Wednesday, 22 May 2024

'March to the Mailbox' event Saturday encouraged 2010 Census participation

The 2010 Census emphasizes that the success of the count is in everyone's hands. Photo by Tera DeVroede.




CLEARLAKE – With the 2010 Census now in full swing, the Lake County Complete Count Committee hosted the “March to the Mailbox” event Saturday to encourage participation in the national population count.

The event drew a large crowd at Clearlake’s Austin Park.

This year the Lake County Complete Count Committee is going all out in an effort to get everyone counted in this decade’s US Census.

“With this event, we’re trying to reach those who didn’t get forms in the mail or don’t know how to fill it out,” said Melissa Swanson, Clearlake's city clerk, a Complete Count Committee member and the event's key organizer.

April 17 was the very last day to mail 2010 Census forms in order to be counted by mail.

Census forms were available but were not being accepted at the event; the forms still needed to make their way to the post office.

It costs taxpayers only 42 cents to mail back the postage-paid census form, but it costs $57 to recruit, hire, train and send a census worker out to collect information from the same 10-simple questions for each and every non-responding household, as Lake County News has reported.

The event was intended to bolster Lake County’s current participation rate, which was 57 percent over the weekend, according to the US Census Bureau. That's up three percentage points over 2000.

The city of Clearlake has 58 percent of its population counted thus far, according to the US Census Bureau, while California is currently at 67 percent participation, trailing behind the national average of 69 percent.

The March to the Mailbox event attracted a variety of people, from those who did not get a census form in the mail to dignitaries and those running for office. Lake County sheriff candidate Deputy Francisco Rivero was there speaking with individuals.

Swanson advised citizens that the US Census Bureau doesn’t send forms to post office boxes, so all houses in the community were mapped onto GPS.

However, this year many Clearlake residents reported not receiving their forms in time to return them by mail.

“I didn’t get a form and I’ve been here in Clearlake for 35 years,” said city resident Joan Moore.

“It’s the first year we haven’t gotten a form,” added Clearlake resident Harold West, “and we have been here for 27 years.”

“I’ve heard there seems to be a glitch in the Census Bureau’s forms,” said Swanson.




Community members stopped to fill out 2010 Census forms at the March to the Mailbox event at Austin Park in Clearlake, Calif., on Saturday, April 17, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.



Lower Lake High School’s Jazz band and show choir performed at the event. But before the music started, several public speakers had a few words for the event-goers.

Clearlake Mayor Judy Thein issued a proclamation designating April 17 as March to the Mailbox Day and encouraging Clearlake residents to mail their census forms.

“By doing so, our community will receive its fair share of federal funds, census jobs and congressional representation,” the proclamation read.

After the proclamation, District 2 Supervisor Jeff Smith encouraged everyone to fill their forms out and ask their friends to do the same. He emphasized that getting counted saves everyone money.

County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck offered a few words for the Spanish-speaking community and helped with translations during the event.

Elaine Dempsey of the US Census Bureau had a statement regarding the fact that many people did not get their forms in the mail this year.

“On behalf of the Census Bureau, we must have slipped up somewhere,” she said.

She continued on to explain that on May 1 people should be expecting a knock on their doors in an ongoing effort to reach everyone in the county.

Fred Hebert, assistant manager for recruiting for the Census Bureau, said a few words about how a county’s counted population affects it residents.

Each person counted equals $15,000 per years in funding, he said.

After the speakers delivered their messages, event-goers were treated to music and a show from Lower Lake High School's musician, as well as numerous tables of informational resources.

Groups represented at the event or who supported it with donations included the Lake County Fire Protection District, the city of Clearlake, Lake County Office of Education, Lower Lake Fire Department VIPs, Healthy Start, Soroptimist International, Ray’s Food Place, Safeway and Clearlake Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about this year’s Census, visit



E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .




Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck and Clearlake City Clerk Melissa Swanson are members of the Lake County Complete Count Committee. Swanson and Geck were among the organizers of the March to the Mailbox event at Austin Park in Clearlake, Calif., on Saturday, April 17, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.


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