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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Filling Out Census: Two Minutes. Reading Newsom Statement on Why You Should: Longer.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Another thing Gavin Newsom wants you to do: Fill out your census form.
  • Another thing Gavin Newsom wants you to do: Fill out your census form.
"You should fill out the census, because it brings the city metric shitloads of federal money and you benefit." There. Done. That's what you stand to gain by filling out the census form that may or may not be rattling around in your mailbox.

Mayor Gavin Newsom wants you to fill out that form, and yesterday issued what the Examiner referred to as "a long-winded statement" which was "essentially begging" you and I to not take advantage of the city's excellent recycling services by tossing the census into it.

We couldn't find this "long-winded statement" on the mayor's Web page -- though we did find it reprinted here. But it's nowhere near as long-winded as this three-page executive directive extolling any and all who read its prose to get thee to a census form.

So, we decided to see how much longer it took to read Newsom's executive directive regarding city efforts to urge citizens to fill out the census form than actually filling out the census form. Naturally, it wasn't even close.

click to enlarge 2010_census_logo.jpg
If your census form is like mine, you have space for 12 members of the household to fill in their data. Note to self: Make some calls and find out how many households of 12 or more there are in this city of ours. Then set odds on what percentage of 12-plus households are families and what percentage are simply communal living situations. I'd guess an 80-20 split in favor of communal living situations. But we digress.

I am not of Hispanic origin -- denying us the opportunity to check "Mexican Am. Chicano," "Puerto Rican," "Cuban," or fill in whatever else I am. I am not an "American Indian or Alaska Native," so I don't have to spend time filling in my "enrolled or principal tribe." I don't need to fill in my "other Asian" race ("Hmong, Laotian, Thai ... and so on") or "Other Pacific Islander (Fijian, Tongan, and so on"). And I don't "stay somewhere else." So, really, this is a very easy form to fill out. Largely, it's name, birthday, and check every race I'm not.

Reading Newsom's missive -- not as easy. Hey, as Newsom likes to say, I get it -- it's understandable why he broke the benefits of getting an accurate count of San Francisco (so long as it's high) down into its most minute details. But absorbing transitional statements such as "According to a 2007 Social Compact Economic Drilldown Study..." takes a lot longer than deciding if you're Hmong or not.

We'll spare you further Newsom exhortations regarding the estimated 845,559 San Franciscans he hopes a "complete and accurate" census count will reveal and instead simply urge you, too, fill out the forms.

Because, yes, you could do so in less time than it takes to read this article, too.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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