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[whitespace] Y2K$$ Approved

San Jose--Imagine the utter embarrassment if, amid flying champagne corks and bellowing noise blowers, air conditioning systems and traffic signals across the capital of Silicon Valley whirred to a stop at the stroke of midnight that begins the year 2000.

One year ago, San Jose City Council members foresaw this potentially awkward mishap and approved $1.1 million to rewrite date-sensitive code in all the city's computer systems. City employees were thus assured that their paychecks would continue to arrive in the next millennium, and that police database information will remain accurate. But more problems loomed on the horizon.

Electrical and programmed equipment could be affected as well.

At its Sept. 15 meeting, the City Council eagerly handed an additional $578,618 to Year 2000 Project Manager Deborah Barker to finish the job. According to Barker, the money is for non-computer systems--"things like elevators, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, anything that controls process--traffic signals, airport, water control plants," Barker lists off. The money will pay for city employees to survey and assess each city facility, and determine if a Y2K problem might arise. If potential problems are spotted, more money will be requested to fix the problem, Barker says.

With the millennium only 17 months away, the capital of Silicon Valley may appear to be in desperate catch-up mode. Not so, says Barker. In actuality, San Jose is somewhat ahead of other California cities. But with months clipping by, cities everywhere are scrambling to get their chips in a row before the big day.

"They're not late," Barker says about San Jose, "but everybody is running out of time."
Cecily Barnes

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Web extra to the September 17-23, 1998 issue of Metro.

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