San Juan Capistrano

Councilman Taylor's Plagiarism Hypocrisy

By Kim Lefner

More than three years ago City Councilman Derek Reeve was accused of plagiarism when he responded to a request to write an online blog and used material without proper attribution. Reeve had submitted a lengthy blog post which unbeknownst to him was then broken up into three posts, and run as a series. It was further down in his blog post that he alluded to the material having come from another source, although he did not state the actual source. Because the blog was broken up into a series of three posts however, the mention of the material coming from elsewhere was not evident in the initial post, and he was accused of plagiarism.

What followed was a rather vicious attack on Reeve’s character, including from fellow Councilman John Taylor who wrote at the time, “Members of an elected body are supposed to be leaders—plagiarism is against the law … This lack of character and leadership is a hindrance in his ability to govern the affairs of our City.”

Based on his own characterization, Councilman Taylor himself is guilty of a “lack of character and leadership” in a recent formal article (as opposed to an online blog) Taylor wrote about the vector control in the July 11, 2014 Capistrano Dispatch. His article closely matches and is at times identical to a June 18 article in the San Clemente Times by former San Clemente City Councilman Jim Dahl, in which Dahl wrote about communicable diseases, "Examples include dengue fever, swine flu (H1N1) and avian flu (H5N1) also known as bird flu and malaria. And sadly, cases of typhus have already been reported in the county making the threat real and the work that OCVCD does more important than ever."

Several weeks later Taylor plagiarized Dahl almost verbatim when he wrote in his article, "Cases of dengue fever, swine flu (H1N1), avian flu (H5N1)—also known as bird flu—and malaria are increasing. Sadly, cases of typhus have already been reported in the county, making the threat real and the work that OCVCD does more important than ever."

Both articles are remarkably similar throughout. See the links below and judge for yourself:

Ironically, Dahl appears himself to have plagiarized a June 2nd OC Register article written by Lucille Kring:

When reached for comment about this issue, Reeve responded in a remarkably positive way considering the personal attacks he endured over this very issue; “As in my case years ago, I suspect this was an inadvertent error on his part. With all of the important matters facing our city, we should focus on the issues that divide the candidates.”

Indeed the plagiarism committed by both Dahl and Taylor demonstrates how apparently easy it is to use another person’s words without attribution. It’s a shame that this same consideration wasn’t given to Councilman Reeve.

Despite Taylor’s hypocrisy, we agree with Reeve and believe at the end of the day, that the candidates’ positions on the issues and in the case of the incumbents, their voting records, should prevail.


shelly said...

So again the Community Common Sense is nothing more than a political hit piece and campaign flyer. Extremely biased and absolutely no news but opinion and sound bites. Who is delivering this to my driveway? Who delivers this?

Anonymous said...

Shelly you seem to be a hypocrite yourself. You have no problem if Reeve is criticized in Patch. Besides I checked the link and it is true.

Jonathan Volzke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Volzke said...

wrote the column published under Counciman Taylor's photo, in my role as a public-relations consultant for the Orange County Vector Control. Columns were written for every member of the Vector Control Board by our firm.

If you think this is improper, then you must cry foul every time a staffer writes a speech for an elected official.

What Reeve did -- and what makes it improper -- was to use someone else's words without their permission.

That is not the case here.

(And your first clue should have been that Dahl's column looked like Kring's column, whose column looks like ... whose column looks like ...)

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