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Did City Councilman Plagiarize?

San Juan Capistrano Councilman Derek Reeve has published essays that are virtually identical to the words of other writers.

He helps run the city, lectures at local colleges and practices law, but for the past few months, San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve has also blogged on Patch, opining on local issues and promoting some of his government proposals.

He stopped blogging earlier this month after Patch questioned him about dozens of passages that appear to be lifted from other publications, word for word and without attribution.

In one case, an entire post submitted by Reeve matched content from other publications. In others, as much as two-thirds of Reeve's essays were a patchwork of paragraphs identical to material written by newspaper columnists and reporters for such publications as The Oregonian and The Hill.

(Editor's note: One of Reeve's blog submissions -- about San Juan Capistrano gun laws -- was divided into three posts by Patch because of its length. Taken as a whole, it is still largely lifted from other sources. Two other submissions were never published because Patch determined they were largely copied from other writers.)

All told, Patch found dozens and dozens of such passages, including this paragraph from a post Reeve submitted Sept. 6 about E-Verify:

In lower-immigration states, U.S. citizens still harvest crops, mow lawns, wash windows, and flip burgers. But in California, a huge supply of illegal labor has driven wages for these kinds of jobs so low that it is disproportionately illegal immigrants who are willing to take them.

It appears to be nearly identical to this passage from a July 16 guest column by Richard F. LaMountain for oregonlive.com:

In Vermont, North Dakota, and other lower-immigration states, U.S. citizens still harvest crops, mow lawns, wash windows, and flip burgers. But in many other places, a huge supply of illegal labor has driven wages for these kinds of jobs so low that it is disproportionately illegal immigrants, any more, who are willing to take them.

Initially, Reeve said the duplication "was not intentional," and that he must have mixed his research with his own prose. Eleven days ago, when presented with more passages from multiple blog posts, Reeve promised to respond to Patch's questions. He never did so, even after additional requests for comment.

At Concordia University, one of two local colleges where Reeve teaches political science, the employee handbook says: "Plagiarism may be unintentional or intentional. Both are serious academic violations."

Concordia warns students and faculty not to copy and paste information from any electronic source without fully documenting that material, nor are they allowed to "call it their own because they have altered it in some minor way."

A university spokeswoman did not return messages seeking comment for this story.

Reeve was elected to the San Juan Capistrano City Council in November 2010. Upon graduating from USC law school, he was admitted to the State Bar in 1996.

He began blogging on San Juan Capistrano Patch in May. When Reeve submitted a post earlier this month explaining his intent to float , Patch discovered that nearly every passage was identical to the work of other writers. That blog was not published.

HERE ARE EXAMPLES FROM OTHER BLOG POSTS:

Suzanna Hupp and her parents were having lunch in Killeen, Texas, when a man began shooting diners with his handgun, even stopping to reload. Suzanna's parents were two of the 23 people killed (20 more were wounded). Suzanna owned a handgun, but because Texas law at the time did not permit her to carry it with her, she left it in her car. She's confident that she could have stopped the shooting spree if she had her gun. (Texas has since changed its law.)

JOHN STOSSEL AT FOXNEWS.COM:

Suzanna Hupp and her parents were having lunch at Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when a man began shooting diners with his handgun, even stopping to reload. Suzanna's parents were two of the 23 people killed. (20 more were wounded.) Suzanna owned a handgun, but because Texas law, at the time, did not permit her to carry it with her, she left it in her car. She's confident that she could have stopped the shooting spree if she had her gun. (Texas has since changed its law.)

***

REEVE: When employers hire unauthorized aliens, they undermine the law, the prosperity of their law-abiding competitors, and the economy as a whole. Most importantly they deprive unemployed Americans of jobs that rightfully should be theirs.

OREGON LIVE:

When employers hire illegal immigrants, they undermine the law, the prosperity of their law-abiding competitors, and the economy as a whole. And they deprive unemployed Americans -- of whom there are some 200,000 in Oregon -- of jobs that rightfully should be theirs.

***

"Many factors influence crime," Lott writes, "with arrest and conviction rates being the most important. However, nondiscretionary concealed-handgun laws are also important, and they are the most cost-effective means of reducing crime.

NRA-ILA:

"Many factors influence crime," Lott writes, "with arrest and conviction rates being the most important. However, nondiscretionary concealed-handgun laws are also important, and they are the most cost-effective means of reducing crime.

***

: Lott's research shows that states with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest decreases in violent crime. And, it is high-crime urban areas and neighborhoods with large minority populations that experience the greatest reductions in violent crime when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry handguns.

NRA-ILA:

Lott's research shows that states with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest decreases in violent crime. And, it is high-crime urban areas and neighborhoods with large minority populations that experience the greatest reductions in violent crime when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns.

***

REEVE: Experience shows that if a worker cannot explain to an employer why he does not have proper legal documentation, he simply moves to a more permissive locale or back to his home country.

J.C. WATTS IN THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL:

Experience shows that if a worker cannot explain to an employer why he does not have proper legal documentation, he simply moves to a more permissive state or back to his home country.

***

REEVE: Many falsely label the E-Verify program, a key component of the “San Juan Capistrano Right to Work Act,” as a jobs killer. That is true…..for illegal immigrants. However, requiring e-verify for all employers will open up more jobs for Americans and legal immigrants.

THE HILL:

In a recent op-ed, Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) falsely labels the Legal Workforce Act – a bill to implement the E-Verify program nationally – as a jobs killer. Although the bill is a jobs killer for illegal immigrants, the Legal Workforce Act opens up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans and legal workers.

Roy Rivenburg October 05, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Rick, on the copyrighted material he used, you are incorrect.
Carole Matson October 05, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Oh Mr. Lyons...its not "new', its "knew"...maybe an English course with Mr. Reeve will help you...if he is still allowed to teach...
Roy Rivenburg October 05, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Rick, the Muhammad story was even-handed and fairly summarized Mr. Reeve's defense of the dog's name, including his desire to teach his children about freedom of expression, etc. The article also quoted some of his supporters. As with media coverage of any topic, the goal was to fairly summarize the heart of the story. So, no, we didn't print a transcript of the entire 45-minute discussion, nor did we print more than a single sentence from CAIR's lengthy criticism of the councilman. It's the nature of the beast with media coverage of controversial topics that both sides invariably feel they got short shrift. But I see nothing unfair or unbalanced about our coverage. Patch even sought out Councilman Reeve's side of the story before the council meeting but he didn't respond.
Roy Rivenburg October 05, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Rick, of course there is no requirement for Councilman Reeve to turn over copies of his dissertation or published writings to the news media, but if his other writings aren't plagiarized, why hide them? If anything, they would support his statement that he handles his professional and academic writings differently from blogs (and city council agenda reports and press releases).
Carole Matson October 05, 2011 at 09:17 PM
tee hee...another good...get the last word in Lyons....keep me a laughin' Oh sorry....I spellleded it rite bot forgt two pt in da spase...

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