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Re: Disaster dilemma

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Thanks Barry for the support. The cost to attend meeting is, as you pointed
out, inconsequential to some. Considering my practice, I would need to rent
a car for a day to go to Los Angeles, since my 1982 Supra is not fit for the
drive (we are a one car family) - $45.00 with insurance and taxes. The gas
for the round trip would be around $30.00 (300 miles) and meals might make
it for around $10.00. The loss of work for say six hours would be around
$300.00 cost ($600.00 billable). So the one day visit taking six hours off
work to make a dinner meeting and seminar would be around$385.00. This is
too steep for me. Even if I give away my billible time the cost for a
meeting would be $85.00. Even this is questionable to me on principle.

My comments about reading in the blind had nothing to do with handicap. They
have a important reasons for not being able to read. My comments were
intended to draw a parallel to those that chose not to read but rather hear
it from the horses mouth. However the analogy still is valid.

I believe that Franks comments are shortsighted for the technology that we
have today. I also believe that SEAOC is not in the financial position to
send me to San Francisco or Santa Barbara to attend a Computer Applications
Committee meeting. I remember not too long ago when I arrived at the Palm
Springs Airport at 7:00 AM to make the comuter flight to Los Angeles and
then the direct flight to SF for a meeting. I found that the ticket was not
approved by the SEAOC board even though their travel agency confirmed the
flight. Thankfully my wife did not leave the airport or I would have been
stuck for hours.
I may be wrong, but I believe that Rawn Nelson had a similar experience (I
heard this second hand).
The point is that SEAOC does not have the resources to cover our involvement
in Committee meetings when we need to travel out of town to attend. Nor do I
as a small business with fluctuating cash flow have the resources to buy my
membership and lose money for each meeting our seminar I wish to attend.

Physical Involvement is no long a strong argument for getting things done as
we have proven with the web. I think that many of you might benifit from
reading "Bill Gates, The Road Ahead". Don't shiver over the name, I have
gained a tremendous respect for his ability after I started to read this
book since the issues discusses relate closely with those we are debating.
Frank Lew is a tremendously intellegent and talented engineer who has the
added distinction of being computer literate. I am supprised by his comments
since they underestimate the present technology. My comments in the past may
overestimate to some degree, but two years ago I was on the bandwagon for
voice recognition software and it is rapidly becoming one of the most
important components in software today. Shafat and I saw only a glimpse into
the future of the Information age when we advocated getting this list
online. Neither of us expected the response to be so great in such a short
period of time.
My new journal takes advantage of this technology by being published in PDF
format. This allows me to embed links within the document to launch the
reader to any location in the document he desires, plus it allows the reader
to click on a hyperlink and launch his browser to web sites that the article
refers.
We talk about the need to get involved, and the journal will take the fear
out of involvment by allowing the reader to click on the name of the author
of an article or the editor (me) of the journal. He will have access to the
discussion on this list as well as synopsis from related newsgroups. Most
important, IA&E will work to compile the rhetoric that exists on the web and
make that information available to representative that make a physical
presence in congress or at voting meetings. These people are important to
us, but the combined voice of the community is what should drive them and
they should be nothing more than the representative voice of our labors.
Consider for a moment how many board member there are in all of the
professional organizations combined. I believe that CELSOC has something
like 94 board members, SEAOC has around forty in Calfiornia alone and I have
not counted ASCE, NSPE and the number of other organizations protecting our
profession. How much ground is being covered by more than one organization.
How many times has the work from SEAOSC conflicted with SEAONC or the CSSC
(California Seismic Safety Commission - at least once during the residential
retrofit and repair committee who duplicated the efforts of the SEAOSC
structural methods committee that had been asked to create an ordinance for
the City of L. A.)?
Somewhere down the road, the Internet will need to be used to coordinate the
efforts of each chapter - why not start now since we have the technology?
Bill Warren wrote me recently and alerted me that there are discussions to
start a new listservice for only board members. One list for each chapter
and a list for the state. This is a great beginning. For one reason, it
removes the limits on time constraints to debate and discuss issues. The
important point that I hope has not alluded them is that the results of
these meetings must be made available to members. This list should become as
important to the developement of commitee work as the committees'
themselves.
So, Barry, you see that the issue is one of creative use of the resources
that we presently have to make our collective voices heard, compensate for
those who can not make meetings in person and coordinate the shrinking
minority of members that have the greatest influence presently.  We do have
the technology and it costs less to get involved via the Internet for a year
than it does to attend one meeting or dinner meeting in person.
Don't get burned out on this topic - it is very important to the
developement of this list and others in the near future.
One more thing. If you want to see how strong the fraternity of archtiects
are, I recommend you surf over to www.aia.org . I think you will be most
surprised to find out that we have exceeded one hundred fold the level of
professional and importance of postings. On top of this, we have not
restricted our services to members, but have kept it open to the public. We
need to congradulate ourselves for being involved in the evolution of this
technology - but we must never sit back on our laurals or the parade will
pass us by.

Dennis Wish PE

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