Census numbers show California hardest hit by poverty

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imagePoverty numbers are high across the country but in California, they’re even higher. The 2010 poverty rate was 1.2 percentage points above the national rate.

Jessica Bartholow, a legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty says the numbers are to be expected.

“The Californians can’t be surprised by the newest poverty data released by the census. We’ve been seeing high unemployment and unemployment is a major contributor to poverty.”

Bartholow also expressed her fears for what this might forecast for California:

“In California what we’re most concerned about with increasing numbers of poverty are more families out on the street without housing and more people experiencing hunger.”

Politicians from both parties agree creating more jobs is the key to reducing poverty. Bartholow says the new numbers should give lawmakers even more incentive to find a solution.

“We think that the census data that’s come out today will be really good evidence to the Governor Jerry Brown and to President Obama and to congress that we need some changes in how we are offering jobs for low income individuals but also how we’re relieving poverty.”

As long as unemployment stays high and relief is minimal, California will continue to battle high poverty.

Local cities fall behind in 2010 Census

Everyone said it would take 10 minutes to fill out the 2010 Census.

Karen Rubin, an opinion writer for Long Island Populist Examiner, said “everyone lied.”

“It took two minutes, maybe three,” Rubin said.

John McDonald, mayor of Cohoes, said this year’s form is much simpler and much shorter than the form he filled out 10 years ago.

“I finished it from beginning to end in eight minutes, and I did not rush to fill it out,” McDonald said. “The form is what they promise – simple, safe and secure.”

But despite the short, 10-question form, some California cities, including Compton and Inglewood, are behind the rest of the country in returning forms.

While 52 percent of households nationally have mailed back their forms, only 40 percent of Compton households and 39 percent of Inglewood households have returned their forms.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attempted to motivate these Angelenos to stand up and participate in this once-in-a-decade event.

“I am calling on a little friendly competition between cities, [where] the prize will be funding for services and projects that will benefit your community for generations to come,” Villaraigosa said. “We need to show these other cities once and for all that Los Angeles is the greatest city in the world, with residents who represent the most civic pride.”

In 2000, more than 76,000 Angelenos went uncounted. Villaraigosa’s blog lists that number as “the second highest undercount in the nation, resulting in a loss of about $206 million in state and federal funding for local services and programs.”

What do you think?

Is it the city’s responsibility to make sure all of its residents do not go uncounted? Or is it the resident’s responsibility to stay informed? What should be done to make sure residents understand the importance of this event?

Students rally against education budget cuts at Cal State Los Angeles

Students gather for a Day of Action on the Cal State Los Angeles campus today, to protest the $283 million budget cuts to California education. Amanda Herman was there and filed this report:

“Make some noise if you’re tired of these budget cuts!” protesters yelled on the Cal State Los Angeles earlier today.

Dozens of students gathered at Cal State L.A. today, wielding signs and demanding the government reconsider the $283 million dollar budget cut to education.

Jose, who did not want to give his last name, is a fifth year theater student.

“People should start taking more action and not ignoring things, because if they start ignoring it won’t go away,” he said.

This state side Day of Action hopes to draw attention to the severe budget cuts affecting all of the Cal State Universities. As public universities, they have been forced to cancel classes, order furloughs, and increase student fees. The Cal State system usually enrolls 450,000 thousand students, but incoming student enrollment for this year has been cut by 10,000 students.

Mabel is working towards her masters degree in political science. She says the packed classrooms and limited choice of classes are not worth the increased tuition rates.

“We’re being punished by the budget cuts. I applied on time, I got my classes, then they were canceled. So I had to pay,” Mabel said. “The quality of education is suffering, the professors are suffering, the students are suffering, and no one seems to care.”

Students are faculty members are showing a united front against the cuts. Even the campus security officials monitoring the rally are being forced to take furlough days.

Until changes in the budget are made, students say they do not plan on giving up the fight. Joan Anagosa is a third year social works student.

“March 4th is not the solution to the budget cuts. It’s the start to what as a nation we can create and awareness to the government about how we are being affecting as students,” Joan said.

Cal State Los Angeles students continue their protests all across campus, some planning to march to the governors office in downtown Los Angeles.

Making children count in 2010 Census