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Puerto rico government

Puerto Ricans rage as blackouts threaten health, work and school

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Not a single hurricane has hit Puerto Rico this year, but hundreds of thousands of people in the United States feel like they are living in the aftermath of a major storm: Students do their homework in light of dying cell phones, people dependent on insulin or respiratory therapy struggle to find sources of energy, and the elderly are fleeing sweltering homes amid record temperatures.

Power outages across the island have increased in recent weeks, some lasting several days. Officials have blamed everything from algae to mechanical failures, as the government calls the situation a “glaring failure” that urgently needs to be corrected.

Daily blackouts disrupt traffic, fry expensive appliances, force doctors to cancel appointments, cause temporary closures of restaurants, shopping malls and schools, and even prompt one university to suspend classes and another to declare a moratorium on exams.

“It’s hell,” said Iris Santiago, a 48-year-old woman with chronic health conditions who often joins her elderly neighbors outside when their apartment building darkens and the humid heat rises in the years. 90 Fahrenheit.

“Like any Puerto Rican, I live in a constant state of anxiety because the power goes out every day,” she said. “Not everyone has a family to run to and walk into a house with a generator. “

Santiago recently endured three days without power and had to throw spoiled eggs, chicken and milk in his fridge. She said the power surges also caused hundreds of dollars in damage to her air conditioner and refrigerator.

Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, which is responsible for generating electricity, and Luma, a private company that manages the transmission and distribution of electricity, have blamed mechanical failures at various factories involving components such as boilers and condensers. In a recent incident, algae clogged filters and a narrow pipe.

Luma has also implemented selective outages in recent weeks that have affected the majority of its 1.5 million customers, saying demand exceeds supply.

Luma resumed transmission and distribution in June. The governor of Puerto Rico said the company is committed to reducing power outages by 30% and outage duration by 40%.

The Island’s Electric Power Authority has long struggled with mismanagement, corruption and, more recently, bankruptcy.

In September 2016, a fire at a power plant triggered an island-wide blackout. A year later, Hurricane Maria struck as a Category 4 storm, shredding the aging power grid and leaving some customers without power for up to a year.

Emergency repairs have been carried out, but reconstruction work to strengthen the network has not yet started.

“We are on the verge of collapse,” said Juan Alicea, the authority’s former executive director.

He said three main factors are to blame: Officials halted maintenance on production units mistakenly thinking they would be replaced soon. Dozens of experienced employees have retired. And investments to replace aging infrastructure have declined.

Puerto Rico’s power generation units are on average 45 years old, double that of the Americas.

Luma said he plans to spend $ 3.85 billion to revamp the transmission and distribution system, and company CEO Wayne Stensby said Luma has made significant progress in stabilizing it. He noted that crews restarted four substations, some of which had been out of service since Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi blamed the failures on failures in the management of the Electric Power Authority and called the repeated failures “untenable.”

Pierluisi himself has faced calls to resign – hundreds gathered to protest near the governor’s mansion on Friday – and many are demanding that the government rescind Luma’s contract.

The chairman of the power plant’s board of directors resigned last week and a new executive director, Josué Colón, has been appointed, promising to visit all production units to identify the problem.

“I recognize the critical condition they are in,” he said. “We’re not going to stop until the problem is fixed.”

Some people started hitting pots at night out of frustration in addition to organizing protests.

Among those considering joining is Carmen Cabrer, a 53-year-old asthmatic and diabetic. She was unable to use her nebulizer and recently had to throw out insulin for lack of refrigeration. The heat forces her to open her windows and breathe in pollution that makes her asthma worse. She cooks and washes clothes at irregular times, fearing another blackout.

“It turned into abuse,” she said of the outages. “I am constantly tense.

The blackouts are particularly worsened as electricity bills have increased and the pandemic has forced many people to work or study from home.

Barbra Maysonet, a 30-year-old call center operator who works from home, said she sometimes loses an entire shift and is not paid for lack of electricity. She is hesitant to work in the office because she does not want to expose her mother and grandmother to COVID-19.

“It really puts a dent in my paycheck,” she said. “I have to rethink things. … I’m going to have to risk my health just so I can pay the rest of the bills.

Like other Puerto Ricans, Maysonet has changed his diet, turning to canned goods, snacks and crackers that won’t spoil when the power goes out.

“Just when I’m about to cook something, the power goes out. Then it’s, ‘I guess I’m going to have another bowl of cereal,’ ”she said.

Those who can afford it are buying generators or investing in solar panels, but budgets are tight for many on an island mired in deep economic crisis and a failed government.

Even attempts to rely on other sources of energy are often frustrated.

Manuel Casellas, a lawyer who recently served as president of his 84-unit condominium complex, said the owners agreed to buy a generator over a year ago at a cost of $ 100,000. However, they first need a manager from the power company to connect the generator to the grid. He made four dates and said officials canceled them all at the last minute without explanation.

“It created a lot of embarrassment,” he said. “It’s a building with a lot of old people.”

Casellas himself has at times been unable to work at home or in the office due to power outages in both cases. If he cannot meet the clients, he is not paid. Like others, he plans to leave Puerto Rico.

“Every time the power goes out here, it hits your post-traumatic stress button,” he said, referring to the heart-wrenching experiences many had after Hurricane Maria, with around 2,975 people. died as a result. “You cannot live without electricity.


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Four years after Hurricane Maria, the coffee trees planted in the aftermath of the hurricane are sprouting hope

Verónica Noriega isn’t a heavy coffee drinker, but that didn’t stop her from doing something she had never done before: helping Puerto Rican coffee farmers harvest their first harvest since. Hurricane Maria destroyed 85 percent coffee crops Four years ago.

Noriega, 25, was one of a dozen volunteers for the first time helping coffee producer Pedro Pons, whose farm, Hacienda Pons in the town of Lares, was completely wiped out after the deadly storm of 2017.

The initiative that Noriega joined was led by ConPRmetidos, an independent, youth-led non-profit group whose goal is to boost the economic development and long-term sustainability of the island archipelago.

The group had distributed 750,000 seedlings to family coffee farms such as Hacienda Pons, which are vital to the economy of small, mountainous towns in Puerto Rico.

Now the trees are producing their first harvest since they were planted on the farms following Maria’s.

“It really gave us a lot of hope to be able to pick ourselves up,” said Iris Janette Rodríguez, coffee producer from the town of Adjuntas and president of PROCAFÉ, a non-profit group created by ConPRmetidos to meet the needs of coffee plantations in Puerto Rico.

Iris Janette Rodríguez, coffee producer in the town of Adjuntas (Camille Padilla / ConPRmetidos)

The challenge: a shortage of pickers

Rodríguez said it takes three to five years for a coffee tree to produce its first harvest. But coffee farmers like her face another challenge that puts their miracle harvest at risk: a shortage of pickers. Without enough people to pick the coffee beans, part of the harvest could be wasted.

“Coffee is harvested once a year, but the income generated by these crops drives the mountain economy. This income lasts for months,” Rodríguez, 56, said in Spanish. “We don’t want the investment we made in fertilizer, and our time to make sure these trees do, to be wasted.”

On Wednesday morning, Eric Torres and some of his coffee pickers were at his farm in the town of Adjuntas.

“The reality is that this is often not enough,” said Torres, 55, of available pickers. “That’s why I was so grateful to welcome these volunteers. A week earlier, Torres had hosted volunteers from the Puerto Rico metro area, who had never worked on a farm before.

“You need certain abilities to be able to pick coffee due to the topography you are exposed to,” he said. “They might not be on display in the countryside often, but they came here, had a blast and got to know the coffee industry.”

Making agriculture sustainable

Pons, 60, whose family has farmed for three decades, said he never misses weather reports on television. He becomes anxious even when a thunderstorm begins to form far from Puerto Rico.

“After what we’ve been through with Maria, to see another hurricane destroy everything we’ve worked so hard to grow… that would be devastating,” he said.

This is where volunteers like Noriega can make a timely difference while learning about the families who keep the coffee industry alive.

“They helped me save a coffee tree with produce so ripe that if they hadn’t picked it up as soon as possible it could have been lost,” Pons said.

“I needed to connect to the earth”

After spending far too much time working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Noriega began to feel “this thing in me telling myself that I have to connect to the earth,” she said. “Getting closer to the earth made me think a lot food insecurity issues and how important it is to understand what we are consuming.

When Noriega volunteered at Hacienda Pons, she was tasked with picking coffee beans from small trees filled with ants due to their proximity to the ground.

“I thought I wasn’t going to get dirty because we were picking beans from a tree, so I left my gloves at home,” she said in Spanish. “Well, even though I didn’t get dirty, I was bitten by a bunch of ants. So I learned the hard way that it’s always important to wear gloves.

Despite beginners’ mistakes, Pons said it was “not rocket science” to choose coffee. They just have to make sure the bean is as close to the red as possible, “he said.” But it’s definitely hard work. “

Pedro Pons, who worked as a coffee producer on his family farm Hacienda Pons in the town of Lares for three decades.  (Johnny De Los Santos / ConPRmetidos)

Pedro Pons, who worked as a coffee producer on his family farm Hacienda Pons in the town of Lares for three decades. (Johnny De Los Santos / ConPRmetidos)

This is a view shared by Noriega, who has helped recruit other volunteers through her work with the nonprofit organization. Mentes Puertorriqueñas en Acción, which promotes civic engagement.

“Carrying the basket while you go to pick the beans is not easy – I really think these workers are not being paid what they deserve,” she said, of the regular coffee pickers. “We were there for about two hours and wanted to die, because of our fatigue.

The challenges of reducing dependence on imports

When Maria devastated Puerto Rico, making it difficult to receive and distribute food, it exposed America’s vulnerability to natural disasters and a severe shortage of local food. Porto Rico imports about 85 percent of all its food, producing only 15 percent of what is consumed.

This contributed to long-standing food insecurity problems that worsened nearly a decade ago, when Puerto Rico embarked on largest municipal bankruptcy proceeding in U.S. history. Subsequent natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquake and the pandemic has exacerbated the problem.

Rodríguez said food is mainly imported “because the labor and cost of production in Puerto Rico is very high, and we cannot compete with the costs from outside.”

Among the expenses that make coffee production costs so high are electricity and propane gas to roast the coffee beans, Pons said. In Puerto Rico, a gallon of propane gas could cost as much as $ 3 and fuel customers pay twice as much for electricity as US customers for unreliable service.

This is part of the reason why coffee growers like Pons and Torres sell most or all of their coffee harvest to companies who, unlike them, can afford to process the coffee and sell it to consumers. .

Volunteers who helped Pedro Pons harvest his first coffee crop since the hurricane completely swept his farm in 2017 (Johnny De Los Santos / ConPRmetidos)

Volunteers who helped Pedro Pons harvest his first coffee crop since the hurricane completely swept his farm in 2017 (Johnny De Los Santos / ConPRmetidos)

“We may not know when the electricity will be cut or when it will come back, but if there is one industry that can run it without electricity or the Internet, it is agriculture,” Rodríguez said.

Rodríguez expects her coffee harvest to be ready in October and said she looks forward to welcoming volunteers who could help her pick the coffee beans.

“There is also a need to educate Puerto Rican consumers on the benefits of consuming local produce,” Rodríguez said. “They’re fresher and safer because foreign countries don’t necessarily have the same restrictions on the use of chemicals or pesticides on their products, and help the local economy.”

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Ask the builder: pressure washers can cause irreparable damage

Do you own a high pressure washer? I have had no less than five in my life. I have to say these are amazing machines when used correctly and on surfaces that won’t be damaged by the powerful blast coming out of the nozzle at the end of the cleaning wand.

My university degree is in geology. A month after my 20th birthday, I found myself walking down the Kaibab Trail to the mouth of the Grand Canyon on my first geology field trip in the West. It took about four or five hours to walk down to the Colorado River.

I’m not sure if the professor told us at the time, but the National Park Service says the Colorado River swallowed up all of this missing rock, transporting it to the ocean in just 6 million years. He did so with just 14.2 pounds of normal atmospheric pressure pushing through the water flowing over the rock, not 2,400 pounds as many pressure washers produce.

In other words, the water that normally flows over dense hard rock will erode it. Think about the destructive force created when you plug in your pressure washer or pull the starter cord on its gasoline engine. I witnessed a heartbreaking example of this destructive force on a trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, in October 2019. Months before, anti-government protesters had spray painted slogans on many buildings.

The governor sent workers to remove the paint and they decided to use a pressure washer. One of the buildings was constructed from hard oolitic limestone. The machine operator removed the paint, but he also eroded the stone permanently engraved on the facade of the building which had been spray painted. It was difficult to digest as one would have thought in a few minutes that the operator could see that he was damaging the stone itself.

Think about the things around your home that are much softer than hard limestone – like the things many buildings are made of in Washington, DC, including the Washington Monument! This oolitic limestone was chosen for a reason: because it is so durable and beautiful.

In other words, if you don’t know how to use a pressure washer and point that cleaning wand at your wood deck, railing, or steps, in seconds you’ll turn smooth treated lumber into a fishing dock. weathered where the soft Spring wood between the darker bands of summer wood has been worn away.

Do you use your pressure washer to clean your uni-stone driveway, sidewalk or patio? I’m talking about interlocking concrete bricks to which dry pigments are added. These pavers can be available in an assortment of colors and earthy tones.

This color that you see on the surface is just an ultra-thin layer of cement paste that contains the dry pigments. It’s a snap for your pressure washer to detonate this thin film of color, exposing the actual color of the small stones used to make concrete. Place the spray lance too close to the brick and you will remove some of the fine sand used to make the brick.

I see professionals using pressure washers inappropriately all the time. Many painters use them to wash the exterior of a house before applying a new coat of paint. Too often I see the operator point the cleaning wand upwards to clean objects above their head or shoulders. This is a huge mistake.

We builders build houses with the rain falling in mind. Rain does fall, and in rare cases, it can strike a structure sideways during a powerful storm, hurricane, or hurricane. But Mother Nature rarely has rain that rises to the sky.

Lap constructions, trim, flashing and so on so that falling water does not get behind the exterior skin of your home. An operator aiming for a pressure washer can lead water behind the exterior skin of your home in no time. Never point the nozzle of a pressure washer at the outside of your home.

Is your house covered with vinyl siding? Have you ever paid attention to how the pieces of siding overlap at a joint along a long wall? Never aim a pressure washer wand so that the water will lift the overlapping coating and go behind the vinyl. The same goes for places where the vinyl trim is against windows and doors. There is a seam there, and the pressure washer can drive a lot of water behind the coating that otherwise shouldn’t go.

First, you should read the front cover to cover any manual that came with your pressure washer. The manufacturer may have all kinds of warnings on how to use the machine with different materials.

At the very least, use your own critical thinking skills. To do experiments. Instead of pointing the pressure wand at a 90 degree angle to the surface you are cleaning, try 45 degrees or even 10 degrees.

If you are using a high pressure water jet to remove peeling paint, it is best to hold the wand parallel to the painted surface. The water jet will sink between the paint and the surface and wash it off, usually causing little damage to the coating or trim.

Subscribe to Tim Carter’s free newsletter and listen to his new podcasts at askthebuilder.com.


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1 in 7 people mark “another race” on the US Census. It’s a big data problem

The group “Another Race” was not meant to be so large

When the Census Bureau first used an “Other” race option in 1910 for the national count, it was not intended to generate large numbers.

Enumerators – who assigned people their race by observation – were asked to note those which did not fall within the categories provided with a shortcut “Ot” on the forms and to spell their race. According to one of the 1910 bureau census reports, which ultimately produced a tally of “5,012 Koreans, 3,249 Filipinos, 2,545 Hindus and a scattered representation of other races.”

When the office began allowing all U.S. residents to self-declare their racial identity in 1960, the forms used by households asked people to write down their responses and suggested a list of groups that ended with “(etc.)”

By 2000, a checkbox for “Some other race” made its first appearance, and it was almost the last. The office had offered to remove it from the 2010 census form because it had become “a source of non-comparability” between census information and survey data from other government agencies that do not use an “Another Race” category. Getting rid of it, office officials hoped, might help more Latinx answer the racial census question.

According to Clara Rodriguez, a sociologist at Fordham University and author of “Changing the Race: Latinos, the Census, and the History of Ethnicity in the United States”: “For a long time, it was felt that he didn’t There was nothing wrong with the question, but rather that Hispanics did not understand the question. And I remember thinking, “Wow.” “Another race” was something to be taken seriously, not to be dismissed as a misunderstanding on the part of the Hispanic population. “

In 2004, a mandate from Congress requiring the census to include an “Another Race” category was introduced by then-Rep. José Serrano of New York, who was the first Democrat on the House appropriations subcommittee that funds the office. The move was defended by Latinx civil rights groups, fearing that removing the option would lead to inaccurate counts of other racial categories used to redesign constituencies and enforce anti-discrimination laws.

“This will ensure that Americans are not forced to racially identify in a way that makes them uncomfortable,” he added. Serrano said in a press release who noted support from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, “and will produce census results that better reflect the realities of race in America today.”

Growing ‘Another Race’ group obscures identity of many Latinos

Part of that reality, however, is that a growing population of “another race” remains a “huge data problem,” says G. Cristina Mora, a sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley who studies how race and ethnicity are categorized and is concerned with how this category obscures the racial identities of many Latinx people.

“It’s a red flag. It’s a red flag that has been around for a very long time,” adds Mora, the author of “Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and the Media Built a New American. “” If we are not represented in the data, we will never have a true sense of racial justice. “

And the implications touch almost every aspect of people’s lives, including their health, says Luisa Borrell, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at the City University of New York.

“We can’t really identify who these people are,” Borrell said of the “another race” population. “This will be a group that will be left out when it comes to tabulations on mortality, for any health outcome.”

The Trump administration stalled on approving a solution

The Census Bureau had found a solution for the 2020 count.


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US official in Haiti apologizes for treatment of migrants

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – A senior US official apologized on Friday for the way Haitian migrants were treated along the US-Mexico border, saying this is not the way to behave customs officials or the Department of Homeland Security.

The comments from Juan Gonzalez, senior director of the United States National Security Council for the Western Hemisphere, came during a two-day official visit to Haiti to speak with local leaders on migration and other issues. .

“I mean it was an injustice, it was wrong,” he said. “The proud people of Haiti and all migrants deserve to be treated with dignity.

The US government has recently come under fire for its treatment of Haitian migrants, with images showing men on horseback, rounding up Haitian asylum seekers.

Gonzalez was visiting with Brian Nichols, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, amid ongoing deportations of Haitians from the United States to their homeland. Since September 19, the United States has deported some 4,600 Haitian migrants from Del Rio, Texas, on 43 flights, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Gonzalez said the gathering of migrants along the border was a public health emergency and warned those considering leaving not to risk their lives.

“The danger is too great,” he said.

Gonzalez and Nichols previously met with Haitian Americans and Cuban Americans in Miami on Wednesday and with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, members of civil society and political leaders in Haiti on Thursday to discuss migration, public safety, the pandemic and efforts to help them. affected by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit the south of the country in mid-August.

Nichols said that during their visit they heard many people talk about the challenges Haiti faces, noting that there is a “surprising” agreement on potential solutions.

“There is no solution that will work for Haiti and its people that will be imposed from the outside,” he said, referring to recent criticism of the involvement of the United States and other countries. in Haitian affairs as they attempt to recover from the earthquake and the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse at his private home amid a spike in gang violence. “However, in the United States, we are committed to providing the Haitian people with the support they need to be successful and implement their own vision. “

Nichols said the conversation with the prime minister was constructive, adding that the United States encouraged consensus and a holistic view.

“Haiti’s future depends on its own people,” he said. “The United States is committed to working with the Haitian people to support them in their efforts to bring prosperity and security back to their country. “

___

Associated Press writer Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed to this report.

By EVENS SANON
Associated press


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Good news: Federal government foregoes $ 300 million in community disaster loans

United States Capitol (Image Shutterstock)

Congress on Thursday waived billions of dollars in disaster recovery loans, including about $ 300 million for the U.S. Virgin Islands and $ 4 billion for Puerto Rico, granted in 2017 after the devastating hurricanes that year. .

This move reduces USVI’s total public debt by about 10%, dramatically reducing future debt service, freeing up government revenues for other purposes. It also provides similar relief to semi-autonomous entities like the territory’s hospitals and the Water and Electricity Authority.

Congress included the provision in an ongoing budget resolution funding the federal government until mid-December, approved by both houses and signed by President Joseph Biden on Thursday.
Delegate Stacey Plaskett, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, sponsored the provision to ensure that the USVI is included in any pardon. Gov. Albert Bryan also lobbied for his forgiveness, with his administration writing repeatedly to members of Congress and the current and previous presidential administrations.

Plaskett was also present when Congress approved the funding in 2017, when she expressed optimism about the likelihood of today’s action. https://stthomassource.com/content/2017/10/25/two-fed-supplemental-appropriations-are-good-news-for-usvi/ “Everyone in DC is of the opinion that these loans will be canceled” , Plaskett said at the time.

Bryan released a statement saying canceling these loans was a top priority.

“While this is certainly a financial relief for the local economy and strengthens the foundation that the Bryan-Roach administration has built to stabilize government finances, it is even more important for our two hospitals and WAPA, which have been too burdened with debt. they suffered when Irma and Maria have ravaged our islands, “said Bryan.

“The cancellation of the debt of the Juan F. Luis Hospital, the Schneider Regional Medical Center and the VI Water and Power Authority will relieve some of the financial pressure they were struggling under and push these entities further down the path. a full recovery much faster and greatly helps them to provide full, high quality service to the community, ”he said.

The $ 300 million debt cancellation of community disaster loans affects:
relief from:
$ 94.5 million for the Water and Power Authority;
$ 42 million for the Hospital of Governor Juan F. Luis;
$ 19.3 million for the Schneider Regional Medical Center
$ 145 million for the government of the Virgin Islands

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1 in 7 people mark “another race” on the US Census. It’s a big data problem

For Leani García Torres, none of the boxes really match.

In 2010, she answered U.S. Census questions on her own for the first time as an adult. Is she of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish descent? It was easy. She marked, “Yes, Puerto Rican. “

But then came the stumper: What’s his race ?

“Every time this question is asked, it raises a bit of anxiety,” García Torres explains. “I actually remember calling my dad and saying, ‘What are you wearing? I don’t know what to wear.’ “

The categories used by the once-per-decade count – “White,” “Black,” and “American Indian or Alaska Native,” as well as those for Asian and Pacific Islander groups – have never resonated with it. .

“It’s tricky,” says the Brooklyn, NY, resident of Tennessee. “Both of my parents are from the island of Puerto Rico, and we are historically quite mixed up. If you look at someone in my family, you wouldn’t really be able to guess a breed. We just look vaguely tanned. , I would say. “

In the end, for the 2010 and 2020 accounts, García Torres just checked a box labeled “Another Race”.

And last year, Frank Alvarez of Los Angeles followed suit, who says when people ask, he identifies as a Guatemalan American.

“I just identify with my ethnicity. Growing up we were in a very traditional Guatemalan house,” says Alvarez, who adds that he was disappointed not to see “Hispanic” or “Guatemalan” as an option for the family. racial issue. “I almost wanted to skip that question, to be honest.”

Nationally, some 45 million Latinos did not identify with what the federal government considers last year. the main racial groups, and they were recorded as “Another Race” after simply checking that box or writing in a response that the office classified as that category. In recent decades, many immigrants have also come to regard ‘Another Race’ as their preferred checkbox, especially people with roots in the Middle East or North Africa (that the US government calls “white”) or Afro-Caribbean groups.

Totaling nearly 50 million – or more than 1 in 7 people living in the United States – their numbers have helped the tote category move up the ranks in the census results.

What was once the country’s third racial category in 2000 and 2010 surpassed “black” last year to become the second largest after “white” – and a major data glitch that could hamper progress towards fairness racial over the next 10 years.

The “Another Race” group wasn’t supposed to be that big

When the Census Bureau first used an “Other” race option in 1910 for the national count, it was not intended to generate large numbers.

Enumerators – who attributed people to their race by observation – were educated to note those that did not fit into the categories provided with an “Ot” shortcut on the forms and spell out their race. According to one of the 1910 bureau census reports, which ultimately produced a tally of “5,012 Koreans, 3,249 Filipinos, 2,545 Hindus and a scattered representation of other races.”

When the office began allowing all U.S. residents to self-declare their racial identity in 1960, forms used by households asked people to write down their responses and suggested a list of groups that ended with “(etc.)”

By 2000, a checkbox for “Another Race” made its first appearance, and it was almost the last. The office had proposed to remove it from the 2010 census form because it had become “a source of non-comparability” between census information and survey data from other government agencies that do not use an “Another Race” category. Getting rid of it, office officials hoped, might help more Latinx answer the racial census question.

“For a long time it felt like there was nothing wrong with the question, but rather Hispanics didn’t understand the question. And I remember thinking, ‘Wow’,” says Clara Rodriguez, sociologist at Fordham. University and author of Changing Race: Latinos, the Census, and the History of Ethnicity in the United States. “‘Another race’ was something to be taken seriously, not to be dismissed as a misunderstanding on the part of the Hispanic population.”

In 2004, a mandate from Congress requiring the census to include an “Another Race” category was introduced by then-Rep. José Serrano of New York, who was the first Democrat on the House appropriations subcommittee that funds the office. The move was defended by Latin American civil rights groups fearing that removing the option would lead to inaccurate counts of other racial categories used to redraw electoral districts and enforce anti-discrimination laws.

“This will ensure that Americans are not forced to racially identify in a way that makes them uncomfortable,” Serrano said. said in a press release who noted support from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, “and will produce census results that better reflect the realities of race in America today.”

Growing “Another Race” group obscures identity of many Latinos

Part of that reality, however, is that a growing population of “another race” remains a “huge data problem,” says G. Cristina Mora, a sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley who studies how race and ethnicity are categorized and is concerned with how this category obscures the racial identities of many Latinx people.

“It’s a red flag. It’s a red flag that has been around for a very long time,” adds Mora, the author of Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and the Media Built a New American. “If we are not represented in the data, we will never have a true sense of racial justice.”

And the implications touch almost every aspect of people’s lives, including their health, says Luisa Borrell, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at the City University of New York.

“We can’t really identify who these people are,” Borrell said of the “another race” population. “This will be a group that will be left out when it comes to tabulations on mortality, for any health outcome.”

The Trump administration stalled on approving a solution

The Census Bureau had found a solution for the 2020 count.

After years of research leading up to last year’s tally, the office proposed to combine the separate questions on Hispanic or Latino origins and race in one.

And under this combined question, the list of checkboxes would include “Hispanic, Latin, or Spanish” (as well as “Middle East or North Africa, “or MENA) among the main racial groups designated by the Office of Management and Budget of the White House, which sets the standards for how the office and other federal agencies collect data on race and ethnicity.

This change, office research revealed, would have decreased the share of Latinos who chose “Another Race” as a category while making no significant change in the share of Latinos who also identify as “Black” or “White”. (Adding a MENA category would also have reduced the number of people identifying as “Another Race.”)

But what the office concluded was that the “optimal” way to collect data required OMB approval. When asking people to identify themselves, the OMB currently requires that a question about Hispanic or Latino identity, which the OMB considers to be an ethnicity and not a race, be asked before a question about identity. racialism of a person.

Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, the OMB has not made any public decision on proposed changes to its standards.

“Ultimately, the No.1 faction that was against the combined issue was the Trump administration,” Mora said.

Asked by NPR to what extent the office is now concerned that “Another Race” is the second racial category in the country, Nicholas Jones, director of the office and senior adviser on race and education research and awareness. ethnicity, said they were “not surprised by the results. “

“While the Census Bureau tested an alternative question design in 2015, we must ultimately follow the OMB 1997 standards and use two separate questions to collect data on race and ethnicity,” Jones said. . highlighted at a press conference in August. “Our tests, however, showed that we could make improvements to the 2020 census race and ethnicity questions within the OMB guidelines.”

The Biden administration OMB told NPR it is still reviewing these proposed changes to government standards and whether they help gather “the data needed to inform our ambitious equity agenda.”

There could be changes in the weather for the 2030 census

As the office ramps up its planning for the 2030 census, some researchers are asking the federal government to consider adding another type of racial question, including Nancy López, a sociologist at the University of New Mexico whose research has emerged. focused on the “street race”, or what foreigners think their race is.

“Not all Latinos are dark-skinned Latinos. There are white Latinos, there are black Latinos like me, and there are Latinos who are also street Asians,” says López, who adds that she is concerned about the limitations of data on how people identify themselves. “What would be the use of this data by civil rights when we recognize that most people are racialized by others when they look for housing, vote or look for a job? “

Current OMB Standards note that “self-identification is the preferred means of obtaining information about an individual’s race and ethnicity, except in cases where observer identification is more practical”.

For the office’s race and ethnicity research leading up to the 2020 census, he says in a statement to NPR that while he asked some participants how they were viewed by others, the data was “not suitable for dissemination “since they were” for exploratory research purposes. “

Whatever questions end up on the 2030 census forms, Julissa Arce of Los Angeles says her only hope is to see a “Latino” category under a racial question.

Last year, instead of marking “White” as she previously did on forms asking for her racial identity, Arce, an immigrant from Mexico, said she selected “American Indian or native of Alaska,” ” Chinese “and” Another race “.

“It’s important to be able to click on a box that says who we are, instead of what we are not,” says Arce, author of the next book You look like a white girl: the arguments for rejecting assimilation. “We’ve been here since before it was called the United States. And I think we deserve to be accurately represented.”


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Puerto rico government

The 2nd largest racial group in the United States is “another race”. Most are Latinos.

For Leani García Torres, none of the boxes really match.

In 2010, she answered U.S. Census questions on her own for the first time as an adult. Is she of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish descent? It was easy. She marked, “Yes, Puerto Rican. ”

But then came the stumper: What’s his race ?

“Every time this question is asked, it raises a bit of anxiety,” García Torres explains. “I actually remember calling my dad and saying, ‘What are you wearing? I don’t know what to wear.’ ”

The categories used by the once-per-decade count – “White,” “Black,” and “American Indian or Alaska Native,” as well as those for Asian and Pacific Islander groups – have never resonated with it. .

“It’s tricky,” says the Brooklyn, NY, resident of Tennessee. “Both of my parents are from the island of Puerto Rico, and we are historically quite mixed up. If you look at someone in my family, you wouldn’t really be able to guess a breed. We just look vaguely tanned. , I would say. ”

In the end, for the 2010 and 2020 accounts, García Torres just checked a box labeled “Another Race”.

And last year, Frank Alvarez of Los Angeles followed suit, who says when people ask, he identifies as a Guatemalan American.

“I just identify with my ethnicity. Growing up we were in a very traditional Guatemalan house,” says Alvarez, who adds that he was disappointed not to see “Hispanic” or “Guatemalan” as an option for the family. racial issue. “I almost wanted to skip that question, to be honest.”

Nationally, some 45 million Latinos did not identify with what the federal government considers last year. the main racial groups, and they were recorded as “Another Race” after simply checking that box or writing in a response that the office classified as that category. In recent decades, many immigrants have also come to regard ‘Another Race’ as their preferred checkbox, especially people with roots in the Middle East or North Africa (that the US government calls “white”) or Afro-Caribbean groups.

Totaling nearly 50 million – or more than 1 in 7 people living in the United States – their numbers have helped the tote category move up the ranks in the census results.

What was once the country’s third racial category in 2000 and 2010 surpassed “black” last year to become the second largest after “white” – and a major data glitch that could hamper progress towards fairness racial over the next 10 years.

The “Another Race” group wasn’t supposed to be that big

When the Census Bureau first used an “Other” race option in 1910 for the national count, it was not intended to generate large numbers.

Enumerators – who attributed people to their race by observation – were educated to note those that did not fit into the categories provided with an “Ot” shortcut on the forms and spell out their race. According to one of the 1910 bureau census reports, which ultimately produced a tally of “5,012 Koreans, 3,249 Filipinos, 2,545 Hindus and a scattered representation of other races.”

When the office began allowing all U.S. residents to self-declare their racial identity in 1960, forms used by households asked people to write down their responses and suggested a list of groups that ended with “(etc.)”

By 2000, a checkbox for “Another Race” made its first appearance, and it was almost the last. The office had proposed to remove it from the 2010 census form because it had become “a source of non-comparability” between census information and survey data from other government agencies that do not use an “Another Race” category. Getting rid of it, office officials hoped, might help more Latinx answer the racial census question.

“For a long time it felt like there was nothing wrong with the question, but rather Hispanics didn’t understand the question. And I remember thinking, ‘Wow’,” says Clara Rodriguez, sociologist at Fordham. University and author of Changing Race: Latinos, the Census, and the History of Ethnicity in the United States. “‘Another race’ was something to be taken seriously, not to be dismissed as a misunderstanding on the part of the Hispanic population.”

In 2004, a mandate from Congress requiring the census to include an “Another Race” category was introduced by then-Rep. José Serrano of New York, who was the first Democrat on the House appropriations subcommittee that funds the office. The move was defended by Latin American civil rights groups fearing that removing the option would lead to inaccurate counts of other racial categories used to redraw electoral districts and enforce anti-discrimination laws.

“This will ensure that Americans are not forced to racially identify in a way that makes them uncomfortable,” Serrano said. said in a press release who noted support from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, “and will produce census results that better reflect the realities of race in America today.”

Growing “Another Race” group obscures identity of many Latinos

Part of that reality, however, is that a growing population of “another race” remains a “huge data problem,” says G. Cristina Mora, a sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley who studies how race and ethnicity are categorized and is concerned with how this category obscures the racial identities of many Latinx people.

“It’s a red flag. It’s a red flag that has been around for a very long time,” adds Mora, the author of Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and the Media Built a New American. “If we are not represented in the data, we will never have a true sense of racial justice.”

And the implications touch almost every aspect of people’s lives, including their health, says Luisa Borrell, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at the City University of New York.

“We can’t really identify who these people are,” Borrell said of the “another race” population. “This will be a group that will be left out when it comes to tabulations on mortality, for any health outcome.”

The Trump administration stalled on approving a solution

The Census Bureau had found a solution for the 2020 count.

After years of research leading up to last year’s tally, the office proposed to combine the separate questions on Hispanic or Latino origins and race in one.

And under this combined question, the list of checkboxes would include “Hispanic, Latin, or Spanish” (as well as “Middle East or North Africa, “or MENA) among the main racial groups designated by the Office of Management and Budget of the White House, which sets the standards for how the office and other federal agencies collect data on race and ethnicity.

This change, office research revealed, would have decreased the share of Latinos who chose “Another Race” as a category while making no significant change in the share of Latinos who also identify as “Black” or “White”. (Adding a MENA category would also have reduced the number of people identifying as “Another Race.”)

But what the office concluded was that the “optimal” way to collect data required approval from the OMB, which, under the administration of former President Donald Trump, has not made any public decision on proposed changes to its standards.

“Ultimately, the No.1 faction that was against the combined issue was the Trump administration,” Mora said.

Asked by NPR to what extent the office is now concerned that “Another Race” is the second racial category in the country, Nicholas Jones, director of the office and senior adviser on race and education research and awareness. ethnicity, said they were “not surprised by the results. ”

“While the Census Bureau tested an alternative question design in 2015, we must ultimately follow the OMB 1997 standards and use two separate questions to collect data on race and ethnicity,” Jones said. . highlighted at a press conference in August. “Our tests, however, showed that we could make improvements to the 2020 census race and ethnicity questions within the OMB guidelines.”

The Biden administration OMB told NPR it is still reviewing these proposed changes to government standards and whether they help gather “the data needed to inform our ambitious equity agenda.”

There could be changes in the weather for the 2030 census

As the office ramps up its planning for the 2030 census, some researchers are asking the federal government to consider adding another type of racial question, including Nancy López, a sociologist at the University of New Mexico whose research has emerged. focused on the “street race”, or what foreigners think their race is.

“Not all Latinos are dark-skinned Latinos. There are white Latinos, there are black Latinos like me, and there are Latinos who are also street Asians,” says López, who adds that she is concerned about the limitations of data on how people identify themselves. “What would be the use of this data by civil rights when we recognize that most people are racialized by others when they look for housing, vote or look for a job? ”

Current OMB Standards note that “self-identification is the preferred means of obtaining information about an individual’s race and ethnicity, except in cases where observer identification is more practical”.

For the office’s race and ethnicity research leading up to the 2020 census, he says in a statement to NPR that while he asked some participants how they were viewed by others, the data was “not suitable for dissemination “since they were” for exploratory research purposes. ”

Whatever questions end up on the 2030 census forms, Julissa Arce of Los Angeles says her only hope is to see a “Latino” category under a racial question.

Last year, instead of marking “White” as she previously did on forms asking for her racial identity, Arce, an immigrant from Mexico, said she selected “American Indian or native of Alaska,” ” Chinese “and” Another race “.

“It’s important to be able to click on a box that says who we are, instead of what we are not,” says Arce, author of the next book You look like a white girl: the arguments for rejecting assimilation. “We’ve been here since before it was called the United States. And I think we deserve to be accurately represented.”

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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Stimulus Check Live Fourth Update: Child Tax Credit, Social Security Benefits, New California Payout …

Securities

Republicans vote against federal spending bills, bringing government shutdown closer.

Secretary of the Treasury Yellen warns that the US government could run out of cash on October 18.

– When Will the COLA social security payment amount be confirmed?

Children whose parents are disabled, retired or additional deceased will be entitled to additional social security contributions.

Speaker of the Pelosi Chamber reprogram Bipartite infrastructure agreement of $ 1 tr vote for Thursday.

Will my SNAP benefits be affected by a government shutdown?

Which states offer the most Social security benefits Payments?

Will there be a federal government shutdown. (Whole story)

Several states are considering send stimulus checks to residents as the chances of a new federal payment decrease (Details)

Useful information / links

Social Security

A to guide to the Taxation of Social Security advantages. (Details)

Who is maximum eligible Social security benefit? (Details)

– Who receives the maximum benefit? (Details)

How old do you have to deposit for social security to obtain the maximum advantages? (Details)

Overview of the three dunning checks adopted by Congress (Full details)

How to track your Checking the Golden State Stimulus

Payment of the third child tax credits sent (How to deactivate the monthly CTC)

Take a look at some of our related press articles:


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Puerto rico government

FOMB agrees on higher threshold for pension cuts | Politics

The Supervisory and Financial Management Board of Puerto Rico (FOMB) conceded an important point in the negotiations for the approval of the central government adjustment plan: to reduce the number of government retirees who would benefit from a reduction in their pensions.

“After long discussions with the [island’s] elected officers, the Supervisory Board is prepared to agree to increase the threshold for retirees exempt from any benefit reduction from $ 1,500 per month to $ 2,000 per month. This new threshold will exempt approximately 139,000 government retirees, or 84% of government retirees, from any reduction in benefits, ”the FOMB said in a statement.

“The Supervisory Board is also prepared to support the reinstatement of any reduction in pension benefits if Puerto Rico receives federal Medicaid funds in excess of the amounts projected in the 2021 Certified Tax Plan for Puerto Rico and if these funds generate sufficient savings in the budget of the general fund of the government to allow a reinstatement of the reduction in benefits ”, according to the entity mandated by the federal government.

The Supervisory Board added that its members had met with Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago, Speaker of the House Rafael Hernández Montañez and Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi, regarding the confirmation of the adjustment plan by the US District Court. for the District of Puerto Rico to restructure Commonwealth debt to sustainable levels.

As reported by THE WEEKLY JOURNAL, cuts to pensions for public sector retirees have been a thorny issue between the FOMB and the government of Puerto Rico. At a recent public meeting, Pierluisi reaffirmed that he supported the deal plan, but not the pension cuts, as he called them “unnecessary”.

The adjustment plan for the central government is the bulk of Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring, with approximately $ 35 billion in claims by bondholders and creditors, and more than $ 55 billion in retirement commitments. The plan originally provided for an 8.5 percent reduction in public pensions of $ 1,500 or more each month.

In its letter, the Oversight Council also said it was ready to agree to municipalities sharing the benefits of reducing debt service, provided Puerto Rico obtains and maintains adequate Medicaid funding. The Supervisory Board proposes to add additional funding to the existing municipal equalization fund, to be distributed according to the parameters existing at CRIM.

The Supervisory Board would accept these proposals if the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico passed the legislation necessary for the Adjustment Plan and if the Governor enacted such legislation.

“After years of difficult negotiations, a diverse group of creditors including retirees, unions, bondholders and bond insurers, as well as other creditors in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have agreed to a fair adjustment plan and allowing them to emerge from bankruptcy, ”said Supervisory Board Chairman David Skeel. “We’re almost there. Let’s get to the finish line with the legislation needed to restructure the debt so that we can begin confirmation hearings in November with all the necessary documents in place to ease the burden of bankruptcy on the people of Porto. Rico. “

Before PROMESA, Puerto Rico had to pay up to 25 cents of every dollar collected in taxes and fees to creditors; the Balancing Plan would reduce that amount to just over 7 cents of every dollar. The adjustment plan would reduce the island’s outstanding debt by nearly 80%, from $ 33 billion to $ 7 billion, according to the FOMB.

The FOMB said it will continue the “constructive dialogue” with the Legislative Assembly and the executive branch to find a solution that will result in the enactment of legislation to complete the process of restructuring the Title III debt in the framework of PROMESA, which is an essential step for monitoring. Council to fulfill its mandate under the law.


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