Richard, I'll call him, lives in Chester, is 59 and unemployed, so when the U.S. Census Bureau started advertising for census takers, he applied for the job. After all $17.75 an hour is decent pay, even for temporary work. But the Census has made it all but impossible for him to get a job, Richard said. You can read my article about this problem and about a lawsuit that has been filed against the bureau in Wednesday's Philadelphia Inquirer.
Here's Richard's story: In 2001 and 2002, (or maybe it was 2000 and 2001), he was arrested twice for driving under the influence. Something must have made an impact on him because, "I haven't had a drink in seven and a half years."
When Richard applied to the Census, the bureau scanned a national FBI database and kicked up his arrest record. They sent him a letter asking for all sorts of court documents relating to his arrest. Richard said that getting copies of these documents represents a real burden to him, because he is unemployed and the trip to Media to get the documents would be hard for him to afford.
Richard wonders why the Bureau can't get the records and see for themselves. Also, he wonders what possible relevance this arrest would have on his ability to walk door-to-door and ask people questions.