World Bank Breakdown, Why Y2K Will Be Bad, Monday Meeting : LUSENET : Sonoma County : One Thread

Santa Rosa Neighborhoods will be meeting once again this Monday, August 16 at 7:00 social, 7:30 business. Please call Alan Jones at 527-8509 if you are interested in attending. Our purpose is to organize neighborhoods into active and interactive communites, with emphasis on emergency preparedness for earthquakes and Y2K. What follows is a summary of current news, plus a tentative agenda for Monday's meeting.

Current Events: The summer lull continues, but quiet indications are pointing to a slow but steady renewal of interest in Y2K. John Koskinen, the Federal Y2K Czar, says that many Y2K problems won't show up until later in January, an interesting shift. So it is not going to be a "three day snowstorm" after all. The Federal government realizes how bad Y2K is going to be, they just won't tell us. Currently, Y2K problems keep happening - the fivefold increase in refinery accidents and explosions in the last few months is very suspicious, three in the last week alone. They are not reported as Y2K problems, but most Y2K glitches that are happening now during testing are not referred to as such in the media. "System upgrades" is one eupehmism that is used. If you see any news stories about problems caused by computers, there is a significant chance it is Y2K related. If you live in California, you are paying more for gas right now as a result of refinery explosions in the state, and some may be caused byY2K. Who in California can remember five refinery explosions in six months?

Concern is expressed in the media over oil supplies as a result of potential Y2K production and distribution problems. There are so many ways our gas supplies could be interrupted. Possible problems involve pumping stations, pipelines, shipping, port facilities being non-compliant, oil refineries and transportation - all controlled by computers. Expect significantly higher gas prices and possible shortages next year.

Also suspicious is the six day long phone problem from Aug. 6-11 as MCI Telcom reported many of its special high speed phone systems down as a result of a "system upgrade". Internet media reports that it was a Y2K updgrade. Many people couldn't use their ATM's, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the largest commodity market in the world, was not able to process trades for several days. In 22 years in the investment business, I cannot recall any stock or commodity exchange being down more than 1/2 a day because of technical difficulties. If you think about what would happen if 10, 20, 30, or 100 of these glitches happened at the same time in different industries and governments, you will begin to get a sense of what could happen early next year. Thus our preparations.

Here is the best one of all - the World Bank has not been able to pay between 200 and 900 of it's employees SINCE APRIL becuase of a Y2K upgrade gone bad. The inability to produce checks has been reported in the Washington Post. Cory Hamasaki, a Washington, D.C. area mainframe programmer, reports the behind the scene details on his website and states it is a Y2K problem. According to Cory, the Bank knew in April that it was going to have problems and advised employees to make arrangements to take out loans to tide them over since they would not be getting paid for awhile. By the way, the World Bank is a very sophisticed operation with lots of money to throw at this problem, and they haven't solved it in four and a half months. What do you think is going to happen to smaller companies with less sophistication and money, many of whom are already behind in their preparations? If they haven't started testing yet, they don't even know what may lie ahead for them. The types of things that are happening to the World Bank will most likely happen to hundreds or thousands of companies and government agencies at the same time later this year and next year.

Now maybe you understand why you should stop considering all your friends crazy who are REALLY worried about Y2K and go out and do some serious shopping. As they say, if you can keep your head while all about you people are losing theirs, maybe you don't understand the situation.

If you want to really understand why the computers are not going to get fixed in time, check out Cory Hamasaki's website. Cory is a programmer with over 30 years experience. He is in constant contact with many of the other programmers who are doing Y2K remediation on the big mainframe systems, and hears the real stories about what is going on. The people at the top say everything is fine, the people who are doing the actual work are scared to death. They know there is too much to do and not enough time. Cory gives the real stories, he comes out with a new issue of his Weather Report newsletter every two to three weeks. The back issues are posted as well, and are fascinating reading. Check Cory out at

Also worth checking out is Gary North ( Gary posts 10 to 20 articles almost every day which give an excellent read on what it going on with Y2K, and has thousands of articles which can be easily accessed for reference on a particular topic. Many of the articles will jolt you right to your toes.

Y2K will change your life in ways you cannot possibly anticipate. It will happen. Get inforrned and get prepared now. When everyone else wakes up, it will be too late for effective action. As Y2K expert Peter Rowell says, you do not want to be in Safeway during the last two weeks of December.

Do not expect the media to warn you or tell you what will happen. They don't see it, and may not want to. The government won't tell you because they are afraid you will pull your money out of the bank, sell your stocks, and indulge in panic buying of food. Like everyone else, they are afraid if they say what they really think, they will be called crazy. So they are hoping for the best and making behind the scenes preparations for martial law and food distribution by the National Guard should it become necessary. You and your friends and neighbors are going to have to educate yourselves and figure out what kind of preparations to make. That's why we are having a meeting on Monday. In other news, many people are not being publicly active but are quietly preparing in their own homes. Church and other groups are busy with other concerns and will not want to address Y2K until fall. We continue to work with and support people who want to do block parties and other social events this summer, and prepare groups and networks for when the Y2K issue likely heats up in the fall.

Many thanks to Cynthia Brush for talking to Chris Godly of the County Office of Emergency Services and putting her report out on the Sonoma County Y2K Bulletin Board. The chances of a significant earthquake are greater than previously thought based on new research which will be released in October. This raises the devastating possiblility of a quake and Y2K disruptions happening at the same time.

Agenda for August 16 meeting: Look at planning a Sonoma County Y2K Forum for the end of September. (Thanks to Jean Wasp for this suggestion). Review of calls to Forum participants (several people). Work on support materials for neighborhood coordinators, especially new Resource Guide. Plan for other city/county government and community group contacts Report from Harry on contacts with church groups, reports from others on contacts made since our last meeting. Other topics as relevant.

We are hoping for widespread attendance at this meeting so we can begin to plan for major late summer/fall events, especially a possible Forum in September.

Please let me know if you will be attending.


Alan Jones 527-8509

-- Alan Jones (, August 15, 1999

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