2020 U.S. CENSUS FORUM: Accurate census vital to Ohio’s future by Julie Hullett 9/12/19

Photo: left to right: Michele Pomerantz, Daniel Ortiz, Lisa Neidert, Rich Exner, mod.Accurate census vital to Ohio’s future
By JULIE HULLETT
SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
The pdf is here
The video is here

BEACHWOOD — Local government officials and activists are doing everything they can to get an accurate count for the 2020 census, which will affect redistricting and funding for various programs and projects, according to a panel of experts.

Lisa Neidert of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Daniel Ortiz of Policy Matters Ohio and Michele Pomerantz, director of regional collaboration for Cuyahoga County spoke on the importance of the census and how they are working to count every individual, in addition to brief comments from county Executive Armond Budish. Rich Exner, data analyst editor for cleveland.com, moderated the panel discussion, which drew a crowd of more than 50 people at the Beachwood Landmark Centre on Sept. 12.

“The county has been putting a lot of resources into this effort because it is so important. We need everyone to be counted,” Executive Budish said, who is also co-chairman of the Cuyahoga County Complete Count Committee.

“So many of the things we do depend on a complete census. We provide Medicaid, SNAP, Head Start, foster care and the resources that come through those programs to people who need it depend on the census.”

The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, The Siegal Lifelong Learning Center at Case Western Reserve University and cleveland.com.

Self-reporting for 2020 census

Ms. Pomerantz noted an important change for the census. The 2020 census is the first one that will offer the option to self-report online or on the phone. In the past, a U.S. Census Bureau employee, known as an enumerator, came door-to-door to gather information or the census was mailed for residents to fill out and return.

“Self-response is the first and preferred way that we ask of those to respond,” according to Susan Licate, partnership specialist at the Philadelphia Regional Census Center.

She explained the process for reporting census information this year. There are four “touch points.” In early March, households will receive the invitation in the mail to respond to the census online or by phone. One week after the first notification arrives, the household will receive a reminder in the mail. If a household still does not respond, it will receive another reminder. The fourth reminder comes as a paper census page in the mail to fill out. After that, an enumerator will come to the door to gather census information, including name, age, race, sex, relation to the head of the household and whether the person rents or owns the home.

Protecting underreported populations

Mr. Ortiz serves as the chairman of the county subcommittee on Hard to Count Communities, including minorities, homeless people and those living in poverty. He said that although the technical process has improved over time, the U.S. still has a history of undercounting certain populations.

“It’s something that’s always been political. There’s a history of people not being fully counted,” he said of the census, which has occurred every 10 years since 1790.

He noted that black Americans were not fully counted until after slavery, Native Americans were not counted until 1870 and Hispanic and Latinx individuals were counted as Mexican in 1930 and then counted with the term Hispanic in 1970. The census committee is looking at ways to target hard-to-count communities to ensure that they are informed and prepared for the census.

Ms. Pomerantz added that after the census is over for regular households, enumerators will spend several days in communities to count homeless people, whether they are on the street or in a shelter.

Earning trust for the census

Ms. Neidert said that it will prove to be a challenge to gain the trust of individuals filling out the census and convince them that the information is necessary for leaders to efficiently govern. Mr. Exner noted that there will not be a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

“Even when the president decides to create havoc about the citizenship question…[committees] are put together with those individuals who already have the relationship so that this continues to be an outpouring of a message that the census is safe to take,” Ms. Pomerantz said.

The panelists said that the challenges arise in finding every person to count and convincing each one that their information is private and will not be misused. Ms. Neidert also noted that following WWII, census data was used for Japanese internment.

Funding the effort

According to Ms. Pomerantz, Ohio legislators did not appropriate additional funds in the biennial budget for the 2020 census.

“If the state of Ohio was to put extra funding in for the census, even just for promotional materials, it would go a long way,” she said. “But we have not seen that funding and we were pretty surprised about that.”

Ms. Neidert said that the state has been “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” and that the money will not be useful if it comes too late. According to Ms. Pomerantz, the county census team has relied on the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation for their philanthropic efforts.

How to get involved

Armed with knowledge by the end of the discussion, attendees asked how they can get involved in the 2020 census. Panelists advised them to spread the word with their family, friends and community neighbors about the importance of the census. The bureau is still seeking enumerators and those interested can gather more information at cuyahogacounty.us/2020census.

Melanie Biché of Cleveland Heights said that she came to the discussion to learn more about the census and gerrymandering.

“I’m very concerned about gerrymandering and I want to understand how the census will impact us,” she said. “I didn’t realize the amount of money that is involved in this. I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the census was. Right now I have more questions than answers.”

As for the census itself, committee members and census bureau employees are working to make it as clear and straightforward as possible. They are hoping that the process will be easier to complete with the option of sharing information online or on the phone, according to the panelists. Nada Martinovic, who represents Cuyahoga County at the Philadelphia Regional Census Center, said that people can respond in 12 languages online and 59 languages on the phone, in addition to English online or by phone.

 

“Women’s Health in Ohio” a forum on Sept 17, 2019


“Women’s Health in Ohio
Tuesday September 17 6:30pm
The flyer is here
The video is here

with panelists:
Dr. Carla Harwell, University Hospitals
Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
Dr. Amy Hise,  CWRU School of Medicine
Tracy Carter, VP Government Relations, MetroHealth

Moderated by Marlene Harris Taylor WCPN/Ideastream

We’ll explore the state of women’s health in Ohio and the U.S. today and what can be done to improve it.

Ohio is ranked 32nd in overall health rankings for women (and children), according to a 2018 report published by America’s Health Rankings with: *high drug death among women
*low percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for 6 months
*low percentile of publicly-funded health services needs met

 In Ohio, black women are two to three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women while nationwide, American women are 50% more likely to die in childbirth than 30 years ago.

 And while there has been a shift toward including women in clinical drug trials in the last 25 years, there is still a long way to go in terms of robust representation of women. 

(Good news: for the first time since 2004, more women than men applied to U.S. medical schools. Women were also the majority of matriculants (new enrollees) to medical school for the second year in a row)

The statistics can be alarming, but what can be done to reverse these trends and inequalities? What role do our lawmakers play in our heath?   Where do we go from here?


Marelene Harris Taylor, Ideastream
Lakewood Public Library Main, 15425 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Cosponsored by Ideastream, LWV-Greater Cleveland, CWRU Siegal Lifelong Learning and Lakewood Public Library

  

“The 2020 Census: what does it mean for Ohio and Cleveland?” a forum on September 12, 2019

“The 2020 Census: what does it mean for
Ohio and Cleveland?”
Thursday September 12 7pm

the flyer is here
the forum write-up is here
the forum video is here

with panelists:

Lisa Neidert, Univ of Michigan Institute for Social Research

Daniel Ortiz, Policy Matters Ohio

Michele Pomerantz, Cuyahoga County Government

The forum will begin with brief comments from County Executive Armond Budish, Co-Chair of the Cuyahoga County Complete Count Committee of the 2020 Census

Moderated by Rich Exner Cleveland.com 


Rich Exner, cleveland.com

CWRU Siegal Beachwood Landmark Centre
25700 Science Park Dr., Suite 100, Beachwood, OH 44122

Cosponsored by Cleveland.com, LWV-Greater Cleveland and CWRU Siegal Lifelong Learning
   

 

Making Sense of  Ohio’s Court System Saturday, October 12, 2019 Heights Library

The flyer is here
Making Sense of  
Ohio’s Court System
Saturday, October 12, 2019
10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Heights Library Main Branch
2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights 44118

Eager to learn more about Ohio’s court system, how judges are selected, and how you can take action to ensure our courts are fair and impartial? The Ohio Fair Courts Alliance is a nonpartisan engagement project designed to educate Ohioans about challenges and opportunities facing the justice system. In this training, you’ll learn how Ohio’s court system impacts us—from voting rights, gerrymandering, the environment, and education to bail reform, healthcare, and immigration—and what citizens, like you, can do to improve it.
Free and open to the public

Training facilitated by Common Cause Ohio and Ohio Voice

RSVP here for Cleveland Heights
Training facilitated by Common Cause Ohio and Ohio Voice

How Do We Increase Voter Turn Out? a forum on May 29, 2019

The flyer is here
The forum summary is here
The video is here

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 7:00 – 8:30pm
How Do We Increase Voter Turn Out?
(aka where are the next 50,000 Cuyahoga County voters going to come from)
Rocky River Public Library 1600 Hampton Road 44116

Panelists
Erika Anthony, Director, Cleveland Votes

Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director, All Voting is Local

Anthony W. Perlatti, Director, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Moderated by Jen Miller, Director, League of Women Voters-Ohio

Cosponsored by Rocky River Public Library, Lakewood, Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, Rocky River & Westlake Chapters

Making Sense of Local Judicial Elections a forum on May 7, 2019

Making Sense of Local Judicial Elections
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
7:00 – 8:30pm
Heights Library Main Branch
2345 Lee Road Cleveland Hts 44118
The flyer is here
The handout from the forum is here
The video is here

Panelists
Deborah Coleman, Esq., Chair, Judicial Candidates Rating Coalition

The Honorable C. Ellen Connally, Cleveland Municipal Court (retired)

Judge J.J. Costello, Cleveland Heights Municipal Court

Judge Robert C. McClelland, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas

Moderated by Catherine LaCroix, LWV-Greater Cleveland

Did you know that far too many Ohio voters skip the judicial portion of their ballot? Some call it ballot fatigue, or the SAT effect—but the reality is that most voters don’t know who or what they’re voting for. Our panelists will explain the structure of the Ohio judicial system and the role local judges play in our everyday lives. And they’ll give you the tools you need to research judicial candidates so you can make informed choices on Election Day. Please join us on Tuesday, May 7 – and bring a friend!

Free and open to the public
Cosponsored by
Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University
League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Corporate sponsor: First Interstate Ltd.

MONEY IN POLITICS:  The impact of unchecked campaign financing and what we can do about it – April 10, 2019


MONEY IN POLITICS:  The impact of unchecked campaign financing and what we can do about it
The flyer is here
The video is here

WHEN:  7-8:30pm, Wednesday, April 10, 2019
WHERE:  Olin Hall, Room 124, University of Akron, 361 Buchtel Common, Akron 44304
MODERATOR:  Bruce Winges, Retired V.P. and Editor, Akron Beacon Journal
PANELISTS:
Cyndra Miller Cole, Lecturer, Bliss Institute for Public Policy, U. of Akron

William D. Rich, Emeritus Professor, University of Akron School of Law; Chairman, Summit County Board of Elections

Catherine Turcer, Executive Director, Common Cause Ohio

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

It’s been nine years since The Supreme Court issued its Citizens United Ruling. While we know campaign financing has increased exponentially, what we don’t know is where all the money’s coming from.  Dark money, money from non-profit political action committees (PACs) that do not require source disclosures, has become more prevalent in state and local office campaigns.  What can we do, if anything, to shed light and stem the flow.

CO-SPONSORED BY:  The Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron; The League of Women Voters of the Akron Area; The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland; Common Cause Ohio

“Plastics and Lake Erie” a forum on Tues Dec 4, 2018


Tuesday December 4, 2018 at 7:00 pm
“Plastics and Lake Erie”
The flyer is here
The video is here

Rocky River Library, 1600 Hampton Rd, Rocky River 44116
Moderated by Elizabeth Miller, Environmental Reporter, Ideastream
Panelists:
Jill Bartolotta, Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant College Program
Crystal M.C. Davis, Policy Director, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Erin D. Huber, Executive Director and Founder, Drink Local Drink Tap


Elizabeth Miller

Co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, Case Western Reserve University Siegal Lifelong Learning Program, League of Women Voters-Greater Cleveland, Cleveland.com, Ideastream, Rocky River High School Environmental Club and Bay Village Green Team
Corporate sponsor: First Interstate Properties, Ltd.

 

A Forum on Voting Issues in Ohio Wednesday August 22, 2018

The flyer is here
Wednesday August 22, 2018
“A Forum on Voting Issues in Ohio”

7pm-8:30pm
Panelists:
Representative Kathleen Clyde (D), Ohio House District 75
Dr. David Cohen, Asst. Director, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics
Senator Frank LaRose (R), Ohio Senate District 27
Moderator: Thomas Suddes, Editorial Writer, Cleveland.com

This forum will explore current voting and election issues in Ohio including early voting, voting by mail, voter registration, voter ID laws, removing voters from the rolls, gerrymandering, voting equipment and security and campaign finance laws.


Thomas Suddes, Cleveland.com

CWRU Beachwood Facility: 25700 Science Park Dr #100, Beachwood 44122
Cost: Free & Open to the Public
Cosponsors Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com. CWRU Siegel Lifelong Learning, League of Women Voters-Greater Cleveland.
Corporate sponsor: First Interstate LTD

Ohio Gun Laws: What are our options? a forum on July 17, 2018


The flyer is here

The post summary of forum is here

The forum video is here

Tuesday July 17, 2018
“Ohio Gun Laws: What are our options?”
Heights Public Library Main 7-8:30pm

Representatives from:
League of Women Voters of Ohio Lobby Corps
Moms Demand Action
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
Ohioans for Gun Safety

moderated by
Darrielle Snipes, Ideastream/WCPN

All open to the public. Please contact if you have questions about any of these events: teachingcleveland@earthlink.net