WASHINGTON INSIGHT

COUNTING CHANGE: A nanny problem has cut down the Clinton Administration's top choice to head the Census Bureau, Leo Estrada. The new leading candidate, David Hayes-Bautista, has similar credentials: He is a noted Latino demographer at UCLA. . . . Estrada, an expert on immigration patterns, said he told background checkers that he had employed an illegal immigrant for child care and did not pay her Social Security taxes. Though disappointed at losing the Census Bureau job, he conceded that it was only fair to be treated like Zoe Baird, who missed becoming attorney general for the same reason. . . . Hayes-Bautista, a medical sociologist who has done many demographic projections, said he was asked to "throw my hat back in the ring" after Estrada dropped out. He said that if he gets the post, he will push for adjusting any undercounts of African-Americans and Latinos in the 2000 census. He said he will also seek a better way to count Latinos on census forms--"a mestizo-like category" added to ones for whites, blacks, American Indians and Asians. . . . Latino leaders are glum over Estrada's disqualification. "All nominees are going through strict questioning on issues that had not been under consideration before," said Lydia Camarillo of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

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