The Times is to be commended for publicizing another incident of severely overcrowded housing in our community ("Owner Cited Over Workers Inhabiting Barn," April 6), which is unfortunately an all-too-common occurrence in Ventura County.
In the piece, my job with the city of Oxnard is described as one of being responsible for counting our city's undocumented aliens in the 1990 census. As a matter of fact, the Census Outreach Program, jointly funded by the cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Ventura, has as its goal the inclusion of all residents of the three cities in the 1990 census, not just undocumented aliens.
That is why our cities have implemented an aggressive program of going out into the community and with pencil in hand assisting residents in filling out the somewhat cumbersome census form. Our Censusmobile--the only one in the nation, to our knowledge--is in the community seven days a week, staffed with bilingual volunteers.
We go to shopping centers, mobile home parks, churches and any other places where residents gather, in an effort to make sure everyone is counted in this census. And just like the U.S. Congress and the Bush Administration, we make no distinction when assisting residents in completing the questionnaire. The Census Bureau doesn't ask about immigration or legal status, and neither do we.
We believe our unique outreach and assistance effort deserves some mention in the Times, and request that the coverage accurately describe our goal and mission.
Lawson is coordinator of the Census Outreach Program.