The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the Trump administration's mission to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Court watchers say, based on the discussion, things appear promising for the president's side.

No matter how you feel about the issue, know that the addition of a citizenship question will cost Kern County some federal money — and perhaps even some representation.

By the Census Bureau’s own analysis, 5.8 percent of U.S. households with a non-citizen, fearing repercussions from federal immigration authorities, will not respond to the census at all. That's about 6.5 million people across the U.S., roughly the population of Indiana.

This matters because census results help establish the number of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives each state is apportioned, as well as how federal dollars are distributed for things like highways, prisons, education, veterans' benefits and a whole lot more.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, hard-to-count communities are distributed across several counties in the San Joaquin Valley but are most concentrated in T. J. Cox's 21st Congressional District and Jim Costa's 16th, where 42 percent of census tracts are especially challenging.

Six state legislative districts in the southern San Joaquin Valley have populations that are at least 15 percent non-citizen, according to the PPIC. Among them are those of Cox and Costa, Melissa Hurtado (14th state Senate) and Rudy Salas (32nd Assembly).

Also notoriously hard to count: Children under 5, who make up 8 percent or more of the population in Kern and four nearby counties. 

Gary Moore called Tuesday with an update on his quest to find the person who killed his wife, Petrina:

People care.

It was about dusk on Sunday, Nov. 16, 1980, and the Moores were driving south on Highway 99 from Delano to visit friends in McFarland with their 4-year-old daughter.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a white Ford Galaxie overtook their Honda Accord and one of its four passengers, hanging out of the right-rear passenger-side window, fired three shots at their car. The first struck Petrina, seven months pregnant, in the back of the head. Moore believes she was killed immediately. Their unborn child didn't make it either.

The Kern County Sheriff's Office didn't have much to go on — no shell casings, no tire tread prints, no meaningful witness descriptions of the four young Hispanic men — and the homicide was eventually moved to cold-case status. The case file, presumably including at least one recovered slug, was eventually removed from the evidence room and destroyed because of the passage of time. Sgt. David Hubbard of the KCSO said technology that might match a spent bullet with the firearm that fired it does not exist. And in any case, investigators do not possess the revolver used in the crime, so they would have nothing to match it with.

Moore, newly widowed from his second wife of 37 years, says he has received many encouraging and supportive comments. Within his own family, not so much: "Some people don't want to talk about it, and I get it," he said, "but I don't have a problem with it."

He's still hoping someone comes forward with information perhaps forgotten, repressed or buried under misguided loyalty. 

If you think you might have useful information, call the Kern County Secret Witness line at (661) 322-4040, visit or use the anonymous online tip form.

My guest for my Wednesday noon webcast, "One on One with Robert Price," will be Michelle Corson of the Kern County Public Health Services Department.

Corson will be fresh from a Wednesday morning press conference announcing the release of 2018 Kern County valley fever data. My hunch is that the news will not be good about efforts to control and treat the indigenous, debilitating airborne fungus.

She and I will discuss the new valley fever numbers, as well as: the county's Waste Hunger Not Food program, which Corson personally manages; local vaccination rates, and the importance of therefore, especially amid this nationwide measles outbreak; and the joys of the imminent mosquito season, such as West Nile virus. 

Contact The Californian’s Robert Price at 661-395-7399, or on Twitter: @stubblebuzz. His column appears on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; the views expressed are his own.

(5) comments


You seem to be saying that the inclusion of non-citizens in our census count gives us the advantage of more federal money and more representatives in Congress. How do you justify non-citizens having Congressional representation?


Nah, he's saying that households made up primarily of legal citizens may not respond to the census because they happen to have an undocumented individual in the home. This is what would lead to under representation.


What you suggest is the action, or inaction, that some households may take to avoid the consequences of breaking the law. When Price says, "No matter how you feel about the issue, know that the addition of a citizenship question will cost Kern County some federal money — and perhaps even some representation." he is describing the consequences of that inaction. Again, citizens are entitled to representation while non-citizens are not.

Inconvenient Truth

Mr. Price speaks as though Kern County currently has representation in the state or federal government.
If this were actually the case, the state wouldn't be trying to effectively eliminate all petroleum production in the state with AB-345.


That's a nice pivot, since you just switched your focus to essentially summarizing Robert's article, for which I thank you.

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