The Politics Of Y2K & Guns (California Style, Silocon Valley & Presidential Hopefuls) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Were inundated with Presidential hopefuls now.



Published Saturday, June 19, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News

Hopefuls talk Y2K, guns

With primary moved up, presidential aspirants hit state en masse

Mercury News Sacramento Bureau

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Except for ocean sunsets and swaying palm trees, California could be mistaken for New Hampshire these days. Presidential candidates, lured by money and votes, are crisscrossing the state earlier than ever before and aching to make news in areas that could provide crucial support.

Friday, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is seeking the Republican nomination, came to Silicon Valley to challenge the Clinton administration not to veto legislation limiting litigation that might emanate from the 2000 computer glitch known as Y2K.

Dueling Democrats, Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, traveled to other urban California centers to lambaste the GOP-controlled House for failing to pass significant gun-control legislation. Former Red Cross head Elizabeth Dole chose San Jose on Thursday to give her first detailed speech on issues important to high-tech companies. Magazine publisher Steve Forbes began airing television ads in California nearly three weeks ago. And Texas Gov. George W. Bush makes a much-anticipated California debut as a declared presidential candidate in late June.

Attack on White House

In his valley stops, which included a breakfast with business leaders at Intel Corp., McCain accused the White House of siding with trial lawyers instead of high-tech companies by threatening to veto his Y2K legislation, which passed the Senate earlier this week.

Reversing some optimism for compromise only a day earlier, McCain told the Mercury News editorial board he would push to send the Senate measure to President Clinton without changes, bypassing a planned House-Senate conference committee.

``We've been through this for months. We did move considerably,'' said McCain. ``I would hope that for once we could come to some reasonable agreement, but that doesn't seem likely in the atmosphere that prevails in Washington today.''

McCain denied he was politicizing the issue. Nonetheless, some Republicans and lobbyists hope to use the Y2K legislation to force Gore to choose between two crucial constituencies: Trial lawyers, who oppose liability limits, and high-tech leaders, who fear costly litigation from the computer glitch.

``To just move more and more toward the position of the trial lawyers, I just don't see that,'' McCain said, referring to news reports that Gore would back a Clinton veto. In response, McCain said he would ``do everything possible'' to round up the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto. The only other previous veto of Clinton came over securities litigation reform, another crucial issue for the high-tech industry.

The early attention California and Silicon Valley are getting from presidential aspirants is due to several reasons: A crucial fundraising deadline is approaching and candidates want to show off hefty bank accounts; delegate-rich California becomes more important because the primary was moved from next June to March; and there are a larger-than-usual number of candidates hoping to use California to separate themselves from the pack.

Recognizing widespread support for new forms of gun control in California, Gore and Bradley separately attacked House Republicans for failing to pass gun-control legislation Friday.

Noting Republican opposition to background checks at gun shows and grants for cities to hire more police officers, Gore, his neck veins bulging, said at a student rally in Los Angeles, ``We have to ask: Are they working for the gun lobby, or for the American people?''

When a student in the Fairfax High School gymnasium bleachers asked Gore what he would do to stop students from bringing guns into schools -- one of the few unscripted questions taken from the audience -- Gore called for a ``zero tolerance'' policy toward guns in schools. He also said he would help districts set up ``second-chance schools'' for problem students so administrators could remove them without expelling them.

NRA blamed

Gore, on the third official day of his campaign, also specifically attacked the National Rifle Association.

``There is only one reason the Republican leadership in Congress fought against closing that gun-show loophole,'' he said. ``It's because of the National Rifle Association and their gun lobby.''

Friday night, Bradley gave a speech to a San Francisco anti-violence group, criticizing Congress and spelling out an eight-point plan to expand gun control.

``The House vote, I think, was an embarrassment,'' Bradley told the Los Angeles Times earlier Friday after the House first passed weaker gun-control measures, then killed gun-control legislation altogether.

Bradley will wind up his marathon 10-day campaign trip to California with stops today in San Jose to talk to Latino community members at the Mexican Cultural Heritage Gardens and Plaza, and then in Atherton for a fundraiser.

`New political world'

At the start of his unusual trip, made up mostly of impromptu conversations with small groups, Bradley said California's moved-up primary ``creates a whole new political world that means approaching California in a new way.''

Leslee Coleman of the American Electronics Association, after hearing Dole in San Jose, said: ``Silicon Valley is the epicenter of high technology and the economy. And it seems now the epicenter of politics.''

But others dismiss that notion and predict that after the June 30 fundraising report deadline, candidates will disappear to Iowa and New Hampshire.

``Despite the fact we've moved up our primary date, I think most people are concentrating their efforts on New Hampshire and Iowa,'' said Bruce Cain, a political-science professor at University of California-Berkeley. ``They will only dip into California for free media and to raise money.''

And as for voters? Most think it is far too early.

Doris Beezley, a Sunnyvale activist and Red Cross volunteer, was impressed after hearing Dole's speech. But, she said, ``It's too early to pick one.''

Mercury News Staff Writer Jon Healey contributed to this report.

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



Discussing potential Y2K "problems" or preparedness might be political suicide.

*Bigger Sigh*


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

OT question to Diane Squire.

Does your birth year end in a Zero, Two, Four or Eight?

I'll explain later

-- curious (I'll@explain.later), June 20, 1999.

A "two" and a year of the Dragon.



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

I thought you were a water dragon Diane. Saturn in Libra makes perfect sense why you are so good with people. The grand dame always makes me melt. I have a major weakness for Water dragons. I'm a rat maybe that's why.

-- Feller (, June 20, 1999.

I always wondered what variety of Dragon you were...

Happy belated birthday Diane! :) X X X X X X X (:

-- Feller (, June 20, 1999.

LOL... this is weird.

Thanks for the kind thoughts Feller.

Topic: Politics & Y2K... or not.



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

Gore Under Fire for Opposing Bill on Y2K Suits
McCain, GOP hoping to win industry support

Robert B. Gunnison, Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writers
Saturday, June 19, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Chronicle article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/06/19/MN62540.DTL

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Despite portraying himself as the candidate who best understands the high-tech industry, Vice President Al Gore stirred up a hornets' nest in the electronics industry yesterday with his opposition to legislation that would limit lawsuits for damages caused by Y2K problems.

On the third day of his nationwide tour to launch his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, Gore appeared at a high school in Los Angeles to denounce congressional Republicans for opposing gun- control legislation.

But it was a small story in the Wall Street Journal that provided the campaign fireworks. The item said Gore would ask President Clinton to veto the Y2K legislation, which passed the Senate this week by a wide bipartisan margin.

Gore spokesman Chris Lahane said the bill is ``over-reaching and not protecting American consumers.''

The bill's author, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, himself a candidate for president, seized on the story to denounce Gore during a tour of Silicon Valley.

High-tech firms, hoping to head off a flood of lawsuits that could exceed $1 trillion in damages if computers run amok next year, support McCain's legislation. His measure must be reconciled with a House- passed version.

The White House has suggested that McCain's bill would erode the legal rights of consumers and reduce pressure on computer companies to solve Y2K problems.

The Journal story said the GOP -- seeking to cast Democrats in the worst possible light among potential Silicon Valley political donors - -was mulling over the idea of sending the bill to Clinton to ensure a veto.

McCain's bill would delay the filing of Y2K lawsuits during a 30- to 90-day cooling-off period, make it harder for consumers to file suits if their computers crash and limit punitive damages in certain cases.

``The Democrats delayed it on several occasions, for a period of months,'' said McCain, during a roundtable discussion with reporters. ``There is not a doubt in my mind that this is one of the most vital pieces of legislation -- to prevent as much as a trillion dollars being taken out of the economy in frivolous lawsuits.''

``If the president decides to veto,'' he said. ``I will do everything in my power to get 67 votes to override his veto.''

McCain also said he is not prepared to compromise much more. He noted that ``significant changes'' were made in negotiations with Democrats, including Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. ``I don't know what other changes we could make without emasculating the legislation,'' he said.

Gore supports a bill by Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., considered by the electronics industry to be a weaker alternative to McCain's. Kerry has the backing of the White House and trial lawyers, usually generous contributors to Democrats.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was quick to jump on the Y2K flap, charging that Gore is turning his back on the high-tech industry and siding with trial lawyers.


``Vice President Gore says he supports high tech, but on Y2K he's sided with trial lawyers,'' Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the Chamber, said in a statement. ``It is a mystery that he could now side with trial lawyers who are intent on foraging through Silicon Valley for contingency fees.''

McCain also tried to make the case that Gore -- who has made 55 trips to California and numerous fund-raising and political stops in Silicon Valley -- doesn't have a lock on the hearts of high-tech leaders. ``Although I didn't invent the Internet,'' he said, in a dig at a remark Gore made during a recent interview, ``I have a keen appreciation for the incredible impact that this is having on America and the world.''

While McCain took aim at Gore, the vice president fired a few shots at George W. Bush, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, who as governor of Texas signed a bill limiting cities' ability to sue firearms manufacturers and dealers.

``The stakes are too high for any presidential candidate to stand on the sidelines,'' Gore said in a speech at Fairfax High School, where a pupil was accidentally shot to death in 1993.

Gore did not mention Bush by name, but Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles left no doubt yesterday that Democrats were targeting Bush for his gun-control stance.


``That might fly in Texas, but it's not going to fly in California,'' Villaraigosa told an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred students, labor union members and Democratic activists.

For his part, McCain called for the Republican Party to address the public's deepening concerns about violence in the wake of the high school shooting rampage in Colorado two months ago.

``Republicans have to be aware that the American people expect us to take every measure we can to reduce the avalanche of guns to children,'' McCain said, ``But it's also wrong for Democrats to suggest to the American people that guns alone are the problem.''

[snip--to end]

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

What an "interesting" media juxtaposition... Y2K and guns.



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

Elizabeth Dole Tells San Jose Crowd She's Going for the Gold
She insists she's not running for vice president

Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer
Thursday, June 17, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Chronicle article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/06/17/MN75482.DTL

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]


Dole, appealing to her audience of business, political and technology leaders, also heavily stressed her positions on a range of technology issues, saying she supports a permanent research and development tax credit to encourage technology firms; current legislation to limit Y2K lawsuit liability; and the expansion of H1B visas to help high tech firms hire highly skilled laborers from overseas to meet demand.

[snip--to end]

Mrs. Red Cross (and early Y2Kpreparation web-site recommendations) herself, has NOTHING to say on Y2K other than legislation support.

*Big Sigh*


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

Hmmm... If business and government have Y2K under such good control, why do they need preferential legislation to protect them? If the auto industry tried to get passed a law that would restrict their liability if their brakes failed on January 1, 2000, they would be laughed out of Congress.

-- Mr. Adequate (, June 20, 1999.

Make the fascist politicians (99% of them), including gun-grabbers, aware of the book "Unintended Consequences" by John Ross (look it up on and point out that they should take heed. They can push people only so far, then it's revolution time. What that point in time is, I don't know, but they are pushing harder and harder, so that point in time will come sooner or later unless they back off. In physics, for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. It works somewhat similarly in sociology.

-- A (, June 20, 1999.

We won't need to look outside the boundries of this find war. Once the eyeballs roll back in the heads of those stampeding....anything goes. Y2k is about to bring governments to their knees. Once that happens....

-- Will continue (, June 20, 1999.

It's an interesting intersection where tort reform and gun rights meet at the junction of Y2K and politics. Also interesting how two forces that may well be the key to controlling Y2K damage are under attack in the run-up to the event.

The tech companies might as well come out with a demand: "Liability limits or we won't bother to fix it. After all, why should we bust our butts to minimize the problems if our reward is going to be a bunch of lawyers ending up owning everything we have. We'll just walk away now and leave them with nothing worthwhile."

And as far as guns go, if it falls on the citizenry to defend itself and maintain order during a worst-case Y2K, do you ever think there will be another attempt at gun control in this country? Of course, if the opposite is true and increased gun ownership because of Y2K causes trouble in a low-grade Y2K event, then gun control may have its best-ever chance at passing.

Watching these two stories play out is going to make interesting politics, as long as the news can still get through.


-- Wildweasel (, June 20, 1999.

Ah, but the election is in 2000, not in 1999! That means that we will be able to evaluate politicians' performances in light of what happened...and throw out the ones who failed us miserably. It will be interesting to see the spin they try to put on a miserable failure. This should hold for even an 8 or a 9. If its a ten, no bets on the future of government as we know it.

-- Mad Monk (, June 20, 1999.

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