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13 August 2010

Davis: The Official Census

Big River Running Company Ribbon Cutting

You may not feel like running when it is nearly 100 degrees, but when you are ready to run, the Big River Running Company is ready to help. They are located in the Hutchings Farm Plaza and it was my privilege to welcome them to O’Fallon.

The Official Census

Some people are still getting knocks on their doors from census workers. While this is a federally mandated program, so long as our citizens are getting interrupted by census takers, here is some information that may be helpful. The census was authorized by the United States Constitution:

"The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of 10 years, in such manner as they shall by Law direct."
-- Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States

The original purpose for which the census was included in the Constitution was for electoral apportionment of the congressional seats. As our United States government has grown, so the basic purpose of the census seems to be bloating. Now the census web site is boasting that one of the purposes of the census has to do with “redistributing the wealth”. Here is a quote from the Census 2010 website:

“When you do the math, it's easy to see what an accurate count of residents can do for your community. Better infrastructure. More services. A brighter tomorrow for everyone. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services…”

They claim it is about how to spread around 400 billion of our hard earned tax dollars. The only problem is that the money came from us, so it is hard to feel grateful for their generosity should they prove that our population has inflated considerably. I have a great idea for the national government. Why don’t they let us spend our own money however we see fit without taking it from us first, extruding a hefty handling charge and then doling it out as if it were a gift from them?

Here is some background from Wikipedia:

“For the first six censuses (1790–1840) enumerators recorded only the names of the heads of household and a general demographic accounting of the remaining members of the household. Beginning in 1850, all members of the household were named on the census… In 1810, the first inquiry on manufactures, quantity and value of products occurred; in 1840, inquiries on fisheries were added; and in 1850, the census included inquiries on social issues, such as taxation, churches, pauperism, and crime. The censuses also spread geographically, to new states and territories added to the Union, as well as to other areas under U.S. sovereignty or jurisdiction. There were so many more inquiries of all kinds in the census of 1880 that almost a full decade was needed to publish all the results.”

We can all understand why the government would want to know how many people live in the United States, but it is offensive to see our government attempt to intrude into our lives. We have all heard about “big brother” but we really don’t like “nosey big brother”. There is a point where this becomes a violation of the fourth amendment which prohibits a search without a warrant. Most of the questions I am getting revolve around how much information we are required to give the census worker.

We owe it to the philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr. to get past the surface. Many of us long for a day when all people are judged by the content of their character rather than skin color. When it comes to ethnicity, there are so many interracial marriages, why should it matter anymore. Some of my constituents have started declining to answer questions on other applications about race because they feel it shouldn’t matter. I agree. It shouldn’t mean more than the type of cosmetics, sun tan lotion and hair treatments consumers use. I can imagine this being important to retailers, but not to government. All people are human beings made in the image of God. We are at the point in our nation’s cultural history where it is rude for government to participate in its own form of discrimination.

It is also rude for them to ask us how many bathrooms we have, but they don’t appear to have any sensitivity to that either. Here are some articles that explain the level of detail required, and includes a link to the actual “The 2009 American Community Survey”, sponsored by the Census Bureau: : ‘Big Brother asks: 'Do you have a flush toilet?'

One of the problems with the census is not the actual enumeration, but the estimation of what the true answers. There is a method under which the national government will attempt to “enhance the numbers” on a presumption that some people may not have been counted. They take a sample group and imagine how many others may not have actually filled out the forms. This is a big breech of integrity because you cannot prove a negative. The only way to count people is to actually count people. Here is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article that explains:

“The Supreme Court has ruled that congressional reapportionment—but not the redistricting of state legislatures—must rely on numbers generated by an actual enumeration. But for purposes of allocating funds, governments may well use adjusted figures based on sampling, which the Clinton administration will also provide. Methodological problems are likely to make these numbers unreliable, but the case for using them becomes stronger if many Americans refuse to fill out their forms.

If Americans don't trust their government today, wait till they see what happens if they leave census forms blank. The result won't be smaller government. It will be government by guesswork. Faulty data will drive funding decisions about housing, education and other programs, and will be used as evidence in discrimination suits involving bank loans, employment and contracting.”

Fortunately, I was able to speak with a representative from Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer’s office who gave me some additional information. He said that there is a penalty for not answering the questions, but as of now nobody has been charged or fined for not answering all the questions. If it were me, I would not risk it, but at the same time we ought to be a conscience for our federal office holders and ask them to exercise integrity. Since there is an election coming up, this is the perfect opportunity to let them know that the census should be limited to just counting people- real people and not imagined numbers added after the fact. This is the only way for us to have a fair and principled government.

Links to Other Related Articles

Ø 2010 Census Stirs Up Partisan Politics
Ø The Census and the Constitution
Ø US Census Bureau’s 2010 homepage.

Your thoughts are important to me, so please let me know what you think about the census. You can send me your opinion by clicking here: Cynthia Davis

A Little Bit of Humor…

Census-less-ness (n.): A peculiar kind of population survey that puts housewives, prostitutes and beggars in the same category.

12 August 2010

Roorda: Budget Relief Possible, Unemployment Claims, Public Defenders Can't Refuse New Cases


Congress on Aug. 10 gave final approval to a $26 billion extension of stimulus programs, with Missouri expected to receive nearly $400 million for Medicaid and public schools. State Budget Director Linda Luebbering said Missouri could get up to $210 million for the state's Medicaid program and $189 million for schools. As much as possible, Gov. Jay Nixon's administration wants to use the federal funds to free up state general revenue that can be saved to bolster next year's budget, which is expected to have a $600 million shortfall.

To read the entire article click here.

Unemployment Telephone Lines

The Division of Employment Security telephone lines will close on Thursday, August 12, for one day only. During this time, all Claims Center staff will be making calls to those who have been identified as potentially eligible for either Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) benefits or Extended Benefits (EB).

Over 50,000 letters were sent last week to potential claimants advising them to contact us in regard to their claims. Consequently, the department has received an enormous amount of calls.

So on Thursday, the Division of Employment Security will attempt to reach many of those claimants possible who have not been able to get through the telephone system. Calls will also be made by DES staff on Saturday to identified claimants.


Christian County Circuit Judge John Waters on Aug. 10 ruled that the Missouri State Public Defender's Office can't refuse to accept new clients due to excessive caseloads. Officials with the public defender's system, however, noted that the Missouri Supreme Court has already ruled that it can and plan to appeal Waters' decision.

Public defenders offices in several of Missouri's judicial circuits have started refusing to accept new clients and other offices are considering doing so. The system has cited the lack of sufficient resources to cope with caseloads that far exceed professional standards. While acknowledging that public defenders are overburdened, Waters said criminal defendants have a constitutional right to an attorney and that the system can't turn away indigent clients who qualify for representation.

The Supreme Court last year struck down rules that sought to allow the public defender system to refuse to accept certain types of cases but said the system can be closed to all new clients when caseload limits are exceeded.

If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact my office. I enjoy serving my constituents as "their" voice in the Missouri State Capitol.

Nodler: Stay Smart with Water Usage

Water is one of our most basic necessities, and this is increasingly evident as temperatures rise. There have been concerns in the past about long-term water quality and supply in our area. Water conservation is an effort that every member of the community can contribute to, and it can make a significant difference in water supply throughout our area.

For southwest Missouri, the Ozark Aquifer serves as the water supply source for cities, rural water districts, agriculture, and industry, as well as for communities in southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. Concerns rose as water supply wells in some areas of the aquifer began experiencing declining water levels. In an effort to address water supply and quality issues, the U.S. Geological Survey initiated a multi-year study in August 2005. In a report issued in 2009, researchers found that water levels have declined as much as 400 to 500 feet in some parts of the Ozark Aquifer since 1960. The information acquired through the report is helping water managers make decisions about the long-term viability of ground water as a source of water supply for the area.

As large-scale work relating to the water supply continues, small adjustments in households throughout the area can also positively affect water supply. Here are some suggestions from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on how you can conserve water:
  • Use dishwashers only when they are full. Washing dishes by hand saves about 25 gallons.
  • Turn off faucets while brushing teeth. This saves about 5 gallons per day.
  • Use sink and tub stoppers to avoid wasting water.
  • Keep a bottle of chilled water in the refrigerator for drinking.
  • Find and fix leaks in toilets, faucets and appliances that use water.
  • Adapt plumbing with flow-restricting or other water-saving devices.
  • Learn to read your water meter to judge how much water you use.
  • Take shorter showers and shallower baths. This saves about 25 gallons.
  • Water your lawn before 10:00 a.m. to prevent evaporation, which occurs during the hottest part of the day.
  • Water only when your lawn shows signs of wilt.
  • Do not let the sprinkler run any longer than necessary. In an hour, 600 gallons can be wasted.
  • Use pistol-grip nozzles on hoses to avoid waste when watering flowers and shrubs.
  • Aerate lawns by punching holes 6 inches apart. This allows water to reach roots rather than run off surfaces.
  • Know how to turn off an automatic sprinkler system in case of rain.
Even when an area is not in a drought, water conservation is a cost-effective way to help the environmental heath of the community. Saving water can also save you money on your monthly water bill. As the hot weather continues to hamper southwest Missouri, I encourage you to stay safe in the extreme heat and use water wisely.

10 August 2010

Keaveny: Quality Mentors Needed

Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Missouri

Statewide Program Needs Quality Mentors

Serving as a mentor is one of the most important roles you can play in a child's life.  The Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Missouri Statewide Mentoring Partnership Program is a network of quality mentors who work with children of incarcerated parents.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Missouri strives to make sure that each child, no matter where they live or move, has the opportunity to be matched with a caring Big Brother or Big Sister mentor who can help them with the ups and downs of daily life.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Missouri is the only mentoring program that serves children of incarcerated families in our state's largest populated cities, including St. Louis.  Approximately 45,000 children in Missouri have a parent in prison.  These children need guidance and support to help mold them into the responsible adults and productive citizens.  It is estimated that 70 percent children of incarcerated parents are at a high risk of one day becoming imprisoned themselves unless they receive the positive intervention that they need.

Programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Missouri have proven to be cost-effective.  It costs approximately $14,300 to house an inmate each year.  However, it only costs around $1,200 each year to fund a mentor for a child of incarcerated parents.   In addition, the program has produced impressive results for the children:
  • 79 percent experienced an increase in self confidence
  • 58 percent improved in academic performance
  • 58 percent improved their sense of the future
  • 43 percent improved their behavior in the classroom
We need quality individuals in our area to serve as mentors for this wonderful organization.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri by calling (314) 361-5900, or going online to

Tishaura Jones to Receive Lewis & Clark Statesman Award from St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association

The St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association (RCGA) has chosen Representative Tishaura O. Jones as one of the recipients of their annual Lewis and Clark Statesman Award. This year’s legislative sessions in Missouri and Illinois faced unprecedented challenges; however, even as both states grappled with dramatic budget shortfalls, several legislators continued to work hard to improve business climates, create new economic development tools, and expand proven programs. These efforts continue to build on previous advances that have strengthened the bi-state regional economy, and are appreciated by the business community.

The RCGA believes that Representative Jones’ strong leadership on behalf of the region deserves special recognition, and is honoring her with the Lewis and Clark Statesman Award. “In tough budget times like the one Missouri is currently facing, I realize that everything must be on the table. However, the Historic Tax Credit program has been the major catalyst to the revitalization and restoration of several neighborhoods that I represent, including Downtown St. Louis. Many developments would not have been possible and many people would not be employed without this program. Furthermore, the Historic Tax Credit program has now become a national role model for other states to follow. I am honored to receive this award for my staunch defense of the Historic Tax Credit program in the State of Missouri and look forward to working hard for St. Louis in the next legislative session,” said Representative Jones.

Joe Smith: New Signal on Route 94

ST. LOUIS – Drivers on Route 94 need to be ready to stop at a recently activated traffic signal between Mid Rivers Mall and Kisker Road.

After Monday, August 16, the new traffic signal on Route 94 will start cycling between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday through Friday nights for the next six weeks. This will let construction traffic safely move excess dirt as crews work on the new outer roads for Route 364.

Joe Smith: MoDot to close Woodstream Drive at Route 94

ST. LOUIS – Residents of subdivisions off Woodstream Drive in St. Charles will no longer be able to access Route 94 after the Missouri Department of Transportation and its contractor, Fred Weber, Inc., close off access to Route 94 at 9 a.m. August 16.

Access to Centre Pointe Drive will remain, so residents can still access Route 94 at Harvest.  Centre Pointe Drive is one way between Jungermann and Harvest, so residents must use Jungermann to access Center Pointe Drive from Route 94.

This closure is permanent.  Crews are starting work on the north outer road for the Route 364 project in that area.  Due to differences in road levels, drivers will no longer be able to safely access Route 94 from Woodstream.

This work is part of an overall project to complete the second section of Route 364 between Woodstone Drive and Mid Rivers Mall Drive.  The project is scheduled to be complete in summer 2012.