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INGLEWOOD : Corrected Census May Bring City $10 Million

August 18, 1994|JON GARCIA

City officials are hoping that a judge's ruling may make the city $10 million richer.

The money may be owed to Inglewood by the federal and state governments because the 1990 census undercounted the city's minority populations by about 13,000 people, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics and city officials.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled last week that the Bush Administration failed to justify the undercount and said that, because the fundamental right to vote was at stake, corrections should be made, said Los Angeles Deputy City Atty. Jessica F. Heinz.

The federal government has been given 30 days to respond, she said.

Inglewood joined with other cities, including New York and Los Angeles, and national minority rights groups in suing the federal government shortly after census results were completed in 1991.

California and Arizona stand to gain new members in the U.S. House of Representatives if the lawsuit is successful.

But for many cities, including Inglewood, money also is at stake. Many state and federal funding projects are based on population, and some cities may have been given too little in federal funds.

Inglewood, with a minority population of 90% and the highest estimated undercount in the country, would gain an estimated $1 million a year over the next decade if the decision is upheld.

"Since 1990 we've been denied what we were entitled to," said Deputy City Manager Tony DeBellis.

Despite the ruling, city officials are not yet counting on the cash.

"(The lawsuit) is one of those things that's been grinding on," said City Manager Paul D. Eckles.

City officials have not been actively involved in the lawsuit, said Assistant City Manager Norman Cravens. They have relied on attorneys from the larger cities named in the suit and private law firms to handle the case. However, the city has chipped in $25,000 to help pay the legal bill, he said.

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