Opinion: Coming to our census

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

I must confess I do not much like filling our surveys or answering questionnaires. We all have busy lives with much to do and a lot to think about. However, the census material that is being sent out to every household this very week is very significant information to open and to read, and then to respond to the simple 10 questions. This is of critical importance to every New Yorker in particular. The stakes are very high for our city and state.

Every 10 years, the United States Constitution requires a tabulation of the total population of the nation, state by state, and community by community. The numbers that are yielded are not just interesting data, they are the basis for how much federal resources and political representation this state will receive relative to the rest of the nation. Ten years ago, we failed.

In 2010, only about 62% of all New Yorkers responded to the census questions. That compares unfavorably to the 76% response rate in the rest of the nation. That failure to respond has likely led to an undercount of persons living in New York State. The undercount has cost the State billions of dollars each year. A lower recorded population also impacts the number of Congressional seats that New York State is assigned and our strength in the Electoral College, which selects the President of the United States.

It is vitally important that New Yorkers not repeat that dismal showing again this go around. In baseball parlance, we need to step up to the plate!

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Random assaults up in Gramercy

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Following the arrest of a man wanted for a random attack in Union Square Park last week, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s meeting on Tuesday that the neighborhood has seen a slight increase in unprovoked assaults recently.

Hellman noted the uptick after a woman at the meeting said that a homeless woman approached her and punched her in the head while she was waiting for the bus with her granddaughter.

“We’re seeing a lot of this even minor level harassment and assaults but we are making apprehensions,” he said, adding that the arrests have included homeless and emotionally disturbed individuals.

Hellman noted that officers have made an arrest on another random attack that occurred in Union Square Park, in which the suspect fractured the victim’s eye socket. A witness told police that he saw the victim and the suspect, 33-year-old Tyrone George, get into an argument inside the park on Tuesday, March 3 around 9:40 p.m.

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