved neighborhoods”* in San Francisco during the last census irregardless of whether the “25-member San Francisco Complete Count Committee of civic, community, faith-based and labor leaders” existed or not.

Anyway, the numbers from the press release below don’t add up, they don’t square with reality.

Of course any city or geographic area is welcome to spend money on a consultant, as San Francisco and Fun Diego did, to challenge the Feds and raise the count. That’s the system, baby. But you gotta remember that you’re comparing apples to oranges is all I’m saying.

2009 2000 1990
Population 815,358 776,733 723,959
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 Population Estimates, Census 2000, 1990 Census

Serving the “most underserved” in Alamo Square last year:

U.S. Census Director Robert M. Groves, seated betwixt Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and City Attorney Dennis Herrera at a meeting a couple years back:

So I’d say our population grew in the 1990’s, shrank in the aughts, and as for the coming decade of the 2010’s, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, all that is something to keep in mind as you peruse the recent release, seen after the jump

*I’ll bet the real estate industry people would just loooove this phrase. Anyway, they are, officially, the Bayview, Chinatown, the Excelsior, the Mission, South of Market, the Tenderloin, Visitation Valley and the Western Addition


Canvassing the Western Addition for the U.S. Census – Not a Bad Gig at $22 an Hour

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Laboring in the 415 for the U.S. Census isn’t half-bad.

The workers make more than a mosquito abatement courier, anyway.

When you see them walking around, just yell out, “Go home, G-Man!” They’ll love it.

As seen on McAllister:

Actually, I’ve let our local census taker into the building twice. You should too, why not?

From 1790:

  1. Name of head of family
  2. Number of free white males 16 and up, including heads of families
  3. Number of free white males under 16
  4. Number of free white females including heads of families
  5. Number of all other free persons, except Indians not taxed
  6. Number of slaves

To 2010, things haven’t changed a whole bunch.

The census has been updated to reflect all the amendments to the U.S. Consitution of course, but things haven’t changed a whole bunch.

So, answer the door when your Census worker drops by, huh?

The Postal Service Should Be Ashamed It Won’t Deliver to Single-Room Occupancy Tenants

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Or alternatively, Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Accurate Census Endangered by Postal Service SRO Policy – that was going to be the title originally. Anyway, the second-largest civilian employer in the United States, your U.S. Postal Service, apparently doesn’t have enough people to deliver the mail to the 19,000 San Franciscans residing in Single Room Occupancy units.

So, what letter carriers do is just dump the mail in a big pile in the lobby, let’s say in a big building with 100 units, and then split. The Post Office treats people living for years in the same place as if they’re hotel guests. Of course a lot of SROs don’t have lockable residential mailboxes, but the reason for that is that the PO just ignores them – it maintains a mail dump policy irregardless.

This could pose a problem for the upcoming 2010 Census, right? Check it: 

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That’s what was on display today down at 688 Commercial in the Financh / Chinatown area. It’s hard to figure where  U.S. Census forms should go to get to the right people.

And here’s a scene from today’s presser from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera and Chinatown Community Development Center Deputy Director Norman Fong.

There’s a legal process going on right now that’s taking some time to resolve. Get all the deets on San Francisco’s action against the USPS here. (Let’s see, the PO’s motion to dismiss was denied and there’s been a couple of stabs at mediation so far.)

Herrera railed about the “incredibly irresponsible” postal service while Fong looked forward to “a day when everyone will get their mail.” 

Oh yes, here’s another from Herrera:

“Someone in an SRO should have the same service as someone living in a condo in the St. Regis.”

(The only person I can think of who lives at the Reeg there on Third Street / Willie Way is former Mayor Willie Brown. Mmmmm.)

This is the building discussed today:

Inside, U.S. Census worker Jade Wu is not pleased that these census forms still haven’t gotten to the intended recipients:

And here’s an attempt at a residential mailbox:


Sure seems odd that one federal agency is getting impeded by another, however independent it is.

And it’s not just the census, it’s everything else you should be getting in the mail

Do Americans have a right to mail delivery?

We’ll see.

Counting SRO Tenants in the 2010 Census. Difficulties highlight discriminatory mail delivery policies being challenged by City Attorney’s lawsuit against U.S. Postal Service 
SAN FRANCISCO (March 25,  2010)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera will join Chinatown Community Development Center representatives and tenants of single-room occupancy residential hotels, or SROs, to discuss the difficulties of assuring a complete count of every San Franciscan in the 2010 Census.  Among the most daunting challenges facing those who do outreach to communities at-risk of being undercounted is a policy by the U.S. Postal Service’s postmaster in San Francisco that treats SROs like tourist hotels—refusing individual mail delivery, and directing local letter carriers to drop unsecured mail bundles near building entryways and at front desks.  The discriminatory mail delivery policy is at the core of a federal lawsuit Herrera filed last May.  To date, attorneys for the postal service have been unwilling to discuss policy changes that would treat residents of SROs like other residents.

The U.S. Census Wants You – Collect Data in S.F., CA for $22 Per Hour

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, I need not remind you that we’re in the throes of the Great Recession of 2008-20xx, but check it – the U.S. Census is hiring right now in the 415.

Now some poor melon farmers up in Oregon are going to be getting just $12 per hour. But you, you magnificent creature, you know The City like the back of your hand so you’re going to be getting 22 bones/hr. from Uncle Sucker starting in a few months, for a few months. What’s that? You don’t want to be knocking on doors pestering people? Well, the Feds are also looking for clerical workers, you know indoor work as opposed to “field work.” It’s totally wide open.

What’s that, you’re not a citizen? Well, that’s not going to help you, but it’s not a deal-breaker neither.  

Here’s what you do, you call up (415) 680-2020 and tell them your name, phone number and zip code. They’ll then tell you where to go for the next test, like tomorrow, Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 at 7:00PM.

The test is easy-peasy. Check it.

So, view the gritty nitty and start dialing – your temporary appointment with the Feds is about to begin!

Meet your new boss, Robert M. Groves, seated betwixt Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and City Attorney Dennis Herrera at a meeting last year. 

How will you spend all the money you’re going to earn?

A Big Kickoff for Census 2010 Today – Or, How the Feds Lie to Us

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Can you envision the Feds thinking about the best way to get word out about the 2010 Census – can’t you just see them all coming up with the same meme at the same time:

“OMG, OMG, Bus Tour!”*

That was the plan for early this morning, having the Great Census Bus, a prime mover of the Portrait of America Regional Census Road Tour, roll across the Golden Gate Bridge at 4:00AM and then meander to Civic Center by noon for speeches and a “Census Fair” under the dome of City Hall. Bonus: “surprise celebrity guests” will be on the scene.

O.K. fine.

Now here’s the Good the Bad and the Ugly of your 2010 Census.

The Good: Everybody will get the same ten questions this go around – the “long form” is gone. Why? Cause the Govmint randomly asking 17% of respondents how many bathrooms they have, well that pissed people off and that hurt the compliance rate. (My grandmother, for one, was hopping mad about being compelled to complete her long form ten years back. Pourquoi moi? Pourquoi moi? Je ne sais pas pourquoi. Pourquoi pas, Grand-Mère?)

The Bad: You can’t use the Internet to fulfill your obligation. Oddly enough, they let you go online in 2000, but they won’t for 2010. Pourquoi? Encore, pourquoi pas? The World Wide Web might make things easier on you, but the Feds don’t want to deal with iPhoned-up poindexters such as yourself.

The Ugly: The information you give could be used to round you up when some government agency feels like it. That’s unlikely to be a big concern for you for a bunch of reasons, but the Census Bureau has a bad record of fessing up about the times they messed up in the past. Hey, let’s review right now.

Here’s 2020 Van Ness back in the day, back in 1942 when census data was used to round up Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans (ask about our “just one drop of Japanese blood” policy!) living in the area.

Your Census Bureau at Work. Next stop: a horse stable or an “alien reception facility” in the high desert about 11 hours from here. (OMG, OMG, Bus Tour!)

The same place today, for comparison:

Now, the Boys at the Census had a defense for their failures during WWII (detailed here, from about 20 years ago), but it turns out they were lying about that. Scientific American has the deets.

I guess I wasn’t too impressed with this dog and pony show from last year. Actually, that meeting had to do with sending out letters informing people about the census in languages other than English, which is fine, as the Feds eventually decided, but IMO the Bureau should be upfront about their issues with privacy.

Just saying.

Anyway, a census requirement is burned into the Constitution, so brace yourselves for March 2010, when the forms go out.

(And thank Gaia you’re not a census worker doing Caucasian Outreach in some place like western Montana. Based upon my short stop at a Chevron near the Idaho Panhandle back in the aughts, well, representing the Feds could be a very challenging gig, is all I can say.) 

“On behalf of the San Francisco’s office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs and the Complete Count Committee, I would like to invite our community to attend the SF 2010 Census Kickoff Rally and Information Fair on Monday January 4th from 12 noon to 2:00 PM at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco.

Program highlights are drum jam opening performance by local performers on City Hall steps, remarks by the Mayor and members of the Board of Supervisors and some surprise celebrity guests.

The importance of this rally is to start the United States 2010 Census. This count happens every ten years and it is important for our community to be counted accurately so it can obtain proper allocation of the federal, state and local resources.

On Monday January 4th, the Portrait of America Road Tour bus will start at 4:00 AM at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, filmed by national media, and drive through San Francisco neighborhoods, arriving at City Hall at Noon for the rally. The Road Tour will continue its travel across America to collect images and stories from thousands of people across the country, explaining why the census will make a difference to their community.”

*Or vehicle tour, we’ll see when it gets here – somebody from Census 2010 told me they were going to use buses, but that was a while back…

Dennis Herrera and David Chiu Request Multiple Languages in Next U.S. Census Letter

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Since the whole point of the U.S. Census is to count people, wouldn’t it make sense to try to send out letters that people can generally read? Like, how about “Cantonese or Mandarin” (hey, aren’t they the same thing?) writing, for instance?

That’s what San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board of Supervisors President and District 3 Supervisor David Chiu, and Vincent Pan of Chinese for Affirmative Action were asking at City Hall yesterday.

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Good question.