The decennial national census is important to ensure proper representation and disbursement of federal funds. Census data directly affects how $400 billion yearly in federal funding is apportioned. Participation in the census — which will take place in March this year — is mandatory.

I understand all that, but I’m not entirely sure why there’s a Census Road Tour that will stop in Berkeley today. The road tour bus will be at the Shattuck/Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. today. You can learn about the census, see a sample census questionnaire, have any concerns you might have about privacy and confidentiality assuaged, and share your story as part of the census’ Portrait of America effort.

You can even follow the road tour vehicle on Twitter — it currently has a rather sad 39 followers. We’re part of the Seattle region for the census (safely separated from southern California), and our vehicle is dubbed Abacus, which apparently refers to the many information technology companies that our region (Silicon Valley up through Redmond) houses.

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...