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Re: California State Employees' Initiative To: <seaoc(--nospam--at)> Subject: Re: Ca

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"Bill Allen, S.E." said: With all due respect, I am hard pressed to find many
examples where a government agency did a job better than the private sector.
Maybe one exception is putting a man on the moon or WWII.

Well, Bill, you got my gander. Two exceptions come immediately to mind:

Exception Two: The enforcement of California's Field Act by the State
Architect's office (which incidently is staffed almost exclusively with
Structural Engineers (90% public and 10% private +/-), the reason why is a
long story for another day...) For the benefit of John Nichols Down Under, the
Field Act is a 1933 state law that actually requires public schools to be
thoroughly plan-checked, inspected, and built properly. Predictably, these
schools perform distinctly better than neighboring buildings during
earthquakes. Many of the principles of modern structural engineering practice
in California have roots in this program. I believe this is where we learned
the value of the basic principle of tying buildings together with complete
load paths. I dare say that if we didn't have the Field Act, you wouldn't be
an SE today Bill.

Exception Three: The enforcement of California's Dam Safety Act by the Div. of
Dam Safety in the Department of Water Resources. For the benefit of JN Down
Under, this act was created after the unfortunate failure of a dam that was
designed (and constructed?) by an unscrupulous local government water
department, the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power in the 1920's. The
Division of Dam Safety sets an unmatched worldwide standard despite an
overworked, underpaid, thinly spread staff and an aging stock of dams. I
honestly don't see how Vern Persson, its Chief, gets any sleep at night. 

There are other exceptions that we should be thankful for, most of which go
unnoticed not unlike much superior private sector work that also goes

For those obsessed with needing to know the bias of statements,  I work for
the state and am represented by PECG (by necessity since we have no choice)
and I'm voting against Prop 224. 

Am I putting any money towards the campaign? No, because it has little chance
of winning. 

A good rule of thumb is to NEVER vote for initiatives such Prop 224 that have
not passed muster through the legislature first. Flawed as it is, the
Legislature does serve some good in allowing independent reviews, open
dialogues and refinements of proposed laws before they are voted upon.

Fred Turner
Staff Structural Engineer
Ca. Seismic Safety Commission
1900 K St. #100 Sacramento, CA 95814
916-327-1606 916-322-9476 Fax