Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas 5 days ago on Gary Kalow: Rob is right but wrong

As his Twitter stream over the last 24 hours has proven yet again, Donald Trump is a mentally ill pig. It really is that simple.

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Rob Douglas 1 week, 5 days ago on Our View: Evil wins when good does nothing

Of course, that comparison between Candudate A and Candidate B was true.

It's the newspaper's job to tell the unflinching truth, as it did in the instance cited.

People who are committed to serving on local councils and boards should have no fear from the newspaper as long as they are committed to open and transparent government. Unfortunately, the current council has repeatedly stumbled over that issue.

I hope our local paper will keep fighting for the release of the police investigation reports, along with remaining vigilant that all public bodies comply with our state's sunshine laws.

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Rob Douglas 3 weeks, 4 days ago on Our View: City needs to hire deputy city manager

In my opinion, this editorial is spot on. Especially the following quoted segment which shows an appreciation for how the position of public information officer actually hinders transparency in many communities.

"Public information officers also have a way of standing in the way of openness and transparency. Rather than communicating directly with the community, city leaders can quickly fall into the habit of using a PIO as a shield, which can hamper the open exchange of information between government and the press and between city officials and their electorate."

One of the most troubling trends in America - from the halls of the federal bureaucracy right on down to tiny cities like Steamboat Springs - is the move by governments to conceal more and more of their work from the public they are supposed to serve.

I was appalled, but not shocked, when newly-elected County Commissioner Cari Hermacinski told me that one of the first informational sessions she attended following her election (held by a state association of government officials as I recall - not here locally) was on open records and government transparency. To her dismay, the session was almost exclusively conducted by attorneys teaching public officials how to deny the public access to records. While Hermacinski has a long track record of standing up for open meetings and open records, many elected officials here locally are easily cowed when the attorneys advising them often wrongly advise them on what can and can't be released and what powers they have as elected officials to make those decisions.

So thank you to Lisa Schlichtman, Suzanne Schlicht and the rest of the editorial board for this editorial and for tireless efforts to keep the public's business public here in Routt County. I hope the council has the maturity to follow the wisdom and perspective the editorial provides.

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Rob Douglas 1 month ago on City may hire public information officer instead of deputy city manager

It's a good thing the Steamboat Springs City Council's compensation package comes with gold-plated health insurance. After all, they must all be suffering from a severe form of local trauma known as Hinsvarkian Whiplash.

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Rob Douglas 1 month, 3 weeks ago on Letter to the Editor: Punishing and taxing

In fairness to Sheriff Wiggins, I reached out to him with the above article and he quickly responded with the following note. While I still have some questions about Securus and the the county's use of the firm, I think Wiggins deserves credit for his fast response and willingness to consider my (and others) concerns. Here is his response:

"Thanks for forwarding the article and once I get a chance I will read it. FYI, we have been in business with Securus for about 12 years and we have had little if any issues out of the company. I was told that Securus has over 2300 other agencies doing business with them so they can’t be all that bad. Until I read some of the blogs I was not aware of any complaints. We did a quick survey prior to implementing video visitation and the overwhelming majority of our inmates wanted the video option and preferred it over personal visitations. Yes, it costs money but for many inmates who’s family resides out of state of county it is a much cheaper option and they can visit more often. The paper did not mention that we are keeping the personal visitation option available for 6 months, then we will evaluate to see if it is a viable option and worth keeping. They can still come to the SO and visit via the free video monitor and really there is no difference. They either look at each other through a glass window and talk via a phone or they view each other through a screen monitor and talk via the screen microphone. So far, all is good and no complaints. Obviously if this new video program has issues we will address them."

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Rob Douglas 1 month, 3 weeks ago on Routt County Jail launching video conferencing for visits

In fairness to Sheriff Wiggins, I reached out to him with the above article and he quickly responded with the following note. While I still have some questions about Securus and the the county's use of the firm, I think Wiggins deserves credit for his fast response and willingness to consider my (and others) concerns. Here is his response:

"Thanks for forwarding the article and once I get a chance I will read it. FYI, we have been in business with Securus for about 12 years and we have had little if any issues out of the company. I was told that Securus has over 2300 other agencies doing business with them so they can’t be all that bad. Until I read some of the blogs I was not aware of any complaints. We did a quick survey prior to implementing video visitation and the overwhelming majority of our inmates wanted the video option and preferred it over personal visitations. Yes, it costs money but for many inmates who’s family resides out of state of county it is a much cheaper option and they can visit more often. The paper did not mention that we are keeping the personal visitation option available for 6 months, then we will evaluate to see if it is a viable option and worth keeping. They can still come to the SO and visit via the free video monitor and really there is no difference. They either look at each other through a glass window and talk via a phone or they view each other through a screen monitor and talk via the screen microphone. So far, all is good and no complaints. Obviously if this new video program has issues we will address them."

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Rob Douglas 1 month, 3 weeks ago on Routt County Jail launching video conferencing for visits

Here's a new investigative report about Securus--

http://atavist.ibtimes.com/fcc-prison-telecom-industry

And one of the opening paragraphs:

"Over the last decade, the prison phone business has become a scandalous industry, characterized by lawsuits, exorbitant fees, high phone rates and monopolistic relationships between public jails and private companies that openly offer kickbacks to local sheriffs. In May 2015, Foster Campbell, the Louisiana Public Service commissioner, described the prison phone business in his state as 'worse than any payday loan scheme.'"

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Rob Douglas 1 month, 3 weeks ago on Letter to the Editor: Punishing and taxing

Here's a new investigative report about Securus--

http://atavist.ibtimes.com/fcc-prison-telecom-industry

And one of the opening paragraphs:

"Over the last decade, the prison phone business has become a scandalous industry, characterized by lawsuits, exorbitant fees, high phone rates and monopolistic relationships between public jails and private companies that openly offer kickbacks to local sheriffs. In May 2015, Foster Campbell, the Louisiana Public Service commissioner, described the prison phone business in his state as 'worse than any payday loan scheme.'"

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