East Bay ‘Battle of the Mayors’ aims to garner Census responses

East Bay ‘Battle of the Mayors’ aims to garner Census responses
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt (left) and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. (Photos courtesy of the mayor's offices for both cities)

By Kathy Chouteau

A veritable “Battle of the Mayors” is underway in the East Bay and you can help Richmond “win.”

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt has entered into a friendly challenge with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to see who can get as many of their residents to complete the 2020 Census.

The two East Bay cities are currently in a dead heat when it comes to their respective 2020 Census response rates, with Richmond’s rate of 63.4 slightly exceeding Oakland’s rate of 63.3. With a month left for residents to respond, both cities’ collective aim is to attain a self-response rate of 100 percent.

The winning mayor will accept a gift basket of local goods from their challenger. The contest ends Aug. 10. Residents can continue to fill out the Census until Oct. 31 using all three methods, online, mail and phone.

“Completing the 2020 Census is all about equity of resources and further improving quality of life in our city,” said Mayor Butt. “Let’s show Oakland how it’s done! Complete the Census and help bring federal funding to Richmond for the next ten years.”

For the two mayors, a high response rate from their cities is essential to them securing sufficient federal funding for the next decade—which, in turn, supports crucial services like hospitals, school lunches, road repair and more, per a combined statement from the mayors’ offices. The Census is confidential and does not include any citizenship questions.

Per the statement, both Richmond and Oakland are considered “hard to count” communities at risk of being undercounted.

“An accurate census count is critical for Oakland to receive its fair share of federal funding for vital public services,” said Mayor Schaaf. “Bring it on Richmond, let’s make sure everyone gets counted! Just ten questions can make a huge difference in our community.”

There are various ways to complete the 2020 Census. It can be completed online at www.my2020census.gov and also by responding via mail using the paper questionnaire that was mailed out to households with a regular mailing address in April.

Census respondents can also call 844-330-2020 (Español: 844-468-2020) and complete the form with assistance. Phone lines are supported in 12 non-English languages, with the list available here. The Census typically takes less than 10 minutes to complete.