Conflicting messages trickling down through state & local government : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

A friend of mine in a Cincinnati suburb (a small, separate township) has been trying to convince his mayor that he should be warning people about possible interruptions in basic services come next January. The mayor is well aware that the situation could get iffy, but he is also getting very mixed messages. He's read a lot of things taken from the Web, but he's hearing quite a different story from other governmental sources. (I have all this second hand, of course.) The mayor told my friend that he had attended a major conference of local government officials this past week, where State, county and "civil defense" representatives had a lot to say about Y2K. The substance of what they all said was, there aren't going to be any serious problems, nobody needs to panic, whatever little glitches occur will be fixed right away, we'll have power and water and food, all this stockpiling of stuff is completely unnecessary, and go back and tell your people this. So the mayor is pretty confused. He's read Janet Abrams' talk to Italian officials, given last December (see ABRAMS CITES INDUSTRY-GOVERNMENT Y2K COOPERATION) In this discussion Abrams says
Our real concern beyond the states is the readiness of cities and counties. And we have a major push underway to raise the awareness of those local officials.
and she says
Also, we are working through our Federal Emergency Management Agency to reach down to state emergency management officials and local emergency management officials to get them prepared.

In addition to getting them to become Y2K compliant with their own systems, we need to get them prepared for the unique experience that we may all encounter in 12 months because this will not be business as usual in the emergency response world.

We may have a situation of lots of small disruptions across the country -- a small utility, a power plant out, a water purification plant out in another community.

These are situations that in usual times you might be able to call on the state or the federal government to help solve, but we are stressing to our local officials that they're going to have to take care of these problems on our own.

So the mayor of this little township is wondering what the hell is going on?

-- Tom Carey (, February 21, 1999


That link didn't work. Here's how to get there:

Go to Public Diplomacy Query (PDQ) database. Enter "Y2K" (less quotes) in the [Search] window, and click on [Login (and Search]]. Click on the second entry, entitled TRANSCRIPT: ABRAMS CITES INDUSTRY-GOVERNMENT Y2K COOPERATION

-- Tom Carey (, February 21, 1999.


Show your friend this article from the Cincinnati Post:

Region's Y2K plan: Call out guard By Rick Van Sant, Post staff reporter

The Kentucky National Guard will activate up to 300 troops and station them throughout the commonwealth.

The Ohio National Guard is designing a mobilization plan in case the governor declares a state of emergency.

The Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency will be staffed and operational on a 24-hour-a-day basis.

War? Riot? Flood?


Computer crash.

Concern over computers conking out on Jan. 1, 2000, has reached the point where the National Guard and other emergency units are drawing up contingency plans.

The so-called 'Y2K problem' stems from the fact that some old computers use only the last two digits of a year to identify the year and automatically assume the first two digits to be 19.

Because of that, some people fear those computers may not work - along with functions they control - when 1999 turns into 2000.

Speculation on the consequences range from no problems at all to power plants shutting down to the end of the world as we know it.

While most commercial and government computer users are trying to correct the problem before 2000, it's doubtful that all computers will be fixed by midnight, Dec. 31, 1999.

So, if problems begin cropping up at that infamous moment in computer history, the National Guard and other emergency planners say they're going to be ready.

'Our plan is to have between 100 and 300 guard members spotted through the commonwealth,' says Kentucky National Guard Maj. Phil Miller. 'If there's a power outage and it affects local emergency- service providers, we could augment them.'

'There are going to be communications concerns with the Y2K problem,' says Ohio National Guard Capt. Neal O'Brien. 'We're trying to determine what the needs might be and we're assessing our capabilities.'

Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency director Don Maccarone is planning a meeting Feb. 19 with safety officials from throughout the county, along with representatives of Cinergy, Cincinnati Bell, CSX railroad, Cincinnati Water Works, 911 operators, health agencies and other groups.

'We need to see what service providers deem to be their problems,' says Maccarone. 'If there are public-safety issues, we will focus on how to handle them.

'We've already made plans to staff our agency at some level at the end of the year. We plan to be operational on a 24-hour-a-day basis come the end of 1999.'

Some people wonder if calling out the National Guard and alerting emergency agencies is overkill and apt to cause public anxiety.

'We don't want to cause panic and we're certainly not trying to add fuel to the fire,' says O'Brien. 'But, on Jan. 1, there's a chance there could be some issues and we're looking at what we can do to prepare just in case.'

Adds Maccarone, 'We're not trying to be alarmist, but to be responsible. Our job is emergency and disaster planning and we need to know if this presents a potential hazard.'

Summoning the National Guard for the Y2K problem also gives more fodder to conspiracy theorists who already are on the Internet warning that the nation will be placed under martial law on New Year's Day 2000.

'National Guard members are your next-door neighbors and the guys across the street,' responds Miller, of the Kentucky National Guard. 'We view this type of operation, if we're called on, to be neighbors helping neighbors, plain and simple.'

Publication date: 01-15-99

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) Copyright 1999, The Cincinnati Post. All Rights Reserved.

-- Kevin (, February 21, 1999.

I can certainly understand that mayor's confusion. Especially considering Yardeni's re-assessment. Downloaded it in pdf format from his site today. He's starting to sound like NBC Nightly News.

I'd love to have a link to all CURRENT government stuff (Congressional Testimony, GAO reports etc.) since December of 1998 forward. The problem as I see it is that so much of what's currently online is so old, it could be argued--easily--"Well, there's been so MUCH improvement since then!" I'd also love to know the source of the Senator Fred Thompson quote about ". . .information being so disturbing, some of it had to be classified." Did he really say that, and where?


-- FM (, February 21, 1999.

Only thing I could find was this, from The Year 2000 Problem: A Critical Survey by Mason Mulholland (May 20, 1998)

In another more recent testimony, the Y2K PR man for the White House was painting a pretty picture for Congress and assuring that all critical systems will be fixed in time. Senator Fred Thompson (R-Utah) demanded to know that if that was the case then "why are there reports coming out that are so disturbing that they have to be classified?" I would worry about what is in those reports myself.

The original occasion is not cited.

-- Tom Carey (, February 21, 1999.

Given the size of Kentucky, 300 Nat'l Guardsmen will be pretty well dispersed. The area of the state is 40,395 sq. miles with a population of 3,685,296. The largest cities are Louisville (pop. 269,063) and Lexington (pop. 225,366) (1990 census figures.)

Obviously the state doesn't expect anything to happen.

-- Tom Carey (, February 21, 1999.


Tell your friend to call the mayor of Portland, Oregon. Mayor's will likely "chat" with other mayor's.


See thread ...

Check out what Portland is doing! (Oregon) 000WKi

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 21, 1999.

Thanks, Kevin and Diane. I've printed all that out and will forward to concerned parties. The township in question, in Hamilton Co., Ohio, is completely dependent on the larger community for power, water, sewerage, etc. They have a small police force but that's about it.

If I'm not mistaken, San Diego is also becoming proactive on Y2K. Any links to that work?

-- Tom Carey (, February 21, 1999.

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