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RE: SEAOC seismology opinion ...

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The consensus process may be a good tool for code change review process. 
However, there are drawbacks to placing too much emphasis on this process 
also. First, many of the people who serve on the consensus committees may not 
thoroughly review all sections of the proposal due to lack of interest or 
knowledge in that particular area. So they may just go with the flow since 
some of the more vocal and well respected members are pushing for something.

Second, once the consensus has been reached and the proposal makes it to the 
IBC Structural Review Committee it carries a tremendous amount of weight 
because "It was the consensus", and it virtually shuts out any form of 
challenge to the outcome of consensus process. Having been a participant in 
all the cycles of committee hearing for the 2000 IBC I can tell you that I 
heard the reference to the consensus process from the committee members as 
the sole reason for disapproving many proposals that tried to change anything 
in the seismic provisions of the code. 

I believe that we should strive for a more democratic process that lets the 
voices of all interested parties be heard and judged on the merits of 
proposal rather than in the shadow of this giant called the "consensus 
process." After all no individual or group has a monopoly on intelligence.

Ben Yousefi, SE
San Jose, CA  

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