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Archive for August, 2012

The End of the Lance Armstrong Debate

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Sally Jenkins, I have lost all faith in you.  This one is a little better:  No we don’t know whether Lance is guilty or not and it is mildly curious why he never failed a drug test but is now being declared a violator.

I suspect there is rationality behind that, namely that individual tests do not constitute the whole of the evidence.  Further, even more logical, drug testing and performance enhancing drugs is a new and dynamic field and it makes sense that testing procedures would improve.  I confess that I don’t know all the facts of the USADA investigation–I don’t believe they have been made public–but there seems no reason to believe this was a witch hunt or an act of personal vengeance.  Sometimes justice must work this way:  go after the big guys and hope others will follow.

I do remember good things about Lance Armstrong.  His career definitely helped promote cycling in the U.S., and for me it led to following the Tour de France and learning about the sport.  I became especially fond of watching on television–I liked the pace, the scenery, and the opportunity for storytelling relating to the race and racers.  I particularly like the cycling announcers Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin and I believe they are linked to the sport and responsible for the great telecasts.

No, I don’t know and this is not libel it is just my opinion.  Here’s what I think.  Lance Armstrong is a smart guy and a good manager.  He is/was a gifted athlete and that meant he could earn a spot in the filed.  He was absolutely involved in every single effort to gain every second, from bicycles to gear to clothing, plus training, team management, and everything else that went into the overall effort.  Vitamins, medication, and yes, performance enhancers, are/were part of this regimen; in this ultra-grueling sport the were a part of the culture.  They were the norm.  One of the many challenges of being a champion was finding a way to do it better.

And I believe that is what Lance Armstrong did.  He managed very, very effectively to do it better (seven straight wins), and how to not cross the line and get caught.  Now, overall, the preponderance of the evidence is that he was guilty.

Now, back to the sport…  Cycling had a huge, a massive problem.  It was something that had the potential to kill the competitive side of the sport completely.  The only solution was to make every conceivable effort to stop the doping.  Survival depended on it.  It had to be innovative, persistent, and fearless.  And no one could be beyond its reach.

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August 25th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

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August 16th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

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August 16th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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e-mail to salazar

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I am writing to ask that Agriculture Secretary John Salazar, or his designee, assist with eradicating noxious weeds in my neighborhood.  I request that the Department of Agriculture 1) initiate an eradication effort and/or 2) investigate and enforce civil penalties per CRS 35-5.5-118 against Jefferson County officials responsible for continued inaction.

Relevant statutes include but are not limited to :  responsibilities, private lands, and civil penalties.


I live in Evergreen in an unincorporated portion of Jefferson County.  There is a severe noxious weed presence in my neighborhood and in my local open space park.  The infestation includes adjacent properties to mine and creeps onto my property.  About two years ago I began to look seriously into the problem.  Efforts to eradicate the problem through local government (Jefferson County) have been completely fruitless; the problem appears to be getting worse.  I have also communicated extensively with Steve Ryder, Eric Lane, and Patty York of your department; Ms. York has been to my home and neighborhood and has documented the problem.

Key e-mails and photographs are posted here.

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners has failed to “adopt a noxious weed management plan” as required by CRS 35-5.5-105; I, and Agriculture employees, have requested a plan in writing on numerous occasions.  Per the e-mail (unsolicited) from Ms. Doran her requirements a) are not confirmed by a written plan from the Board and b) conflict dramatically with eradication procedures required by statute.  Put simply, Jefferson County employees are very aware of the problems in my neighborhood and refuse to take eradication and/or other action.  Myrtle spurge is a particular problem both on private and public (county) property.  Dalmation toadflax is also absolutely taking over the Elk Meadow open space park.

Finally, after numerous requests from me county representatives sprayed the right of ways in my neighborhood close to two years ago; it was ineffective.  At my request it was done again about three months ago.  Myrtle spurge is still thriving around my home and in my neighborhood.  I suggest the county is wasting money:  It would be far more efficient to eradicate the weeds as required.

I suggest Alicia Doran (“Jefferson County Weed & Pest”), the Jefferson County Board members, and Ralph Schell, county administrator are all individually culpable in this matter.

As noted, employees of the Agriculture Department are aware of this problem.  I had several productive discussions with Ms. York and, approximately two months ago I informed her that I must make additional, escalation efforts.  She was to get back to me and that never occurred.  Therefore, I am writing to the Agriculture commissioner directly.


I believe this constitutes a viable summary of the situation.  Need I include the following?  It is dangerous, annoying, costly, time-consuming, unsightly, home value affecting, etc.  And this obstinance absolutely conflicts with what other counties/municipalities are doing and what is required by law.  Anyway, if further information is needed please contact me.

Peter Pfeiffer

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August 14th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

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Is the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners Responsible for the Sheriff?

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The question is, is the Board of Commissioners responsible for the actions of the sheriff?  Does the board have oversight responsibility?  I am pretty sure they do have budget responsibility.  The board can sue and be sued.  Statutes relating to county officers begin here.

The duties of sheriff are poorly defined (unspecific), described only as “30-10-516. Sheriffs to preserve peace – command aid.”  Sheriffs have considerable discretion.  Unlike commissioners, statutes do not specifically say they can be sued; in other words, sovereign immunity seems to apply.

A sheriff has complete hire and fire authority of undersheriffs and deputies.  Any official capacity lapse by subordinates is the responsibility of the sheriff.

Nothing in statute absolves the sheriff from public corruption (e.g., falsification of public records) violations.

The Board of Commissioners is responsible for the budget and in this respect has authority over the sheriff.

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August 14th, 2012 at 8:44 am

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castle rock v. gonzales links

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  • CYA bias, but, “discretion to the point of deliberate indifference may result in civil liability;” Okin v. Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Dept.; concept of public duty doctrine.

  • suggests Inter-American Commission on Human Rights decision should spur domestic violence reform; good summary of Castle Rock.

  • Okin v. Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Dept.

  • details of the IACHR case/decision; this case is about private/domestic violence, NOT police duties more generally.

  • documentary film in production.

  • GWU/public health article.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that federal law provides no guarantee of a specific police response to domestic violence complaints, even when a restraining order has been issued against a potential perpetrator.

“It’s not about being protected. Nobody is asking for miracles. She was asking for police to take her calls seriously, which is what procedural due process — fairness — is all about,” he said.

  • similarly excellent (Gonzales filed in Federal court in Colorado)

The theory of the lawsuit Ms. Gonzales filed in federal district court in Denver was that Colorado law had given her an enforceable right to protection by instructing the police, on the court order, that “you shall arrest” or issue a warrant for the arrest of a violator. She argued that the order gave her a “property interest” within the meaning of the 14th Amendment’s due process guarantee, which prohibits the deprivation of property without due process.

The district court and a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit dismissed the suit, but the full appeals court reinstated it and the town appealed. The Supreme Court’s precedents made the appellate ruling a challenging one for Ms. Gonzales and her lawyers to sustain.

A 1989 decision, DeShaney v. Winnebago County, held that the failure by county social service workers to protect a young boy from a beating by his father did not breach any substantive constitutional duty. By framing her case as one of process rather than substance, Ms. Gonzales and her lawyers hoped to find a way around that precedent.

Procedural Due Process

Property –


Rule of law

  • good list of links–articles indicating Castle Rock is at fault, from the time.


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August 13th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

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Missy Franklin and NCAA Bashing

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I don’t believe in NCAA bashing.  A scholarship to an outstanding school and all the perks not available to the average student–tutors, adulation, training, etc.–is a huge achievement and privilege.  At the same time it is a tough life with travel, work-outs, and schoolwork.

It is true that one cannot be an NCAA athlete and a professional. It is the best and only way it can be.

She has a choice to make between two attractive options.  That’s all.

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August 11th, 2012 at 10:35 pm

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Is Law Enforcement a Right?

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Town of Castle Rock vs. Gonzales (additional links) notwithstanding, I believe law enforcement may still be a right in other respects.  Certainly I am in no position to argue with Supreme Court justices, but this quote from the Denver Post is overly-simplistic:

Denver attorney David Lane, who is not involved in the case, said police are also under “no obligation to take any action simply because someone reports something.”

“Just because she may have reported something to the police doesn’t mean they are on the hook for anything,” he said, noting the ruling in the Castle Rock case.

This case has several circumstances which make general statements about the responsibility of law enforcement precarious.  These include:

  • The characteristics of a restraining order are different than other crimes against life, liberty, or property.  This is why in his concurring majority opinion Justice David Souter referred to a restraining order as a “process” rather than right protected by the due process clause.
  • Restraining orders in general, and the behavior of Ms. Gonzales specifically. involve some discretion in enforcement.
  • Colorado law with respect to mandating restraining order enforcement is not specific enough nor does it provide remedies for enforcement failures.
  • A monetary settlement may not be relevant or appropriate and the police employees may have had qualified immunity.

Overall, this ruling in particular does not completely absolve a legal responsibility for government to provide effective law enforcement.

*          *          *

I believe this subject, this influence on our lives is much broader than this one case and even law and courts in general.

The town of Castle Rock is an affluent, desirable place to live which outpaces national averages on home value and income metrics.

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August 11th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

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Fri 8/10 notes

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“The policy is a written policy. It’s like the speed limit, if you are going over the speed limit, you’re breaking the law. He’s been over the speed limit. As in, he’s been over it a lot.”


Colorado Ethics Watch

Colorado Common Cause

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August 11th, 2012 at 12:40 am

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Yahoo! Voices

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August 10th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

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