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San Bernardino Retrofit Project. Again.

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Lincoln Electric responded with the following to my initial query.  My
response follows...


?s April 28th e-mail to SAC.
While Lincoln does not intend to engage in an ongoing debate with a
reporter who has aligned himself with plaintiffs? lawyers who are suing
Lincoln, we do want to correct several misimpressions that relate
specifically to Lincoln.  We also note that courts have beenunimpressed
by
the plaintiffs? lawyers efforts to divert attention from the weaknessof
their claims against Lincoln by attacking the Seismic Safety Coalition.
The Coalition?s efforts have made real contributions to the
publicwelfare.
Those efforts, however, simply are not relevant to the lawsuits.
   The portions of the Brouwer e-mail that focus specifically onLincoln
are wrong.  The San Bernardino project was specified by Congress,funded
by
FEMA, and is controlled by FEMA.  Various participants in the
projecthave
occasionally solicited Lincoln?s thoughts, just as they have
solicitedthe
thoughts of many (including, we believe, many of the SAC participants).
There is no mystery about the project and Lincoln certainly has
nocontrol
over its public expenditures.
   The Seismic Safety Coalition is a group of individuals and entities
interested in enhancing seismic safety.  Lincoln is a member.  So are
various persons involved in the engineering, building, contracting,
welding, construction, emergency response, and insurance industries. 
The
Coalition?s efforts have been aimed at encouraging Congress to urgeFEMA
to
undertake seismic retrofit demonstration projects -- that is,
projectsthat
would demonstrate techniques that could limit damage in
futureearthquakes.
Lincoln?s participation in the Coalition arose because of Lincoln?s
long-standing policy of actively working to contribute to the public
welfare.  Lincoln believed it good public policy for FEMA to fund
additional research and demonstration projects into what, if anything,
might prove helpful for existing buildings.  Lincoln contributed to the
Coalition because it believed that the Coalition would express
thispoint
of view to policy makers.
   And Lincoln was right. Congress considered the issue and eventually
agreed; and Congress directed FEMA to spend $40 million for
threeseismic
mitigation projects.  Reflecting the relatively good performance
ofsteel
in past earthquakes, two of the three buildings chosen by FEMA are not
steel buildings.  We wonder why Mr. Brouwer?s interest is limited
onlyto
FEMA?s third choice.
   To the extent that Lincoln?s financial contributions may
have,however
indirectly, assisted in these results, Lincoln is pleased and proud.
Mr.
Brouwer?s unstated premise is that Congress, FEMA and SAC were
allsomehow
puppets of Lincoln.  That premise ignores the professionalism and
credibility of the professionals who have committed their time
andenergy
to the post-Northridge investigation.Roy L. MorrowDirector, Corporate
Relations
Lincoln Electric


I would like to thank the Lincoln Electric Company for their response,
though minimal in relevant content, to my email.  It is to date - after
researching this issue for several months, making numerous attempts to
get information from them - the first attention my questions have been
given.  
I find it aggravating that Lincoln has suggested that I am affiliated
with attorneys who are currently suing them, when I made countless
unanswered attempts to talk to Lincoln about this issue.  I made at
least a dozen phone calls to Duane Miller (the Lincoln weld expert),
Roy Morrow (P.R.), and Leon Panetta (?chairman? of the Seismic Saftey
Coalition).  None were answered, except a few by Roy Morrow who said
Lincoln had no comment on the issue.  In fact, when I asked Mr. Morrow
for information about Lincoln?s innocuous Seismic Safety Coalition, of
which, according to congressional reports, they are the only
dues-paying member, he directed me to an executive at Cassidy and
Associates, one of the most powerful lobbying firms in Washington,
hired by Lincoln Electric.  Nothing wrong with that, I guess, except
that the Cassidy Executive also refused to discuss the Coalition or any
of its activities with me.  If the ?Coalition? is truly interested in
the public welfare, why is it unable to discuss its activities with the
public?
Also, a couple corrections are needed: 
First, Lincoln says, ?We wonder why Mr. Brouwer?s interest is limited
only to FEMA?s third choice [the San Bernardino Project].?  Well,
semantics is a tedious thing, but the San Bernardino project was not a
choice made by FEMA.  It was a choice made by Congressman Jerry Lewis,
after being heavily influenced by the Seismic Safety Coalition. 
Indeed, under normal circumstances the choice would have been made by
FEMA, but in this case it was not. 
Second, in your email you indicate that ?the San Bernardino project was
specified by Congress, funded by FEMA, and is controlled by FEMA.?  It
may, or may not, be a small matter of concern, but while the project is
funded and recorded by FEMA, it is not actually controlled by FEMA. 
The project, as directed by Jerry Lewis, is controlled by Cal State San
Bernardino.  Which may, or may not, explain why SAC had no knowledge of
the project?s origin, and why Duane Miller and a Cassidy executive were
at the University during the first project meeting.
Having said that, perhaps it is not necessary to reply to the claim
that I think Congress, FEMA and SAC ?were all somehow puppets of
Lincoln.?  Of course I don?t.  How could SAC have been a Lincoln puppet
when they didn?t even know of the project?  The premise of my research
Mr. Morrow, was not to outline a comedy of errors as scripted by
Lincoln, it was an arduous attempt to find any indication at all that
the Seismic Safety Coalition is something more than a classic
?astro-turf? organization.  In fact, that is still the goal of my
research, and the reason for these emails.  If anyone else in the
engineering community has had any involvement with the Seismic Safety
Coalition and wishes to discuss it, please contact me immediately.   
I doubt anyone would see this as a puppet show, Mr. Morrow.  However,
if Lincoln Electric were more forthcoming with information concerning
their impact on ?public welfare,? it would certainly seem like much
less of a back-door operation.


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