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Census outreach

I am puzzled why this is controversial.

A divided city council on Wednesday approved a $650,000 contract aimed at boosting the number of Houston residents who participate in the 2020 census, a measure that generated partisan debate in which some council members worried the outreach would have a liberal bent.

Under the contract, Lopez Negrete Communications — a firm specializing in Hispanic marketing — will conduct outreach intended to improve response rates in the 2020 national survey. Council members passed the deal on an 11-6 vote, with most of the council’s conservative cohort voting against it.

The hour-long debate centered around allegations from a handful of council members who said subcontracting companies or partnering organizations may conduct census outreach in a way that is slanted toward Democrats or liberals.

Mayor Sylvester Turner repeatedly dismissed the idea, telling council members the contract “has no partisan bent at all,” and would bring in more money to Houston, because the federal government distributes funds to cities and other local communities based on census data.

The mayor has said a signficant undercount could impact city services, with each uncounted person costing the city about $1,500 in federal funding. In 2018, the Census Bureau posted a slow population growth estimate for Houston, creating a $17 million hole in the city budget.

At-Large Councilman Mike Knox clashed with Turner over the deal, expressing concern that the main firm would partner with organizations that have unknown “missions and agendas.” For instance, Knox said council could not prevent organizations from conducting voter registration efforts amid census outreach.

[…]

District I Councilman Robert Gallegos, a vocal supporter of the contract, criticized his colleagues for opposing it, saying outreach is needed to counteract the impact of a possible census citizenship question.

“Residents in my district are fearful of filling out that census,” said Gallegos, whose southeast Houston district is overwhelmingly Hispanic.

He also said it was “frightening” that Knox took exception to the deal over concerns that those conducting census outreach may also register people to vote.

“That right there, I just thought it was a joke,” Gallegos said after the meeting. He said Houston would risk losing social programs and political representation if the city’s population is under-counted.

Either Lopez Negrete will do a good job of delivering the service they have been contracted to provide – boosting the response rate on the Census, to ensure that Houston is properly counted and thus gets its fair share of political representation and federal resources – at a fair price, or they won’t. I’m not saying a firm’s politics or values can’t be an issue, but the job has to be the first priority, and I don’t see anyone raising concerns about that. As for Mike Knox’s issues with Lopez Negrete possibly registering voters, I presume this is the usual Republican fear and loathing, and I have no time for that. Let’s make sure all our people get counted. That’s what matters. KUHF has more.

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9 Comments

  1. Manny says:

    The census is intrusive and would not fault anyone for forgetting to send it in.

    The only reason the city wants a large count is because of the money that will flow in, not that it will go to the people that don’t want to be counted. Those that shun the census have very little to gain and much to lose.

  2. David Fagan says:

    It would be interesting to find out how people would care about immigration if there was no $1500 attached to everyone’s head. I am not going to fill out the census, only because I think that voting should be encouraged as aggressively, if not more.

  3. Bill_Daniels says:

    “Residents in my district are fearful of filling out that census,” said Gallegos, whose southeast Houston district is overwhelmingly Hispanic.

    Sounds like ICE needs to spend some time in Gallegos’ district. Nobody who is a citizen or has a green card is fearful. Illegal aliens are fearful, and they should be. We need ICE in his district ASAP, to help get those illegals back home, where they won’t have to be fearful any more.

  4. Manny says:

    I told, C.L. I would not respond to Bill’s racist and bigot posts.

  5. C.L. says:

    Be Strong, Manny.

  6. Jules says:

    Yay Manny and CL! 🙂

  7. David Fagan says:

    He may be referring to all those CANADIANS they think they can come down here with their bad driving. Getting into motor vehicle accidents and, since they have trouble getting insurance, just run away and disappear, Canadians. They don’t have insurance in Canada? Maybe they’re just used to driving in round a bid bouts and on the left hand side of the car. Do they drive on the left side of the car? That could just be a stereotype, ehh I’m such a bad person, sorry. That Rosetta Stone for French is just collecting dust.

  8. Bill_Daniels says:

    Jules,

    You’re so brave, you go with your rseeesistance self. Hey, maybe get some of your drag queen story time buddies to go help read the Mueller report on the House floor! I’m sure the House members would enjoy it. Remember when we laughed at Ted Cruz for reading Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor? I have to hand it to you, y’all actually topped that.

    Manny,

    If you want to see some hate, er, um, hard facts, read the straight dope from the horse’s mouth.

    https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/annual-reports-and-sourcebooks/2018/FY18-Annual-Report-and-Sourcebook.pdf

    Almost 43% of the people incarcerated in federal prison are not US citizens, and over half the federal inmates are Hispanic, which makes Gallegos’ district statistically a pretty dangerous place. (page 53. for our home viewers).

    Now please, go ahead and tell me all about muh illegal immigrants are more law abiding than citizens again.

  9. Jules says:

    Lol, stay strong Manny! You can do it!