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|California State Government||October 7, 2003 Election|
I Oppose Campaign Contributions Determining Public Policy
By Bill VaughnCandidate for Recall of Gray Davis; State of California
This information is provided by the candidate
The next California Building Code was determined by members of the Building Standards Commission that have conflicts of interest in this decision. They are members of NFPA, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), related plumbing associations and a lobbyist for the plumbers union. All of these members were appointed by the current governor who has received millions of dollars of campaign contributions from the plumbers and the firefighters unions.I am running for governor to protest both the July 29, 2003 decision by the California Building Standards Commission to adopt a new and untested building code for California, and the unethical exclusion of voting rights of Structural Engineers and Building Officials in regard to this important decision. I am also protesting the conflict of interest of many members voting in favor of this new code. In addition, there are several other implications relevant to the choice of this new code that should concern us all.
Imposing a new unaccepted building code on engineers, architects, building officials, and fire officials will only result in conflict, errors and uncertainty. Earthquake risks will increase. Homeowners, businesses and the construction industry will suffer increased costs and delays. And, California will suffer economically. Worst of all, what will be lost are the energies of these professionals to make the building code the best it can be for the benefit of Californians and the rest of the country.
For a new building code to succeed, enormous effort is always required by the very professionals who have, in this case, been disenfranchised and ignored. The written words of the building codes must be translated into safe and efficient buildings through expert interpretation and skillful administration. At best they are an evolutionary product of careful revision through reasoning, testing, and contributions from those who practice it daily. The new building code that was just adopted is full of holes and problems. It has more holes and problems than new building codes of the past, so the corrections and revisions that will be needed will be extensive. In addition, engineers, building officials, architects, and fire officials will have no legitimate standing to interpret the code or make the needed changes.
They will have to rely on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to provide these answers. If the NFPA 5000 building code is to remain a so-called "Consensus Document" any change or interpretation will take years. The practicality of using a building code that does not belong to the professionals it regulates and the professionals, who must administer it, can only be considered a recipe for disaster for both safety and the economy.
While California struggles with deficits at the state and local levels, the California Building Standards Commission has adopted the recently completed NFPA 5000 building code that will be the most costly new building code in the history of California. Building departments will be required to retrain and re-certify their entire staffs. Permit fees will increase, uncertainty will reign, efficiency will drop, and errors in design and construction will occur at an exponentially greater rate. This and deficiencies within this code will cost Californians more money and put more Californians at greater risk from earthquakes.
If we are to solve California's problems, we need to work together making decisions based on technical merit, economic impact, and public safety; not on who makes the largest campaign contribution. In this case, the plumbers union and the firefighters union have made large contributions of time and money to the Gray Davis campaign over the years. They wanted the NFPA 5000 building code to be the next California Model Building Code, because it will give them more control. They want more control to benefit their members. Unfortunately, the rest of Californians will pay the price for their unbridled self-interest.
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