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Shameful Pancakes??

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From: "Gerard Madden, SE" <gmse(--nospam--at)>
> Check out his post on 2/18/2003 (Subject: Etiquette). Stan clearly
> explains his position and if that's okay with stan then good for him. I
> don't agree- that's all. He calls his method "Networking" ... I call it
> "a favor for a favor."

Thank you, Mr. Madden, for posting this.  I wasn't a member at the time (I
had un-subscribe due to an unusually heavy work load) and didn't fully
understand all the references to "Pancake Breakfasts".

If Stan calls some of his politician friends and tries to acquire projects
through "back channels", then he is guilty of illegal and unethical
behavior.  I saw nothing in that post or any posts related to it indicating
that this is the case, and cannot figure out how his morals came into

Since I have never met Stan Caldwell nor attended any of his fund raisers  I
cannot personally defend his moral character.  What I *can* defend, and
vehemently so, is the practice of engineers being active in politics.  The
easiest point to make concerns one of the other non-technical threads that
is hot right now - the adoption of the NFPA building code vs. the ICC
building code in California (and other locales).  Most of the comments have
been about *why* the NFPA code was adopted in spite of the fact that the ICC
code had the recommendation of (apparently) most of the knowledgeable
agencies and organizations.  If more structural engineers like Stan were
active in politics (fund raisers, campaign assistance, etc.) in California,
they might have voted to adopt the ICC last week.

Caveat:  I am not advocating the ICC over the NFPA - I am just using the
discussion about the two to make a point.

Another example of how engineering and politics *should* mix is the attempt
to revive the Structural Work Act in Illinois.  For those not in the know,
trial lawyers and unions are trying to revive a previously repealed law that
makes *everyone* attached to the construction of a building (architects,
engineers, owners, etc.) automatically liable if a worker falls from a
"scaffold" during construction.  A "scaffold" is so loosely defined that
things like ladders and chairs count.  If this law is revived, the liability
insurance of professionals who practice in Illinois will skyrocket.
Wouldn't it be great if several engineers like Stan could call up some of
the politician they knew and helped elect to say how much they were opposed
to this legislation?

How many people on this list have so much as written a letter to their
senator or congressman (state or national) on legislation affecting
structural engineering or construction?

In closing, I want to say thank you, Mr. Caldwell, for getting involved in
politics and helping to defend the practice of Structural Engineering.  This
must be difficult in a world where Lawyers and Unions typically rule, and
where anyone who participates is assumed to be corrupt by association.

Also kudos to Jan Harris for admitting to being involved in politics after
the abuse that has been heaped upon Stan.  I hope you wore your
asbestos-lined clothing, because I'm sure the flames will start coming your
way soon.

Jason Kilgore
Leigh & O'Kane, L.L.C.
816-444-9655 (FAX)

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