“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” --Martin Niemoller
Chuck Marohn, a licensed engineer and certified planner in Minnesota, recently had a complaint filed against him with his licensing board by a fellow engineer, Jeffrey Peltola as discussed in the Streetsblog article and related links. Peltola, according to Streetsblog, supports a group (MOVEMN) that lobbies for more transportation spending. Countering the complaint to the licensing board, there is a statement in support of Chuck's First Amendment right to criticize his profession (without retaliation, of course) written by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Why the dustup? Not because a bridge Chuck designed collapsed. Not because he took money under the table to get a contract or committed some other civic sin. Why? Because he criticized the current system whereby massive amounts of public money are thrown at new construction of sometimes dubious virtue which not only ignores the needs of existing infrastructure but often leads to really bad (unsustainable) urban planning and dangerous compromises in multimodal design. Here is an example of his writing that pisses people off. Of course, he is poking at the bread and butter of fellow engineers who make their dime on the public payroll. As well as bike ped advocates who, as he points out, lunge for the table scraps of the big bucks in the transportation feeding trough. He does this on the Strong Towns blog, which is his blog and one of the ones on this blog's highlight list.
So if you care about engineers being thoughtful rather than just taking the big bucks by supporting the existing, sometimes flawed paradigm (see video below!), support Chuck in this one. Here is his own discussion of what happened, on the Strong Towns blog. For another perspective on Chuck's thinking, check out this National Resources Defense Council piece.
My two cents? A fellow engineer who filed such a frivolous complaint should have his own license in the balance.