Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]


[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
I have been away from my office for the day, only to return to over 60
messages including this thread. I have had much at stake in this issue as
founder, past Editor and Chief contributor of SEAOC Online.

The decisions that are about to be made will, in my opinion, effect the
future of this listservice as well as the server. With due respect to Ron
Hamburger who, in my opinion, is a respected engineer and representative of
SEAONC and SEAOC, I don't agree with his concerns. I also believe that Ron,
as many of our board members who are honestly concerned about
code/methodology issues, are uniformed (or apathetic) about the future of
our Internet presence as well as the impact it will have upon our growing
global profession.

Let me preface that none of use are without some bias in this matter. My
experiences with members of the state board, including Goldstein are what
led me to take my SEAOC Online work into the private sector.

There is an undeniable conflict over the ownership of the server. There is,
however, no argument as to who purchased the server, set up the phone lines,
set up the software, and maintains the equipment - SEAOSC. The desire by
SEAOC to control the server is intended to re-route the revenue generated by
advertisments and web hosting to further other organization efforts at a
national level rather than ensure developement of the virtual tools that are
the future of our profession. This, in my opinion, would deplete our
resources over time to a point that the server could not be adequately
maintained without raising member dues. This also conflicts with the intent
of the CAC who established these tools.

If the income created by CAC and server were untouchable, the funds would be
available to support the continued evolution and goals of our global virtual
community without  placing an unnecessary demand upon individual members in
the form of a dues increase.  Although this has not been suggested by the
board, logic would suggest that when financial resouces are relocated to
other SEAOC needs the maintainces of the server needs to come from outside

Previous dues discussions for a ten dollar annual to support the state
office has been debated heatedly by this list. The outcome is that the last
increase was absorbed by our local chapters (at least in Southern
California). This was a decision made at the response fo the members of this

SEAOC has yet to justify expenditures to thier members. They have been
unresponsive to the suggestions to reduce unnecessary spending - such as
unwarranted travel expenses, meals for committee members, cost of meeting
rooms and reimbursements. As a former member of the CAC committee I firmly
believe that SEAOC could have saved no less than a few thousand for every
unnecessary committee meeting that might have been accomplished by other
means. I am not suggesting one extreme over the other, but there is
certainly room for SEAOC to cut the fat.

While SEAOC has visions of increased revenue to further their work at
national and IBC level,there is a concern as to how the money redirected
from the income created by the server and Online publications would affect
the future goals of the Website and Listservice. It was the intent by both
Shafat and I as chairs to the local and state CAC (I chaired the local
chapter from 1989 through 1993)to invest in the education of our members.
Bringing engineers in line with the development schedule of technology was a
primary goal. We did this by the development of this Listservice as well as
through the publication of SEAOC Online - which started almost six years
before as SEAOSC Online.

Shafat and I were invited to place our efforts under the umbrella of the
state chapter. We were promised by the state president in 1993 that Shafat
and I could continue with a successful format, with the help of a state
committee. This quickly led to forced format changes, comprimises in content
and censurship by board members and special sub-committees formed to review
content prior to publication. I personaly felt the pressure from Northern
Chapter members who represented a different philosophy in business attitude
not necessarily embraced by independent engineers whom the publication was
aimed. When the compromises created a journal that philosophically differed
in content and writting style from what had been sucessful previously, I
resigned. Unfortunately, the members soon learned that there were not
sufficient volunteers to spend the 100 plus hours every three months needed
to continue the publication.

In the background Allen Goldstein and Scott Stedman were influencing the
direction of Online and, in my opinion, posturing to control the server.
Goldstein continuously recommended to the board that Online be tabled until
appropriate standards could be established at the state level for the
operation and control of content of our work.

I received calls board representatives (Ted Cannon, Pat Buskovitch)
informing me of the decisions of the board to create a sub-committee to
review Online prior to each issue. In practicality, this amounted to
censureship and attempted control by others outside the CAC. My compplaint
was that Online was being directed by a small band of board members.
However, it was the sucess of Online with the dues paying members that
caused the State to want to absorb it in the first place. I believed that
the state felt that they could benifit for the work that had already been
done and deliberately change it to fall under control of their chosen
representatives. Unfortunatley for these members the volunteers chosen did
not have the desire or devotion to making it happen.

Although it was considered a simple mistake, reservations for travel to a
CAC meeting in San Francisco were made through the SEAOC travel agency. The
confirmations were faxed after the agent contacted Scott Stedman for
approval of the travel expense. When I arrived at the airport I found that
the reservation was canceled at Allen Goldsteins authorization. Shafat made
a call to Stedman, who denied authorizing the cancelation of my
resservation. After voicing my dissatisfaction with Goldsteins actions, I
received a letter apologizing to me and my wife (who transported me to the
airport at six in the morning) for any inconvenience. He was quick to pass
the blame to an oversight of the travel agency who was very clear as to
where the denial originated.

Many of you might remember the newspaper article that Allen Goldstein was
quoted as a representative of the structural engineering community. He
overstepped his position as executive director by making public statements
which did not properly represent the Civil Engineering members of SEAOC. He
recommended, in the article, that those needing engineers in seismic
rehabilitation work only seek the assistance of licensed Structural
Engineers.  I'm not trying to start another debate on this issue, but he
negated almost 50% of the dues paying membership of this organization who
have been trying to find an agreeable solution to the public's understanding
of our confusing licensing limits. This had the potential of obstructing
business from that portion of our membership that earns their living in this

Possibly, the blame really belongs on the shoulders Lutrell who, I believed
should have been the spokesman for the state, and the board of directors who
should have reviewed his statements prior to allowing them to be published.
This is irresponsible of our representatives at state level.  Goldstein is
not an engineer and has no right being the spokesperson for structual
engineering. He also does not have an understanding, based upon his
comments, of the extent under the registration act of the legal boundaries
of our titles.

The last glossy issue of the SEAOC Newsletter was a blatant attempt to
provide Goldstein with damage control - and, with the aid of Lutrell, to
spin the members opinion in favor of maintaining Goldsteins contract in lieu
of the opposition by SEAOSC members. Goldstein's accomplishments in various
different jobs over the years in unrelatd fields (including his purported
importance to the California Governors office in prior years) are of little
concern to the Structural Engineering profession. Personally, I would give
much more credence to the devoted office managers such as the Central
California manager (I apologize for not remembering her name) as well as Don
and Jane Gilbert in Southern California who have proven to be invaluable to
the needs of the local members.

I can only conclude that Goldstein believes he posses a more important role
within SEAOC professional community than as an office manager. No matter
what he believes, Goldstein needs to understand that he is simply an
employee paid by the dues from each and every member. His recent comment "I
don't work for the members.." suggesting he works for the board of directors
is misguided and is evidence of his arrogance. This type of employee would
not be tolerated in most company's.

This is where the motivation to the bylaw changes comes into play. It has
been suggested that the reason those members of the state board are adamant
about the bylaw changes is to force the continuation of Goldsteins contract
over the objections of Southern Chapter. This is not only my opinion, but
those of vocal board members who attended the July 18th meeting. The changes
in the bylaws can have far reaching effects on the control of the server,
censorship on the listservice postings and profound ramifications to the
development of the global community.

The historic block veto is, I believe, meant to maintain a level of checks
and balances within the profession which would not allow the passage of any
act without appropriate representation of the membership (which Southern
chapter controls 40%). Changes in the bylaws would allow for actions of
conscience by board members without approval of the individual member. This
become an oligarchy - autonomous control by a selected few. Idealistically,
this could speed up the development process but realistically it is a
dangerous precedent that could lead to abuse of power.

I would assume that Ron Hamburger and a few other board members are
idealistic enough to believe that every member of the state board and every
member of each chapters board of directors has the best interest of our
profession at heart. I wish I were so trusting, but if Goldsteins contract
is renewed as the first act of the bylaws change over the objection of
SEAOSC, Ron Hamburger would receive a painful demonstration of the first
abuse of this power. John Price's grandstanding and uncomprimising demands
can only be interpreted as an example of this abuse. Although Ron and a
other members disapproved of this action, it appears that, with the
exception of southern chapter, the majority at state level are in accord.

SEAOSC has promoted caution and clarity in any decison of the representative
board. In light of the uncertainty and current level of dissatisfaction of
list respondants, I stongly urge the list member to voice their opinions to
the board.

Finally, in recent weeks we have had (in stock market terms) a correction on
this list that has yet defined the direction our list members which to move.
The availability of the conflict in California is not a localized issue as
listservice members may think. Remember that you may find yourself awaking
one day with only memories of this list. Therefore, you need to assert your
opinions to SEAOC and take responsibility for the direction of this list. Of
all issues debated on this list, this is, perhaps, the most important to the
future of our Listservice.

Dennis S. Wish PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Hamburger [mailto:roh(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, July 20, 1998 7:41 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: SEAOSC v. SEAOC

Though tempers certainly flared, I am hopeful that the productive
work that was done prior to the threat of expulsion has not been
lost.  I know that the SEAONC appointed directors to the board are
stilling willing to work with all parties to break out of our
deadlock and move forward.  I am confident that the SEAOSC directors
will also be eager to do this, once they have had time to reflect.

I think it is also worth noting that the attacks on Allen Goldstein
were not warranted.  He attempted to act as peace-maker and moderator
at Saturday's meeting and is continuing to do so.

> Reply-to:      seaint(--nospam--at)
> From:          "Bill Allen, S.E." <Bill(--nospam--at)>
> To:            <seaint(--nospam--at)>
> Subject:       RE: SEAOSC v. SEAOC
> Date:          Mon, 20 Jul 1998 18:10:36 -0700

> I have heard that the meeting, up until John Price's ultimatum, was
> extremely productive. It is not only unfortunate that Mr. Price took the
> meeting in the direction he did and essentially destroyed all the work
> was accomplished up until that point. It seems to me that Mr. Price may
> be the right person to lead SEAOC in the changes the organization wants to
> make.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ron Hamburger [mailto:roh(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Monday, July 20, 1998 6:20 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: SEAOSC v. SEAOC
> <snip>
> What was not said, in
> Shafat's report below is that the Board meeting on Saturday was
> extremely productive, that there was reasoned and carefully
> considered conversation and a free interchange of ideas throughout
> the day.  Given this, it was unfortunate that John Price elected to
> use such a heavy handed and extreme strategy, especially given the
> cooperative nature of the meeting up until that time.
> <snip>
Ronald O. Hamburger, SE
Regional Manager
EQE International, Inc.
San Francisco, California