South Dakota Gov: Y2K May Be "Absolute Catastrophe" Or "Not Much Of Anything" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Okay, one more before I go to bed . I don't know if anyone already posted this, but here it is, from:


South Dakota Governor: Y2K May Be "Absolute Catastrophe" Or "Not Much Of Anything"

(South Dakota Governor's Office)

If every Governor in the country was this blunt in their State of the State address, we'd all be a lot better off. This is South Dakota Governor William Janklow from Wednesday, January 13:

The unknown can be as dangerous as what we know. I've deliberately bit my lip for the last two years on this subject matter, and now we are down to 12 months. We face an absolute catastrophe in the world because of this problem. On the other hand, it may not be much of anything. The biggest problem is, we don't know. But don't take anybody lightly that tells you that the roof could come falling in. I can tell you today that if year 2000 hit today, the electric grid that serves South Dakota would go down. It would not stay up, and don't believe anybody that tells you it would. Now, by the year 2000, it might, but today it will go down. Year 2000 doesn't come in the middle of June when the temperature is decent. It's coming on December 31 in the middle of winter.

We can't take the risk that our telephone and telecommunications companies won't operate. We can't take that risk. They have to function. We must have hospitals where they've got electricity and gas. It has to work. There's no program Bill Janklow or you folks together could implement on December 31 to take care of telephones, medical, law enforcement, and the utilities. They must work. We must let the public know, every step during the course of this year, what is Y2K compliant, and what isn't. We must let the public know that. I can tell you that I'm absolutely, positively, unequivocally assured by our folks in state government, we will be ready. Our percentages now are in the 15-30 range. But we are going through over 100 million lines of code with our programmers. And as we approach certain thresholds, all of a sudden we'll start taking quantum leaps. When I say we're ready-unlike most other states, where you hear a neighboring state is 80 percent ready, they're only dealing with critical systems-we're dealing with all our systems! Not critical, they're all critical. We're dealing with 100 percent of ours. And we don't count ours ready until we have taken it to the mountain in Colorado where our backup center is, put it on their computers and run the whole thing on their computers without any tape from ours. And it works. And if it doesn't work, we don't count it as ready. But I'm assured we will be ready by July 1 of this year, and we spent a few million bucks doing it. Then from that point on, we will be testing and retesting until the end of the year.

But our citizens have to know where are the telephone and telecommunications companies. We have 60-some phone companies in South Dakota. They all have to be ready. Every hospital has to be ready at least with respect to feeding and caring for the people that are there. Their equipment has to work, or the public should know that. We can't make them make it work-anybody. But the public has to know who's going to function, and who isn't.

The law enforcement and the fire departments, their equipment has to function-911-I can tell you that the task force that this Legislature mandated be put together in legislation last year that's completing its work got a report last Thursday. I believe that says the top eighteen 911s in South Dakota are not Y2K compliant. As a matter of fact, one of the major vendors that provides equipment says, If you bought it from us before, get this, 1997 we're not going to make it compliant. If you bought it afterwards, we will. So they are faced with the prospect of buying new equipment that may have been purchased in 1996. But right now the top 18 are not compliant, but they are working on it.

We've got to make sure that we have municipal water and rural water. Have to have it. No other choice. We've got to make sure that sewer systems-municipal water is meaningless if you can't flush it or let it go down the kitchen sink or the bath drain. The sewer systems have to work. We have to make sure that those places that live on natural gas, the natural gas has to work. And the electrical generation-our power companies, our various investor-owned utilities, our public power systems-those that generate, those that distribute, those that do both, they have to function, because one of them going down can suck the whole system down on the grid. So we are going to put together a group of people, and they will be making reports with regularity to the public with respect to these specific areas-state government, for those local governments that choose to be involved, fine. I'll not attempt to force them to do anything. But all the rest of them I'm going to use the gubernatorial powers that I have that deal with emergencies and crises to get the information and make it available to the public. I do know the Public Utilities Commission has met with respect to-electrical utilities had a meeting and I believe telephone utilities, so far. So they're also working on this endeavor. But, folks, this is terribly critical, and so, rather then being an alarmist, I'm just going to tell you that we will try and get the information to the public as fast as we can intelligently and effectively assemble it. And we will be prepared, at least to deal with, hopefully, those limited emergency situations that we have to deal with December 31. There could be some disruptions in April, and there could be some disruptions on September 9. This is obviously out of my bailiwick, but they tell me that programmers used to end their programs with 9999, four nines. Well, that happens to be also 9-9 of 99, and the computer doesn't know the difference. So, for some, it may trigger when it gets to that. When it sees that date it may trigger and say that's the end of the program, shut it off, and shut it down. For some it may erase it. The problem is nobody knows where all those 9999s are. That's the problem. If they knew where they were, because they were long ago put in place by people who've long since passed away, moved away, gone into other occupations, or won't tell you, whatever the case is.


Drew Parkhill

-- Drew Parkhill (, January 18, 1999



Yes, a few hours earlier:

Finally, A politician actually concerned about his people, South Dakota's Governor Issues Y2K Alarm thread at

-- No Spam Please (, January 19, 1999.

Ah, okay. I missed as I went through the post titles, then. Thanks.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (, January 19, 1999.

Drew, I missed the earlier post as well, so thanks for the heads up. My sister-in-law is from SD and still has family there. She's been looking for information to pass on to them, to get them started on preparing. Maybe this will do the job!

-- Gina (, January 19, 1999.

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