Cities' Goal As 2000 Approaches: Preparation Without Panic -- San Jose, CA : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Cities' Goal As 2000 Approaches: Preparation Without Panic -- San Jose, CA

Ill try to collect one of the brochures. (Back in CA after meeting in Oregon and attending the Seattle Year 200 Expo). -- Diane

Published Friday, February 5, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News

Cities' goal as 2000 approaches: preparation without panic

Mercury News Staff Writer

With so many uncertainties about the scope and impact of the year 2000 computer problem, government officials nationwide are facing a dilemma: how to inform without alarming and how to help residents prepare without sparking panic.

Experts are concerned that public officials may not always be successful.

The city of San Jose, for example, has a booklet and fliers on Y2K preparedness that contain a long list of suggestions including: a practice day in which you get used to living without water and power in order to find out what contingency plans you may need; a reduction in personal debt in case businesses fail and you are out of a job for some time; and if possible, avoiding elective medical procedures in the weeks preceding or following Jan. 1, 2000.

``That's the only local government I've seen say this kind of thing,'' said William Ulrich, president of Tactical Strategy Group Inc., a consulting firm based in Soquel that advises municipalities and businesses on the Y2K problem, which stems from the potential failure of some computers being unable to recognize years after 1999.

``The concern would be that people might get a little bit panicked.''

City officials said they made available the booklet ``50 Things Every Person Needs to Learn and Do'' simply to make residents aware of potential problems and encourage them to make their own decision on how to prepare.

``We looked at it and said these are common sense things for a person to consider doing,'' said Kay Winer, San Jose's deputy city manager. ``The general concept about being personally prepared, we would endorse. But we have never directed any citizen to follow these things. There is no full endorsement of the 50 items.''

For the most part, local governments are more cautious with advice. Many cities, admitting they do not have the expertise to issue Y2K recommendations, refer residents to the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the American Red Cross. FEMA suggests people prepare for Y2K as they would for a bad storm or a natural disaster.

``The Red Cross has developed a very good personal preparedness guide,'' said Steve Steinbrecker, chief information officer for Contra Costa County. Steinbrecker's efforts to prepare Contra Costa County for the impact of Y2K have been spotlighted in the media as among the best of any local government agency in the country. He suggests people use a common sense approach. ``If you have an earthquake kit, use your earthquake kit,'' Steinbrecker said.

Urged to be more active

But Steinbrecker insisted that local officials should be more active to counter the advice of fringe groups that advocate stockpiling food and weapons and heading for the hills. ``That's scary stuff,'' he said.

Part of the problem for local officials is that opinion on the magnitude of the Y2K problem -- which may cause computers and a variety of equipment to malfunction on or around Jan. 1, 2000 -- varies widely. No credible experts have emerged, and the state and federal governments have not come out with definitive statements on the problem.

``We don't want to come out with something we can't defend,'' said Jaime Arteaga, a spokesman with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. ``We have to be very careful . . . with the message. We want to come out with information that is doable, that is within people's reach.''

Arteaga said even some seemingly reasonable suggestions, such as encouraging people to pay their bills ahead of time or keep additional cash, food and water may not be practical for people who live on a tight budget or do not have the space to store the extra supplies. The state is working on putting together its own list, Arteaga said. ``For now the best we have is our earthquake preparedness brochure.''

The Clinton administration is equally reticent to issue a definite opinion.

``There are a lot of unknowns,'' said Jack Gribbon, spokesman for the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. ``(People) should prepare as for a bad storm. It doesn't mean taking weeks worth of cash out of the banks.''

Locally, officials said in areas such as medical preparedness, residents should be particularly careful.

``People need to consult their physicians, not the city,'' said Betsy McCarty, chief of public health for Santa Cruz County. ``You can't make a decision (to postpone medical procedures) on your own.''

McCarty said health care officials are working with local hospitals to ensure they are ready to cope with the computer bug. ``I don't think anybody should be afraid of going to the hospital,'' she said.

Readiness guide

Santa Clara County has prepared a personal readiness guide that suggests, among other things, that residents adjust withholding allowances so ``your tax bill evens out with the amount held.'' The guide, citing the advice of ``experts,'' goes on to say that in case of a glitch that could delay refunds it may be better ``for you to owe the government a small amount than having the government owe you.''

San Jose ordered 1,200 copies of its booklet at a cost of $2,750. The guide suggests checking everything from thermostats to electric appliances and even has some suggestions that go beyond the absolute essentials. Item 42, for instance, reads: ``Teach your children non-electronic games and activities so they can keep themselves occupied even if we have power outages.''

And ...

Published Friday, February 5, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News


No one is certain about the effects of the Y2K problem. Because of the uncertainty, the American Red Cross has compiled a list of easy steps that people can take to prepare for disruptions. Most of these recommendations are good for natural disasters, too.

Check with manufacturers of any essential computer-controlled equipment, including fire and security alarms, thermostats and garage door openers, to see if that equipment will be affected.

Stock disaster supplies to last several days to a week. This includes non-perishable foods, water, prescription and non-prescription medicines.

Have extra cash on hand. Plan to keep it in a safe place.

Have your automobile gas tank above half full.

Have extra blankets, coats, hats and gloves to keep warm.

Have plenty of flashlights and extra batteries.

For more info: www.redcross. org/disaster/safety/y2k.html

For FEMA's disaster preparedness checklist http://www.fema. gov/pte/emprep.htm

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 05, 1999


See also thread ...

Santa Clara County, Calif. Y2K pamphlet 000RdY

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 05, 1999.

See also ...

Published Saturday, January 30, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News

Protecting homeowner records rey2kside30.htm

Mercury News Real Estate Writer

THERE'S more a homeowner can do than just hope his or her financial data resides on a Y2K-compliant computer before 2000.

Here's what the experts suggest:

As always, retain receipts, canceled checks and other payment records to document that you are current, should it come to that.

``Don't wait until the year 2000. Keep a very close eye on your mortgage bill and other statements. When you pay something, keep the rest of the bill and write the check number on it. If you don't already, have your bank regularly return your paid checks so you have an instant record,'' said Dallas-based Bruce F. Webster, author of ``The Y2K Survival Guide'' (Prentice Hall, $19.99).

If you keep payment records (or run a home-based business) on a personal computer at home, Apple's Macintosh line has always been Y2K compliant, but some Microsoft Windows versions are not fully compliant. In both cases, you'll still have to check out your software with the manufacturer, too.

Try to get through financial transactions before the end of the year and avoid financial transactions on Jan. 3, 2000, the year's first day of business.

``I advise you not to be trying to close on a house through the year 2000,'' Webster said.

Keep tabs on the companies you do business with as a homeowner, determine their Y2K-compliance status and keep abreast of Y2K news.

Keep some extra cash on hand -- just in case your bank fails.

Stay calm.

``Don't be alarmed. My sense is, don't worry about it,'' said Doug Tobin, president of the San Jose Real Estate Board.


The Washington, D.C., Year 2000 Group at is a good starting point.

The California Association of Realtors offers Y2K Resources at

The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion offers a free Y2K information center at (888) USA-4-Y2K (872-4925) and a Web site

Y2K News, a clearing house for media stories about Y2K issues, is at

The Federal Reserve Board's Y2K Page and Compliance Program is available at www.bog.frb

Mortgage Bankers Association of America's Year 2000 Initiative is spelled out at

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 05, 1999.

Many thanks for background references. Excellent!

-- Watchful (, February 05, 1999.

I find it fascinating that the local Silicon Valley paper has been relatively quite about Y2K and then suddenly in the past week they are telling people to calmly prepare. Maybe they finally get it. -- Diane

Published Saturday, January 30, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News

By Steve Woodward

Newhouse News Service homeyk30.htm

HERE'S yet another worry about the Y2K problem.

Modern consumer goods, from DVD players to dishwashers, are loaded with microchips, some of which could be susceptible to the year 2000 computer problem.

But don't lose too much sleep over it. Most new consumer electronics don't really care which year it is, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which has started a Y2K education campaign for consumers.

Programmable microwave ovens and coffee makers, for example, display only the time of day or the day of the week, not the calendar date. Some equipment such as refrigerators use computer chips that track cycles, such as temperature changes, rather than dates.

``Essentially all consumer electronics products currently being sold, and a vast majority of consumer electronics products sold in the past, will not experience Y2K problems,'' Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association, told a congressional panel in the fall.

Nevertheless, it pays to be prepared. Here's how to safeguard yourself:

First, take inventory. Make a list of electronic and digital equipment in your home, say Susan Lannis and Leille Sussman, authors of ``50 Things Every Person Needs to Learn and Do,'' a Y2K preparation guide. Write down the name of the product, the model number, the serial number and the manufacturer.

What should be on the list?

Home computers, of course, including software and peripherals such as printers, monitors and modems.

Consumer electronics, such as televisions, videocassette recorders, stereo receivers, compact-disc players, cassette tape decks, hand-held organizers, digital watches and clock radios.

Home appliances with programmable functions, such as microwave ovens, dishwashers and coffee makers. Timing devices, such as programmable thermostats, security systems and sprinkler systems.

Next, set priorities. Identify the equipment for which the calendar date could be important. Examples are personal finance software, VCRs and even cameras and camcorders if you use the calendar function to record dates of photos or video segments.

Perhaps most vulnerable are digital thermostats and security systems, some of which could shut down entirely if their embedded microchips don't recognize dates after Dec. 31, according to several Y2K authorities.

Once you have determined which products concern you the most, contact their manufacturers by phone or via the Internet for their Year 2000 readiness.

Many brand-name manufacturers, such as Microsoft, Panasonic, Hewlett- Packard and Sony, have extensive World Wide Web sites that allow consumers to search for Y2K information about specific products. Others, such as Casio, provide no information on older products, indicating only that all new products are Y2K-compliant. Still others, such as Qualcomm and Denon, provide no Y2K information at all on their Web sites.

Sussman and Lannis suggest that you consider postponing the purchase of products unless the manufacturer guarantees they are ready for year 2000.

Unlike consumer electronics, there's a wealth of tools available to check the Year 2000 readiness of home computers.

ZDNet provides one of the best Web sites for home computer users who want to test for Y2K readiness. The site, Test Your PC's Year 2000 Compliance, is available at www .html

Other sites that offer free Y2K-checking software are listed at the year 2000 Web site (www.year2000 .com/y2klinks.html). Or check out NSTL, an independent information technology testing organization that offers free tests (

Even if your computer is ready for the next year, your software may not be, especially if it's an older version. Call the software manufacturer or visit its Web site for information on the software's status.

For non-computer equipment that displays dates, Money magazine offers a neat trick for sidestepping the problem: On Jan. 1, set the year back to 1972. That year's calendar dates and days of the week are identical to the year 2000, right down to the leap year date of Feb. 29.

For prerecorded consumer information on a variety of Year 2000 topics, call the 24-hour, toll-free information line started last week by the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. Point your Web browser to, or dial (888) USA-4-Y2K (888-872-4925).

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 05, 1999.

San Jose, Capitol of Silicon Valley (Y2K Bookmark)

There is a yellow 11 high bookmark printed as a public service by the City of San Jose, Information Technology Department and San Jose Public Library available at the San Jose City Hall. (My little ole GI mother stopped by City Hall while out on errands to pick up stuff). It reads ...

The City of San Jose Is Year 2000 {Y2K} Aware!

What is Y2K?

The Year 2000 problem, or Y2K, is the result of a business decision made in the early days of computers. At the time, storage space in computers was limited and expensive, the the years in date fields were formatted to show two digits (e.g. 98). The century fields (e.g. 19) were assumed and that assumption continues today. The problems is that some computers will see the year 2000 as 1900, causing errors in calculations and possibly resulting in some systems not functioning at all.

How does this affect me?

Unfortunately, the Y2K problem is not limited to obvious computer systems. Other systems, such as telephones, vehicles, and elevators are controlled by computer chips and are also subject to possible malfunction or failure. The Y2K problem can affect your personal finances, utilities, communications, and a myriad of other daily transactions and activities that we now take for granted.

What should I do?

On the reverse side is a list of possible implications of Y2K for your personal life and some tips for addressing those issues. See also the list of recommended reading for additional information. Look for these books at the library, your local bookstore or

[Flip side]


 Home Computer
Test your PC to ensure that it will correctly change over to 2000.

Contact your telephone company, pager and cellular phone company to enquire about their Y2K readiness.

Contact your bank, investment companies, retirement funds.

 Food & Basic Supplies
Ensure that you have adequately prepared for any emergency situation lasting a few days or longer.

If you are dependant on any medications and/or health equipment, ensure that you have and adequate supply on hand and have contacted the manufacturers of your equipment.

Contact your power company, water and sewer companies.

 Other issues to consider:
* Safety
* Childcare
* Transportation
* Entertainment

For Additional Information

 Personal implications --

Time Bomb 2000; Yourdon, Edward & Jennifer Yourdon

A Survival Guide for the Year 2000 Problem; Lord, Jim

Y2K: Its Already Too Late; Kelly, Jason (a novelized version of what life could be like after 01/01/2000)

 The Problem In Laymans Terms --

Year 2000 Solutions for Dummies; Bourne, K.C.

 Technical Perspective --

Year 2000 Problem: Strategies and Solutions from the Fortune 100; Kappelman, Leon

Managing 00: Surviving the Year 2000 Computing Crisis; de Jager, Peter & Richard Bergeon

How to 2000; Raytheon

For more titles, see the librarys web site:

San Jose Public Library

Ready Reference (all kinds of interesting links)


Or ...


See also ...

The booklet, mentioned in the San Jose Mercury article above, is available in short supply at the San Jose City Hall is titled Year 2000 Challenge -> 50 Things Every Person Needs to Learn and Do. (An Educational Booklet created by L&S Resources) It costs $5.00 and is available from both of the authors, Leille Sussman at (503) 641-2906 or, or Susan Lannis at (503) 659-3773 or ...

L & S Resources
P.O. Box 2494
Clackamas, OR 97015
24-hour order service

See also ...

City of San Jose web-site -- What is the Year 2000 Problem? (Pretty lame)

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 05, 1999.

Welcome back, Diane (kiddo). Incidentally, kiddo, is a term of endearment.

My son and I were discussing the fact that since you got back from Seattle you haven't been nearly as prolific. I wonder if you found that great MAC upon which to write? Well, you certainly outdid yourself today. Very well put, however.

Don't mind my son, he lives in Minneapolis with all those Swedes. Great people, but being from Iowa we have to give them a bit of gas.


-- Bob Walton (, February 06, 1999.

Thanks for the thoughts Bob,

Just got back yesterday afternoon and off to The Oakland Y2K weekend gathering tomorrow.

Lot's more to write about Seattle, but it will have to wait. Think ... power grid.

Diane *Sigh*

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 06, 1999.


Right on *think power grid*. A friend of mine in the Chamber of Commerce just came through this afternoon after attending a "really big Chamber show" in Des Moines, Iowa. He showed me a "We're ready for Y2K" tee. WOW! I'm not one for the glitz of a tee shirt, but by GOD we're getting close to being ready - in this family (if that's possible). I really wanted that shirt.

He lives south of us and has Alliant as his power provider. They just announced, "NO PROBLEM". Sort of funny for a company that orginally said only a couple of months ago: "Buy a generator" cuz we can't say we're going to be able to push the 220v at you.

I liked Mr. Yourdon's comments on this forum tonight. He laid it all out!


-- Bob Walton (, February 06, 1999.

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