CA officials - counties are prepared, y2k non-event : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Put down yer mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, Californian's. Go back to sleep. According to State officials, y2k will be a "non-event."

*************************************,1224,81161,00.html Y2K not a threat, officials contend

By Russell Clemings The Fresno Bee (Published May 15, 1999)

After conducting six hearings throughout the state on the year 2000 computer problem, Assemblyman John A. Dutra, D-Fremont, has some advice for worried Californians:

Stop worrying.

The Y2K problem, says the chairman of the Assembly's Information Technology Committee, won't cause nearly as much economic and social disruption as widely believed.

Friday, at the California State University, Fresno, campus for the last of the committee's six hearings on the problem, more than a dozen local government, police, fire and emergency services officials agreed with Dutra.

"All of these entities are considerably more prepared for Y2K than the public perception," the assemblyman said. "Unless there is some unanticipated event, this is going to be a nonevent for Jan. 1. But in the event that there is an event, the emergency services agencies are going to handle it well."

Joined by California's new chief information officer, Elias S. Cortez, Dutra and the committee's staff heard from public officials representing Wasco, Firebaugh, Shafter, Fresno, Kingsburg, Reedley, Fresno County, Kern County and other jurisdictions.

"There's probably been more planning for this event than any other event in the history of the world," Cortez said, referring to Jan. 1, 2000, when computers that use only two digits to represent the year might conclude that the date is actually Jan. 1, 1900.

Each speaker outlined steps that his or her agency is taking to head off such problems.

"This month," said Shafter City Manager John Guinn, "we will be finishing our remediation and testing phase, and we will be quite a ways along with our contingency planning."

Hap Cluff, chief information officer for Fresno's city government, said the city has spent between $6 million and $10 million to upgrade more than half of the city's computer systems. But he said the outlay has paid dividends: The new systems have capabilities that the previous systems lacked.

"We're a state-of-the-art city now," Cluff said. "We can do a lot of things that we couldn't do before. So it's not fair to say all that cost was Y2K."

Throughout the hearing there was an emphasis on the need to reduce potential panic by informing the public of steps being taken to address the Y2K problem.

Officials talked about Web pages that they have set up to tell the world what they have done. But they also talked about the need to use traditional media for the benefit of people who aren't connected to the Internet.

"I think a Web page is a great idea, and it needs to be done, but it's not going to reach everybody," said Kingsburg police Sgt. Brian Bissett.

Concern also was expressed about possible overreaction to routine events, such as a local power outage, that happen to occur at the same time as the new year. Officials said they plan to be prepared for such reaction.

"If the power goes out on Jan. 1, 2000," Cluff said, "there may be a different feeling about whether it is going to come back on, and we need to address that."

On the whole, though, the view of those at Friday's hearing was that local governments are doing enough to ensure that the first day of 2000 arrives without major problems.

And that, Cortez says, is a good thing: "The good news is that we all know when it's going to happen. The bad news is we can't file for an extension."

-- marsh (, May 17, 1999


From title, "Go back to sleep". 95% of the people have never been awake! I just "facilitated" a church meeting where my pole found the average severity expected was between 2 and 3. However, not one person (besides me) had read anything but what was in the papers.

People are not even superficially informed with the facts, so pronouncements that "the view of those at Fridys hearing was that local governments are doing enough ..." is essentially meaningless. Even people "in the know" often judge things by their feelings, so all these anaysis's are MEANINGLESS.

-- Jon Johnson (, May 17, 1999.

Mr. Johnson,

You said this:

"From title, "Go back to sleep". 95% of the people have never been awake! I just "facilitated" a church meeting where my <pole found the average severity expected was between 2 and 3. However, not one person (besides me) had read anything but what was in the papers."

Just to get the record straight, "pole" should have been spelled "poll."

-- (, May 17, 1999.

Yes, I realized that immediatelty --- but if you are going to correct everyones spelling/typos::: Good luck!

-- Jon Johnson (, May 17, 1999.

Mr. Johnson,

I was concerned that their might be foreign dictators reading these messages. I didn't want to give them the impression that we had poles that could think. It could really screw up or national security.

-- (, May 17, 1999.

Well Butte County status isn't as rosey as the above report, within the last month a newspaper y2k article about the mainframe dealing with elections - they don't think it will be done. And I was told personally by the Y2K CIO that there is only one mainframe at county level. Not to worry, the article had good, feel-good spin.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, May 17, 1999.


Someone, in Fresno, hasn't been doing their CA Y2K situation homework, IMHO. Or maybe they have been doing the CA Y2K CYA tap dance.

Every time I see media "spin" twisting into an art form, it's another red flag.

Oh yes, California is an island. Not connected to the outside world. No, we are not the world's fourth largest global economy, all on our little quaky turf.



-- Diane J. Squire (, May 17, 1999.

Diane - It looks like the new California y2k Czar, Elias S. Cortez, was at the hearings. This article gives the impression that he is going to be just another spinning happy face. I am disappointed. I though Gray Davis was going to get in there and muck out government stalls on this issue.

This sure doesn't jibe with the California Statewide Intergovernmental Year 2000 Task Force's readiness survey of 466 cities, 58 counties and a sample of 7,000 districts in the state: * 73.6 percent of jurisdictions had a Year 2000 compliance plan. * 58.1 percent had no budget for their plan. * 82 percent expected to be Year 2000-compliant by the third quarter of 1999. * 38.2 percent believed they did not have or use any embedded chip systems. * 80.9 percent said they have no contingency plan in place.

-- marsh (, May 17, 1999.

If there were only the 8 counties in CA that were present at the meeting, this would be even better news!

It's good these 8 had good news to report - but look between the lines - every one of them NEEDED repairs, evey one of them started earlier than average, and each is still saying they will implement contingency plans. Good - for the people in those 8 counties -

now, what about the remainder of the state? What about the bigger cities: LA and SFO of course - but also the whole Bay areas as a group, the LA basin, San Diego basin, Sacramento, Central Valley, etc. These meetings were useful - but it is apparent from them that ANY city or county that has not remediated and tested its systems will have failures: and apparently big failures too.

Before - when no information was available at this level from this number of cities - I could assume that the cities, cointies, and states that finished remedation were the exception - that the things they were finding were unusual and not representative.

With this "new" group of information from CA - from even these smaller cities and counties in CA and elsewhere - it's increasingly evident that massive failures will occut at EVERY place where remediation is either incomplete, ineffective, or not done at all.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, May 17, 1999.


Seems like most State governments are taking a page out of Washington, et. al.'s Y2K "don't panic" the masses book. The appendix reads ... don't prepare 'em either ... might give the "wrong" impression.

*Velly Big Sigh*


-- Diane J. Squire (, May 17, 1999.

Got a call from my daughter last week--she's in the middle of training as a elegibility worker in our small (California) mountain community Welfare Department. "Mom, you won't believe this!"...

She said the head of the health department told them that California's welfare system was ***NOT*** Y2K compliant and that it wouldn't be compliant in time. He told them there would be no welfare checks after 1-1-2000 for the local recipients and that they (the eligibility workers) should come to work "wearing their flack jackets."

I know the man and he's fairly well-informed, intelligent enough to know the difference between truth and fiction, and not the type to kid around. Sounds like at lease PART of California ain't prepared!

-- Passerby (, May 17, 1999.

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