Community Leaders Says Public's Y2K Interest Is Waning

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Some organizers of grassroots Y2K task forces say public interest in the issue is waning, and they also think some federal government messages are blunting the impact of local preparedness efforts, according to a recent survey.

A four-question Y2K Grassroots Community Preparedness Survey of community leaders, conducted on-line May 8 to 19, asked respondents to rate the work of their groups, the public interest level, their relations with local government and any other concerns in terms of Y2K.

An estimated 3,600 people received the survey questions, and the 100 people who responded represented 29 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Australia. Many used the fourth question to convey concerns about the federal government.

The survey reflected task force leaders' fears that the public seems to be losing interest in Y2K and found wide discontent over the federal government's handling of the whole situation.

Forty-three percent of respondents reported that their Y2K community organizing work had been less effective since January 1999. Twenty-four percent said it was going better, and 23 said it was about the same.

'It's almost like we need internal cheerleaders -- someone to carry the torch and keep us going in an optimistic, charismatic fashion,' wrote Stephanie Jo Kent, a member of the Vermont Y2K Preparedness Committee.

More than 50 percent reported a decrease in the public's Y2K preparedness interest. Twenty percent reported an increase, and 11 percent reported no change.