If the U.S. Census can’t even get the Mayor of Shreveport right, can we really trust them to count how many people are in Shreveport? Major funding hangs in the balance as a two-year period to challenge 2010 census results starts today, and Shreveport — which fell below its goal of 200,000 residents — likely will make a case.

Mayor Cedric Glover said he plans to start that process. He’s had his doubts about the count’s veracity from the get-go. How accurate can the U.S. Census Bureau be, Glover said, if it can’t get the name of the city’s top official right?

A March 30 letter from census director Robert Groves to the mayor is addressed to “The Honorable Bryan Wooley,” the former city councilman who challenged Glover in last fall’s elections.

“I do believe unequivocally that they are wrong,” Glover said about Shreveport’s population. “I was simply struck by the fact that we went under 200,000.”

The bureau said in February that Shreveport’s count showed 199,311 residents live here. After the 2000 count, the number was 200,145 — about 0.4 percent larger.

Some government observers say a population of 200,000 gives a municipality the ability to directly receive certain federal funding. With fewer residents, cities and towns must compete for the money. Officials have not mentioned specific cuts they expect to see.

Two neighborhoods that may be a part of the push for a recount are southwest Shreveport’s Newcastle and Forest Mobile Estates.

Diana Simek, who headed the region’s Complete Count Committee, said she got complaints from residents in both areas who say they never received forms to fill out. There are still plenty of unanswered questions.

“I was told by the Census Bureau that they had decided not to send out forms into some of those neighborhoods, that they were going to do personal calls for them,” Simek said. “Why did they decide they were going to call them personally? Did they actually catch the people at home? I don’t know.”

Melissa Ritch manages Forest Mobile Estates, which rents lots for about 500 trailers. She said she never heard a complaint about the census and that she saw workers there.

“When the census came out, they literally had people walking in the community,” Ritch said. “The majority of the residents that live here, they do work. So they may have been at work then.”

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