FEMA locking out media from Y2K discussions

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Here's one from the Seattle Times - good reading! Short quote follows, then the link:
But exactly what occurs when local, state and federal officials meet will be learned only secondhand. That's because FEMA is blocking the news media from attending the "breakout" sessions where participants get down to the nitty-gritty.

Those sessions will be closed, Walker said, because "quite frankly, we want those participants to be as open and honest about their own observations and what they think they need, and that's best done in that (private) format."

Two high-ranking Washington state Y2K officials, Chris Hedrick,who runs the state's Year 2000 office, and Judy Merchant, who serves as the office's liaison with local governments and businesses, said they were unaware of the private nature of the workshop sessions. Hedrick called the limitations on media access "bizarre."

Bizzare, indeed.


-- Night (y2k_nightmare@my-dejanews.com), March 25, 1999


Yep- I heard about this a little while ago- it's what got that aquaintance of mine all hyped up about internment centers and all the rest. The idiotic thing is of course, instead of alleviating anxiety by not disclosing what's happening to the public, it will spook more people into believing conspiracy theory big black helicoptor stuff...

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), March 25, 1999.

FEEMA is acting like a typical Federal Government agency. The citizens are peasants that don't know anything and don't need to be told anything. Only what they think we should know. I am waitin to see what happens if this all comes down on their heads. People are going to be so angry I can't imagine what will happen. Bill Clinton is going to find out how deep his support is.

-- Donna Pillar (dpillar@flash.net), March 25, 1999.

This sounds like another of those can't-win situations. We all 'know' that for public release, companies only produce happy-face lies. They won't admit to problems and endanger their stock options, blah blah.

So OK, if FEMA really wants to know the truth so as to make appropriate plans, they keep the talks confidential. Good idea? Hell no, it's a conspiracy. They're keeping the peasants in the dark!

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 25, 1999.

Flint: since when is Fema a company that has to worry about the value of it's stock? I think Fema is a government agency that should be concerned with keeping "we, the people" fully informed and as ready as we possibly can be for any and all possible disasters. Sometimes your logic suffers because of your need to be fair-minded. God bless.

-- Glinda Nofzinger (A Believer@Peace.com), March 25, 1999.

No Flint,

They're trying to keep panic at bay.

FEMAs also doing more ...

Y2K Planning Workshop to be Hosted by FEMA

San Francisco, March 23, 1999 -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will host a two-day Y2K planning workshop tomorrow and Thursday, March 24 and 25, in San Francisco. ...

http:// www.fema.gov/reg-ix/1999/r9_07.htm

... "Our message is, 'Do prepare, but don't panic,'" said Martha Whetstone, regional director of FEMA Region IX in San Francisco. "To minimize any potential Y2K impact, we're working with our state and local partners on extensive planning, exercises, and outreach efforts."  ...

What do you want to bet well hear about the sanitized planning news too?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 25, 1999.

Glinda and Diane:

I suppose there might be some debate about whether FEMA plays or could play a useful social role. I think they can, but you may disagree. Certainly that's what FEMA is intended to do.

I also think that FEMA can be more useful to the degree their plans fit the situation we may be facing. To best understand that situation, they need to ask some hard questions and get honest answers. And finally, I think media presence discourages full disclosure, especially when there are real problems to disclose. Few officials have the courage to honestly admit they've dropped the ball in front of cameras and microphones; such officials are long since weeded out.

So if you were FEMA, what would you do? Guess in the dark, or invite the media and listen to PR, or close the proceedings and get blasted for keeping vital information from the public -- as though the public would ever have heard it with the media there to listen!

Like I say, it's a no-win situation.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 25, 1999.


I fully concur that emergency managers need confidential time to "let their hair down," so-to-speak.

My main gripe with the government is their concerted, nation-wide, "no Y2K problem" just prepare for 3-days-only stance. When they KNOW, without a doubt, that is a "minimal" recommendation, AND that some areas will have greater problems than others. (They've admitted such in many, many speeches and Congressional testimonies).

Make NO MISTAKE, FEMA is the Y2K "lead" preparation agency in this country.

They are "preparing." They are simply NOT preparing "us."


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 25, 1999.

Diane or anyone,

what ever became of the "secret closed door meetings" the Senate was supposed to have conducted around the time of their y2k report? Did they take place? Were they later transcribed?

-- a (a@a.a), March 25, 1999.


As I recall, they did hold the meeting - all 20 or 30 minutes of it - which is when they decided the rest of the world was going to h*** in a handbasket but it wasn't going to affect the US.

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.net), March 25, 1999.

Of course the rest of the world will suffer, but not the US, we are an island of our own. We do not depend on any country for imports or exports, we are fully self-contained.

-- WOOZ (WOOZ@wooz.com), March 25, 1999.

In reference to that closed-door Senate meeting, here's a former post. Sorry, forgot the URL, but it's archived under "Food"; serach on "CNN":

". . . Caught a glimpse of one of the CNN reporters saying that there was advice in the original version of the report to 'stockpile a small amount of food and water.' The CNN reporter added that the reason for its deletion is that it was 'too alarmist.' If this is true, I'd like to know WHO said edit it out adn why it was considered so alarmist. Also if true, it explains Bennett's very clever remarks which seemed to say 'stockpile!' and at the same time, 'Don't panic.' It explains Bennett's emphasis on the UK government package, which he prominently held up and waved a bit, signed by Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, as if to say, okay, Clinton, where's your signature on any of this? Where's the US government package of information and advice?"

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), March 02, 1999

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), March 26, 1999.


I have to agree that it's ano-win situation. Partly because we have been "fibbed(?)" to several times by the gov't (Yes, I know it ain't monolithic, but, the MESSAGE looks pretty monolithic) as this thing has unwound. IF we were to be given "sanitized" transcript access (take the names and the corporate names out and let us read the words) I think we would all be better informed.

Now, do I expect this to come to pass? NO. Why, you might ask, do I feel this way?? Someone on c.s.y2k ahs a sig that is a quote from either hte senate or House which indicates that some of the reports were "so scary that we had no choice but to classify them".

If this were the case and we were going to get the folks to let their hair down, then this set of conferences won't even have written minutes, as they might leak. It would be a shame to have some know what to expect and the rest of us, poor simple citizens, only be able to guess.

Me, bitter, cynical, NAH

chuck, who knows the difference between rain and....

-- Chuck, a night driver (reinzoo@en.com), March 26, 1999.

So let me guess: just WHEN do they think we will find out?

Are the potential Y2K failures some magical mystery that can be hidden from public view?

If they keep quiet, does FEMA and the Clinton administration think the public is so stupid they won't notice the lights are out, the water pipes are empty and the sewer pipes are full? That the gas pumps won't work and the ATM's and the banks require power to operate?

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 26, 1999.

Have to agree with Flint here, friends. FEMA's in a "no-win" and I think that having for-the-most-part-clueless media attend a Y2K project status and planning session would be of little benefit. We've all seen the results lately when some of these "ink-stained wretches" (boy, there's an out-of-date image) take a whack at documenting the true status of a Y2K effort. Too many agendas and issues at work...

We need source documents: transcripts, meeting minutes, whatever. If FEMA provided those, we'd be able to do our own analysis. I prefer to criticize them for their formal communications plan and its effects. They need to significantly increase the country's "sense of urgency" about Y2K, and the sooner, the better.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.com), March 26, 1999.

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