Los Angeles Times Reports Eureka is Birthplace of California's  (Racist) Housing Crisis

"Article 34, which remains in effect, requires voter approval before public housing is built in a community. At the time it passed, the real estate industry argued taxpayers should have a right to vote on low-income housing projects because they were publicly funded infrastructure similar to schools or roads. The campaign also appealed to racist fears about integrating neighborhoods and featured heated rhetoric about the need to combat socialism." 

On February 3, 2019, the LA Times reported, Article 34 grew out of a fight in the northern coastal city of Eureka in 1950. Residents there collected signatures to overturn a decision to build public housing financed by a federal program inaugurated during the New Deal. Eureka unfortunately remains racially, and demographically divided. Nonwhite residents under 50 years-old consistently report being excluded from participating in Eureka events. Eureka received national attention because a local "progressive" group was excluding nonwhites, whether intentional or not.

We receive complaints younger people are also being excluded while other young people appear to have cult like allegiance to these groups. Calling themselves environmentalists some groups have joined forces with slumlords in Eureka to prevent any low-income housing from being developed. Eureka's politicians are often backed by the same lawyers and bankers each election. Rumors are circulating local grants are being channeled to benefit national political parties while Eureka falls into disrepair.

February 3, 2019

Fred Fletcher 

California Proposes Reducing Cannabis Taxes to Fight Illicit Market 

Assembly Bill 286, dubbed the Temporary Cannabis Tax Reduction bill, would temporarily cut state excise taxes for legal marijuana retailers from 15 percent to 11 percent and also suspend cultivation taxes altogether through 2022.  The proposed legislation, which is sponsored by state Treasurer Fiona Ma.  “The whole aim of legalization is to compete with the illicit market and to get people to buy from the regulated establishments,” he said. “You can’t do that if the taxes are so high and onerous that people are driven out of that market.”

This is at odds with the taxing scheme in Humboldt were the black market is estimated to be 1,500% larger than the white market.  Yesterday, the Court refused to dismiss the Measure S lawsuit attorney Eugene Denson and I filed. The lawsuit seeks to return the tax to a crop tax as approved by the voters. The suit challenges the constitutionality of an amendment our county supervisors made to impose the tax whether or not plants are grown. 

Fred Fletcher

January 29, 2019

Human Rights Update

Judge, Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. of the US District Court in Oakland, on Sunday granted a request by more than a dozen states to temporarily block the Trump administration from putting into effect new rules that would make it easier for employers to deny women health insurance coverage for contraceptives. 

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

New Laws in California for 2019

Farm Employee Overtime

In 2016, California became the first state in the U.S. to require employers to pay overtime for farmworkers who work more than eight hours. The first phase of the new rules will begin in January, when agricultural employees will earn overtime after working 9 1/2 hours in a day or 55 hours in a week. Currently, California farmworkers can get overtime after working 60 hours in a week or 10 hours in a day.  The change only applies to businesses that employ at least 26 people. The rules do not apply to smaller agricultural employers until 2022. Discloser, our office consults with agricultural employers on compliance matters and we represent employees on wage and labor claims. Aside from wage and hour claims, sexual harassment and discrimination are constant concerns on the farm. 

Street Vendor Permits

A law going into effect in January will allow local governments to design permit programs for vendors and limits when they can be criminally prosecuted. It pertains to anyone selling food or other merchandise from a pushcart, stand or “non-motorized conveyance.” I anticipate the City of Eureka will embrace this new law and its economic benefits. I predict the County will ignore this law until the County is forced to follow it by a judge.  

Home Kitchen Businesses

A new law encourages Counties (like Humboldt) to permit home kitchens for the purpose of selling food products. California Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, who authored the bill, says that homemade food sales are a vital part of self-reliant communities. “Legitimizing these home businesses will offer a means of economic empowerment and pathways for many to achieve the ‘American dream,’” Garcia said when the bill was signed. Humboldt historically resists new opportunities which provide residents access to residual income. Perhaps after the County Supervisors election in 2020 progress will be made on this front.  

Fred Fletcher

January 17, 2019

The Measure S Lawsuit

Measure S is the cannabis cultivation tax the voters passed. We are challenging the County Supervisor's decision to amend Measure S as passed by the voters. The Supervisors amended the tax to apply to the property owner, not the farmer, and regardless of whether any crop is grown.  

Yesterday, we filed our response to the County's demurrer to the Measure S lawsuit. (Set to be heard January 28, 2019.) The County hired a large Sacramento Firm (founded the year I was born) to defend the lawsuit. They argue it's impossible to tax farmers for the actual crop grown because the County can't verify how much was grown. We informed the Court, governments since the beginning of governments have taxed farmers for crops actually grown, and we cited the Book of Genesis as our evidence.  

The amendments by the Supervisors have been misreported. The Supervisors amended Measure S to tax the permitted area regardless of the amount of crop grown.  As such, the supervisors have amended the tax to be assessed against fallow land, without regard to crop grown. We provided the Court authority that Measure S as amended is a property tax and is unconstitutional. We ask the Court to return Measure S to its original state which acted as an excise tax on legal crop actually grown. 

We will update this one. 

Fred Fletcher

January 15, 2019


County Supervisor's Can't Silence Critics, including Humboldt's Supervisors. 

In a 3-0 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Phyllis Randall, chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, violated the First Amendment free speech rights of Brian Davison by banning him for 12 hours from her “Chair Phyllis J. Randall” facebook page.

Last election my office received a few complaints from citizens who were censored for making comments critical of politicians, on the left and right (somehow our local politics are becoming politically polarized). Now these citizens may have recourse. This First Amendment decision could impact local elections nationwide by allowing the public to be heard.    

Fred Fletcher

January 8, 2019

Update on Nation v Trump filed in the 9th Circuit

This lawsuit challenges HUD's rule which forces subsidized apartments to evict medical cannabis users. Plaintiff was evicted from her HUD apartment on July 10, 2018 when a maintenance man discovered some medical cannabis in her bedroom. She remains homeless and is not alone.

The lawsuit not only challenges HUD's rule but relies upon Murphy v NCAA (decided May 2018) to challenge the constitutionality of the Controlled Substance Act itself relative to medical marijuana in the State of California. The Supreme Court in Murphy v NCAA resurrected from near death the anti-commandeering doctrine, which in laymen's terms means the Congress cannot make orders directly to the States. 

We are optimistic this lawsuit will prevail. If the District Court issues an order in our favor appealing the decision would pose a political pitfall for the Trump administration. 

I will update this one.

January 3, 2019

Fred Fletcher 

Update on Volkswagen Diesel Fraud Case

We filed an action in Butte County on May 17, 2018 with the intent of having a jury decide punitive damages. We would be the first party to bring the defeat device case to jury trial.  Peer reviewed studies proved thousands of people with lung diseases died from the fraud.  

 

Being an Anti-Fragile Business

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Thursday, May 5, 2016 Under: Economy
We live in a new economy.  After the financial collapse of 2008, everything was questionable. For many businesses the question became how do we survive? The survival rate for larger companies is much lower than small businesses since the financial collapse. This has led investors to question what makes a business sustainable. Is it size? cash flow? excited investors? cuddling with politicians? Reality says none of the above. 

One economist was able to predict the financial collapse Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of the Black Swan. Taleb posits large corporations are bubbles which will inevitably burst, while smaller businesses are able to adapt to changing circumstances. Under the theory of anti-fragility, small business are the driving force behind an economy, while massive corporations tend to be parasitic on an economy like a cancer. Large corporations pay little or no taxes but require an excessive amount of government assistance in the form of police protection and court services.  

This is not to say people who work for large corporations are villains. These are people just trying to make ends meet. The critique is against the massive corporation not the people who are forced to work for it.

So what makes a business anti-fragile? Here's three factors:

1) Adaptability. Small businesses by design are more adaptable than large corporations. Blockbuster was too large to adapt and now it's extinct, like the Brontosaurus. Even Apple is one poor I-phone release away from going bankrupt. (Disclosure I am not an apple investor in 2016.) 

2) Doing the right thing. Many large corporations continue to exist based upon a gimmick. They tell the consumer we're so big, so awesome turn your brain off and open up your wallet. But consumers appear to be getting smarter at a rate faster than large corporations. Many executives or partners of large corporations and firms are losing their edge. Gimmicks always have an expiration date. Either the consumer will catch on or the people perpetrating the gimmick will get lazy. Businesses which continue to adapt and do the right thing do not have an expiration date. These businesses are anti-fragile. 

3) Being Skeptical. Successful small businesses are consistently under pressure from larger businesses to sell out. Everything has a price tag but small a business should be cautious about giving up control to be aligned with a larger business. Selling a successful small business may bring a quick profit but overtime growing a small business may result in a much larger profit.  

4) Understanding the risk. All options are risks. A willingness to take risks every single day is a competent of a successful business. 

These are just three basic guidelines for a small business in the new economy and dealing with the ever evolving consumer.

This post is a work in progress and will be continued. 


In : Economy 


Tags: economy  small business 

About


Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. "Civil solutions for a sustainable community" and the logo at the top of this web-page is an advertisement for Fletcher Law Offices.