Y2k Needs A Grassroots Effort


Thanks for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's notice of their free Y2K consumer guide, available through their 800 number. Shades of Y2K -- the computer response told me to call another 888 number. That computer thanked me for my name and address and then told me I would get the consumer guide in about four weeks.

If we have to wait four weeks now, how long might we have to wait after Y2K?

Last week I read in a press release on the Internet that "the nation's first statewide conference" of grassroots Y2K preparedness groups gathered in Camp Verde. About 70 representatives from Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Tucson, Sierra Vista, Cottonwood, Carnival and Camp Verde were there. Where was Payson's representation?

Grassroots groups are important. They address the issues that governments do not. Town Hall is busy enough studying and correcting the town's systems for Y2K. Grassroots groups put their priority on what might impact our daily lives beyond police, fire, water, sewage and the other town services.

Grassroots groups also care about electric service, medical support service, food availability, gasoline availability, banking services, telephone and other communications, continuation of school academic programs, and of course our local media.

The fear of panic, hoarding and general lawlessness is best avoided by more open discussion based on facts. Common sense can avoid the panic, as long as appropriate preparations can get under way.

The awareness that our society's interdependence functions because of computer systems linked with trillions of embedded chips may discourage us. It really empowers us to remind ourselves of just what our backup systems are that can be put into place when the ones we depend on don't work.

I hope a Payson group takes part in the next statewide conference.

Lew Levenson

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