No panic yet. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This is from the Seattle Times. May 30th. They are also still running the 10 week series on Y2k. Today was on the Power problem.

Neighborhood groups lose interest in Y2K preparations The year 2000 - or Y2K - is still on schedule to arrive on Jan. 1. Computers and other electronic devices still stand to fritz as their two-digit codes misread the year as 1900. But for all its seriousness, the subject is now a tough way to fill a room. (story in the archives)

-- Martin Thompson (, May 31, 1999


Posted at 07:59 p.m. PDT; Sunday, May 30, 1999

Neighborhood groups lose interest in Y2K preparations

by Eric Sorensen Seattle Times staff reporter

In January, when the thought of a new millennium was on most everyone's mind, it was easy to draw a crowd eager to prepare for the Year 2000 computer problem.

A meeting in the Phinney Neighborhood Center drew nearly 300 people.

But the February meeting drew 40 people. The March meeting had 15 or so and last month's had about half a dozen.

The year 2000 - or Y2K - is still on schedule to arrive on Jan. 1. Computers and other electronic devices still stand to fritz as their two-digit codes misread the year as 1900.

But for all its seriousness, the subject is now a tough way to fill a room.

"People are just not responsive to Y2K as a specific reason for coming," said Helen Gabel of the Puget Sound Community Self-Reliance Cooperative, a local Y2K and natural-disaster preparedness group.

The public remains concerned enough about the effects of Y2K that two out of three Americans in a recent Gallup Poll said they plan to set aside extra cash before New Year's Eve.

But community groups across the country report that fewer people are interested in organizing their neighborhoods to network and pool resources for a potential Y2K disruption.

In a survey done over the Internet this month, most grass-roots organizers said public interest in Y2K preparations had declined and that it was becoming increasingly difficult to organize their communities around the issue.

Many respondents blamed the federal government, particularly President Clinton's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, for leading people to believe the problem is less serious than it is. The media also came under fire for stories that either downplayed the issue or painted those preparing for it as easy-to-dismiss zealots.

"The overwhelming tone of media coverage and communication from public officials has been, `Don't worry, everything will be OK,' " wrote Mary Anderson, also of the Puget Sound Cooperative, in her response to the survey. "People are going to sleep!"

The survey was done by several preparedness groups led by David Sunflower of the Sedona, Ariz., Y2K Task Force, in advance of hearings this week by the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on the Year 2000 Problem. The hearings, held Tuesday, featured several community organizers who echoed the survey results.

Public largely complacent

Lawrence McGill, director of research for the Media Studies Center, said the issue has been publicized to where almost everyone is aware of it. Yet half of all Americans plan to do very little by way of preparation, he said.

"The general mood of complacency does typify things at the moment," he said.

This could be because many people believe the problem will be fixed or that it will have "absolutely no impact on their lives," he said.

McGill encouraged the Senate's Y2K committee, led by Robert Bennett, R-Utah, to do more to raise awareness of the issue.

"Otherwise, people are just not going to pay enough attention to take any action," he said.

Don Meyer, press secretary to Bennett, said the committee plans to meet with news executives to discuss ways of raising awareness of the issue without being flip or sensationalist.

"The problem with the Y2K news cycle is that interest kind of comes and goes," he said.

The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion on Monday announced an upcoming series of town-hall meetings to disseminate information on Y2K. However, the meetings will not involve organizing people to be prepared.

Community groups began forming around Y2K in earnest late last year, seizing on it as a potential disaster but also a chance to rebuild a sense of community lost to television and suburban sprawl.

But so far, Y2K preparedness remains an individual effort, said Kathy Garcia, executive director of Colorado's Boulder County Y2K Community Preparedness Group.

`Going underground'

"People are not taking this lightly," she said. "They are doing it. It's just that they're going underground to do it."

Other people may be waiting to see some proof that a Y2K problem might materialize, she said. That could come during one of several potentially significant dates like Aug. 21, when the military's Global Positioning System is scheduled to reset its time-keeping schedule, much as many computers will do on Jan. 1.

Some local groups are now focusing in large part on preparing for an earthquake, which can have effects similar to those predicted for a major Y2K disruption. Y2K was mentioned only in passing earlier this week, when a neighborhood meeting in Wedgwood featured LuAn Johnson, program manager for Seattle Disaster Aid and Response Teams.

An earthquake, said Mary Lynne Evans, organizer of the meeting, "is perceived to be more of a threat than Y2K. There's still a lot of denial that Y2K's a problem."

-- Maybe later (, June 01, 1999.

It's simple. People are idiots. I'm surrounded by college professors who simply shrug at the possibility of being without heat & water for two weeks in the middle of January. I don't know what scares me more: the infrastructure breaking down, or knowing that people around me are deliberately ignoring the problem while it's staring them in the face.

I don't want to die, & I don't want to see other people suffer -- but if ever a civilization deserved to go belly-up, it's this one.

-- we're (toast@its.over), June 01, 1999.

Yep, everything about the Y2K situation is "unbelievable."
Of course those of us anticipating a huge earthquake in the near future are extra-motivated to prepare :^) In our FEMA courses we have videos of past earthquakes -- real life & death horrendous damage. When ya see it ya believe it! The problem with the world today, in a nutshell:

No faith.

xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, June 01, 1999.

Remember way back in the early 80s when we started reading about a mystery disease that was killing gay men in San Francisco? The more we heard, the more unbelievable it sounded. Eventually we believed. Y2K seems very similar.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, June 01, 1999.

Xmas trees are Gay. Homos are Queer.

-- A. Hambley (, June 01, 1999.

You have to be secretive in your preparations, or the morons who aren't preparing will drop by next January.

-- Doug (, June 01, 1999.

Those that will...have. Those that won't...will not.

I'll miss the insightful notes that Ed Y. posted to this forum. The loss of his knowledge base will somewhat hinder this group. A Guru? A God? I hardly think so. Just an ordinary man (albeit quite intelligent) with the exceptional intestinal fortitude to speak out rationally and sanely about a potential problem. I wish some of our national leaders shared that trait so that I could at least have some measure of comfort in what they say.

-- Lobo (, June 01, 1999.

I have been trying to find a y2k preparedness group in the St. Louis, Missouri area but have been unsuccessful....anyone have any ideas?

-- MidwestMike_ (, June 02, 1999.

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