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? 


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: "business" (Show all posts)

Eureka Medical Cannabis Ordinance - Amendments 10-3-2017

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Saturday, October 7, 2017, In : Eureka Cannabis 



Section 1.

Title 15, Chapter 155, Section 155.051, [A Agricultural Districts], paragraph (C), [Permitted and conditional uses], is hereby amended to remove the following use (the remainder of the text in the table is unchanged and is omitted):

Medical cannabis cultivation facilities, mixed ...

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California opens access to public business conducted on private devices

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Thursday, March 9, 2017, In : Business 
Communications by government officials in California who use personal devices or email accounts to conduct official business may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Record Acts.

In a unanimous decision welcomed by transparency advocates, the California Supreme Court overturned an appellate court ruling. “If public officials could evade the law simply by clicking into a different email account, or communicating through a personal device, sensitive information could routinely ...

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The IRS problem

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, In : Taxes 
After the state begins issuing licenses under AB 266, the legal market will be tracked from seed to sale (or clone to sale). The State will know about every plant grown and sold in the legal market. The IRS will have access to all this information. Additionally, local permits are public record and many filed appear to expose applicants to excessive taxes by the IRS. 

Many cannabis businesses are being taxed by the Feds at a rate of 80-90% because Section 280E prohibits deducting costs of goods...
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The Business of Bubbles

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Friday, February 3, 2017, In : Business 
The first recorded financial bubble was the tulip bulb mania of 1637.  A crave over Europe drove the price of tulip bulbs to ridiculous heights. Some single bulbs sold for the modern day equivalent of millions of dollars. A traders' market resulted with speculators. Many people became wealthy overnight. But one day a single bulb failed to sale at the market, and the market collapsed in hours. Many lost everything. 

The same dynamics which created the Tulip bubble were responsible for the tech ...
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California’s marijuana czar on upcoming marijuana regulation: ‘We will not fail’

Posted by DeLacy on Saturday, January 21, 2017, In : Marijuana Regulation 

“Our goal is to make this business legitimate,” Morris told the crowd. “What we’re working for is a legitimate marketplace.”

Under both the state’s medical marijuana regulations and Proposition 64, California must be ready to issue licenses by 2018 for thousands of businesses operating in California, home of America’s largest marijuana economy.

Proposition 64 will create 19 new license categories for recreational marijuana while establishing a 15 percent excise tax on retail sales...

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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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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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Project to Expand Green Business in California

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Friday, November 4, 2016, In : Green Business 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $173,479 to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to help small and medium-size businesses across the state reduce their environmental impacts. Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, announced the grant at Mandela Foods Cooperative, in West Oakland, one of several local businesses to “go green” with CARB’s assistance.

“Pollution prevention efforts can save money by increasing efficiency a...

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Non-Compete Agreement Ruled Unenforceable by California court

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, In : Contracts 

Readers will know that California marches to its own drummer when it comes to the enforceability of covenants not to compete. California Business & Professions Code Section 16600 declares these covenants void unless they fall within a statutory exception. Nonetheless, some companies continue to insist on including non-compete clauses in their agreements.  Sometimes, they even try to enforce these clauses with lamentable results.  Such was the case of Robinson v. U-Haul Co. of Cal., Cal. Super...

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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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California nearing 5-year low in rate of small business job growth

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Friday, September 2, 2016, In : Business 
The rate of California's small business job growth has dropped even further from last month and is now nearing a five-year low for the state, according to a report from payroll processing company Paychex and market research firm IHS.

The report's small business jobs index takes into account data from more than 350,000 small businesses across the country to track employment trends. An increase in the index number corresponds to an acceleration in job growth, while a decrease means that growth i...

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Being an Anti-Fragile Business

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Thursday, May 5, 2016, In : 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 Nich...
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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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Data tells the story: California is a good place to do business

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Thursday, December 10, 2015, In : Economy 
By: Next 10

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. December 10, 2015 - California is an attractive state for creating and sustaining successful businesses, according to a new report that relies on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Dynamic Statistics to calculate exactly where California ranks, compared to other states, across a comprehensive range of economic indicators.

California New Business Creation, commissioned by the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Next 10 and prepared by Beacon Economics, finds th...
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GO-Biz launches website to assist California business owners

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, In : Small Business 

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, GO-Biz for short, this week launched the California Business Portal, touted as a one-stop shop website for business owners looking for information and assistance.

The site is at http://businessportal.ca.gov.

Officials said the site will be continually updated and tailored to business needs.

Portal options include information for starting and growing a business; guides to permits, licenses and incentives; and tax information.

Read more ...

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Will "Last Chance Grade" and a lasting economic impact on Humboldt?

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Monday, February 23, 2015, In : Development 
Ten miles south of Crescent City lies a stretch of highway prone to landslides, over 200 since the road was constructed. Caltrans is contemplating constructing a bypass farther inland.  The costs of a bypass could be over $1.07 billion. One of our supervisors Rex Bohn stated over 50 businesses travel between Crescent City and Humboldt weekly. The real number is around 340 businesses if you include the marijuana industry. If nothing is done and this portion of road is closed the economic impac...
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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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Forecast: Economic Prosperity Reduces Crime in 2015!

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Tuesday, December 30, 2014,
Our New Years Resolution is Economic Prosperity for Humboldt in 2015! 

If a community has a high poverty rate it will also have a high crime rate. In the modernized world, poverty and crime always correlate without exception. 

The crime rate in Humboldt is off the hook and sadly children are often the victims. A 14-year-old was murdered in Eureka just days ago, one recent violent incident of many. 

Humboldt is lucky to have many enterprising people as well as several small and large businesses. ...
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Humboldt GMO Band and Grafting Plants

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Saturday, November 29, 2014,
Several farmers have approached me asking if Measure P the GMO ban will prevent them from grafting plants to make hybrids. It's an important question because any contract to sale GMO plants would be considered void in Humboldt after the passage of Measure P. People have been grafting to create hybrid plants for thousands of years. Every modern day fruit tree is the result of several generations of grafting.  

Measure P defines Genetic Engineering as:

“Genetic engineering” means altering or ...

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Postal Sorting to Medford & Humboldt Online Businesses

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Wednesday, November 26, 2014,
Locals are upset about our postal sorting facility moving to Medford, and rightly so.  The move to Medford may delay local first class deliveries, meaning delayed prescriptions and election ballots.  Several clients have asked if the move will impact outgoing mail for Humboldt based businesses who ship nationally or internationally.

After making some phone calls, and researching postal routes, I am convinced the move will not impact shipments destined outside Humboldt. For packages sent outsi...
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Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. Warning may contain more opinions than facts.