Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas 6 hours, 6 minutes ago on From the editor: Having the right and doing right are 2 different things

Here's a fact. There are several letters from former and current Steamboat Springs police officers. It is not just the Kleiber letter. To act as if there is only one letter is misleading to readers of the SP&T. And, to repeatedly understate the allegations is misleading.

But your piece here does raise serious questions. Why did it take the Kleiber letter - along with the others - to get you off your duff and report on the lawsuits. You note the initial report a year ago of one lawsuit against the police. Before Kleiber and other officers came forward had you done any follow-up reporting on that suit? Had you reported on the other suits? If not, why not? You've stated the obvious about the right to publish versus when it's right to publish. The more relevant question to us as readers is why are you only addressing these issues now? That's the answer we deserve to see published on the front page of the paper from the editor and publisher. Not self-congratulatory columns about being a good and fair editor.

In short, provide our community with timely original reporting and timely follow-up stories. Not press releases authored in City Hall or from the Chamber. You have a constitutionally important role in society. Use it.

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Rob Douglas 14 hours, 6 minutes ago on New parking enforcement technology tested in Steamboat's downtown business district

Ars Technica: "We know where you’ve been: Ars acquires 4.6M license plate scans from the cops"

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/03/we-know-where-youve-been-ars-acquires-4-6m-license-plate-scans-from-the-cops/

"In response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely one of the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

"After analyzing this data with a custom-built visualization tool, Ars can definitively demonstrate the data's revelatory potential. Anyone in possession of enough data can often—but not always—make educated guesses about a target’s home or workplace, particularly when someone’s movements are consistent (as with a regular commute)."

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Rob Douglas 2 days, 13 hours ago on Meg Bentley: Letter was ‘un-American’

Over the years, I have found that whenever one American attempts to smear the actions of other Americans by labeling them as "un-American" while citing the Constitution, it often indicates the author is either personally blinded by bias, intellectually confused, or poorly educated when it comes to the Constitution. In this case, all three may apply.

In reality, there is nothing more "American" or more "Constitutional" than a group of citizens publishing a letter that calls into question the action or inaction of their government. In fact, that Constitutionally protected act [see Amendment I to the Constitution] - in and of itself - is what separates and distinguishes America and Americans from many other countries around the world. In short, it is the very essence of being an American.

To the point of this poorly researched and misguided letter above, the presumption of innocence - derived from several of the amendments to the Constitution contained in the Bill of Rights - has everything to do with protecting suspects and defendants during the judicial process but has no application to the right of citizens to demand an impartial and transparent investigation of those alleged to have committed serious civil and criminal violations. Especially when the alleged transgressions are by high-ranking government officials.

While I take no position on the current allegations, it is important that gross misstatements of the American system of jurisprudence and Constitutional protections not be twisted in the way the author of this letter has to tar a group of citizens as un-American. That is an old trick and, frankly, is indicative of gutter politics.

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Rob Douglas 2 weeks ago on Building a friendlier downtown: Steamboat Springs City Council weighs urban renewal plan

It's quite telling that the members of the city council who have a demonstrably successful track record when it comes to their personal finances and how they weathered the storm of the Great Recession are calling for prudence.

Meanwhile, several members of the council who were in over their heads personally when the recession struck are the ones leading the parade to spend every penny in the city's coffers in addition to taking money that the electorate voted as funds for the county, the schools, and other special taxing districts. That they do this without the slightest hint of acknowledgement to the public that they have an awful personal finance record derived from the same type of clouded judgment that they are now using with Other Peoples Money (OPM) is nothing short of astonishing.

On a related front, there is much discussion around town about possible initiatives to be placed on the next ballot. Perhaps it is time to amend the City Charter so that all members of council need to file public conflict of interest disclosure forms on at least an annual basis. This is quite common around the country at all levels of government. And given recent doings by several members of the current council, the time may be ripe for official conflict of interest disclosures.

Finally, if the paper is going to do an "in-depth" examination of the URA, it would be worthwhile to have some serious reporting on who would stand to gain the most in the URA boundary. Specifically, which corporate property owners and who are the individuals behind those corporations? What ties - personal, professional or financial - do those owners have with members of the council? What is the current financial condition of those properties and the property owners?

With good reason, the URA tax-shifting mechanism has been labeled crony capitalism in other locales across the country where it has been employed. The question is: Are we seeing crony capitalism when it comes to the proposed URA in our community? Are there a handful of property owners who would benefit the most from this shifting and repurposing of tax dollars?

Theses are the types of answers the paper should be supplying instead of cheerleader pieces with no serious depth or breadth when it comes to the issues.

This newspaper has a constitutional obligation to be more than a shill for the Chamber and the business community. By not examining all the issues, it is an open question as to whether that obligation is being met.

In the end, the most perplexing aspect of all is the fact that the City has the money to do all of the infrastructure needs that most folks believe are long overdue. But, instead of directing that those funds be used immediately, the proponents of the URA keep playing games instead of spending the funds on the needed infrastructure. That fact, in and of itself, should give every resident of the City pause and reason to question the true motive behind the proposed URA.

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Rob Douglas 2 weeks, 3 days ago on Colorado Parks officer wrestled gun from suspect in hostage situation

Excellent work by Moffat County Sheriff’s Deputy Bhrent Shock and Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Manager Nathan Martinez - especially Martinez. They should receive the highest honor for bravery and exemplary conduct that Colorado awards.

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Rob Douglas 2 months, 3 weeks ago on Several Steamboat City Council members uncomfortable with city's decision to hire councilman's close relative to vet police station sites

Our community owes Sonja Macys and Scott Ford gratitude for blocking the executive session last night. If the council had gone into executive session, the residents of Steamboat Springs may have never learned that Connell's brother-in-law had been retained by the city. Once again, it has been demonstrated that conducting the public's business in public is not only the right thing to do - it is the smart thing to do. It is also worth noting that Macys has put up with a tremendous amount of nastiness and targeted attacks from Kounovsky, Myller and Reisman simply because she - more than anyone on the current council - understands her role as an elected official when it comes to performing oversight and ensuring that the council operates openly. Through it all, she has shown a remarkable ability to take the garbage that has been thrown at her in stride while continuing to conduct herself in a professional and open-minded manner. While there is much more that could and should be said, it is clear that at the heart of so many problems that are plaguing this council - and the problems grow by the week as demonstrated last night - is a secretive management style on the part of the city management team that has been encouraged and rewarded by Kounovsky, Myller and Reisman. Until that management style ends, the problems will continue to mount.

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Rob Douglas 5 months, 4 weeks ago on Leaders of business improvement district address concerns at tax proposal meeting

Over the last 48 hours, Tracy Barnett has taken steps to streamline and localize the BID tax voting procedure. I'll leave it to her to announce the details, but it appears that there will be a downtown walk-in location for eligible voters to receive and submit ballots between 10/13 and 11/4. Please keep an eye out for this significant change and help spread the word to eligible voters so that the vote is a fair representation of those with skin in the game. Thank you to Scott Ford for exercising essential oversight and raising concerns about the procedure and thank you to Tracy for moving quickly to improve the process.

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