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Questions for Meeting with Officials

From: Cynthia Beal
Subject: Questions for those preparing a community

Karl wrote:
Ok... so I am just a basic guy, and in the last week I am suddenly playing
power politics with the Mayor, Bank presidents, head of our local electric and
gas provider etc., and they are listening, but I am afraid that I am out of my
league. I have been devoting at least four hours a day on the issues for the
last year, but I am just a papa of three girls and a surf shop owner and part
time hacker on the Mac. I have to go on live TV with the Mayor, and just
today, I had confirmation that several "unexpected guests" were showing up. As I
said, the head of the Utilities here, a bank president, the hospital IS
officer and PR spokesperson. I was wondering what you would ask if you had
only 10 questions to split amongst these people's counter parts in your
own town?

Cynthia's reply:
I'm out of my league, too. But here are the questions that are occuring to
me, because they're what I'm trying to address in my own microcosm.

* What would you do if you were one of the small businesses or workers here
that are "expected to fail" in the volatility of y2k?

* As you assist our community, what structure will you use to stay
completely focused on the most severe potential dangers to health and
safety, in order to 1) see that they actually get addressed and 2) keep
governmental intervention within the arenas in which it is already
popularly mandated to assist?

* What level of scenario are you going to advocate that our community plan
for? How are you planning on promoting that contingency plan fairly, and
how will you get feedback from many different kinds of people in a timely
manner that will ensure the fix isn't worse than the problem?

* How much uncertainty in each of the infrastructures that is challenged
(banking, electricity, air travel and transportation, oil, communications,
food supply, governance) do you think we will be able to safely eliminate
in time for the good of the majority of our citizens, especially if we must
base our "certainty" on information that comes from the corporations and
offices that are already behind?

* At what point does uncertainty in the face of no-information lead to
action rather than inaction, and have we passed that point?

* What structures already exist in our community for the most equitable
distribution of the largest (or smallest) amounts of:

public information
real public opinion
emergency assistance
medical care
fuel & power

* What process will you use for grievances from people regarding any new
and abrupt emergency policies or actions that may cause problems that
should be addressed before they create larger social tensions?

* How will you identify and publicize the most pressing potential dangers
to our community, especially if you may need the community Will to help you
address or eliminate those dangers?

* How will you decide who should know something and who shouldn't? Is that
your decision to make?

* How is your human resources department (in any group, but especially
infrastructure managment like utilities, governance, transportation, food,
fuel, communications, public process, and health) ensuring that all
critical staff are addressing Y2k now in their personal lives and will not
be leaving their jobs halfway through next year to care for other personal
aspects of their lives?

* What have you done in your own home to date?

Those are off the top of my head.


Cynthia Beal
Red Barn Natural Grocery
Eugene, Oregon