GUEST COLUMN By Brad Sherman Two months ago, it was announced that the United States Census Bureau will continue reporting and publishing Census data specifically for the San Fernando Valley after 2010. Now, at my urging, the U.S. Census is providing the San Fernando Valley with an updated report which offers a more current demographic snapshot of the San Fernando Valley. Back in April 2007, the Census Bureau announced that it was considering the elimination of some of the Census County Division (CCD) designations. This could have meant that the Census would no longer collect or compile data regarding the 1.8 million persons living in the San Fernando Valley. In response, last summer, many Valley elected officials, organizations and I called upon the Census Bureau to continue providing specific census data for the San Fernando Valley. Why was this decision by the Census Bureau important? Continuing the compilation of Census data for the San Fernando Valley will help community organizations, businesses and government leaders make better informed decisions affecting the Valley’s future. Many Valley leaders have used San Fernando Valley-specific Census Bureau CCD information since it was first published in 2006. Mayor Villaraigosa and I relied upon data from the San Fernando Valley CCD report during a California Transportation Commission hearing. Using this data, we were able to show that Valley residents spend 7.4 percent longer commuting to work than the average Californian. In response to this census data, along with lobbying efforts by Los Angeles officials, the California Transportation Commission approved funding for an additional lane on the northbound 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, one lane in each direction in the Valley portion of the 5 freeway. I want to commend those who urged the Census Bureau to continue publishing Valley data including: the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors led by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Los Angeles City Council Members Wendy Greuel; Greig Smith; Dennis Zine; Tony Cardenas and Richard Alarcon; VICA; the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley; CSUN’s San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center and many other Valley organizations. Congressman Brad Sherman represents the central and east San Fernando Valley, including Sherman Oaks, Northridge and Sunland. He serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary Committee.