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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 September 28, 2011 at 11:04 PM
OK, Rick Lyons. Here's the truth: Derek Reeve is a puppet controlled by Patch. In an effort to get more hits on our website, we hypnotized him to name his dog Muhammad and announce it at a City Council meeting. We also made him write a blog, hypnotizing him to lift multiple passages from other writers. And it worked! San Juan Capistrano Patch now has more traffic than the New York Times and Drudge Report combined. And revenue has soared, with national advertisers clamoring to buy slots on our next Reeve expose (hint: The councilman will have an affair with Lindsay Lohan -- think of the hits THAT will get!). Meanwhile, Ms. Chandler will use her well-deserved company bonus to take a four-week vacation to the Spain.
concerned parent September 28, 2011 at 11:10 PM
As an active commentator on this issue and clearly a contributor to the increase in revenue, I demand my share of the increased profits. (I'll gladly split mine with Mr. Lyons!) Or perhaps we can tag along with Jenna to Spain.
Penny Arévalo September 28, 2011 at 11:45 PM
You mean, "the Spain." ;-) I think that's like "The OC."
Squonk September 29, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Roy, never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy... but the pig likes it.
Carole Matson September 29, 2011 at 01:54 AM
Do any of you know who Mr. Lyons is...? Have you met him?
laconic September 29, 2011 at 03:53 AM
Good question, Carole. Something has been bothering me about Rick Lyons since this post first went up. Who would be motivated enough to spend as much time and energy as Rick Lyons has to defend Derek Reeve? And there are certain inconsistancies in his posts. On Monday he questioned what the extent of Councilman's Reeves disabilities were since it was unclear from the photograph, and then later talks as if he had been to a city council meeting, which would mean he had seen Derek Reeve in person. Something doesn't add up here. I have had this feeling that Rick Lyons and Derek Reeve are one and the same.
Josh Francis September 29, 2011 at 04:15 AM
Geez you guys have way to much fun on the Patch comment section... I think it is important to note that although there was an outpouring of support for Reeve in the meeting and in our unscientific poll (Register) that does not reflect the opinion of anyone except those who frequent the Register website and those who attended the meeting for the purpose of defending Reeve. Not the largest or most diverse sample pool I must say.
j denton September 29, 2011 at 05:43 AM
mystery solved, thank you Iaconic
Josh Francis September 29, 2011 at 07:48 AM
Quite the story you got there can I get a quote I'm sure the Register will love this story...;)
Carole Matson September 29, 2011 at 03:19 PM
I have yet to find anyone who has seen or heard Mr. Lyons at a counsil meeting. Mr. Lyons, please identify yourself.
Squonk September 29, 2011 at 05:27 PM
I think the last name tells you all you need to know.
Carl Hamilton September 29, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Rick you're the one whining over "two sides to every story"...so while Reeves doesn't HAVE to say anything if he so chooses, if he chooses not to come forward then Patch can only report the FACTS, which they do so neatly in the article (the side-by-side comparisons)...Do you want "The Two Sides" to be told, or do you want Reeves to not say anything, as this is not a "judge and jury"?
Steve Behmerwohld October 01, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Mr Lyons could solve this mystery if he would just show up at Council on Tuesday and address his vast following.
Steve Behmerwohld October 01, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Mr Lyons, please come to Council on Tuesday and explain to us, the "Good" side of plagerism.
laconic October 01, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Good idea, Steve. I'd like to hear the virtues of plagiarism explained in person, too.
Carole Matson October 01, 2011 at 09:21 PM
Mr. Lyons, as you know, I have cancer and can not always do what I'd like. I'm usually in bed early because I am tired. Of course, you already knew this but want to keep taunting me about not being at the meetings. However, you do not have an excuse. Show up at the meeting as suggested above and defend plagiarism in person. Wish I could be there!
laconic October 01, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Rick, can you explain then the inconsistency I pointed out about you saying earlier in this thread that you were unable to tell the extent of Derek Reeve's disability from the photo, and later saying you had been at a Council meeting? That means you have seen Derek Reeve in person. This doesn't make any sense.
Roy Rivenburg October 01, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Two questions, Rick: 1. What information from "the other side of this story" did the reporter leave out? Be specific. 2. If you aren't Derek Reeve and only know he's disabled from looking at photos, how exactly do you even know what this "other side of the story" is?
Darlos Plugg October 02, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Very sad for Mr. Reeves. He knows better, and silence on his part to respond to the allegations leads me to believe he knows the severity of his serious theft of intellectual property. I believe he is a good man; but he is easily manipulated by a few who push him to "buck the system." Our city knows these few conspiracy and devisive mongers. Yes Mr. Lyons, from what I read, you appear to be ignorant of facts and the gravity of Mr. Reeves actions, and fail to present logical foder for excuses. My advise to Reeves is to follow the examples of tenured council members, who understand the city and its people, and place them first. Those non-common sense folks will lead you down a path for thier own gain and leave you stranded when done. Understand they have minimal support (as seen in numerous elections) and thier barks lack bites. Mr. Reeves, be humble and a servant for us. Be tolerant. Make positive, non-devisive changes.
Roy Rivenburg October 04, 2011 at 01:28 AM
While we wait for Mr. Lyons to answer my questions about what specific info from "the other side" was left out of this article, let me mention some other non-blog writings by Councilman Reeve. In the July 19 City Council agenda packet, Reeve's staff report in favor of revising San Juan's gun law lifted multiple paragraphs, verbatim and without attribution, from the National Rifle Association and an Examiner.com article by Charles Nichols. He also presented language from a 2005 legal brief (http://www.gunowners.com/amicus7.pdf) and appeals court ruling on the city of San Francisco's Prop. H as his own legal arguments. Court documents generally are fair game to quote, but the sources should have been identified.
Roy Rivenburg October 04, 2011 at 01:49 AM
Patch wanted to review more non-blog writings by Councilman Reeve, but when we asked for copies of other works, including his USC dissertation "An Analysis of Sexual Predator Laws," he declined to provide them.
j denton October 04, 2011 at 02:06 AM
This is the link to obtain USC Dissertation; http://www.usc.edu/libraries/about/idd/dissertations/
Roy Rivenburg October 04, 2011 at 02:13 AM
Thanks. We did contact USC, which said there was no dissertation by Derek Reeve in the law library. However, that doesn't necessarily mean he never wrote one. Dissertations are not a requirement for USC's law degree and it might be that the dissertation Mr. Reeve lists on his resume was done for an individual class.
Steve Behmerwohld October 05, 2011 at 06:08 AM
No Rick Lyons sightings at Council tonight.
Carole Matson October 05, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Well Mr. Lyons...we missed you for a few days....glad your back....'trying' to get the last word in on everyone! You certainly are entertaining! You cheer up my day by making me laugh alot!!! THANKS!!!!
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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