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Re:Strange but True (SB 828)

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I have forwarded Stan Caldwell's posting on to Sen. Greene's staffer Bill
Gage, who handled this legislation, and to Curt Augustine at the Department
of Consumer Affairs, who represented the Governor's administration during
the process. 

However, I prefaced it with my own remark, as follows: 

"What better example in real life of the Mother Goose story of Chicken
Little is there than this, where CELSOC squawks their irrational alarm and
it is passed on as gospel, further exaggerated?" 

Some background: I attended an all-afternoon negotiation session on the
offending matter on July 29 at the state capitol and heard the positions of
all the interested parties. Staffers from both legislative houses were
there, as was Mr. Augustine, himself a former Executive Officer of our PE
and LS Board.  The CELSOC position and the Board of Registration position
could not be distinguished from each other, and were exhaustively, but
ineptly and unpersuasively presented. 

The present Board E.O. (a M.E.) tried to give an example of how an
unlicensed mechanical consultant would be able to do engineering legally on
a waterworks project, for a surge tower on a penstock, and was promptly
corrected by the former E.O.(a non-P.E.) that her example was civil
engineering that the bill didn't affect. She couldn't think of any other

In contrast, non-PE technical and scientific consultants to research and
development corporations and to manufacturing corporations were succinct and

Curt Augustine explained that the Wilson administration regards extending
the decades-old "industrial" corporation exemption to non-salaried employees
and consultants as the most important feature of the entire, multi-board
sunset program. 

Sen. Greene is a Civil Engineer who had a successful private practice in
structural design in Sacramento for some 35 years. He has been a member of
my section of SEAOC since 1949, and a legislator since 1963. And he is a
member of CELSOC and other societies who opposed his bill. There is no
question as to his understanding the issues.

I have videotapes of 1 1/2 hours of legislative hearings on this part of
this bill. In one, after CELSOC's lobbyist made the same claims repeated in
the e-mail posting earlier today, Sen Greene replied, "If horses had
feathers, I'd say 'horsefeathers'".  At another juncture, he said that his
engineer friends overstate the prospect of adverse outcomes, and that he
didn't believe them.
He noted that nothing in existing law is known to have been abused, and that
changes in employment practices means that the law must be amended to hold even.

The governor signed the bill a month ago.

I see the CELSOC effort simply as an overextended turf grab that failed, and
is lingering on in the form of a lot of petulant whining and self-justifying

An enduring question might be, how well is professional engineering served
when the most vigorous of its lobbying factions is so headstrong and lacking
in credibility? If there's a threat to structurals, it will be from within
the profession. Remember George Orwell's Animal Farm: pretty quick the pigs
took over.

Charles O. Greenlaw, S.E.  Sacramento CA