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Re: SEAOC Committee Meetings

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I can't (and won't) speak for Dennis, but I do not believe it is an
"either/or" proposition with regards to performing committee work in person
or electronically. I believe the current format of the committee work can
be AUGMENTED via the 'Net. While there are many benefits to having a "face
to face" meeting, there are advantages of augmenting the traditional
committee work using the Internet. One advantage is that more people can be
involved in the process. This means that either more gets done or less has
to be done by the existing individuals. More importantly, more will be
aware of the process as well as the current status of a committee (if
interested). If nothing else, more can be done to put committee docs on the
website. I know stuff is there, I just don't know how current it is.

Also, if the traditional committee is augmented with the electronic media,
more will participate. I know that there are a lot of interested engineers
who, from a practical point of view, cannot or will not drive to Whittier
for a committee meeting.

On the other hand, the way committee work is being done now has worked for
the last sixty years. Why change it now?

Bill Allen

> From: Rick.Drake(--nospam--at)
> To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
> Subject: SEAOC Committee Meetings
> Date: Tuesday, February 24, 1998 4:41 AM
>      Dennis Wish wrote:
>      << The only necessity to have a physical meeting is for final 
>      organization of work that is ready for publication. >>
>      --------------------------------
>      I disagree.  I think there is merit to having much committee work
>      via electronic means, as part of the entire process.  However, there

>      are still many valid reasons for face-to-face meetings, with enough 
>      benefits to justify the costs.
>      1) Many of the SEAOC Committee meetings are attended by "observers" 
>      who represent other organizations with a vested interest in the 
>      matters under discussion.  They make a valid contribution to the 
>      meetings by offering perspectives of ancillary industry groups.
>      2) Most SEAOC Committee meetings are open to the membership.  I
>      believe we want to deny the membership access.

>      3) It is very difficult to make meaningful decisions via a
>      of E-mail correspondence, especially when the participants are at 
>      their office desks with all the necessary distraction of conducting 
>      the "bill-paying" business.
>      4) Attendance at meetings focuses the participants on the issues at 
>      hand, at least temporarily leaving the "bill-paying" business
>      aside.
>      5) Electronic communications can never replace the human elements 
>      necessary when an agreement must be reached.  Body language, voice 
>      inflections, facial expressions, etc. cannot be replaced with 
>      electronic communications.  (And no picture phones are not
>      viable for most SEAOC members.)
>      I'll use an example the recent 1997 UBC seismic provisions and the 
>      1996 Blue Book.  There was a lot of good hard work performed by the 
>      SEAOC Seismology Committee to develop the SEAOC input to these. 
>      committee also has the interface responsibility with the 1997 NEHRP 
>      Provisions and the 2000 IBC.  Much of this work was conducted at 
>      face-to-face meetings where differences were aired and compromises 
>      were reached.  I don't believe that their mission could have been 
>      completed in a timely manner if only electronic communication was 
>      used.  Observers and SEAOC members also participated at these 
>      meetings.
>      I was able to attend two of these meetings as a SEAOC member and was

>      able to educate myself on how the committee works.  More
>      I was able to learn firsthand about the changes in the works.  As a 
>      result, the new provisions in the 1997 UBC were not a surprise to
>      Hopefully, we can reach a balance on committee work between the 
>      electronic communication and the "face-to-face" meetings.  To say
>      it must be all one way or the other is not being very objective.
>      I patiently wait for the scathing Dennis Wish rebuttal(s).
>      Rick Drake, SE
>      Fluor Daniel, Irvine