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Inventory of the Joint Committee on Seismic Safety Records
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History
  • Contents

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Joint Committee on Seismic Safety Records
    Inventory: F3713
    Creator: Joint Committee on Seismic Safety
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Joint Committee on Seismic Safety Records, F3713, California State Archives.

    Agency History

    The Joint Committee on Seismic Safety (hereafter JCSS) was established on August 25, 1969 by Senate Concurrent Resolution 128 ( Stats. 1969, Resolution Chap. 378, p. 4080). Composed of four senators and four assemblymen, it was charged with investigating existing earthquake preparedness programs and with the development of a statewide seismic safety plan. The Committee was chaired by Senator Alfred Alquist of San Jose. Assemblyman James A. Hayes of Long Beach acted as Vice Chairman.
    The primary function of the Committee was to write a detailed report to be completed no later than June 30, 1974. A Progress report was to be filed no later than June 30, 1970. In carrying out this function the Committee held a series of hearings in the Bay Area and Los Angeles region. Although not specified in SCR 128 as one of its functions, the Committee proposed a series of laws in the area of seismic safety and reviewed proposed legislation generated outside the Committee dealing with the subject.
    SCR 128 provided for the creation of the following advisory groups to advise the Committee on technical matters:
    Advisory Group on Engineering Considerations and Earthquake Sciences (14 members) (hereafter AG/EC&ES).
    This group shall review available scientific and engineering knowledge relative to the reduction of the risks and damage due to earthquake and related geologic hazards.
    It was further given the responsibility to review the progress reports of the other advisory groups and to recommend changes that appeared advisable.
    Advisory Group on Disaster Preparedness (17 members) (hereafter AG/DP).
    It was responsible for reviewing the adequacy of existing disaster plans in so far as they related to earthquakes.
    Advisory Group on Post-Earthquake Recovery and Redevelopment (15 members) (hereafter AG/PRR).
    This group was responsible for recommending a series of general contingency plans to guide the long-term work of recovery, reconstruction, relocation where desirable, and redevelopment.
    Advisory Group on Land Use Planning (13 members) (hereafter AG/LUP).
    This group was to determine limitations that should be placed upon the use of land subject to seismic hazards for appropriate inclusion into the land use plans of state, regional, and local governments.
    Advisory Group on Government Organization and Performance (15 members) (hereafter AG/GOP).
    Responsible for the study of local government organization in order to determine how the plans formulated by the other advisory groups could best be carried into effect.
    Each group prepared a written report which was incorporated into the final report of the JCSS.
    Further, under a provision of SCR 128 which allowed the Committee to create any additional advisory groups it deemed necessary, a sixth advisory group was formed, composed of the chairpersons and vice chairpersons of the other five advisory groups. Its function was to coordinate the activities of the advisory groups and assign special projects. Originally called the Advisory Group Coordinating Council, its name was changed on December 8, 1971 to the Advisory Group Executive Committee. In this inventory it shall consistently be referred to as the AG/EC.
    The advisory groups were composed of seventy-four technical experts who served voluntarily without pay (for list of advisors, see advisors Roster, F3713:2). The wide range of professions and organizations represented on the advisory groups enabled the Committee to take a multidisciplinary approach to seismic safety.
    Joint Rules Committee Resolution, No. 7 (enacted April 27, 1971), required the JCSS to establish a special sub-committee to study the San Fernando Earthquake of February 9, 1971. Assemblyman James A. Hayes was chosen chairman. The resolution provided for $150,000 from the contingent funds of the Senate and Assembly to be used in the investigation. The Sub-Committee called upon the advisory groups of the full Committee for technical information and also had a set of consultants of its own. These consultants (listed on an organization chart on page 6) were under the direction of the project technical coordinator, who was in turn under the charge of the project chairman.
    The major function of the Sub-Committee was to write a detailed report on the San Fernando Earthquake, which would include suggestions for legislation which could reduce the damage caused by a similar earthquake in the future. The Sub-Committee, in writing its report, held two hearings in 1972 in the Los Angeles region. The consultants functions were to write reports in their assigned areas (listed on the organizational diagram on page 6) that were later incorporated into the final report of the Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee provided the Legislature with a preliminary report on July 31, 1971. The final report was submitted in December of the following year.
    When, in January of 1974 the JCSS completed its report, its major emphasis shifted to writing and lobbying for legislation to carry into law the suggestions made in the Committee's final report. To facilitate this, twenty-three ad hoc groups (listed on page 7) were established to draft legislation. Although these groups drew their membership largely from the advisory groups, they were autonomous bodies reporting to the JCSS (they occasionally sent reports to one or more of the advisory groups as well).
    The JCSS contracted with the Diridon Corporation of San Jose in 1969 to handle its administrative matters. Diridon consultants screened the Committee's correspondence, directing letters of interest to advisory groups most capable of handling them; wrote replies to correspondence in the name of the Committee; arranged meetings and hearings for the Committee, the Sub-Committee, and the advisory groups; kept minutes for the advisory groups; made transcripts of hearings; arranged for the publication of reports; did research and provided information, requested literature, and photocopies to Committee members and advisors; and maintained all the JCSS files including those of the Sub-Committee, advisory groups, and ad hoc groups. Since the seventy-four advisors of the Committee were scattered throughout the State, Diridon Corporation played a crucial role in transmitting information between advisors. The large bulk of correspondence between advisors was routed through the Diridon consultants (for names of consultants see series entry 3, STAFF FILE, undated).
    As provided for in the Joint Resolution creating it, the JCSS officially terminated on December 31, 1974. It was superseded by the Seismic Safety Commission ( Stats. 1974, Chap. 1413, p. 3112), which was appointed by the governor in May of 1975.


    The papers of the Joint Committee on Seismic Safety are divided into ten Parts: PART I - Central Records of the JCSS; PART II - Records of the Sub-Committee to Study the San Fernando Earthquake; PART III - Records of the AG/EC; PART IV - Records of the AG/EC&ES; PART V - Records of the AG/DP; PART VI - Records of the AG/GOP; PART VII - Records of the AG/LUP; PART VIII - Records of the AG/PRR; PART IX - Records of the Ad Hoc Groups; and PART X - JCSS Photographs.