SOS, SF Y2K 2B SNAFU "Mellow Millennium & Disaster Plan" Humor?? (San Francisco Examiner) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Only in.... The City.


Rob Morse
Wednesday, December 8, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Examiner

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

EAT FIRST, dress warmly in layers, wear good walking shoes and carry water.

Those are the official recommendations for people planning to celebrate the arrival of the new millennium in three weeks. They're also what everyone does in San Francisco on any occasion, whether it's going to Candlestick or waiting for a bus. Good walking shoes are an integral part of the mayor's transportation plan.

Here's a more useful recommendation for millennium weekend: Put in a three-day supply of champagne and beluga, or chips and brew, and stay home.

You don't want to be out on the streets of San Francisco that weekend.

The first page alone of the Department of Public Health millennium response plan is enough to give you a hangover.

It contains the SFPD estimate that San Francisco may have to accommodate 750,000 visitors. "Other planners believe the crowds could swell to 2 to 3 million and that the celebrations could continue through Monday, Jan. 3."

Then comes this unnerving bit of information: The disaster operation planned for that weekend has been given the code name "Mellow Millennium."

They don't even use the word "mellow" in Marin anymore. It's a sure sign of something bad about to happen, like a king telling his peasants that they're entering the Dark Ages because darkness is so restful.


Does this passage from the DPH Y2K preparedness report make you feel mellow? "Projections for ill and injured persons at planned and spontaneous events are in the range of 1,892 to 5,676 casualties from the 1.25 million celebrants."

Give or take a headache. Where do they get such exact casualty estimates? I sure hope they're counting headaches, because the attack on Pearl Harbor caused 3,457 casualties, and nobody called that "mellow."

Even the lower estimate of casualties for "Mellow Millennium" is more than the 1,000 casualties suffered in the infamous New York draft riots of 1863.

You definitely want to stay home between Dec. 31 and Jan. 3. And you out there, reading this on the Internet. Don't you have something to do in Des Moines? Don't even think of coming here.

If you've already booked a hotel room in San Francisco, get in it and stay in it.


Some other highlights from the millennium disaster plan:

The plan has detailed estimates of crowds and casualty estimates for each "planned venue" for millennium parties. Union Square is expected to attract 22,000 people for the "Gathering of the Tribes Ecumenical Celebration," a Neiman Marcus dinner party and fireworks. Casualties are estimated at 63.

I don't know what kind of tribes they're talking about or if the folks at Neiman's will have to circle their limousines. That seems like a high casualty rate for a religious event, or even a dinner party.

A category called "hotels, clubs, miscellaneous" is expected to draw 660,000 people and result in 1,888 casualties. What can you say? It's that miscellaneous that always gets you.

Besides "planned venues," the DPH lists projected crowds and casualties at "spontaneous venues," which sounds ominous. It basically means strangers showing up and drinking and puking in your neighborhood.

The Castro and North Beach are each estimated to draw 15,000 people and each suffer 43 casualties, I hope from different causes at least.


What kind of casualties are they talking about? The eight "millennium field care clinics" (why not "millennium MASH units?") are set up to treat everything from lacerations with controlled bleeding and musculoskeletal injuries down to the all-important "referrals to detoxification centers."

There will be several official holding areas for inebriated adults and youth -- guarded ones, not just the sidewalks and bars of Sixth Street and North Beach.

There will be a thorough triage system, with serious injuries such as gunshot wounds going to San Francisco General Hospital's trauma center, with perhaps one other hospital as back-up because of increased volume or traffic gridlock.

Psychiatrists will be on full alert and all existing restraint and seclusion rooms at S.F. General will be ready for the wilder of the wild and crazy. The Irwin Memorial Blood Bank is delivering blood in advance for those who leave their heart's vital fluids in San Francisco.

Oh yes, the Birth Center at San Francisco General will be staffed at full capacity and the Neonatal/Nursery Unit will be prepared for "concomitant increased volume."

Think of San Francisco General Hospital as the finish line for all those folks who nine months ago decided they wanted the first baby of the new millennium. And if you live further east, don't even think of chasing midnight west to San Francisco to get that winning birth certificate.

Don't come here. Stay home. You won't miss a thing but the chance to make a casualty estimate come true. What am I doing? I have to work on New Year's Eve, my favorite night to stay home every year, and I'm not mellow about it at all.

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


Don't worry, Mr. Morse. I won't come to your lovely city. Mellow out.

Is this mainstream media "gallows humor", or simply fear peddling? Fine line, isn't it?

-- Steve (, December 09, 1999.

That's SOME 3-day storm they are planning for!

Same kind of plans for casualties in England... hocky stadium morgues etc. John Whitley dug up the info tidbit that while they SAID they were planning in case people jumped into the Thames and drowned, what there contingencies are REALLY about is the possiblity that... planes will fall from the sky.

-- Linda (, December 09, 1999.

Makes ya want to laugh AND cry, huh?

I plan to be quite "mellow"... and 60 miles away from S.F. thanks.


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

Don't bother trying to come to Seattle, either. Our rainy city has done their fair share of entertaining already this year and unfamiliar faces will be looked upon with hostility this New Years EVE.And you don't need to worry about the police, you have to worry about us web footed natives!

-- Cherri (, December 09, 1999.

Oh Diane - Dont'cha really really miss Herb Caen? Ever wonder what his take would have been on this fine mess we're in? "Sigh..."

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.xnet), December 09, 1999.

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