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I'm full, check please

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Scott,

I only know about what Stan has commented about. I agree he has not said
anything to indicate illegal behavior, immoral behavior, unethical
behavior. He has indicated that he plays within the rules of the current
system. I happen to think that the current system is broken. He never
shared if he ever was awarded any projects, and even if he was, I am not
suggesting he be punished in any fashion.

I don't think engineering firms should engage in PAC's or other
fundraisers to obtain work from public agencies headed by people they
helped financially. Again, I'm not saying it's illegal. I'm not saying
they cut deals, but it is an easy bridge to cross, and no one is going
to come out and say they were given a project for help during the
campaign.

I am the naïve one. I am the unrealistic one. I am the one who doesn't
understand the way the game is played in real life. I'm not trying to
drag Stan name through the mud. It's not my style to say "A certain
engineer, who shall remain nameless, once suggested that holding
political fundraisers is a good way to market a firm". Stan suggested
it, so I'm using his name.

That's it, (for sure this time)...

Have a good weekend and have a hearty breakfast tomorrow, a
high-cholesterol (Pancake Free) one, as a certain engineer who shall
remain nameless, once wrote.

-gerard
Santa Clara, CA



-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu] 
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 1:38 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Pancake Breakfasts - Boy I'm hungry

Gerard,

And where in that quote from Stan's post did he say:

1) That he contributed any money to the mayor's campaign...the
fund-raising event appears to have been for a county commisioner and he
happen to meet the mayor there.  So, does that mean that if I happen to
meet Bill Frist in the supermarket (admittedly not really the same
thing)
and chat with him and get to know if in the effort of "getting on the
radar" for future things, that I am in the wrong?  The end result is
that
I see no money at all involved in Stan's relationship with the mayor.
Maybe if it was the county commisioner, then there would be more
concern.

2) That he recieved any work from his relationship with the mayor...it
only appears that "got on the radar" for future potential work.

So, again, my problem is with the implication that Stan did something
that
is illegal or unethical.  I don't doubt or dispute your right to not
like
the idea of process that Stan was involved in.  Such processes don't
leave
much of a positive flavor in my mouth either (even though if done
"properly" they are perfectly legal...just not my cup of tea).

The biggest reason why I don't personally like such processes is that
even
though everything may be on the up and up, there is too much possibility
of the perception of "wrongness".  I agree with Gail's post and your's
that there is too much influence of money in the political process.  As
a
result, the process in which everyone is supposed to be equal ends up
"favoring" those with power and money.  But just because something
"smells" bad or is perceived to be wrong does not necessarily make it
so.

Did Stan do something wrong (i.e. actually give money to a political
campaign in exchange for known future favors)?  I really don't know.
There is nothing to really suggest so other than our individual
suspicions that twist his words.  Thus, I will consider him innocent
until you (or someone else) can provide some proof to back up your claim
and will object to such personal attacks on him.  In a similar vein, has
Chenney done something wrong (i.e. do favorable things for his oil
industry friends in exchange for getting their help in getting Bush and
him elected)?  I really don't know.  While I am certainly suspicious (I
naturally have less trust of politicians, especially Republican
politicians [after all I am flaming liberal...at least in some people's
minds <grin>], and there are some things that "smell"), but the truth is
that as of yet there is no proof so even with my suspicions, I consider
Chenney innocent of such "wrong doing".

So, in closing, by all means, don't participate in such political
processes if they bother you.  By all means, critize such political
processes if they bother you.  But, I would encourage you from attacking
an individual by either implying or directly stating that this received
political favors in exchange for money unless you can back that claim
up.

FWIW, I also think that the attacks on commission that approved the use
of
NFPA because they are "in the pockets" of unions is out of line as well.
Maybe, just maybe, the commission truly thinks that the NFPA is the best
code from a safety point of view and is exercising some "leadership"
(i.e.
Republicans tend to applaud Bush for exercising "leadership" by not
listening to polls [which supposedly express the voice of the public]
but
just doing what he thinks is right).  Maybe they thought that all the
others were just wrong to support the IBC.  But, then again maybe they
were "bought and paid for".  I really don't know and that is the point.
To imply that they are "bought and paid" for without some sort of actual
proof is wrong in my book.

Now, I am sure that some (like Dave Lowen) will just say that I am
extremely naive.  I am not naive.  Does the system get abused?  Are
"pancake breakfasts" sometimes used for illegal/wrong purposes?  You
bet.
I don't doubt it.  Absolutely.  But, I refuse to lump everyone who
participates in such systems into the guilty category without some
actual
proof.  I look at it from the perspective that I would hope that if I am
ever in a suspicious situation that others would give me the benefit of
the doubt and at least wait until some actual proof was supplied.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI

On Fri, 1 Aug 2003, Gerard Madden, SE wrote:

> Scott,
>
> These are Stan's own words, not mine:
> ********
> For example, at my most recent county commissioner fund-raising
> breakfast late last year, I was introduced to the new mayor of a
> fast-growing suburb of Dallas.  We chatted for about 30 minutes on a
> wide variety of topics.  Consequently, when I or my colleagues call on
> him in the future, he will no longer be a stranger (and neither will
> we).  With enough calls and visits, we might even get on his radar
> screen for future city projects.
>
> ********
>
> You interpret it your way, and I'll interpret it mine. I'm not saying
> it's wrong for stan to do this, I'm saying it's not right for me and I
> am voicing that opinion. Earlier in this same post, Stan states its
> perfectly legal and ethical to do what he is doing, it's the American
> Way- so there, it's just me being a jerk to him and attacking him, for
> the umpteenth time, everyone happy?
>
> I think there is a distinction between inviting an elected official to
> your meeting and providing him/her with a meal AND soliciting people,
> under a PAC (which stan said his firm does) to give you money so
someone
> may get a person elected. Why do you think all of this campaign
finance
> reform stuff was a big deal until 9/11??? Because people are tired of
> politicians returning favors (uhhh, Haliburton ring a bell) to
campaign
> contributors rather than doing something in the best interest of their
> constituents.
>
> Backslapping and feigned laughter is definitely a part of many SEAOC
> meetings. I haven't been to one in 8 years, I didn't enjoy myself. I
> think it helps the psyche of a lot of engineers to tell each other how
> great they are... and to share common gripes. I prefer the seminars
> sponsored by seaoc rather than the dinner meetings.
>
> To each his own.
>
> -gerard
> Santa Clara, CA
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu]
> Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 9:28 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: Pancake Breakfasts - Boy I'm hungry
>
> Gerard,
>
> I have no objection what so ever to you no agreeing with the method
nor
> voicing such disagreement.  I do, however, object to it being referred
> to
> as a "favor for a favor".  That directly implies some quid pro quo
(i.e.
> that Stan actually gets definite work for his company for supporting a
> politician) and I have yet to see anything that resembles proof of
such
> a
> claim.  Stan's comments were to the effect that one possible
"positive"
> of
> such "meet and greet" sessions were that "...we might even get on his
> radar screen for future city projects."  I see NO WAY to interpret
that
> as
> being that "I have gotten city projects cause I greased the wheels of
a
> politician" and, thus object to such an implication as it is
remarkably
> close to what I would consider slander (intended or not...again I
> apologize if I am putting words in your mouth).  What Stan described
is
> not that much different that attending some engineering/architectural
> organization's dinner or annual meeting and participating in
> "networking"
> there.  When I have attended annual meetings (TMS annual meetings,
BSSC
> meettings, SEI Structures Congress, AISC annual meeting), part of my
> reason is to get to know others in the field with the intent of the
> (admittedly remote) chance of future work (there are many other reason
> as
> well, but this IS a factor).  This is also true to some degree for
local
> ASCE dinner meetings (although since most are traditional civil types,
> the
> likelihood of future work through them is rather small...that and I am
> an
> officer of the local branch so I typically should be there is I can).
> Additionally, as someone else pointed out, both the local NSPE
> branch/sections (much more "active" politically) and the local ASCE
> branch/sections (less so than NSPE/MSPE) hold sessions every once and
a
> while in which local or state politicians attend so that we can voice
> concerns to the engineering population.
>
> The end result is that I have no problem with you not agreeing with
the
> method...admittedly, it is not really my cup of tea either (maybe
> because
> I am "anti-social"...Stan has told me I need to get out of cyberspace
> and
> into the real world...he just hasn't told where that is yet! <grin>).
I
> do object to the idea that Stan has done something wrong without
> something
> to back up that claim (and yes, making a donation for the express
> purpose
> of definitely getting work in return is wrong).
>
> HTH,
>
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
>
>
> On Thu, 31 Jul 2003, Gerard Madden, SE wrote:
>
> > Be disgusted,
> >
> > 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."
> >
> > Don't try to shut others up-this is America! If we can't discuss
stuff
> > openly among ourselves, then why have this list? We don't always
need
> to
> > agree and praise one another- I am 100% sure that Stan has lost not
1
> > second of sleep based on my comments.
> >
> > -gerard
> > santa clara, ca
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu]
> > Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2003 6:26 PM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > Subject: RE: Pancake Breakfasts - Boy I'm hungry
> >
> > To all:
> >
> > May I suggest that we drop this topic, as I find the inferences
> > contained
> > within it to be rather "low".  While it may be me being overly
> > sensative,
> > but I find the inferred implications that Stan participates in
> > fund-raising activities solely in order to get his company more
jobs,
> > etc
> > to be rather disgusting (and maybe I am missing the point of some
> > people's
> > intent in their posts...if so, please forgive me...but my percieved
> > direction of this thread bothers me).  While I might disagree with
> Stan
> > on
> > many issues (and not just political issues), I have yet to see any
> > evidence that Stan is anything less than honorable or ethical.
> >
> > And to those that don't really like "Pancake breakfasts" (i.e. think
> > that
> > they are wrong), then I suggest that you NEVER attend an ASCE or SEA
> > (SEAOC or what ever your local SEA organization is) dinner meeting
> > again.
> > Heaven forbid that you attend one of these dinner meetings of people
> who
> > share some sort of "like mind" with you and "network" with someone
who
> > might be in a position somewhere in the future to toss some business
> > your
> > way.
> >
> > Again, I apologize in advance if it appears that I putting words
into
> > some
> > people's mouths that they did not intend, but I thought that a
thread
> > that
> > at least in a very indirect way appears to be a (unwarranted)
personal
> > attack on an individual should stop.
> >
> > BTW, both "sides" of the political spectrum should be used to a
small
> > minority that controls things deciding public policy against the
> > overwhelming wishes of the "masses".  Recent examples would seem to
be
> a
> > Democratic minority (that some would imply are in the "pockets" of
> > unions) that controls the code adoption process adopting the NFPA
over
> > the
> > overwhelming desire by many for the IBC and the Republican minority
> > (that
> > some would imply are in the "pockets" of big media business) that
> > controls
> > the FCC in adopting looser media consolidation limits against an
> > overwhelming public opposition to looser limits.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Scott
> > Ypsilanti, MI
> >
> >
> >
> >
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