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Re: Strange but True (SB 828)

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Neil Moore wrote:

> I agree that this is an excellent idea but not politically feasible in some
> areas.  We use to do plan checking for a city on the San Francisco
> peninsula and ran into trouble because we were enforcing the minimum UBC.
> We were dismissed because we rejected a civil-surveyor type's structural
> calculation's and plan submittal for the fifth or sixth time.
>
> If this could become a reality, would there be a way to eliminate the
> political pressures on building departments by politicians and fat cats?

You know, this is the second such comment I've read in this thread today.  No
offense, but I submit that demonizing politicians and legislators as "fat cats,"
for example, oversimplifies the problem the profession faces and reduces the
situation to "us" versus a now-cartoon "them."  I sense the same pejorative
attitude in the way folks refer to the public here, in many cases.  We must
remember that we are dealing with *people*, no more, no less, and like all people
they come in good forms and bad ones.

Let's face it:  as a profession we have been and continue to be rather insular,
and we generally consider politics beneath our collective dignity; that getting
involved in the public arena would somehow "soil" us.  The evidence provided by
the number of problems the profession faces, and we've provided a pretty good
list of them here over the last few months, and the lack of success the
discussion indicates we've had in dealing them with them, would indicate that
perhaps we should try a new approach in all such arenas.  Consider that
aphorism:  "Repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome defines
insanity." :-)

In order to resolve the various complaints we have, we *need* (at least some)
politicians and legislators.  In order to sway those *people*, we need an
effective and positive relationship with the general public, so that they will
support us in legislative battles with forces arrayed against the agendas we
would implement.

I see the crux of all the problems described here in those two sentences.  We, as
a profession, need to involve ourselves much more in positive relationships with
the public and with legislators and politicians.  We need to (for example) go
into schools and talk to students, to talk, nicely, to our legislators and
politicians, and not just when we want something, but at other times to.  We need
to spend less time like Dilbert, isolated in our little cubicles behind a "moat"
of coffee on the floor talking to "Mr. Stapler" and "Miss Holepunch" and the
other "loyal subjects" of our cubicle domains.  We need to get out in the world
more, showing non-engineers who we are and why they should value the condition of
our profession.  We need to donate more time to helping public groups, to finding
and helping get elected politicians of whom we approve, to doing things that make
people *want* to support our agendas.  Endless carping about how "they" don't
like us and "they" don't give us what we want will accomplish nothing, except to
alienate further the very "they" on whom we must rely for effective action.

Of course, as an officer in a professional organization, I feel compelled to
point out that an excellent place to start is your local chapter of such an
outfit:-)

Nigel