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Re: Speaking out

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Here are the excerpts from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics for Engineers(full text is at:

Engineering is an important and learned profession. As members of this profession, engineers are expected to exhibit the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Engineering has a direct and vital impact on the quality of life for all people. Accordingly, the services provided by engineers require honesty, impartiality, fairness, and equity, and must be dedicated to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. Engineers must perform under a standard of professional behavior that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct.

I. Fundamental Canons

Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:

 1. Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
 2. Perform services only in areas of their competence.
 3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
 4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.
 5. Avoid deceptive acts.
 6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully
    so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the

Almost all members of Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board including its Chair Dr. Frieder Seible have violated all of above Fundamental Canons. This Seismic Advisory Board was formed after the Loma Prieta earthquake, where 38 people had died in one structure of Caltrans, to be totally independent of Caltrans and acting as a watch dog to review Caltrans seismic bridge activities and ensure that public safety is protected. Instead members of the Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board (see a brochure here: have used their position of power over Caltrans as Seismic Advisory Board members to obtain millions of dollars of taxpayers money in consulting and research contracts , on a non-competitive basis. Furthermore, the Chair and members sitting on the Seismic Advisory Board have approve their own research and consulting contract outcomes when presented to them by Caltrans. If this is not "corruption" then what is?
Here is the definition of "corrupt" at

-------------------- Start of Dictionary Text -------------------------------------

1. guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked: a corrupt judge.

2. debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil: a corrupt society.

3.     made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text.

4.     infected; tainted.

5.     decayed; putrid.

1. false, untrustworthy. Corrupt, dishonest, venal apply to one, esp. in public office, who acts on mercenary motives, without regard to honor, right, or justice. A corrupt politician is one originally honest who has succumbed to temptation and begun questionable practices. A dishonest politician is one lacking native integrity. A venal politician is one so totally debased as to sell patronage. 3, 4. contaminated. 4, 5. putrescent, rotten, spoiled. 6. demoralize, bribe. 7. debase, vitiate. 10. contaminate, pollute, spoil, defile. 11. putrefy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.
--------------------------End of Dictionary Text --------------------------

The most important document in our democracy is the constitution and I value my first amendment rights and cannot allow that important right be suppressed by any threat of lawsuits , veiled or direct.

Best regards.

Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, Ph.D., P.E., Professor
UC Berkeley

> The problems are now surfacing and this is not over yet. This new > bridge is not safe because of corruption of Caltrans and > Metropolitan Transportation Commission's top officials as well as > corruption of the Chair and members of the Caltrans Seismic > Advisory Board.

I've mentioned this before, and maybe it won't hurt to mention it again. Calling another engineer 'corrupt' is not only libellous, it's a violation of the standards of conduct in most states including California. Very simply--

(10) A licensee shall not falsely or maliciously injure or attempt to injure the reputation or business of others.

Unless you have actionable proof (not just opinion) that will stand up in court, you're in violation of the law and subject to disciplinary action by the engineering board. And if you do have actionable proof, you're obligated by those same standards to bring it up formally in a complaint before the board.

In all candor, I haven't any idea whether you're right or wrong, just that you might want to give some thought to consequences when you use inflammatory words like 'corruption.'

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania

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