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RE: California PE Vs SE requirements

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One of the more disturbing undercurrents of this thread is that any
criticism of the professional organizations such as SEA by members in
practice suddenly alienate an individual. There is an implied fear that
voicing an opinion will in some way impugn the integrity of the
organization. SEA has the strength, financially, to establish minimum
standards of practice and in so doing force members to comply to new codes
and methods as well as force them to seek the education necessary to
continue to practice. Worse, SEA has the power of the past association to
fight criticism by an implied superiority - relying heavily on the power of
those who are apathetic and faithfully renew their memberships by believing
that being associated to SEA adds credibility to our practice (similar to
AIA's association with architects). It is far easier for SEA to discredit or
alienate and independent with strong opinions than it is for an individual
with strong opinions to rock the SEA foundation.
I think the majority of engineers on this list and I include myself in this
group, have a tremendous respect for the active participants in SEA.
However, this does not mean that we have to pledge alliance to SEA's
decisions sight unseen and all or nothing.
As active members and mostly as representatives of the trust of paid
members, the policy makers and active volunteers are open to public
criticism and should not be so sensitive to attempt to alienate a member who
decides to voice an opposing opinion. Instead, the opinion should be
considered for what it is, rather than attempting to read between the lines.
Nothing in Sid's original post warranted a reprisal against plan check
professionals who, from my experience, are more often than not correct when
finding flaws with my plans. Those plan check engineers I've gotten to know
have the opportunity to delve deeper into the intent and practice of the
code than most of use who are pressured to get the job out and often
frustrated by the "down-time" to learn a new methodology.
We face many new problem areas in organized groups like SEA and others.
These won't be addressed publicly in the apathetic community, but tend to
come out in discussions where each one of us can step upon the soapbox an
speak our piece. If SEA were not worth saving, the vocal among us would not
stop preaching and promote another avenue for discussion. Furthermore, most
would simply drop out of SEA for good - rather than like I, who will rejoin
when constructive change occurs that I find redeeming to financially
supporting an organization who I believe is in place to represent the needs
of the engineering community as well as the public safety. However, SEA has
chosen to leave the decision to the only power that an independent has at
this time - the power to pay our dues. If policy makers and committees are
too sensitive to accept criticism and instill change, then the financial
food source will end up dry in time. One thing is certain, members I've
spoken with are not satisfied being dictated to and would prefer a better
system of voicing our concerns where they are not simply ignored but given
the attention they deserve.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

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