Community Conversation in Frankfort, Kentucky on June 17, 1999--a report : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I was at one of the Community Conversations yesterday, the one held at the civic center in Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky. I should add, first of all, that besides being a Community Conversation with John Koskinen as a guest speaker, it was also being billed by the state as a Kentucky CIO Year 2000 Summit. My impression was that most of those in attendance worked for state government or were representing some kind of organization, and that there were few "concerned citizens" like me who attended.

The presentation started with a short clip by the President shown on a big screen. The clip ended with the President repeating what he said in his State of The Union Address about making sure that Y2K is the last challenge of the 20th century and not the first headache of the 21st.

A moderator then came on, explained the day's schedule, who the speakers would be, and then introduced John Koskinen. Koskinen, it turns out, had attended high school in Ashland, Kentucky. Here are some points and ideas that John Koskinen touched on during his speech.

* One of the several reasons Koskinen gave for having Community Conversations was that of reassuring the public.

* He mentioned focus groups as one of the ways that the government tracks Y2K and what's important to the public.

* In a very slick way, John Koskinen obliquely referred to the dismal OMB report on federal "high impact programs". He said that 94% of federal mission-critical systems were now compliant, with the unfinished mostly being in DOD and were expected to be finished before the end of the year. He then added, though, that surveys show what people are really interested in are high impact programs that affect many people. Koskinen did not, however, mention the high percentage of so far non-compliant high-impact programs in the OMB's recent report.

* John Koskinen said that the FAA will be ready by June 30th, and that only testing and implementation are left to be done at this point.

* There would be a meeting at the UN Monday of 160 nations on the subject of Y2K.

* Only 197 days until 2000...

* Koskinen disputed forecasts that Y2K would cause a recession. He said there was one economist in particular whose name he would not mention, but then did mention Yardeni's name and Yardeni's forecast of a 70% chance of recession. John Koskinen let it be known that he disagreed.

* He mentioned the working partnerships the President's Y2K Council has entered into with key businesses/infrastructure, and disputed what he said were concerns by some about the partnerships.

* Koskinen made the comment again he had made recently to a foreign audience about the danger of fixing on failure. He said that even a small business using only some networked PC's could have problems, and that those who fix on failure could end up at the end of a long line and have to wait until March, April or May of 2000 for upgrades to arrive.

* Preparation. He used the storm analogy, mentioned two or three days prep, but said it depends on other factors too, such as climate and the history of utility problems in one's local area. He said if the mayor of a town was not helpful and informative when asked about Y2K, then perhaps more preparation was appropriate.

* John Koskinen also mentioned (no surprise) the potential for problems caused by millions of Americans changing their buying patterns at one time, and brought up the toilet paper shortage Johnny Carson started once by saying on his show that there was a toilet paper shortage.

* I can't remember if it was about supplies in general or perscription medication in particular, but Koskinen said there is 60 to 90 days worth of supplies in the system.

* Koskinen closed his speech by repeating the President's State of The Union "last challenge of the 20th century, not the first headache of the 21st" comment.

Then John Koskinen took questions from the audience. I'm just guessing, but I'd say there were 200 to 300 people attending. He said he would take questions, because he wanted people to know that the government is being open about Y2K.

Some of the questions. The is the gist of the questions and is not verbatim.

Q: Have mission-critical systems been reclassified as not being mission critical? Koskinen said a Congressional study found that any reclassification done was not done to inflate compliance figures.

Q: Are medical devices at risk? In the course of answering this question, he mentioned that non-compliant radiation dosage equipment based on a patient's age could result in over-exposure to radiation.

Q: What's the status of Y2K liability legislation in Congress?

Q: What about the 11-year solar cycle and possible confusion between problems it causes and problems Y2K causes?

Q: Did you (Koskinen) say that states and localities could be on their own if they need extra emergency help? Koskinen said that there could be number of problems at one time, making response difficult.

Q: What would the stock market do, what about the financial community and Yardeni? Koskinen said a study of major earthquakes, floods and hurricanes show that economic impact from these events is always minimal. He also said he could not predict what the stock market would do. And Koskinen said that most of the trade the U.S. has with foreign countries is with countries that are also making progress in their compliance.

Q: What about nuclear weapons?

After John Koskinen's answer to the last question, there was a break. I starting talking to a man sitting nearby, and I found out he was from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, which I believe is responsible for collecting county taxes. I asked what he knew about local government compliance in Jefferson County and Louisville, since in contrast with Indianapolis and Cincinnati, I had never been able to find out anything about Jefferson County's compliance.

The gentleman from the sheriff's office told me that in his agency alone, about $200,000 had been spent to become compliant. The population of Jefferson County, by the way, is about 700,000 people.

Also during the break, I overheard a group of about six people talking about the Polaroid ad of the man taking a picture of his bank account record on an ATM at Times Square right before and right after rollover. They also talked about wood stoves and propane.

The next speaker was Aldona Valicenti, Chief Information Officer for the state. (Or as they call it in Kentucky, the Commonwealth). Kentucky defines a system as mission critical if it affects the health, safety, welfare or finances of the public. Other points she made:

* The state first noticed Y2K in 1995 when a mining permit program encountered a date in 2000 for the first time.

* Kentucky has 106 mission-critical systems. They are about 95% done and will all be done by the end of this month. The state also has over 400 mainframes, which will also be finished shortly.

* Kentucky has identified 2000 suppliers as being critical to them.

* Documentation is very important, especially in trying to prove due diligence.

The next speaker was from FEMA. Some points and topics he covered:

* FEMA's mission-critical systems are now 100% compliant.

* He mentioned the problems that would be caused by everyone trying to buy three months worth of "beanie weenies" or three months of prescription medicine before January. It could cause a hardship on those who don't have access to reliable transportation and who can't get to the stores as quickly as others.

* Don't forget about the leap year issue in February, 2000.

* Don't be suprised if you can't get a dial tone right after the rollover. There would probably be an unusually large number of people trying to use the phone that night. Don't assume it's Y2K related.

* No major nationwide disruptions are expected.

[That's a slick line. It doesn't rule out minor disruptions happening on a nationwide basis, nor does it rule out major disruptions taking place in scattered localities.]

* There are standard emergency declaration criteria for federal help to states in times of emergencies. The state would have to ask the federal for help before the federal government would get involved in the case of Y2K emergencies in Kentucky.

That's a summary what happened yesterday before the lunch break. Just before the break started, a bank in Kentucky called Community Trust Bank was awarded a certificate by the state for its efforts in holding public presentations to educate Kentucky citizens about Y2K. And, (this may be humorous to Kentuckians), John Koskinen was made an honorary Kentucky Colonel.

I'll talk about the afternoon panel sessions on personal preparedness, social services, the medical industry, utilities, financial institutions and insurance in another message on this thread.

In brief though, my impression of the morning and the afternoon was one of being told, in essence "we're aware of Y2K, we're working real hard on it, and we're almost done. Oh, by the way, you might want to have a two or three day supply of food and water on hand).

John Koskinen's part of the day's events will be broadcast, I believe they said, on Kentucky Educational Television at midnight on July 11th. Other speakers from yesterday will be broadcast in the weeks following July 11.

-- Linkmeister (, June 18, 1999


Thanks for the info, linkmeister. Too little, too late. We've been abandoned, hustled, lied to, sold down the river. Everyone will know who to blame.

-- Will continue (, June 18, 1999.

There's one notable comment I forgot to include that came from the morning speeches. John Koskinen said the reason for just two or three days of preparation and not more, is because we have no evidence at this point suggesting more than that as a general guideline.

Koskinen apparently is confident now about the railroads and more generally the supply chain, but I still have concerns in that regard.

-- Linkmeister (, June 19, 1999.

Just took a train trip recently. Sat next to a woman whose husband worked for Amtrak for over twenty years. She mentioned that there were already signs of trouble, because "ordering" was down to pretty much nothing for next year. She got off, so couldn't ask details... maybe there are some lurking Amtrak employees who know more.

-- Mumsie (, June 19, 1999.

I wouldn't even buy a used car from Go-Skin-Em!

-- Jammy (, June 19, 1999.

Q: Have mission-critical systems been reclassified as not being mission critical? Koskinen said a Congressional study found that any reclassification done was not done to inflate compliance figures.

To what "Congressional study" is he referring?

Besides, even if the purpose was not to inflate compliance figures, that was indeed the result anyway.

-- Lane Core Jr. (, June 19, 1999.

Thanks for the eye-witness report Linkmeister!

Koskinen's doing pretty much what Y2K community activists all over the country *thought* he would be doing.


Gosh, I hope he makes it to the S.F. Bay Area!



(Perhaps, I'll bring my hiking boots)

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

A comment that even the non-believers might agree with: IF this turns out to be bad, Koskinen should be jailed. (Most of you would say shot, but that might not receive full support. I would say "eaten", but then we would have to draw straws.)

-- Dave (, June 19, 1999.

Make sure they're steel-toed and don't forget the pitchfork!

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, June 19, 1999.

Everything will be just fine. No more than a three day glitch at most. Here in the States, well be just fine. We will be just fine. Prepare as if you were going to be in a bad winter storm. One week. And, oh, have your bank records and financial papers, and maybe a bottle or two extra of the prescriptions . . . just in case. But dont panic. Above all, dont panic; that would only make things worse. Just remain calm. Really, its going to be just fine here. Just fine.

-- Faith Weaver (, June 19, 1999.

"In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot".

- Czeslaw Milosz


-- Roland (, June 19, 1999.

OHHHH, Dave....ROFLMAO. I tend to prefer the good old fashioned "rope and a tree". That way, we can all watch them twisting in the wind.....kinda like what they've done to all of us throughout this thing. spineless creeps

-- Will continue (, June 19, 1999.

See also...

Koskinen Letter To U.S. Mayors, County Officials And Local Leaders (Coalition 2000) 000ybC

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

Waders, Diane, hip waders.

-- Wilferd (, June 19, 1999.

If I was a gov. bureaucrat or businessman attending this "Community Conversations" event, I'd be wondering why the hell I bothered to show up. Everthing's in good order, no problems....let's head for the bar.

Meetings like this are unlikely to light anyone's fire much less motivate those in attendance to even cancel a weekend round of golf. What a JOKE.

-- Mike T. (, June 19, 1999.

The complete text of this short article: 19990617/ky/index.html


Preparing For Y2K - (FRANKFORT) -- Many are getting a free lesson in preparing for the ``Y-two-K'' computer bug and any problems it could bring. Several topics have been addressed during a day-long ``Y-two-K Summit'' in Frankfort. The state-sponsored the event. Businesses, schools, and state agencies all took part. The chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion was the featured speaker. Frankfort is one of the first ten cities for the Washington official to visit.


-- Linkmeister (, June 20, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ