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RE: Entire Engineering Community Freaking Out?

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I spoke with another member of SEAOSC who came to visit last weekend and
mentioned John Kariotis' statements in what I believe was the same article.
He was supposedly quoted (and I am paraphrasing since I had not read the
article) that the liklyhood of damage occuring to any particular building
was remote and dependent upon size, location, orientation of the seismic
event etc. He was quoted as saying something to the effect that the
earthquake mitigation programs were unnecessary.
Now, I can't believe that this was quoted from Kariotis - having seen John
in action many times. It would be much easier for me to believe that his
comments were taken out of context rather than the way they appeared in the
If these comments were incorrectly reported, isn't SEAOC's and Seismic
Safety Commissions responsibility to insure that the a follow-up article is
published (possibly at the cost of SEAOC and SSC) to set the record straight
and keep rebuild the public trust that this reporter obviously did much to
I believe that the news media has gotten out of hand - by creating news
rather than reporting it.

Dennis Wish PE

"Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy
for the worst of them all- the apathy of human beings."
Helen Keller

|-----Original Message-----
|From: FredT5 [mailto:FredT5(--nospam--at)]
|Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 1998 3:55 PM
|To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
|Subject: Entire Engineering Community Freaking Out?
|This was a quote from Martha Cox-Nitikman of BOMA in last week's LA Times
|article by Jill Leovy about existing buildings and their seismic
|vulnerability. Knowing Martha I could easily hear here say these words and
|probably regret that they were printed. Likewise I was quoted as calling
|nonductile concrete frame buildings "killers" and then suggesting that the
|window of opportunity policitally was now closed. Jill Leovy is skilled at
|getting people to open up on the telephone, then piecing quotes together to
|make it sound like they all hang together.
|To set the record straight among my colleagues, I was trying to steer Jill
|away from focusing on steel buildings when I said the "k" word. And I was
|speaking about the political situation in Sacramento - not Los Angeles -
|regarding the closed window. Taken out of context, both quotes were used in
|ways I would not approve of.
|Reportedly, the articles seem to be generating healthy dialogue, despite
|hard-hitting approach. What have you all heard?
|The LA Times editorial today suggested that the City Council needs to
|demonstrate leadership and resolve and take preemptive action for buildings
|with the greatest risk and the concentration of people highest. To me, the
|Times has done a good job informing the public in spite of its
|and quote-stringing.
|If I offended anyone by responding to Jill Leovy's inquiries, I'd like to
|your comments and criticisms. I would like to know how others would have
|with this matter with reporters.
|This reminds me of the time years ago I befriended a reporter from
Pasadena -
|we talked for about an hour on the phone. At some point in our discussion I
|must have said something to the effect that Pasadena's Unreinforced Masonry
|Retrofit program "Stuck Out Like a Sore Thumb" because it was so far behind
|adjacent cities. They've since improved greatly, but can you guess what
|up as a headline the next day? If you try to be too careful, you are
|of withholding information. Its a double-edged sword dealing with
|Any thoughts?
|Fred Turner
|Staff Structural Engineer
|Ca. Seismic Safety Commission
|1900 K St. #100 Sacramento, CA 95814
|916-327-1606 916-322-9476 Fax