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.
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.
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…