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RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough![Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: <seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org>
- Subject: RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!
- From: "Dennis S. Wish" <wish(--nospam--at)cwia.com>
- Date: Sun, 24 May 1998 01:03:31 -0700
I'm finally at the end of my rope! For the last three or four years I have tried to see Frank's comments as having a touch on reality that most of us overlook and which can use to identify the weakness of our system. However, Frank Lew comments of late to suggest that the board of directors and committee chairpersons are purposefully stonewalling the membership by using their private fraternal clique combined with the power of the apathetic professional community that pay their dues and allow this board to be as ineffective as possible and still maintain the organization. Franks appears to believe that those with strong opinions need to join the fraternity or forever be committed to obscurity. My opinion from his discussion is that we need not bother wasting energy to create change since it will accomplish nothing. We pay our dues to an organization that has no legislative lobby power (as he suggested in his prior post where he relates the lobby power of organizations such as BIA, NAHB, AIA etc.)and as a combined state organization is willing to compromise - essentially diluting - the combined professional opinion until it is much less effective than what we started with. This is evident when we learn of the discourse between the chapters that is occurring today by differences of opinion between chapters that can not be resolved at a state level. The solution is create more committees to evaluate the work at the state level (as appears to be the notion from the latest SEAOC Review). If we haven't learned our lesson from big government, these sub-committees to review other committees or the effectiveness of the organization is a waste of money, energy and time. Do you want answers, then poll this list or our members. What SEAOC lacks and what the structural engineering community lack as a whole is the ability to motivate it's members. If it can not create a majority if voice, then it should be listening to the vocal minority such as this list. It need not consider only SEAOC members, but should be listening to the needs of the global community which it claims to want autonomy over other engineering organizations when it comes time to create IBC regulations. If only 300 of the 6,000 list members are active, then this becomes the vocal minority. If this does not meet the satisfaction of the silent majority then let them speak or forever hold their piece. The fact is that SEAOC is not paying credence to the voice of this list. We are a consolation to the community and a means to channel our concerns in a mobius loop without every being considered credible by our elected officials or chairpersons. Let's face it, the only time I have received responses is when I threaten the loudest or when some board member becomes surprised at the level of professional concern discussed on this list. Above that, the board member becomes equally apathetic over our involvement and maintains this list to generate revenue and provide a platform to blow off steam. Frank has given me the proof I need to seek the abolition of a state organization. He has also provided me with the evidence that what we need is to promote more independent SEA organizations to have greater lobby power. If this is not sufficient, then he has convinced me that SEAOC is not an organization worthy of my dues. Now, I would hate to think that Frank Lew holds the combined opinions of the current SEAOC board or committee chairs, but rather, is the opinion of an ex-advocate who has finally thrown in the towel and is trying to convince this list to conceded defeat as well. I'm disappointed to learn that what I thought was reasonable arguments to instill fresh thinking from this list is, IMHO, nothing more than attempts to negate the efforts or concerns of the individual members of this list. Looking back among the posts, I find very little constructive advice from Frank, however, I treated him with the respect I believed he deserved due to his years of activity in the profession. I, for one, am disappointed in the direction that Frank is taking. I believe him to be an extremely competent engineer and intelligent professional with contacts, but am surprised at his lack of ability to seek other avenues to promote change for what ails the profession - bad codes and incompetent decision makers. Yes, I'll be attacked by committee chairs who will claim that if I want change, I should be involved. Well, I have been involved both as a committee chair, a sub-committee chair and as an editor of SEAOC Online which no longer exists because of political conflict and the unwillingness of any one else to step into my shoes and provide the level of involvement and work that I devoted to it. Therefore, I have the right to voice my concerns and distaste with the system - I've paid more than my dues. Now it's time, as a united 6,000 listservice membership to get off your collective asses and start voicing an opinion. Send your opinions to seaosc(--nospam--at)aol.com, seaoc(--nospam--at)aol.com and any board member or chairman you care to express concern with. Write NAHB (I have CC'd a letter I sent Jay Crandal from NAHB to this list), CELSOC, ASCE, NSPE and any other organization you think needs our help. If you have contacts in the insurance industry that are decision makers - copy this thread and forward it to them. If you work for an employer that will not allow you to respond to this thread or only digest the posts - join the list on your home computer, respond to seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org on your own time, do it on weekends, ask your employer to allow you access to respond to the list on your own time but, for heavens sake - get involved. If you are in another state or another country you still need to voice an opinion to try and instill change. These same codes will become national codes and are applicable wherever wind or seismic govern. Conventional framing provisions are used in every part of the country. If your state specifically assigns professionals through municipalities to govern Conventional framing, voice your opinion to promote a complete prescriptive measure. If you fear that pressures to City Councils will force the Building Official to compromise good professional practice over a loop-hole or inappropriately detailed section of the code - stand before the City Council and voice your opinion - try to get on your local building departments appeal board or planning commission. I don't care if you are recent graduate, or still a student - I don't care if you don't specialize in residential construction - your professional ethics should be sufficient to get you involved in an issue to protect the public. Picture in your mind the family living in a poorly designed home yet in compliance with conventional framing standards. The home is torn away from it's foundations due to the savings of a few holddowns or anchor bolts or possibly an additional shear wall. Now picture the financial hardship of the family trying to take on a second to cover their insurance deductible. Envision a family who can not make the repairs which may have been avoided if only the prescriptive code where equivalent to the minimum engineered standard. Picture the family in a public shelter or living for months with relatives or forced on the street. Envision the psychological pain and hardship these families must endure. Think about the battle with the insurance companies that they must endure (and I'm sure any of you who surveyed damage or were hired to repair homes can understand). Imagine the stress to the children, the parents who argue over if and when the inconvenience will end. Imagine the financial burden left - even with low income loans. Now picture the members of this family are your sons and/or daughters. Get off your butt and act on this! Dennis Wish PE Respectfully Dennis Wish PE -----Original Message----- From: FLew98 [mailto:FLew98(--nospam--at)aol.com] Sent: Saturday, May 23, 1998 8:59 PM To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Subject: Re: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough! In a message dated 98-05-23 19:18:17 EDT, you write: > Well, I developed a reasonable plan. How reasonable is debatable, but the goals and objectives were certainly unrealistic. You wrote the equivalent of a letter to the editor in your local paper. Most such writers have strong opinions on a subject, and need to vent them. Among readers who see the letter, some will nod and say, "Yep, that makes sense to me". Then it gets tossed with the rest of the paper into the recycle bin. Such missives have no impact because the writers have invested only some keyboard time, and no other resources or energy to further their positions. Typically, they want the govenment, leaders or policy makers to 'do something' about one issue or another. > Now you want me to > execute the plan myself? As you know by now, I have too strong opinions to > hold a political office nor do I have the time since I am running a one man > shop (more or less). I've isolated these rationalizations so they will register distinctly with listserv readers, who can form their own opinions. No further comment. > I do know that, while paying dues for eighteen years, I have > seen very little evidence where the organization has done anything to > protect the professional (as opposed to the profession). There have been continuing debates over the issue of serving the needs of consulting offices vs. serving the more technical needs of engineers. I recall at least two debates on this subject when I was on the SEAONC board . The reality is that the majority of SEAOC members are employees, not principals and partners who have a focus on the business side of the profession. Such employee members are more interested in activities and services that focus on the nuts and bolts, and not, for example, mounting an assault on BORPELS or the AIA. These folks pay the same dues and deserve just as much value as you do. > Why assume others will do my "heavy lifting"? Frank, that's why I elected them > and pay dues. Just like the members of AIA do. Just like the members of a > representative form of government do. This analogy goes only so far. Your officers aren't compensated like elected representatives to government, nor have that level of authority and influence. The only 'compensation' they receive is a meal at the monthly board meetings. Most of them likely are as time-constrained as you are, and perhaps no more able to allocate time to the good of the profession than you. Yes, there's a slight bit of glory attached to holding office, so perhaps we should expect a bit more effort from them than members in genral. But not a lot more, except perhaps from the presidents, who have more glory. > Please, Frank, if you can't offer something constructive, please > go back to your knitting and leave this thread alone. Perhaps I didn't make it clear in previous postings. My constructive suggestion is to save our energies and resources by not tilting at *these particular* windmills. Conventional construction still will be allowed in your grandchildren's time. So will architects and civil-civils who do an occasional structural building job in California. Take it from a long-time observer of the Sacramento scene. Frank Lew, SE Orinda, CA
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