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Re: Strange but True (SB 828)

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On Sat, 01 Nov 1997 13:18:16, Nigel Mends wrote:

"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." :-)
"


[Bill Cain] I must strongly agree with Nigel.  I have served on a local
city council including a term as mayor and currently serve on the local
school board. There are capable and incapable (and yes, some outright
"crooks") people serving.   One thing I've noticed is an almost complete
lack of participation in local government by engineers (at least in my
area).  Participation is one of the easiest ways to make sure things are
done on a rational basis.  Sure it takes time and effort, but what
enterprise that is worthwhile doesn't?

I would challenge all of you who want to complain about the system to
instead put that energy into improving it by your active participation.
You can make a huge difference!





>
>
>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
>
>
>
>
>
_______________

BILL CAIN, SE
OAKLAND, CA
_______________