Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas 2 days, 18 hours ago on Letter to the Editor: Punishing and taxing

{I posted the following comment on the original news article reporting the inception of this procedure. I hope that, at the very least, the Routt County Sheriff's Office modifies this new procedure so that at least one in-person visit per week is allowable.}

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Is anyone at the Routt County Sheriff's Office capable of doing even rudimentary background research of a corporation prior to entering a contract? If so, if that research was in fact performed, why on earth would the Sheriff's Office believe the good people of Routt County want to get in bed contractually with a company like Securus?

Securus Technologies is a highly controversial, for-profit, commission-paying, law enforcement services provider with business practices so morally and ethically questionable that it has been the subject of legislation specifically targeted at its contracting demands and practices - morally questionable practices that it seems our Sheriff's Office is about to institute by forbidding in-person visits - by its home state of Texas. Those practices - practices that Securus made a provision of its contracts in order to, arguably, drive up profits - were deemed so draconian by the Texas legislature that just last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law HB-549, a bi-partisan bill that guarantees Texas inmates two in-person visits per week.

Further, the company has been cited as the poster child for abusive and unethical business practices (as a serial patent troll) by members of the U.S. Congress and the ultra-conservative publication Human Events - not exactly a publication hostile to law enforcement - just as the Congress is on the brink of outlawing the type of corporate extortion Human Events alleges Securus routinely conducts.

I would hope that Sheriff Wiggins and/or the Routt County Board of County Commissioners would reconsider doing business with Securus. I believe an objective assessment of the firm, its history, and its current practices would find that it is not of the moral and ethical caliber that our county residents historically demand

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Rob Douglas 2 days, 19 hours ago on Routt County Jail launching video conferencing for visits

Is anyone at the Routt County Sheriff's Office capable of doing even rudimentary background research of a corporation prior to entering a contract? If so, if that research was in fact performed, why on earth would the Sheriff's Office believe the good people of Routt County want to get in bed contractually with a company like Securus?

Securus Technologies is a highly controversial, for-profit, commission-paying, law enforcement services provider with business practices so morally and ethically questionable that it has been the subject of legislation specifically targeted at its contracting demands and practices - morally questionable practices that it seems our Sheriff's Office is about to institute by forbidding in-person visits - by its home state of Texas. Those practices - practices that Securus made a provision of its contracts in order to, arguably, drive up profits - were deemed so draconian by the Texas legislature that just last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law HB-549, a bi-partisan bill that guarantees Texas inmates two in-person visits per week.

Further, the company has been cited as the poster child for abusive and unethical business practices (as a serial patent troll) by members of the U.S. Congress and the ultra-conservative publication Human Events - not exactly a publication hostile to law enforcement - just as the Congress is on the brink of outlawing the type of corporate extortion Human Events alleges Securus routinely conducts.

I would hope that Sheriff Wiggins and/or the Routt County Board of County Commissioners would reconsider doing business with Securus. I believe an objective assessment of the firm, its history, and its current practices would find that it is not of the moral and ethical caliber that our county residents historically demand.

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Rob Douglas 1 week, 5 days ago on Officer Kristin Bantle put on paid leave

To the "leaders" of Steamboat Springs and Routt County:

"Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject" -John Stuart Mill, 1867

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Rob Douglas 1 week, 6 days ago on Steamboat City Council rejects downtown URA

Thank you to Scott Ford, Bart Kounovsky, Walter Magill and Tony Connell for voting to not create a downtown TIF financed URA district. It was an ill-conceived plan made even more unworkable given the new URA law that takes effect on January 1. The same results (infrastructure improvements) can be accomplished faster and fairer by using existing reserves and/or other financing methods. In my book, that's a win-win.

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Rob Douglas 2 weeks, 6 days ago on Petition launched to give residents control over city's urban renewal decisions

Four? Only one member of the city council, Scott Ford, has definitively stated he will not vote for a second URA district if it is financed by a TIF. No other member of the council is on record stating that he or she will not vote for the proposed URA/TIF if it meets the legal criteria set forth by statute and the appropriate public steps are taken.

To a large degree Mark Hartless is correct and the instant battle demonstrates why he is correct. We should all be very, very careful before amending the city's charter. That is tantamount to amending the federal or state constitution. Many communities and states - Colorado being one of them - have created bigger messes through the amendment process than was the underlying problem they were trying to address. Often those amendments were done for all the wrong reasons - namely an attempt to turn political and philosophical differences into constitutional changes to suit the moment instead of the long-term good.

What is sad is that this entire issue has devolved into a pissing match between some very immature individuals on the city council, school board and now the county commission. No one is well-served when we have elected representatives who place winning a battle of personalities above finding workable solutions.

It would be nice if all of our elected reps took a deep breath and acted like adults. Constant insults and threats of lawsuits is not in the best interest of Steamboat or Routt County.

PS: If your basing your belief of legality of the proposed URA/TIF on the combined legal "wisdom" of Bideau and Wedel, you may want to reconsider.

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Rob Douglas 1 month ago on Fielding: Another name proposed

"Virtually Every Demographic Group Now Supports Gay Marriage"

see: http://www.nationaljournal.com/next-america/newsdesk/gay-marriage-polling-shows-american-support-across-demographic-groups-20150527

"As the chart below [see article] demonstrates, Gallup's surveys show that from 1996 through 2015, support for same-sex marriage has increased by at least 30 percentage points among virtually every major group in the population: men and women, whites and all nonwhites, whites with and without college education, adults at all ages, and those on all rungs of the income ladder.

"In only three groups did support for same-sex marriage increase by fewer than 30 percentage points since 1996: African-Americans (up 26 percentage points), Southerners (up 25), and Republicans (up only 21). Conversely, the biggest gains in support have occurred among Democrats (up 43 percentage points), those who live in the West (up 42), Midwesterners (up 39), and those aged 50 to 64 (also up 39).

"In absolute terms, the latest poll shows the greatest support for same-sex unions among young adults aged 18 to 29 (78 percent), Democrats (76 percent support), Hispanics (72 percent), and people who live in the West (68 percent). It records the lowest absolute support among African-Americans (49 percent), Southerners (48 percent), those aged 65 or older (47 percent), and Republicans (37 percent). The only other group that did not register majority support for gay marriage in the latest Gallup survey was the cohort of people who attend church at least weekly (also only 37 percent).

"Gay marriage also now draws support not only from 66 percent of single adults, but a solid 56 percent majority of married couples. (Comparisons to 1996 for these groups are not available because Gallup did not ask about church attendance or marital status in that earlier survey.)"

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Rob Douglas 1 month, 1 week ago on Our view: Free enterprise — up in smoke

I agree with every word of this editorial.

The statements during the meeting by Rocky Mountain Remedies co-owner Kevin Fisher, Golden Leaf co-owner Charlie Magnuson and the council (with the exception of Sonja Macys who I believe has distinguished herself as a council member to a degree I never imagined), provided a textbook example of disgraceful rent-seeking.

Having been an admirer of the way Kevin Fisher navigated the birth of the legal marijuana industry in a way that gave comfort to those who had doubts, it is disheartening to watch him attempt to close the door on those who might follow in his footsteps.

Fisher and the other local owners were able to capitalize on the libertarian spirit of Coloradans who were willing to defy the federal government by legalizing marijuana. Now Fisher and the other current owners want to use our local council as a regulatory body to block the granting of other marijuana sales licenses and, in so doing, prevent the natural progression and full implementation of Amendment 64.

As I said, classic and shameful rent-seeking - something that is common at the federal and state levels. Unfortunately, by its action this past week, the council can add rent-seeking to the other unseemly practices it has adopted.

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Rob Douglas 1 month, 1 week ago on City council members raise concern about Triple Crown meetings

Our community owes Sonja Macys and Scott Ford gratitude for their vigilance in being sure that the public's business is conducted in public - not behind closed doors and/or by email.

Coincidentally, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition - a non-partisan alliance of journalists, engaged citizens, and supporters of government transparency - released its 2015 Guide to Colorado’s Open Meetings & Open Records Laws today. That guide is available in PDF format at http://coloradofoic.org/files/2015/05/SunshineGuide2015.pdf

For further information, see: http://coloradofoic.org/download-2015-guide-to-colorado-sunshine-laws/

Hopefully, every council member and member of the city management team will obtain a free copy of the guide and study it for future reference.

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