God love email, which brought me this piece that I'd seen in the Los Angeles Times. I thought what happened was MAJOR -- much more important than the report would have you believe -- in the category of a picture being worth a thousand words!

Thanks to this occurrence at City Hall, we could be saved from needing to campaign to wake up the L.A. Y2K czars, who were so reassuring at the meeting I attended. Suzanne Taylor

FROM: Jan Nickerson, Y2KConnections

DATE: 5/27/99

This morning I spoke with Rick Tobin, an emergency management professional, who passed along this news clip about the impact of an unexpected power outage on L.A.'s Y2K drill.

He queries, if L.A., one of the most prepared cities in the country for disaster, was thrown by a power outage, what does that suggest for the rest of the country?

Rick shares my concern that despite the unpreparedness for power outage, local officials continue the happy talk: "I feel very confident that there won't be any major problems."

I join Rick in urging there should be a wake up call echoing across the country.

Power Outage Makes City Hall Y2K Drill a Little Too Realistic
Emergencies: Workers are trapped in elevators.
Council passes motion asking that further tests be held in off-hours.


Preparing for millennial chaos, hundreds of city workers participated in Los Angeles' first Year 2000 Disaster Drill, Tuesday at City Hall.

The one thing they were not prepared for: a real power outage.

Elevators churned to a halt and lights went out about 9 a.m., when a power surge knocked out a third of the building's electricity.

The outage forced Mayor Richard Riordan and his large entourage to trudge up nine floors of stairs to his office and descend 12 floors to attend the Y2K drill.

Others were stuck in elevators, while it took an hour and 20 minutes to restore power.

Riordan was visibly upset when he finally emerged from the basement stairwell and walked into the Emergency Operation Center.

"That bothers me," Riordan told reporters. "If we can't take care of the elevators, what can we take care of in this city?"

When he had calmed down, Riordan said he was assured that the power shutdown had nothing to do with the drill to determine whether the city will continue operating smoothly as the 20th century comes to an end January 1. The outage was later blamed on a short in a power meter.

"We're very proud of the preparations of the city for any Y2K problems," Riordan said. "I feel very confident that there won't be any major problems."

Hundreds of government workers participated in Tuesday's drill, designed to help them cope with a potential Y2K computer meltdown that threatens to disrupt communications and services.

Workers responded to a variety of mock emergencies, such as power outages, fires and out-of-control New Year's Eve parties.

"The purpose of exercises are to be prepared for anything, which is why we create events that in real life almost certainly will not occur," said Ellis M. Stanley, assistant city administrative officer.

But the question in City Hall wasn't so much whether Los Angeles is prepared for 2000, but whether it is prepared to deal with 1999.

City Council members were outraged by the power outage and shutdown of elevators, and some were not convinced that the outage and the Y2K drill were not linked.

The council approved a motion asking the General Services Department to take immediate steps to address concerns about the shutdown.

Councilman Mike Feuer said public safety workers and city leaders found they could not move around City Hall during the outage because stairwell doors on some floors were bolted.

The motion asks that future Y2K drills take place, whenever possible, on non-workdays.

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