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Press Release
County of Orange Seal COUNTY OF ORANGE

January 4, 2000
Contact: Diane Thomas
(714) 834-6203
County Leads Census Outreach Complete Count Committee
(Santa Ana) - Four working meetings are planned this month for the County-led Census 2000 Complete Count committee. "Our estimates show that a 1990 census undercount of nearly 51,000 OC residents has cost Orange County approximately $7.6 million per year since that time," said Chuck V. Smith, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "It's important that we provide the leadership necessary to work with the Census Bureau and our community partners to get an accurate count in the upcoming census."

The ongoing meetings of the working groups are designed to develop ways to increase the public's understanding of the need for a complete and accurate count and, thereby, increase participation. "We're working from both sides of the issue," said Paul Lanning, Redevelopment Program Manager in CEO/Strategic and Intergovernmental Relations. "First, we're working with a variety of groups to develop better methods of reaching out to certain segments of the countywide community that are historically underrepresented in the national census. On the flip side, our working groups are providing input to the Census Bureau to help them better understand Orange County's communities and help them connect with local leaders who can support this effort."

Working Group Meetings

Housing/Homeless2 p.m., January 6Hall of Administration (HOA)

Fifth Floor, Conference Room A

Community-based 4 p.m., January 10HOA Fifth Floor, Conference Room A

Organizations & Education

Government9 a.m., January 13HOA Fifth Floor, Conference Room B

Business & Media2 p.m., January 13HOA Fifth Floor, Conference Room A

Meetings are open to the public. Parking will be validated for the lot at Santa Ana Blvd. and Ross St.

Participants in the working groups include the U.S. Census Bureau; Board of Supervisors offices; County agencies including CEO Homeless Coordinator, Social Services Agency, Health Care Agency, and Housing and Community Development; and cities including Santa Ana, San Juan Capistrano, Orange, Cypress, Anaheim, Laguna Beach, Brea, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Fullerton and Garden Grove.

Complete Count

Representatives are also active on the committee from the offices of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Congressman Ed Royce, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Senator Joseph Dunn and Assemblymen Bill Campbell, Dick Ackerman, Patricia Bates and Scott Baugh.

Other groups participating in the working groups are the Orange County Business Council, Orange County Transportation Authority, Orange County Community Development Council, La Familia, Catholic Charities of Orange County, City of Laguna Beach Friendship Shelter Cross-Cultural Task Force, InfoLink of Orange County and the Orange County Rescue Mission.

"A complete count means opportunities that can be made available to individuals in our community," said Isabel Melloni, Project Director for La Familia. "If we get a less than accurate count, the county receives reduced funding and we have more limited abilities to empower our community. I encourage everyone to participate in the Census so Orange County can be fully represented and receive the benefits that can be ours through full funding."

The information campaign will begin in March and lead up to the April 1 Census Day when forms are to be returned. "Besides the funding aspect of Census results, that information can also affect your representation in Congress," said Lanning. "Census data is used to determine the number of Congressional seats allocated, and it's used to re-draw districts for State Senate and Assembly members and the Board of Supervisors."

Lanning also pointed out that the demographic data collected is used by businesses and others to make decisions such as defining needed community services, the siting of a corporate headquarters or what kind of fast food restaurant might be located in your neighborhood. "Demographics are like the foundation of a building. You don’t see it, but it’s there to hold everything up," said Lanning. "It's been said that demographics are our destiny."

"The Census Bureau is pleased that this cross-section of our community is participating in promoting the Census," said Armando Ramirez, Orange County Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. "The Census is critically important for accurate representation, fair distribution of federal resources, and respect from our federal government for all groups in our communities. Because of these things, it is our shared responsibility to be proactive and participate in this notable event."