California: Report Praises State Agencies For Y2K Efforts : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Report Praises State Agencies For Y2K Efforts
BART, emergency services rank high
Lynda Gledhill, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Thursday, July 29, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Chronicle

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Local governments and public-safety agencies are well on the way to being ready for the Year 2000, but they need to do a better job conveying that to the public, according to a state Assembly report released yesterday.

The report, based on a series of Assembly committee hearings held around the state during the past six months, gives cities, counties, utilities and transportation providers credit for taking the Y2K problem seriously.

``I'm comfortable, but I'm not suggesting all the work is done,'' said Fremont Democrat John Dutra, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Information Technology. ``We're not going to stop working on this, even after the first few days of January.''

The committee looked at five critical areas. Public-safety agencies received the highest grade and transportation received the lowest. Cities, counties and utilities fell in between.

Dutra said it was not surprising that California's police and fire agencies scored well, noting that they have had lots of practice handling catastrophes. ``Unlike a typical event, this is predictable,'' he said.

Emergency-service agencies have canceled vacations over the New Year, Dutra added, and will have full staffing available in case problems arise from the Y2K-computer glitch.

The concern is computers, many of which were originally programmed to recognize only the last two digits of a year, will not work properly beginning Jan. 1, 2000, causing disruptions in power, transportation and a variety of public services.

The readiness of cities and counties varies depending on size, financial resources and when the Y2K issue was first examined, the Assembly report stated.

For example, Los Angeles has budgeted $155 million for its Year 2000 preparations, but the Shasta County city of Anderson, with a population of 9,000, had to borrow $50,000 to cover the cost of implementing its program.

The state's chief information officer, Eli Cortez, said the state government has spent about $45.7 million making its computers Y2K ready.

``Relative to other states, I think we are doing very well,'' Cortez said. ``We are continuing to raise the bar and testing all the systems.''

The Assembly's report is in contrast to a state auditor's report released in February that said two- thirds of the state's most critical computer systems are not ready for 2000.

Cortez said significant progress has been made since that report was released. He said the next five months will be spent testing systems that transmit information between cities and counties and drawing up detailed contingency plans.

Transportation agencies received the most criticism, especially the airports and the Los Angeles transportation system, which was not planning to examine their systems before December.

Oakland Airport was singled out for being behind other airports in the state. According to the report, it has spent $2.2 million on its Y2K-readiness program, which started in January 1998 but was only 20 percent complete in March.

BART and the Bay Area Metropolitan Transit Agency were singled out for being ahead of the curve on readiness. The report praised the transit agency for creating regional contingency plans and acting as a clearinghouse for the public.

Dutra praised utilities for their efforts in tackling the issues, but said they need to do more to inform the public.

``I think there needs to be more information dissemination,'' he said. ``They should get the word out that they are not taking the situation lightly, and that it has their maximum attention. If they did that, I think the public would be more comfortable.''

No utility said it predicts any problems stemming from the Y2K bug.

``When we take a look at the information we have internally through assessment, remediation, and validation, or externally through communication with our business partners, we do not have any information that leads us to believe that there are going to be any outages,'' Jim Silva of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. told the committee.


California gets a B grade overall in readiness for the Year 2000 computer problem, according to a report released yesterday by the state Assembly. Here is a breakdown:


Emergency services are the best prepared, the report states. Most police and fire agencies have done a good job fixing their own systems, and most plan to beef up their staffing on New Year's Eve.


Most cities have taken a comprehensive look at their potential Y2K problems and are fixing them. Oakland has emerged as a model for community groups in the Bay Area to promote disaster preparedness.

[Note: Because Oakland has a VERY active Y2K grass-roots effort going that has involved all levels of local government in the preapredness and awareness process].


Counties are well along the path of testing and fixing computer systems with potential Y2K bugs. They have the added responsibility of coordinating with state agencies to ensure that services are not cut off.


Utilities are praised for their Y2K-readiness but criticized for not doing enough to ease consumer fears. Most utility companies have spent years working to avoid outages or other problems.


The Bay Area and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission get high marks for Y2K testing and contigency plans. But major transportation systems in Los Angeles got a late start, giving this category the worst grade.

Chronicle Graphic

-- Diane J. Squire (, August 01, 1999


I'd try to find that report under the Assembly area, but the server seems to be down at the mo.

State of California web-site...

Compare and contrast that above newz with this...

California proposed bill to give governor power to declare state of emergency prior to any actual crisis 0015Hc

And ask yourself, if we've made such progress... WHY... is this necessary?

More Y2K disconnect? Or government spin as usual?


-- Diane J. Squire (, August 01, 1999.

Diane - I searched the Assembly site on Friday for it and couldn't find it. You may have better luck, however. You seem to have a great knack for ferreting out hidden files!

-- marsh (, August 01, 1999.


May have to wait until tomorrow. They DO bury those little "reports" don't they?


-- Diane J. Squire (, August 01, 1999.

This feel-good article seems in contrast to the GAO report that had California as one of 9 states that are "in the red"... behind... not going to make it.

Listening to Y2K News Radio from Friday (I think around the 17 minute mark) they talked about how Los Angeles County was frustrated because for 18 months they had been waiting for the state to tell them what the interface criteria was for their county systems to be able to interact with the state system. Five months left and they haven't done that? Have a listen.

-- Linda (, August 01, 1999.

Im sorry but I didnt see any thing about 100% compliance, with a full year left to test!

-- Les (, August 01, 1999.

"Well on their way", "On track", "Expect to be", "Working very hard", "Spending lots of money", "Ahead of the curve", etc., etc. It is today, this day, August 1, 1999 -- and they are still not finished! This game will end in five months.


-- Jack (, August 01, 1999.

If California is doing so well, why was it listed as one of the nine worst prepared states (along with Hawaii)?

-- Mad Monk (, August 01, 1999.

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