State of California -- Called Unprepared For Y2K Mess : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

State of California -- Called Unprepared For Y2K Mess

Warning: Long post -- several articles!

Y2K on the front page of the paper this morning ...

Well, the reporters at the San Francisco Chronicle have been doing their Y2K homework recently. Some actually attended the Oakland Y2K Around the Bay gathering a couple weeks ago. (Wonder if Oregon looks any better).

Also last nights 11:00 ABC KGO-TV news had a brief 5-minute spot on Y2K (every Thrusday night) and mentioned the electrical utilites. A PG&E P.R. person tried the happy face on camera approach. Does NOT give me a good feeling. Ill try to find transcripts.


State Called Unprepared For Y2K Mess
Audit contradicts governor over computer readiness

Greg Lucas, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Friday, February 19, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Chronicle

Contrary to Governor Gray Davis' assurances, more than two-thirds of California's most critical computer systems are not ready to handle the Year 2000 bug, state auditors said yesterday.

In all, 11 of 14 state agencies, which operate 20 of the government's most important computer programs, have not finished testing their revamped systems. Half of those agencies have yet to assess the threat posed to some of their operations by time- sensitive microchips. Those ``embedded'' chips control heating units in state buildings, traffic lights, electric fences around prisons and the water-release doors of the giant California Aqueduct.

On Monday, Davis said 75 percent of the state's essential computer systems had squashed the Year 2000 bug.

``We're saying just the reverse,'' said Kurt Sjoberg, the state's auditor general. ``Two-thirds are not remediated.''

Through 1998, California already has spent $342 million trying to make sure that on Jan. 1, 2000, computers tracking everything from health-care eligibility to statewide responses to emergencies do not falter or crash because they think it is 1900, not 2000.

There is no estimate on a final price tag.

Under an executive order issued by former Governor Pete Wilson, the state's most important computer systems were to be bug-free by last December 31.

Sjoberg's audit found that 15 of the 20 specific computer systems he analyzed were to have been fixed by that date.

None were.

``We define `fixed' to be ready to work in 2000,'' said Sjoberg. ``That means fully tested and, if exchanging data with partners, like counties, those partners are also compliant.''

The governor blames Wilson for the lack of progress in erasing the Y2K threat from state computers, saying Wilson's definition of ``fixed'' was vague and has led to some still- vulnerable systems being classified as bug-free.

Sjoberg found that three state departments which claimed to have whipped their Year 2000 problems were still testing their systems.

One agency, the Employment Development Department, issues $2.9 billion worth of checks each year to unemployed workers. But it will not know whether its system's Y2K problems are solved until September, the audit found.

``With time running out and no potential for an extension, it is troubling to find so many computer systems that support such a large number of state programs -- many delivering vital services to Californians -- are still in need of remediation,'' the audit said.

Davis, who announced his Y2K action plan Wednesday, did not dispute Sjoberg's findings.

``I'm not sure this administration could take issue substantively with any of the criticisms leveled in the auditor's report,'' said David Lema, an adviser to the Davis administration on the Year 2000 bug.

``What (Sjoberg) audited was an assessment of the previous administration's state of affairs,'' Lema said. ``With the concerted focus the current governor has announced, the state's mission-critical services will be Y2K prepared.''

Sjoberg found that all of the agencies he surveyed had plans to eradicate the Year 2000 bug and were working hard to complete those plans.

But for 13 of the 20 systems surveyed, testing had not been completed. Testing is the most important -- and time-consuming -- part of the fixing of the Y2K problem.

Among Sjoberg's other findings:

-- Of the 462 computer programs administered by the state, 64 percent still are not bug-free.

-- Of the 262 most critical programs, 200 still need more Y2K work, 76 percent of the total. Of those 200, 74 still will not be fixed by July 1, and 43 will not be done before October.

-- Forty-five state agencies, including the University of California, California State University and the state's huge retirement system, do not report their Y2K progress to the governor. Of the 100 programs they administer, 56 still are not fixed. By October, 20 still will not be.

-- Of the 462 computer programs, state agencies had no backup plan for 248 of them in case their Year 2000 bug-solving efforts fail or are not finished on time.

``All along, the last administration never seemed to have a sense of urgency, so I'm shocked at the lack of progress, and then I'm not,'' said Senator John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, who is holding a hearing next Wednesday on Y2K compliance.

Sjoberg also noted that no single state agency oversees Year 2000 preparedness of the state's electric and telephone utilities.

The Public Utilities Commission monitors only a segment of both industries.

``That's the most troubling issue for me,'' said Sjoberg. ``However well any of us is converting our computers over to the 2000 thing, they won't work if they have no power.''

)1999 San Francisco Chronicle Page A1

See also ...

State agencies lagging in fixing computers running essential services

JENNIFER KERR, Associated Press Writer
Friday, February 19, 1999

(02-19) 02:27 EST SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The computer chips that keep fences electrified at 23 state prisons won't be tested until September to see whether the charge will still be there when the calendar reads Jan. 1, 2000.

And the state agency that sends jobless workers $2.9 billion a year in checks won't finish testing its computer system until just a few months before the Year 2000 computer problem could kick in.

Those are some of the potential problems at 11 key state agencies that haven't finished fixing their computers to deal with the Year 2000 problem, a report by state Auditor Kurt Sjoberg said Thursday.

``With time running out and no potential for an extension, it is troubling to find so many computer systems that support such a large number of state programs -- many delivering vital services to Californians -- are still in need of some remediation before state agencies can ensure the risk of failure is minimal,'' the report said.

``Such late completion dates may not give the agencies enough time to resolve unforeseen problems before Jan. 1, 2000, which could cause financial hardship to, or imperil the safety of, Californians,'' the report said.

The problem is caused by old computer programming that used only two digits for years to save space. That means 1999 was written in programs as 99. When it becomes 2000, some computers won't know if it's 1900 or 2000 and could either make mistakes or shut down completely.

The auditor's report, sent to the governor and Legislature, came a day after Gov. Gray Davis announced his plan and team for dealing with the computer problem that has been predicted to cause anything from mild annoyance to computer shutdowns.

Davis said Thursday he believes the state will be prepared, but admitted ``it's a big job.''

His staff director, Vince Hall, who will head Davis' Year 2000 Executive Committee, said the new administration is in the middle of analyzing what has been done already and is trying to speed up the process.

``The fact of the matter is there still is ample time and ample resources and ample expertise to accomplish (Year 2000) preparedness for the state of California,'' David Lema, who has been studying the issue for Davis, told a legislative subcommittee Thursday.

Davis released a report, compiled by the administration of former Gov. Pete Wilson, that showed that 372 of the state's 564 most critical computer systems were fixed for Year 2000 problems as of Jan. 8 of this year. Wilson in 1997 issued an executive order that all ``mission-critical'' systems be fixed by last Dec. 31.

The auditor's report said state agencies are making progress, but still have a lot of work to do in the next 10 months. Eleven major agencies have not completely tested their systems, which can be fixed either by rewriting programs or replacing computers.

Almost two-thirds of all 462 state programs, critical and non-critical, still have important tasks to finish before they are ready for the new year, said the auditor.

``Worse yet, with less than 11 months until the new millennium begins, 11 agencies still have no business continuation plans if their computer systems are not corrected in time or fail to work,'' said the auditor.

Hall said creation of such contingency plans is one of the new administration's top priorities.

Also of concern, said the report, is the lack of a single agency to oversee the readiness of all electricity and telephone utilities. For example, the Public Utilities Commission is monitoring part of the electricity industry and telephone companies but has just begun its efforts. Other portions are being checked by other commissions, local elected boards and nonprofit organizations.

And ...

Repeated computer problems cost state $1 billion

Thursday, February 18, 1999

(02-18) 11:13 PST SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The Department of Motor Vehicle's latest computer project is running behind schedule with no end in sight, a sign that the agency's costly computer problems are continuing, a newspaper said.

The recent technical glitch by the department follows a series of expensive automation failures in state agencies that have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, the San Francisco Chronicle reported today.

``It seems somewhat anomalous that the state which leads in private-sector creation of computers is the state most behind in employing this technology to improve the quality of state services,'' Senator John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, told the newspaper on Thursday.

The Department of Motor Vehicles' computer difficulties have existed for years.

The department's overhaul of enormous vehicle registration and driver's license databases in 1987 was supposed to take five years to finish and cost $27 million. By 1994 the department had axed the project at a total cost of $50 million.

In December, the department replaced the mini-computers in its regional offices. Now, it faces the task of reprograming the mainframes that house the department's driver and vehicle database, the newspaper said.

The department is unable to say when that will be completed, according to the legislative analyst's review of Gov. Gray Davis' budget. The department also failed to meet its periodic and self-imposed deadlines for the project.

DMV officials told the newspaper they are going slowly for a reason.

``The undertaking by the department is massive, and given the difficulties of the past, we believe a deliberative approach is preferable over a high-risk, fast-paced approach,'' the department said.

And ...

Computer Bumbling Costs State $1 Billion
Repeat snafus in DMV, other agencies

Greg Lucas, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Thursday, February 18, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Chronicle

After spending $50 million on a failed computer system five years ago, the Department of Motor Vehicles is behind schedule and has no completion date for installing yet another multimillion dollar system.

This is the latest in a series of expensive snafus by the state, whose repeated failures at automating itself have soaked taxpayers for nearly $1 billion.

``It seems somewhat anomalous that the state which leads in private-sector creation of computers is the state most behind in employing this technology to improve the quality of state services,'' said Senator John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara.

On top of repeated cost overruns and the cancellation of three computer projects at a cost of nearly $200 million, the state is now trying to cope with Year 2000 problems on its working computer system.

So far, $342 million has been spent on Y2K reprogramming. A final price tag is unknown, and 25 percent of the state's computer systems still need to be fixed within the next 317 days.

Although not the most expensive disaster, the Department of Motor Vehicles is the poster child for failed state computer systems.

When the department began to overhaul its enormous vehicle registration and driver's license databases in 1987, the project was supposed to take five years to finish and cost $27 million.

In June 1990, with $14.8 million already spent, tests showed the new system would take longer to process information than the one the department already was using.

But it wasn't until 1994 that the department finally axed the project. Total cost: $50 million.

Five years later, the department still has not settled on a new system, although it has spent $9.6 million trying to figure out what it wants. The department now wants an additional $6.7 million for the budget year that begins July 1.

The department replaced the mini-computers in its regional offices in December. Now it has to reprogram the mainframes that house the department's driver and vehicle database.

The department is unable to say when that will be completed, according to the legislative analyst's review of Governor Gray Davis' budget.

The department also has failed to meet periodic deadlines it created on the road to completion.

``In part, (the delays) have been caused by . . . DMV's periodic decisions to alter its approach to the redesign efforts,'' the budget analysis said.

``Some delays were due to difficulties in securing approval from oversight agencies,'' the analysis said. ``(And) finally, the DMV's projected milestone dates have frequently been unrealistic to begin with.''

DMV officials said they are going slowly for a reason.

``The undertaking by the department is massive, and given the difficulties of the past, we believe a deliberative approach is preferable over a high-risk, fast-paced approach,'' the department said in a statement.

The DMV isn't the only department with problems, however. Several of the state's most expensive -- and least reliable -- computer systems involve health and welfare programs.

In November 1997, after spending $111 million, the state canceled its contract with Lockheed Martin Information Management Systems to build and operate a statewide child support database.

The state now is attempting to create a new system but, in the meantime, it is being fined by the federal government, which ordered the computer database.

The state will pay $37 million in penalties this year. Beginning July 1, those penalties will increase to $52.8 million a year. Davis proposes in his budget that counties shoulder that cost.

Los Angeles, the state's most populous county, is exempted from penalties, because it has created its own database, and was in compliance with the federal requirements. If Los Angeles County were not in compliance, its share of the fine would be about $8 million this year and $11 million next year. That share will be spread among the state's other counties.

Also troubled is the State Automated Welfare System, the most expensive computer project ever undertaken by the state.

It is eventually supposed to allow counties to track welfare recipients and help determine eligibility.

In January 1993, the price tag was estimated to be $711 million, with a five-year completion time.

By December 1993, the price had risen to $800 million over 12 years, not including the cost of linking Los Angeles to the system. The state's auditor general predicted the project could exceed $1 billion when completed.

So far the system is tracking only 14 percent of the state's welfare caseload.

Estimates now are that it will cost about $879.3 million to track 88 percent of the welfare caseload, including Los Angeles.

No price tag is yet available on what it will take to reach 100 percent.

The Department of Corrections also had an expensive computer snafu. After spending nearly $100 million, in 1997 it canceled its contract to create a system to track inmates. It is now nine months late in rebidding the contract but received $13 million this year to continue the project.

The Student Aid Commission and the California State Lottery have had less significant computer problems.

After the DMV debacle, then- Governor Pete Wilson created a Cabinet secretary to ride shotgun over the state's information technology projects.

Davis named his own secretary yesterday: Elias Cortez, who had a similar job with San Bernardino County.

)1999 San Francisco Chronicle Page A1

And an earlier article ...

SACRAMENTO -- Bureaucratic Tangle Draws Funds Away From Smog Check Program

Greg Lucas, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Thursday, February 12, 1998
)1999 San Francisco Chronicle

Bureaucratic snafus and a change in Wilson administration priorities is costing the state's smog check program almost $2 million a month in revenue, state Department of Motor Vehicles officials said yesterday.

The DMV was supposed to bill drivers of newer model vehicles a $4 annual fee on their registration starting in January.

Delays in deciding how to do it and an insistence by Governor Pete Wilson that state bureaucracies fix any potential Year 2000 computer problems this year has delayed collection of the fee until at least December.

``It was probably late last December before we worked out the details of the new programming. We send out renewals 60 days before the renewal date so by the time the year started, we were already looking at not collecting the fee until July,'' said Bill Cather, a spokesman for the DMV.

``Then the 2000 project became a priority over everything else.''

Motorists need not worry. What the DMV probably will do is charge motorists who missed paying the fee this year an $8 fee next year.

All state drivers used to pay an $8 smog check certificate fee every two years when they got a smog check. Only cars older than 1974 were exempt.

Under a law passed last year, cars less than five years old -- in this case 1995 through 1998 models -- are no longer required to get a smog check.

As a result, nearly 30 percent of the driving population will no longer need to get smog checks -- at least until the vehicle is five years old.

The bill switched the $8 every- two-years fee for those cars and trucks to an annual $4 payment to the state.

Drivers would pay the fee when billed for their vehicle registration by the DMV -- just like they do now.

About 500,000 vehicles are registered each month.

That money, although collected by the DMV, is sent to the Bureau of Automotive Repair, which operates the Smog Check 2 program.

Annually, the fees represent roughly $24 million of the bureau's $90 million budget.

``This is money that will be recouped when the computer system is reprogrammed,'' said Bob Brown, director of communications for the Department of Consumer Affairs, in which the automotive bureau is housed.

Cather said the way the DMV computer worked, the year 2000 problem had to be fixed first before the $4 fee could be installed.

Some computer programs recognize only the last two digits of the year so it would think 2000 was 1900.

There is some urgency for the DMV to solve it. Driver's licenses last five years so already there are licenses that expire in the next century.

)1999 San Francisco Chronicle Page A21

And finally, an article on the state of the State in early January ...

State making progress, but no guarantees on Y2K readiness

JENNIFER KERR, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, January 1, 1999

(01-01) 01:01 EST SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Over at the Department of Motor Vehicles, lots of computers are chattering away with other computers about your driver's license, your car, your car insurance and all your tickets.

DMV computers talk to counties, courts, insurance companies, automobile dealerships, leasing firms and car rental companies -- more than 1,000 outside computer connections.

Those connections, called ``interfaces'' in computer talk, are one of the biggest problems still facing state government in the final year before Year 2000 fully hits the computerized world.

With one year until the problem known as Y2K or the Millennium Bug, California's state agencies aren't fully ready to deal with the glitches, ranging from annoying to life-threatening, that could occur when the calendar switches to Jan. 1, 2000.

The state's major crucial computer systems are almost all fixed, officials say. But huge questions persist about the state's interfaces with outside computers that may or may not be fixed and about embedded chips that run automatic systems ranging from heating equipment to prison security fences.

``I think finally the state is working hard and understands there's a problem,'' says state Assemblywoman Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara. She chaired the Assembly Information Technology Committee during 1998 and held several hearings on the state's ability to deal with the Y2K problem.

``I think there's a 75 percent chance we'll do it.'' she adds.

And no one can guarantee that everything will work, no matter how hard state computer experts labor over the next year.

``Preparation for the possibility of failures is essential because the actual impact of the Year 2000 will be unknown until the failure date has passed, and the potential impact of failures to California can be extremely broad, conceivably affecting all sectors -- public, private and governmental,'' warned the latest report by the state agency overseeing the issue.

The new administration of Gov.-elect Gray Davis will inherit the problem, which has been handled by the 3-year-old Department of Information Technology. It has been coordinating, assisting and prodding state agencies' efforts to fix their 2,400 computer systems. The total cost is expected to exceed $500 million.

``I think we're handing over the reins of a Year 2000 initiative that's well on its way to success,'' says John Thomas Flynn, who is departing as director of DOIT.

Outgoing Gov. Pete Wilson in 1997 ordered all state agencies to have their ``mission-critical'' computer systems fixed by the end of 1998. Those are the 640 computer systems that provide the most important services to Californians.

While the results won't be tallied until early February, Flynn estimates that about 50 systems are not meeting the governor's conservative deadline. However, he said all should be fixed within a few months and before their failure dates. The failure date occurs whenever a computer must first deal with the year 2000, not necessarily next Jan. 1.

That will leave most of 1999 for state agencies to test their interfaces with other agencies and to find and fix the thousands of embedded chips that run automatic systems, mostly in buildings.

The Y2K problem is occurring because most computer programs and chips manufactured in the last 30 years assume that all dates fall within the 20th century. To save once-scarce memory, years were written with two digits -- 99 for 1999. That means computers having to deal with 2000 would probably assume it is 1900. The result could range from inaccurate data to system failures.

To fix the problem, computer experts must either replace programs or chips or go through all the complex computer code and rewrite all references to dates so that years in the 21st century are recognized correctly.

For example, DMV programmers had ``7 million lines of software that someone had to go through with their eyes, one line at a time,'' says Leo Verheul, chief information officer for the department.

DMV has been working on the Y2K problem for a decade, because it has senior identification cards good for 10 years and in 1990 started running into ones that expire in 2000.

It also has been issuing driver's licenses expiring in the year 2000 and later for four years and in January must start issuing car registrations that expire during 2000.

The department has been testing its software on a special computer -- called the ``time machine'' -- that is programmed to believe it is now the year 2000, he said.

``In general, I think we are the department that is going to go through that date with very little problem,'' he said.

Verheul said DMV chose to deal with the interface agencies the easy way by letting them keep using two digits, but writing a special program that allows the DMV computers to recognize dates for the next 30 years.

Many local governments have not made as much progress as the state in dealing with Y2K. A survey conducted last summer by a DOIT-backed organization of local government computer experts found that 74 percent of the cities and counties that responded have a Year 2000 plan, but only 42 percent had the money budgeted to pay for the repairs.

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 19, 1999


Damn, Diane. I'm preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, just like many others. The first half of that philosophy keeps getting stronger as the last half keeps getting weaker. Let's remember that California is home to Silicon Valley and has (one would think) a better grasp than most on technical problems. Depressing.

-- Old Git (, February 19, 1999.

Quoting a friend in the office: "Oh well, they're all gonna fall into the ocean anyway."

I'm glad I don't live there anymore. Ironic, isn't it, that the birthplace of computer technology is as vulnerable as the rest of us?

-- A Refugee (, February 19, 1999.

Sobering when sober is not what I'm inclined to be....on late news last night, a small blurb on California's 2/3s not remediated, including the Aqueduct. The water issue out here in the Cadillac Desert has been worrying me since May of 1998. My city's refusal to begin resident-based Y2K information/preparation gatherings is also disturbing. And Orange County said: "As long as there's electricity we'll find a way to stay on top of things".

Everywhere you look there's a clown - state, county and local clowns! Idiots. Don't get me started.

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 19, 1999.

*Hysterical!* Just yesterday, I posted the LA Times story with the '75% of critical systems remediated, says Gray' story- and I warned people to wait to see what the auditor said, based on his scathing assessment last August. Then today comes this story from the Chronicle. What's even funnier is that a few days ago, I mentioned the Chronicle as one paper I thought was doing a good job on Y2K. They've certainly validated *that* judgment!

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

I have gone to all of the state sites www.state.{initials}.us and found they are all IMHO in deep trouble. Remember the info is all self reported. I would challenge all of you to visit these sites and discover reality for yourself.

-- Herrmann (statetracker@noneare, February 19, 1999.

Just when I start thinking maybe, just maybe things won't be so bad, I see something like this.

-- Vic (, February 19, 1999.

See also ...

The California Bureau of State Audits
Audit Reports Issued 1993 - Present


Year 2000 Computer Problem: The State's Agencies Are Progressing Toward Compliance but Key Steps Remain Incomplete Browse summary ...


California State Auditor/Bureau of State Audits
Summary of Report Number 98116 - February 1998

Year 2000 Computer Problem:
The State's Agencies Are Progressing Toward Compliance but Key Steps Remain Incomplete


This is our second report on state agencies' progress in resolving the problems with their computer systems caused by the year 2000, or the millennium bug, as it is sometimes called. As we reported in August 1998, state agencies are making progress toward correcting critical computer systems to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of essential services to Californians; however, we are concerned that many of the 14 agencies that provide the most critical services are still not done. Eleven agencies have not completely tested their computer systems, nor have 7 corrected or replaced the embedded chips that control certain of their systems' computerized activities.

For example, the Employment Development Department estimates that it will not complete testing of the unemployment insurance system until September 1999. This critical system manages over $2.9 billion in annual payments to unemployed workers. In another instance, the Department of Corrections does not expect to correct and test embedded technology in the electrified fences at 23 prisons until September 1999. Such late completion dates may not give the agencies enough time to resolve unforeseen problems before January 1, 2000, which could cause financial hardship to or imperil the safety of Californians. Additionally, five agencies have not completely resolved critical issues with their data exchange partners.

Moreover, 14 of 20 computer systems at these vital agencies are mission-critical, or essential to core business functions and, according to a governor's executive order, should have been fixed by December 31, 1998, but were not. Worse yet, with less than 11 months until the new millennium begins, 11 agencies still have no business continuation plans if their computer systems are not corrected in time or fail to work. Equally unprepared are almost two-thirds of all 462 state programs because agencies still have critical tasks to complete, such as executing and documenting full system testing, correcting embedded technology, or remedying data exchange problems. Over half of all programs must also develop business continuation plans to cover the possibility that their remediation efforts might fail.

We further found that one of the State's two large data centers that support hundreds of state clients has a poor strategy to protect its clients from the ill effects caused by year 2000 problems. The Teale Data Center (Teale) lacks a year 2000 plan that addresses critical client services and has allocated few resources to year 2000 tasks in general. Although Teale has developed a time machine environment for testing a system's ability to function after December 31, 1999, it does not monitor its clients' use of this environment. Neither has Teale required clients to abandon noncompliant software that could corrupt data or destabilize its processing environment.

In contrast, the Health and Welfare Data Center (HWDC) has a comprehensive year 2000 plan that addresses critical client services and has devoted significant resources to executing its plan. The HWDC also encouraged its clients to perform year 2000 testing in its time machine environment and is monitoring client use to ensure its mainframe computers are year 2000 ready. In addition, the HWDC is precluding its clients from using software that is not year 2000 compliant.

With time running out and no potential for an extension, it is troubling to find so many computer systems that support such a large number of state programs-many delivering vital services to Californians-are still in need of some remediation before state agencies can ensure the risk of failure is minimal. What is more disturbing is that many of the same agencies that have not fully remediated the computer systems supporting their programs also have not completed business continuation plans to deliver services if their efforts are further delayed or fail to work.

Finally, of additional concern is the fact that no single entity is charged with overseeing the year 2000 readiness of electric and telecommunication utilities essential to the delivery of state and other public services. Instead, a variety of entities, including commissions, elected boards, and nonprofit organizations, regulate and monitor portions of the systems. For example, the California Public Utilities Commission is monitoring portions of the electrical industry and all of the telecommunication providers in California, but it just began these efforts and may not present results until at least April 1999. Further, although the North American Electrical Reliability Council is monitoring efforts on a national level, its reported results are preliminary and based on self-reported information.


To ensure that state agencies' systems are year 2000 ready and that California's vital services are not interrupted at the beginning of the new millennium, the governor or the Legislature should do the following:

 Appoint an independent quality assurance agent or independent verification and validation group to review critical systems supporting the 17 programs we believe are vital to California to validate that state agencies have found and corrected all date references in their systems. Until this appointed authority certifies that an agency has completed all testing, remediated embedded technology, and fully addressed all data exchange issues within its control, the governor or the Legislature should direct the Department of Information Technology or other governing body to deny the agency approval for any new information technology projects.

 Closely monitor the progress of the systems supporting state programs that have not completed efforts to resolve year 2000 problems. If progress appears to be falling behind completion milestones, the governor or the Legislature should consider what tasks remain, whether adequate resources are available to complete them, and take appropriate action to ensure successful completion. Such action could include assisting agencies in obtaining outside resources, such as consultants, or reallocating knowledgeable staff from other agencies.

 Monitor all agencies' efforts to ensure the completion of business continuation plans by June 30, 1999.

 Designate one authority to assess, oversee, and report on the year 2000 preparations of critical public utilities serving California, such as electricity and telecommunication services.

To affirm that its own computer systems will operate properly after January 1, 2000, Teale should monitor its clients' use of its time machine environment and consider further testing for those portions of the systems not tested by clients. Further, to ensure that its clients are given the opportunity to investigate whether they could be at risk of system interruptions, Teale should notify the six clients that used an earlier software version in its time machine environment. Finally, to avoid the potential for data corruption and instability in its operating system, Teale should remove any noncompliant software products from its computers before January 1, 2000.


The governor's office (office) agreed with our findings and stated that the new administration is keenly aware of the challenges posed by the year 2000 problem. The office also stated that the governor will soon announce a plan that will address the issues identified in our report. The Teale Data Center (Teale) agreed with our recommendation that it notify clients that used an earlier software version in its time machine. Teale disagreed with our conclusion that it lacked a successful strategy for its year 2000 remediation plan, but is researching methods available to monitor clients' use of its time machine. The Health and Welfare Data Center agreed with our findings but chose not to respond formally.

Download this entire report in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) (256 KB)


-- Diane J. Squire (, February 19, 1999.

See also thread ...

LINKS: Know Your State of California & Y2K Information Sources 000W6i

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 19, 1999.


Think you're right. The San Francisco newsmedia group is almost the only one doing a decent job of reporting Y2K, IMHO. The San Francisco Chronicle has been reputed to have assigned five reporters to the issue, according to a Y2K expert working with the City of Berkley, Bob Burnett.

Check out S.F. Gate which combines the local big three media San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle newspapers and the Channel 4 KRON TV web-sites:

Search on Y2K and enjoy reading:< /a>

The local cognitive dissonance, is in contrasting that S.F. group with the main Silicon Valley news, the San Jose Mercury News, just 60 miles away in the South Bay Area, which is all too often Y2K lite or even overly happy face.

Search the Merc for Y2K by comparison:


-- Diane J. Squire (, February 19, 1999.

Even though I am far from California, we have a plant in Mexi-Cali and this information is greatly useful to us. Awesome post. Thanks!

-- Brett (, February 19, 1999.

Diane --

I notice in the first Greg Lucas article it says that Sen. Vasconcellos will be chairing a hearing on y2k compliance Wednesday. That sounds different than the Senate Finance, Investment and International Trade Committee hearing we discussed on an earlier thread. Did you ever e-mail Vasconcellos about the hearing and have you heard back?

-- Pam G. (, February 19, 1999.

Thanks Diane. Lots of good info. You do a great job here and are appreciated.

-- Mike Lang (, February 19, 1999.


Thank you so much for all the wonderful links but I just can't visit them. I'm totally burned out from what seems like a constant wave of bad news.

There is some good news. At least Davis said SOMETHING. I don't think I ever heard what's his name say a thing about Y2k.

I'm not even gonna worry about the Federal Government anymore. I'm going to prepare thinking that they wont be functional.

That leaves the State and local governments which don't address issues anyway so... we're toast.

People, make your communities stronger! Otherwise, in most areas, hope may not be possible.

I used to search for the good news but it's tough when the ratio of good vs. bad is so skewed. I'm just gonna pray and prepare.

A little personal experience...

Earlier this month I celebrated a birthday and my California Drivers License expired.

I sent in my renewal quite some time ago but I haven't received an extension yet .

Mike ===========================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, February 19, 1999.


I know what you mean! I've downloaded the PDF "long" version, but before I read it, I'll walk downtown, sniff the spring flowers and grab a caffe latte.

BTW, Oregon has lot's of water and more land, and frankly I think their local power grid, Bonneville Power Authority, WILL stay up and can be islanded. They are mostly hydro power, they still have the manual system below the 5-year-old computer system and can "disengage" it. I talked with one of their representatives at the Seattle Year 2000 Expo. They had a booth and gave a lecture. (Available on audiotape).

Wish PG&E or SCE would be so forthcoming!

At least it's sunny today. We know that still works.


(P.S. Pam, as soon as I hear something from Vasconcellos, I'll post it).

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 19, 1999.

Diane, I called Sen. Vasconcellos' office to find out about the hearing that was mentioned in the Chronicle. It's a hearing of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. They don't have an agenda or any printed information available yet. The hearing will take place Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Room 4202 of the State Capitol.

-- Pam G. (, February 19, 1999.


In addition to the e-mail, I just phoned the San Jose district office (408) 286-8318. Jose said they are still waiting for details of that meeting and hell phone me.

The Sacto number to call for Vasconcellos office is (916) 445-9740.

I think Ill try to make that meeting. Latte?


-- Diane J. Squire (, February 19, 1999.

Diane, sounds good to me.

-- Pam G. (, February 19, 1999.

``'I think finally the state is working hard and understands there's a problem,' says state Assemblywoman Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara. She chaired the Assembly Information Technology Committee during 1998 and held several hearings on the state's ability to deal with the Y2K problem."

Question: Why did this committee not raise any Red Flags about lack of progress? Given all that the auditor found, there were certainly plenty of warning signs. Was that oversight function not this committee's charter? Or did I just miss the news items about their finding problems?

-- Mac (, February 19, 1999.

Here's what's in the Senate File now about next Wednesday's hearing:



YEAR 2000 PROBLEM SUBJECT: Department of Information Technology`s Year 2000 Quarterly Report and the State Auditor's Report on the State`s Year 2000 Readiness.

-- Pam G. (, February 19, 1999.


Jose from Vasconcellos office just called back. He confirmed the Y2K meeting will be next Wednesday, February 24th at 1:30 p.m. in Californias Sacramento State Capitol building, Room #4202.

He said the long agenda is still in draft form, will probably not be posted on the internet, but will be passed out the day of.

He said you will be able to hear the Real Audio version of the meeting in Room #4202 on the day of the meeting.

... Listen To The Senate - You can now listen to live Senate Hearings, Floor Sessions, and Press Conferences over the Internet. To listen to Senate proceedings you need to have speakers and a sound card installed on your computer plus you need to download RealAudio Player. Click on LISTEN to hear today's Senate proceedings.... Off the following page ...


Still checking to see if I can make it Pam, will let you know.


-- Diane J. Squire (, February 19, 1999.

Diane, Pam - I'm going to make the trek to Sac for the hearing. Bardou, you thinking about going? Anyone else? If so, let's do some private email and coordinate meeting.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, February 19, 1999.

FWIW I think Donna brought up an issue that is going to be the real killer in SoCal - if you lose access to some or all of the Colorado River water currently sent via the aquaduct system, you've basicly got less than a week to get things restarted.

BTW: Donna, I have a close relative in Orange County, who when asked what he and his family were going to do at the rollover responded with "go up to the top of the hill and watch the lights go out as the grid goes down" know it's twice as hard when the DWGI is somebody you actually care about...*sigh*


got water?


-- Arlin H. Adams (, February 20, 1999.

"(Wonder if Oregon looks any better)."


FYI, I live in southern Oregon. Last November my ham radio club invited a local power company lineman to come to our meeting to tell us how to connect a portable generator to household wiring. He was accompanied by another power company employee who was introduced, but stayed in the background. An engineer type, I think.

That part of the talk was brief: Oregon state law says it must be done by a licensed contractor. End of talk. He had over 90 minutes, so he spent the rest of the time telling us how y2k preps were coming along, and answering questions.

He told us that the computer code remediation had been tested twice, and failed twice. As of November, they were still trying to find all the bugs. This after repeated assurances that they were "on track."

One question was asked as a hypothetical, so he could answer it without sticking his neck out. If power went out in my county, there were no facilities to generate power to my county as a substitute for the grid. If the grid went down, so would we. The other speaker added that the nearest power generating facility to us was in Washington state. The rest of the system was transmission and distribution.

Y2K has been mentioned once in my local paper. A front page article appeared on the Friday paper last fall. It was short, and to the point. It explained what y2k was (many here still don't know, and, of those who do know, most are still in total denial), and then gave the equivalent of, "Don't worry, be happy." The local TV stations have covered it a few times with the same approach.

Disaster preps on the county level are virtually non- existent. For one thing, no money. Our county sheriff just got a federal grant for either more equipment and uniforms, or more deputies, not both. There are vast areas in most counties here in southern Oregon that go unpatrolled because there's not enough money to hire more LEOs.

The up side is that many commodities that are disappearing from shelves in other parts of the country are still in abundance here. For example, the local WalMart still has plenty of oil lamps for sale, and plenty of oil for them. Same in other stores. People here are waking up to y2k, but few believe it will be serious.

BTW, there's still a lot of property for sale up here. But, if you want to move here, bring lots of money. Six months ago, the unemployment rate in my county was 7.8%, and going up.


-- LP (, February 20, 1999.

Thanks, LP. (Making lots of friends in Oregon).

See thread ...

Check out what Portland is doing! (Oregon) 000WKi

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 20, 1999.

Whew, Diane, we finally got thru this thread! Lotsa ppl we love in LA -- they're just barely *hearing* about Y2K for the first time (we haven't tried real hard to tell them because, well, they think they know it all and don't listen to us ;). Feel for those large population centers who won't have enough water (can you even imagine the sewage problem?) and supplies to make it through this. Can envision evacuation marches, reserving one route for cars/trucks, another for bicyclists, another for pedestrians. All throughout history there have been massive displacements. We proud soft Americans think it could never happen here. Hopefully it won't, but what have we done to prevent history's march & cycles?

Diane, & Michael Taylor, perhaps you will both move to Cascadia before the year is out. So much community-prep stirrings, official govt blessings and pleas for neighborhood/community/business Y2K leaders. In a large, lovely, old-fashioned village-feeling city in NW Oregon:

Portland Prepares For Possible Y2K Disaster

Volunteer Effort Could Ease Panic Factor

PORTLAND, Posted 7:08 p.m. February 19, 1999 -- In the City of Roses, paranoia over possible Y2K problems could have a potent new enemy -- the neighborhood volunteer.

City officials are drafting plans to organize Portland's 200,000 households into small, self-sufficient units led by neighborhood volunteers trained to inform people about the real risks of Year 2000 computer problems.

"We're taking this seriously," Mayor Vera Katz said. "The purpose is not to raise a tremendous amount of concern, but to be prepared for an emergency. It doesn't mean it's going to happen."

If approved and executed beginning this spring, the effort would be one of the nation's largest municipal Y2K preparedness plans. Other large U.S. municipalities lauded for their plans include San Diego, Montgomery County, Md., and Boulder County, Colo.

Portland's Y2K plan calls for groups of roughly 150 households, or about 10 city blocks, each coordinated by a volunteer block leader. Each group will receive a workbook and literature explaining the Year 2000 computer problem, potential consequences and appropriate ways to prepare for contingencies. Because nobody knows how long any Y2K-related disruptions might last, residents will be coached on how to prepare for failures of basic services that last for 72 hours, two weeks and two months.

In the coming weeks, the City Council will also be asked to approve as much as $150,000 to fund a full-time public information officer, a telephone-and-Internet referral network, a city Y2K Web site, outreach materials and assistance from the Global Action Plan for the Earth, an international environmental organization.
"The first thing is to tell people everything we know," he said. "More information is where it's at."

Portlanders have been calling City Hall with fears about the local power supply, food and water availability, emergency services and other basic necessities.

Katz said she hears from residents who are unnerved by "rumors, misinformation and speculation," going so far as to believe that "significant social breakdown is a distinct possibility." [yeppee, sounds like da cityzzzzzns are more awake than zee Katz -- we'll send some factz her way ;]

Hofland said it's important to turn citizens into Y2K experts.

The city has always had a solid 72-hour emergency preparedness plan including volunteers, Hofland said, and Y2K outreach is only an extension of that.

"We're in the business of being prepared," he said. "We're going to play to our strengths."

Well, yes, plan = NET/CERT, but that doesn't mean everybody has *done* their prep thing. Not that many cityzzzzns have actually collected their stuff, tested it, drilled, thought it thru. Hhhhmmm.

So ya see, there's opportunity, water, & green stuff waiting in the paradise of the Pacific NorthWest, if ya can stand the Winter rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain.

California has the distinct sunshine advantage, but lacks enough water. Water is the second requisite for life, after oxygenated air. So, little callie raisins, ya wanna soak & plump out with us?

The Portland plan still has DWGI components, but at least they're going to tackle the beast head-on, and the citizen army will decide what *it* thinks is important. Right now the citizens are loudly voicing as the #1 concern: Social Breakdown, which the local officials can't understand and are polyannizing. But, the power of organizing & spreading info is going to the people :)

And, the ones who volunteer to spearhead their communities are going to be the ones who feel passionately about Y2K, and those will *not* be the Pollyannas. So, there is real hope here, and we're recruiting Y2K warriors. Feel a mission?

[Oh no, what have we done? Invited another California invasion! We'll get effigied and tarred if the webfeet find out ;]

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (, February 20, 1999.


I have lots of friends and family down int the L.A. area too. It would not be a pretty sight without water for any extended period of time.

Working on the Oregon Trail connection Leska. (Ms got me signed up for the next FEMA training there).

Oregon doesnt have the total lock on water. Right now its raining, again, in the S.F. Bay Area. (Soon time to puddle splash and caffee latte stroll).

Simple things, are the only things that make sense anymore.

Still cant quite force myself to read the long version of the California State Auditor/Bureau of State Audits Summary of Report Number 98116 - February 1998. Already depressed enough about it.


-- Diane J. Squire (, February 20, 1999.


As somewhat of an aside,...S. California is already in the soup (can you make soup without water????) as far as water is concerned for a couple of reasons.

First, Mulholland, the robber baron, set the stage for eventual water shortages with the illegal seizure of land for the Aquaduct (dang can't spell that word and the dictionary requires getting up from the chair). The US govt (shiver everyone) says S. California must start returning water to Owens and Mono Lake....and rightly so...Owens is a nightmare and the braindead are playing in their pools in LA and Orange Counties. Next, without Y2K the grand and glorious State of California is encouraging and planning for an additional 10 million people in the next 20 years....Need I say more? All we need is a couple drought years and all those folks in the Inland Empire who bought modest homes, and commute 90 minutes each way per day, and who add to the water drain in S. California may have to reconsider living in another place. The greed of developers and governments really pisses me off.

Now factor in Y2K. My uncle is 77 years old. He's an old character...flies his own planes...or tries to, at least, when not in battle with the FAA over his medical certification. When I say him in December HE brought up Y2K...(my mouth was agape)...said: gonna fly the planes to Montana (where family is)..."S. California won't be livable without water."

For a real good read or a documentary viewing look for: The Cadillac Desert, (a book and a documentary) about the aquisition of water for S. Cal, Arizona and Nevada, and the development of the megalopoli LA/Phoenix/Tucson/LasVegas. I think it's a 4-part documentary. Worth every hour.

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 20, 1999.

Oh,..forgot to mention that the aforementioned Uncle is a lifetime VFW member, and does not own or use a computer. Seems important somehow to add that.

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 20, 1999.

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