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Re: 97 Code is a Life Safety Standard

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-----Original Message-----
From: sasquake <sasquake(--nospam--at)uswest.net>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Date: Friday, September 24, 1999 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: 97 Code is a Life Safety Standard


>

>Would you
>want every building in Turkey and Taiwan and Kobe and Northridge totally
>unusable
>and unoccupiable after an earthquake, as long as life loss was minimized?
>
It is this fuzzy "thinking" that obscures and emotionalizes the issue.
Turkey, Taiwan and Northridge are vast, large and relatively small areas.
Are you actually suggesting there is a possibility that "every building in
Turkey" constructed substantially in accord with a building code could be so
affected? Taiwan is much smaller, but please answer the same question.  Now
Northridge is a small part of the San Fernando Valley, which is a small part
of the City of Los Angeles, which is a small part of the Southern California
seismic area.  No I don't "want" every building in Northridge to be
unusable, but among all the possibilties cited that MAY actually be one. And
yes I would accept it on the basis of no loss of life if, as I believe it
does, means that a substantially higher number of people can have adequate
housing (because it is affordable).  See Mr. Greenlaw's posts regarding
public policy. Yes everybody who lived in LA looked at the Northridge area
in horror, along with the rest of the world, but when they realized that
they were OK in Torrance,  Covina, Boyle Heights, etc. even tho they'd been
knocked out of bed,  the desire to pass laws, codes, etc quickly evaporated.
For the technical part of this experience read up on the attempts of LA City
to address moment frame buildings in downtown LA.

The question that must be explained to the "public" so that they can make an
informed choice is : Do you want to pay x% extra now on the y% chance in the
future your house (office, etc) will be made unusable if you don't spend it
( but there's no guarantee that x% will do it)?   Except in the emotional
time immediately following a seism the answer has been the desire to spend
as little as possible now in order to increase the non-probability of death
(particularly one's own) later to a fairly predictable, high level.