Farewell to Humboldt

My family and I are relocating to Oregon although an office will be maintained in Eureka for awhile. We moved to Humboldt with hopes of helping to improve the community, and learned billions of dollars of cash floating around a rural county unleashes a distopia: "a place where the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror."  Humboldt is full of wonderful individuals who are intimidated, uninformed, or tired of trying. Humboldt's golden age was when people did not inhabit it, and so we leave Humboldt. Please destroy English Ivy wherever you see her. 

August 18, 2019

Fred Fletcher 

Is Latin a Dead Language in Humboldt?

Latin is still used to describe legal doctrines. 

  • "Defacto" means "in fact"
  • "Ex parte" means "by one party"
  • "Fiat" means "let it be done"
  • "De novo" means "anew"

The term "de novo" is commonly used to describe the right to a new trial of an administrative hearing officer's decision if appealed. This is an important right that can effect disability payments, permit and license revocations, and property rights.  Without the right to a traditional "de novo" review of an administrative hearing officer's decision property and civil rights are at risk. An administrative hearing officer is someone the Government pays to determine the rights of its residents. Sometimes these hearing officers are unqualified, bias, or conflicted so California law allows their decisions to be reviewed by judges "de novo" or "anew."

Two Humboldt Superior Court Judges Kelly Neel, and Gregory Elvine-Kreis have determined the term "de novo" means the exact opposite of it's Latin origin. Both judges have held that a "de novo" review of an administrative hearing officer's decision is limited to the record at the administrative hearing meaning the review is not "anew" but is the opposite.  Our judges have decided nothing "anew" is allowed to be presented on appeal to challenge the hearing officer's decision. This is an astonishing holding (postmodernism?) which appears to contravene the findings of every other Judge in the State who has pondered the issue.  Will the Court of appeals agree with our Humboldt Court by turning Latin on it's head and disposing of due process? 

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Fred Fletcher

July 15, 2019

Supreme Court Resurrects Property Rights from the Grave

Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, No. 17-647, 588 U.S. ___ (2019)

Ms. Knick bought 90-acres of land in 1970 in Pennsylvania.  In 2008, rumors started to circulate a dead body was buried on her land. A relative of the dead body convinced (probably bought) the City Counsel to designate the land as a cemetery which forced Ms. Knick to allow visitors on her land. Ms. Knick sued in State court where her case was dismissed because the City had not filed an enforcement action against her. 

Ms. Knick petitioned the US Supreme Court to overturn a catch-22 for property owners. She claimed the City turning her property into a cemetery was an illegal taking (without just compensation) under the 5th amendment. Prior to this decision property owners were barred from seeking relief in Federal Court until they had sued and appealed all the way to the State Supreme Court. 

The US Supreme Court overturned this rule and now property owners can sue directly in Federal Court when a locality takes property without just compensation. This decision may bring an end to our local bureaucracy. 

Humboldt Planning and Building Department, Director John Ford on bottom right

Eureka Public Transit System

I've been grounded from driving since Mother's day due to a medical condition giving me an opportunity to review Eureka's public transit system.  On average public transit in Eureka is as fast as walking. 

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 farm workers 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 farm-workers 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. 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.  

 

Showing Tag: " humboldt" (Show all posts)

California Growers Association Sues the State

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Thursday, February 8, 2018, In : California Growers Association 
The California Growers Association has sued the State of California claiming the State has violated proposition 64 by not capping license numbers yet.  I find this suit humorous. First, the allegations are a mere 7 pages without much substance. Maybe an intern was paid a gram or two to draft this complaint in a Sacramento dorm room?  



The lawsuit seeks an order limiting licenses based on language in 64, the recreational proposition. If a judge agrees and only imposes a limit on recreational li...
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Herd Mentality will End your Business

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Friday, January 13, 2017, In : John Ford 
Local cannabis celebrity John Ford is accused of scamming folks by convincing them to pay for bogus insurance called Ford20 Insurance. Ford20 Insurance was a Founding Member of the Humboldt Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.

I informed all my clients not to pay John Ford money. After representing business clients for 12 year smelling a con-artist was easy. 


Local Cannabis Celebrity John Ford

Some folks were not so fortunate. Humboldt Redwood Healing (Thomas Mulder CEO) paid John Ford $52,100 for wor...
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LOCAL INSURANCE COMPANY ACCUSED OF DEFRAUDING LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES

Posted by DeLacy on Thursday, January 12, 2017, In : Small Business 

To the community,

Humboldt Redwood Healing, contracted with John Ford of Ford Insurance Agency (Founding Member of Humboldt Cannabis Chamber of Commerce) for the purchase of worker’s compensation insurance for its employees.  After paying John Ford of Ford Insurance Agency the funds necessary to purchase worker’s compensation insurance, Humboldt Redwood Healing became aware that no insurance had been purchased for the company’s employees with the money that was provided to John Ford. Aft...


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The Business of Competition

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Friday, January 6, 2017, In : Business 
How a business deals with competitors often determines success or failure. Only your competitors have an interest in seeing you put out of business. The adage "keep your enemies closer than your friends" is good business. Some businesses take another approach and attempt to intimidate competitors. Unless your business happens to be Apple, Google or Microsoft trying to intimidate your competitors is not good business. You will only motivate your competitors which will shrink your market share....
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California's Dungeness crab season facing second year of troubles due to algae toxin

Posted by DeLacy on Friday, November 25, 2016, In : Crab Industry 

State health officials Wednesday recommended an indefinite delay of the commercial crabbing season for Dungeness along a more than 200-mile stretch of Northern California owing to a toxin from algae blooms.

The recommendation from California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment marks a second year that toxic blooms have hit the West Coast's crabbing industry. Dungeness is a tradition on holiday tables for many in this part of the country.

Commercial crabbing for Dungeness wa...


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Is forming a Non-profit Marijuana Business Stupid?

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Friday, November 25, 2016, In : Marijuana Non-profit 
Humboldt criminal lawyers are preparing for a career change with cannabis becoming legal in California. As a civil and business attorney for 12 years, it is alarming to see all the rookie mistakes being made. 



Some cultivators with sizable operations are being advised to form non-profits. This could be disastrous. The State of California is no longer playing dumb. The State realizes most marijuana businesses are for-profit. AB 266 and proposition 64 both recognize cannabis businesses are for-p...
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From Our Friends at the Cannabist

Posted by DeLacy on Thursday, October 27, 2016,

Coveted cannabis: Why California weed growers are pursuing appellations like wine makers
By , The Cannabist Staff

2017 could be a pivotal year for marijuana growers and consumers alike in California – and particularly in the state’s fabled Emerald Triangle region.

If California voters approve a recreational legalization measure next month growers in Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity Counties — the area making up the Emerald Triangle — will face a variety of new dilemmas.


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Humboldt’s Experiment with ‘Track and Trace’ Marijuana

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, In : Track and Trace 
As legal states for medical and recreational marijuana continue to expand across the United States, the regulatory regimes overseeing the production and sale of pot are getting more sophisticated. In California’s Humboldt County (reputed as part of the Emerald Triangle, the largest cannabis-producing region in the country), the county government is currently operating a pilot program to “track and trace” legal medical marijuana from grower to dispensary to patient.

While “seed to sale...

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New York Times Features Local Activist Betty Chinn

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, In : Betty Chinn 

The New York Times explained:

When we asked readers last week to describe the homelessness in their communities, several urged us to take a look at the work of Betty Chinn, a homeless advocate based in Eureka. So we did. Ms. Chinn is known around Humboldt County as “the Chinese Mother Teresa.”

Read more here.


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Humboldt and Proposition 64

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, In : Recreational 

The Times Standard has improved since editor Kimberly Wear resigned after our complaints she was promoting local scams to unsuspecting consumers. As reported in the Times Standard this week: 

"Should recreational marijuana (Proposition 64) become legal in California this November, Humboldt County officials state that regulations for this new market will likely mirror those already in place for medical cannabis businesses...But because of a July court agreement, the county will have to first co...


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Marketing your Small Business

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, In : Marketing 
Marketing decisions for small businesses determine success or failure. Depending on the industry a marketing budget for a small business ranges between 15-30% of the entire budget. Start ups often dedicate a much larger percentage to marketing. 

Many clients have a difficult time connecting with skilled marketers. One test to determine if you have found a skilled marketer is how the marketer treats you as a customer. If a marketer fails to make you feel appreciated as a customer it is likely t...
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HSU named on List of Top Public Schools

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, In : HSU 

Humboldt State University has been named the 12th top public school in the west by the U.S. News & World Report 2017 Best Colleges rankings

The university was ranked the 52nd top regional university in the west (a tie), a broader category that includes private schools. HSU also tied for the 55th best engineering program in schools where doctorates are not offered.


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The (Green) Rush to Make Mistakes

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Friday, July 15, 2016, In : Commercial Cannabis 
It's no secret the cannabis industry is normalizing. Over the next 10 years the cannabis industry will be under the spotlight. Participants will be held to a higher standard than other industries. This new industry will have to prove itself. Decades of dysfunction and bad press from the black market has tainted the industry's reputation.

If you're interested in becoming a "legal" cannabis operation here's a couple of pointers to avoid disaster:

1) Be diligent but do not be in a rush. Many in th...
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Commission Closes Recreational Razor Clam Fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Thursday, April 28, 2016, In : Domoic Acid 

The California Fish and Game Commission on Monday voted 3-0 in favor of an emergency rulemaking to prohibit recreational take and possession of razor clam from Humboldt and Del Norte county beaches. The closure is now in effect. Closure of the fishery shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose ...


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California targets Morgan Stanley For Fraud on Investors

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, In : Kamala Harris 

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley for allegedly misrepresenting complex investments like mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the global financial crisis and to major losses by investors that included California’s public pension funds, which provide retirement security to California peace officers, firefighters and teachers. 



Harris’ office alleges Morgan Stanley violated the False Claims A...


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Crab health advisory lifted south of Humboldt Bay

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Sunday, April 24, 2016, In : Humboldt Bay 

Recreational crabbers were given a little more territory to snare tasty Dungeness on Friday when the California Department of Public Health lifted its health advisory along the coast up to Humboldt Bay.


Restrictions on catching the crustaceans were quickly lifted after the decision by Karen Smith, the state health officer. It means crabs can be caught for sport along the California coast up to Humboldt County, including all the waters in the bay.

Commercial crab fishing is still not allowed...


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Bob Marley Family Approved Humboldt Cannabis Lights Up Dispensaries

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Thursday, April 21, 2016, In : Marley Natural 

Marley Natural cannabis products, made from organic Humboldt County crops, have launched in Bay Area dispensaries.

Four strains of cannabis and four types of cannabis oils are now available for purchase to patients at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CBCB in Berkeley and SPARC in San Francisco.



The products launched at three dispensaries in Los Angeles earlier this year, utilizing cannabis grown in Southern California. The Marley Natural cannabis stocked in Bay Area dispensaries comes f...


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New Czar says Medical Marijuana bigger than Liquor

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, In : Lori Ajax 

The newly appointed chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation predicts licensed pot businesses soon might rival or even outnumber sanctioned booze businesses in California.

“I do think we’re going to have a big licensing population here in California as it relates to cannabis,” Lori Ajax said.


There were 88,490 active alcohol licenses last year. That indicates Ajax – a.k.a. “the pot czar” – will have a big task before her and a lot of eyes on her, with California alr...


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California considering bill to support Gig Unions

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, In : Gig Economy 

Uber drivers may soon have the right to unionize in California. 

AB 1727, or the California 1099 Self-Organizing Act, would radically alter rules surrounding independent contractors and eliminate some of the very benefits of working for yourself. Under the bill, groups as small as 10 contractors could choose to negotiate together. In the case of Internet platforms, this could mean that some companies are required by law to meet and negotiate separately with as many as 10,000 different groups o...


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Only 6% of Public Trusts Media

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Monday, April 18, 2016, In : Humboldt News 
Media consumption may be at an all-time high, but the public's trust in it is near an all-time low. A poll conducted by the Media Insight Project finds that just 6 percent of American adults have “a lot of confidence” in the media, putting it roughly in line with the U.S. Congress among the lowest-ranked institutions in American public life.

In Humboldt our media options are limited. The Times Standard and Redwood Times are owned by a media conglomerate based in Denver, Colorado. Media in ...

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China Sunny on California

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Sunday, April 17, 2016, In : China 

More money flowed from China to California businesses from 2000-2015 — $8 billion — than to any other U.S. state, according to a study by the National Committee on US-China Relations. The study did not say how much red money was invested in Humboldt County. 




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California Farm Board Backs Ruling On Election Interference

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Sunday, April 17, 2016, In : California Farm Board 
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – The California farm labor board has upheld a court ruling that one of the nation’s largest fruit growers interfered as employees were deciding whether to reject union representation.

The decision Friday by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board marked the latest victory for organized labor in the decades-long fight.

The board unanimously affirmed the ruling by Administrative Law Judge Mark Soble to set aside a 2013 election held by workers at Gerawan Farming Inc.

The bo...

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Why is Humboldt Based Wild Planet Foods being sued?

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Sunday, April 10, 2016, In : Class Actions 

A consumer in California has sued Humboldt County based Wild Planet Foods for allegedly under-filling its cans of tuna, the second lawsuit of its kind, reports Legalnewsline.com. Heney Shihad filed a class action lawsuit on March 25 in US District Court for the Northern District of California Eureka Division, alleging breach of express and implied warranties, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violations of California's Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law. Wild Planet Foods i...


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The $15 Minimum Wage and Humboldt

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Thursday, April 7, 2016, In : Minimum Wage 
Jerry Brown signed the bill for a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage which will gradually come into effect over the next few years. If you're a small business owner this may cause you concern. If you're an underpaid employee then you applaud the wage hike. It's no secret many of our local politicians opposed a local minimum wage hike last year. The opposition's propaganda saturated our media. Once the wage hike becomes the norm these politicians will likely claim they always supported it, suc...
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McKay Tract, Property Values, Tourism, and 2016

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Friday, January 9, 2015,
It's no secret our coastal Redwoods are a big draw for tourists. The uniqueness of these specimens on our lost coast can't be denied. The McKay tract is nearly 1,000 acres which dwarfs comparable parks. Multiple trails are being constructed for naturalists of all types. Surrounding property values and home sales are experiencing a modest rise which should continue into the foreseeable future. Eureka in many respects is a city experiencing a resurgence which the McKay Tract will hasten. 

Pundit...

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Trinity Lake Water Release Long Overdue

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Saturday, January 3, 2015,

The Interior Department has finally decided to honor a contract made with Humboldt in 1955 to release 50,000 acre-feet of water from Trinity Lake for local use. For decades, the economic power of Central Valley farmers have prevented the release of water we own, water crucial for salmon survival. The water was withheld in violation of the law because Central Valley farmers hired hundreds of lobbyists to convince the Federal government to steal our water. 

For the first time in decades, the Fed...


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Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. Warning may contain more opinions than facts.