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Re: OC Dinner Meeting - March, 1998

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I agree 100% (well, maybe I should say 95% just to be safe ) with Mr. Greenlaw's
post here.

Any committee that does not believe it is accountable to the SEAOC membership
that does not actively participate in their committee, is a very dangerous
committee.  We have every right, and indeed an obligation to critic the work of
each committee.

Maybe we need ANOTHER committee just to regulate and control all the other
committees :)


Charles Greenlaw wrote:

> My reply on this point is to ask rhetorically, Which bulldog-faced British
> Prime Minister said,   "Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary.
> It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention
> to an unhealthy state of things." ?
> There has been more than sufficient expression of concern on this server,
> and in SEAOC section newsletters, that the Building Code is becoming too
> complex and difficult to comply with...more than sufficient to make this a
> legitimate issue for criticism, whether polite or anguished or hot-headed.
> In reviewing Bill Allen's 12 March Posting that opened this thread, I see an
> informative account of what Mr Allen believes he witnessed, and I find his
> clearly labeled "opinions" of what he thought of Mr Bachman's conduct that
> night, how it may relate to the writing of the relevant parts of the 1997
> UBC, and of the 1997 UBC itself.  I find no insult in it, nor misstating of
> opinion as fact. In my opinion, this is the best writing of Mr Allen's that
> I've ever read, and I hope he carries on at this caliber of expression.
>     In the above comments is the notion, repeated in recent days by others who
> are prominent in SEAOC code-writing committees, that those who don't
> participate in committees shouldn't criticize the work product of those who
> do.  And that's rubbish. As one who has participated, I know full well the
> extent to which these autonomous committees have become smug, self-directing
> little empires, riddled with "groupthink" like-mindedness, and enjoying a
> hands-off lack of direction and oversight from the elected local section and
> SEAOC Boards of Directors.
> And yet many have told me that SEAOC enjoys great influence with ICBO, and
> in no small part because of the appearance that the several SEAOC committees
> that deal with code represent a reliable consensus of SEAOC membership. In
> reality, these committees only represent a reliable consensus of those who
> attend all the time. Those who attend all the time are those who prevail,
> not those whose differing philosophies are continually thwarted.
> An unfortunate factor is that code-influencing committee work seems
> especially to appeal to devoutly altruistic persons of monitoring and
> controlling temperaments. Their work is manifested not as advisories, or as
> helpful research digests, but as legally enforceable requirements that
> everyone must comply with. I have seen the dreamy look of satisfaction on
> the face of one prominent committee chair when this purpose --compelling
> compliance-- was spoken of.
> You see the same committee people year after year, and it's hard not to
> suppose that there are among them addicted "controlaholics" satisfying inner
> inclinations in the process. To the extent that is so, there is no use to
> plead with them to do their committee work differently. It would be resisted
> with endless and ingenious rationalizations that never quite add up. Try it
> and see.
> The necessary action to change this long-neglected  SEAOC committee tendency
> toward ever-stricter confining and exacting control is for the much more
> diverse elected Boards of Directors within SEAOC to take charge and insist
> on recruiting an appropriately diverse committee make-up, and keeping it
> accountable to the membership, instead of letting these perennial feifdoms
> of "volunteers" run SEAOC and run our professional practices.
> And what power does an individual member have to that end?  Personally
> expressed criticism, a willingness to serve when an amenable climate in
> which to serve is finally created, and perhaps balking at that dues increase
> if nothing is done.  There's already Road Rage out there. Now comes Code
> Rage. Well done, Bill Allen.
> Charles O. Greenlaw, SE    Sacramento, CA