Obama wise not to let Gregg oversee the decennial census

From Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)
(Regarding editorial, “Granite Gregg,” Feb. 4.) While the selection of Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) for Commerce secretary may be touted as a strong bipartisan move, there are serious concerns with Sen. Gregg’s poor record of support for the Census Bureau.

Not only is the decennial census constitutionally mandated for redistricting purposes, each day members of Congress and policymakers rely on data from the Census Bureau for decision-making. The need for reliable data is particularly poignant for members who represent diverse districts and underserved communities with limited access to services.

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As chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I have seen time and again the importance of accurate census data on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and other underserved populations. The diversity of my own constituents in Silicon Valley, and the propensity of these communities to be isolated culturally and linguistically, presents significant challenges for any Census Bureau survey. I will be working closely with my colleagues in the congressional black and Hispanic caucuses to help the Census Bureau reach these populations that are difficult to count.

Given these challenges, I applaud President Obama’s decision to have the White House itself oversee the work of the census director, and not the secretary of Commerce. The Census Bureau is a critical part of the Commerce Department, even more so as the 2010 census draws near, and Sen. Gregg comes with a history of fighting to obstruct President Bill Clinton’s efforts to boost funding for the 2000 census.

I am grateful that President Obama recognizes the importance of the Census Bureau and is in tune to the difficult trials ahead.

Washington


STIMULUS LEGISLATION

Best to do nothing

From Cleon E. Wilson Jr.

I am a taxpayer and a voter, and I am appalled at this abhorrent stimulus bill. The pork involved is bad enough, but the sneaking into the bill of a new national healthcare package is just like the Democrat standard operating procedures. They think they can slip anything they want into any bill and not have any discussion on it!
Democrats created this crisis with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the first place and now are using it to pay off everyone who helped them. The best thing Congress can do is not do anything.

Fort Myers, Fla.

Mad as hell

From Roy Lehman

Can somebody help me? What kind of system is it when the politicians confiscate the economic serf’s money to give it to the wealthy elite capitalists so they can recoup enough money to lend back to the economic serfs so they can buy the goods the capitalists have had manufactured in some foreign communistic society? Is it communi-capita-consumerism?

This house of cards established under Ronald Reagan must be allowed to be swept away. The golden age of the financial shell game must be replaced by common sense. Citizens must end their lethargy and begin the new revolution: “I’m mad as hell and won’t take this anymore.” Politicians might understand angry citizens in the streets with pitchforks and torches. Or, as I suspect, we can just take it.

Woolwich Township, N.J.

Preserving the places that make America great

From Rick Clark

Congress will soon vote on the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, a far-reaching bill that would protect wilderness areas, rivers, heritage sites, and parks on public lands across the United States. There will be direct impact in 23 states including my home state of Virginia. Preservation measures for coastal areas shared by the entire East Coast will also receive benefits.

These wilderness areas and other protected lands provide great benefits to rural economies by increasing property values, providing new economic opportunities in recreation and tourism, and creating desirable places for people to live and work.

Perhaps more importantly, the legislation will protect the special places that make America so great. These wonderful parks, rivers and historic sites will be preserved for present and future generations.

Spotsylvania, Va.