Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Census Event Helps Get the Word Out

 City, County and Census representatives at the rally
City, County and Census representatives at the rally

City and Riverside County officials, law enforcement representatives and a Hollywood celebrity came to Perris over the weekend united in common cause—encouraging residents to return their U.S. Census forms as soon as possible.

Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers (center) and Mayor Daryl Busch discuss the importance of completing the Census form
Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers (center) and Mayor Daryl Busch discuss the importance of completing the Census form.

The combination festival/Census rally took place at the Cardenas Market on Perris Boulevard. Event organizers said they expected 10,000 people to attend the Perris celebration and a similar one in Colton.

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch, Mayor Pro-Tem Rita Rogers and City Manager Richard Belmudez led a team of local representatives appearing at the Census rally, which also featured food and drinks and musical entertainment.
They were joined on stage by actor Tony Plana, star of television’s “Ugly Betty,” who like the others urged Perris residents to be counted in the current census.

“The Census is very important because the funding we receive makes the quality of life better for all Perris residents,” Busch told the crowd. “It helps us get more roads, parks, schools and after-school recreation programs. It is completely safe. The Census is used for counting purposes only.”

Redevelopment Project Coordinator Sara Cortes-Diaz (left) explains the City’s housing programs to a visitor at the Perris booth set up for the Census rally.
Redevelopment Project Coordinator Sara Cortes-Diaz (left) explains the City’s housing programs to a visitor at the Perris booth set up for the Census rally.

Rogers said the Census is “extremely vital to the economic future” of Perris, Riverside County and Southern California.

“It’s vital that we get the word out,” Rogers said. “We are getting the word out.”

Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, who lives in Perris and represents the City, said the county “failed miserably” in its efforts to count all its residents in the last Census in 2000. Just 68 percent of the population was counted, forfeiting millions of dollars that could have been used for a myriad of services.

The government distributes $400 billion a year--$4 trillion each decade—based on information gathered from the Census.

“That money is gone forever,” Ashley said of the 2000 undercount. “If we are not counted, we don’t count.”

City Manager Richard Belmudez answers questions from residents while working in the City booth
City Manager Richard Belmudez answers questions from residents while working in the City booth.

Ashley praised the efforts of Perris to count its residents. The City’s website, www.cityofperris.org, has been updated several times in recent weeks with new information about the Census and its importance to the community. A digital sign at the Perris Valley Auto dealership also encourages City residents to be counted. The event on Sunday marked the latest get-the-word-out effort.

“I think we are doing much better this time,” Ashley said.

Officials said they hope to count up to 90 percent of Riverside County residents in 2010.