From: Charles Greenlaw <cgreenlaw(--nospam--at)speedlink.com>
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 17:43:16 -0700
At 09:32 AM 5/17/99 -0700, Neil Moore, S.E., wrote:
>The April 1999 issue of SEAOC Plan Review goes a long way in explaining
>some of issues that this thread has been addressing. The publication
>includes an interview with the Seismic Design Manual's project Manager, Ron
>Gallagher, which should show a better side than what he has recently been
As an admitted "outspoken practitioner" who has been in on code
advocacy from within, as has Ron Gallagher, Norm Scheel, and many others, I
would say that Ron's statements of purpose and future plans show a very good
side indeed. Nothing in those objectives differs materially from those in
ALL the Blue Book writing and rewriting committees in the past, right back
to the beginning.
Professed objectives however are not accomplishments. Look to political
campaign promises for an enduring example everyone understands.
Politics is about control of policy that affects everyone, and is about
control of people and outcomes. It is about power. Ron says the Seismology
Committee "is truly the heart of the Association." No doubt of that, and it
is the center of power accordingly.
Who is going to say that government power is riddled with politics, but
Seismology Committee power is free of it?
Any surprise that there's a shortfall in Seismology between professed
objectives and achievements?
Any surprise that as the structure of that power gets ever more entrenched
as an entity unto its self, and ever more remote, and viewed as ever further
protected from overview and competition, that the gap between averred plans
and actual results grows ever-wider?
Any surprise that puff-piece magazine articles from SEAOC have become a
steady staple in what comes down from the top, and that dissent reaching the
membership has to come in by private initiative from riff-raff on the e-mail
Any chance that misleading information about real agendas can only happen in
public-office politics, but never in technical association politics?
Is it possible that differing agendas compete openly in the partisanship of
public-office politics, but don't exist in SEAOC's politics?
Why, I wonder is freedom of dissent cherished in public politics where the
factions already bicker openly, but is unseemly at best in SEAOC politics
where the disputes are routinely hushed up?
Can it be that skeptical, critical feedback from those governed is good in
government but bad in a Structural Engineering Association?
>Finally there is a very good report from Norm Scheel, S.E., concerning the
>first NCSEA Code Advisory Committee meeting.
Norm's been involved in residential woodframe code issues for a long
time now, and from a regular designer's perspective. He is licensed in all
50 states. Before I sent out that long, long rant last week on the history
of flexible/ non-flexible diaphragms, I let it set a half-day and then
called Norm and told him all about it. He regaled me with wierd stuff in the
97 UBC that screws up residential design work he does. Then he urged me to
post my message. Out it went.
Charles O. Greenlaw SE Sacramento CA