Napa Valley Y2K... Community Preparedness & The Local Level Disconnect (CivicPrep List) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This just went around on Steve Daviss Coalition 2000 [civicprep] list. The California Napa Valley community Y2K has been home to one of the more active grass-roots preparedness groups.

I find this update a very sad commentary.


Subject: [civicprep] A Tale of Two Events [kinda long]
Date: Sat, 04 Sep 1999 19:05:30 -0700
From: Mick Winter
To: "civicprep"

From the Civic Preparedness discussion list. To post messages to this list, address them to

One of the few successes we expected to have here in the Napa Valley was to disseminate Y2K information through the City of Napa Police Department's "Neighborhood Watch" program. The program has some 240 neighborhoods involved, primarily to prevent crime, but it's a great distribution network for Y2K stuff. We look forward to Y2K info being given to every home in those neighborhoods.

The original plan - after an hour-long meeting I had with the chief of police some months ago - was for our group to provide information (which the department would duplicate) for handout, and to speak at 2-3 meetings of block captains. The block captains would then set up meetings in their own neighborhoods, disseminate the handouts they had been given to all houses in their neighborhoods, and do whatever organizing they felt necessary (we also provided surveys for resources, special needs, and skills).

The deparment's Community Services officer then took over. After a few weeks, the result was *one* meeting to be held at the end of August where each block captain would be given *one* copy of the y2k information and encouraged to request more if they needed them. Our representatives would still speak to the assembled block captains. Okay, we could live with that. At least it was something.

Then the meeting was cancelled because the Community Services officer was busy. It has now been rescheduled for October 29th. Our group is meeting next week to decide whether to participate. We will likely not. We feel it is much too late for any organized neighborhood preparation. By the time the block captains can go back and set up a meeting in their neighborhoods, it will be in the latter part of November when people are getting ready for Thanksgiving. We will probably wish the police department good luck, and hope that some of the information we prepared will get out to the neighborhoods. (By the way, the eight-page booklet we prepared was a customized version of the excellent booklet turned out by the Oakland, California Y2K group.)

What went wrong here? I'm starting to suspect it's because people are preparing for *two totally different events*. Local authorities are preparing for a two to three-day event - a possibly serious New Year's Eve/Day with possible problems over a few more days. The rest of us, mainly community activists, are preparing - or at least advocating preparation - for a much longer period of time.

Our police department..and city...and county government...are preparing for a 2-3 day problem. Believing this to be the correct time frame, they quite rightly are not concerned about citizen preparation because almost every home - barring certain medical and other situations - can easily, if not totally comfortably, deal with a 2-3 day Y2K problem. The officials are doing everything they can to make sure their own systems and functions will continue to work for 2-3 days and believe they are as ready as possible for that time period.

While I believe the federal government knows better, it too is approaching this publicly as a 2-3 day problem. Perhaps once the President's council could have organized and led a "Manhattan Project"-style effort as proposed by Paula Gordon. But that time is long past. They have instead conducted a PR campaign, not a mobilization. Such is life. Mr. Koskinen and his Council are now totally irrelevant to the entire process. So is the White House. Even if Clinton appeared on TV tonight and announced that Y2K was serious and the country must prepare, it is too late.

I've also come to the viewpoint that community contingency planning is ineffective for Y2K activists. We have no resources of our own with which to carry them out and few municipalities feel the need to have contingency plans beyond their 2-3 day vision. We'll have to leave that up to FEMA and other actors in the nightmares of those who are distrustful of expanding government powers (a growing number of people throughout the political spectrum, I believe).

What we can do, but I have no brilliant ideas to propose, is start to prepare to pick up the pieces, putting them together in a different way than they're currently assembled. I think Ed Yourdon has almost the right idea with his "Humpty Dumpty" project, although I take issue with two things. The name, which is a little pessimistic since all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty back together again. And the goal, since I don't believe that rebuilding our existing structure, attitudes and beliefs is a worthy goal. They're what got us into trouble in the first place, and not just with Y2K.

Sorry to always sound so negative here, but I've really been having a hard time seeing anything positively for the last six months - except in a very long-range view.

In the meantime, we'll trudge along here, continuing to provide y2k information to those few who are interested. We'll focus on the event *we* foresee, our local governments will focus on theirs. Who knows? Maybe the twain shall meet.

Mick Winter
Napa Valley Y2K

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 08, 1999



I hope Mick Winter sent a copy of his message VERBATIM to John Koskinen, and then maybe he'd see how counter-productive this 72 hour spin is!!!

-- Cheryl (, September 08, 1999.


I have reason to suspect "someone" in Koskinen's office, et. al., monitors the [civicprep] list.



-- Diane J. Squire (, September 08, 1999.

Web-site links...

Napa Valley Y2K

Napa Valley Online


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 08, 1999.


While I find this a sad state of affairs, it is not abnormal to find society at this stage. I recently wrote our local newspaper on why they didn't carry a story of Mr Koskinen visit to our state and their reply was "That story was not published in The Gazette, since it concerned a Des Moines event." Now how about that for disconnect. I say prepare now before the sheep awake.

-- y2k dave (, September 08, 1999.

Diane, my local community group has run into the same problem and has stopped meeting in person. We still maintain a mail list, but after the local government gave us more of the "don't worry be happy" spiel we went back to word-of-mouth education. No more community meetings, thanks. Most people in this town are lulled by the government spin.

-- Margaret J (, September 08, 1999.

Margaret 'n y2k dave,

It's hard to counter the Kosky "Community Conversations" road show...

Conversion to Polly(the)ism in NYC--God Bless Koskinen 001NIR

Lessons to learn... in how to "lull" a nation.

Truly sad.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 09, 1999.

Diane - I share your frustration, but on the industry level. Even after the Gartner group said ag was in trouble; even after the California agriculture struggled to find someone who could testify on the state of y2k remediation of producers at the Horn hearing; even after all that, still nothing has been said or done to deal with y2k issues among small producers. The GPS and "9" event have only given leaders non-events to support their lack of leadership and action.

I am disgusted.

-- marsh (, September 09, 1999.

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