las vegas real estate rebound

Las Vegas Finally Picks Up After 2008

Clear Counsel Law Group is pleased to feature this blog post by our friend Margaretha Breytenbach who has helped many of our clients make responsible real estate decisions.

The Great Recession of 2008 became known as the 2008 financial crisis and it made way for the most widespread disruption to the US economy ever since the Great Depression is the 30’s. It started in 2007 when the US real estate market began falling apart and delinquencies of mortgages increased. By September and October of 2008, it created a nationwide financial disaster. The US government provided extraordinary assistance to financial institutions by flooding the market with money, adding liquidity and increasing government spending.

When the leverage credit market seized up, and the US mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went flop during the summer, the government was distressed since these two are highly important in the US real estate market. Since the failure of those two institutions could cause the fall of the entire financial system, the US treasury injected $200Billion of funds as new capital in the form of stocks.

Jobs and Tourism

Las Vegas, being one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the US, became the epicenter of foreclosures. When there are only few people left spending their earnings in a casinos, hotels and bars, incomes get depleted, and mortgages go unpaid. The unemployment rate rose when business tried their best not to go underwater by cutting manpower. Many are yet to recover from it.

Many construction projects were put on hold when US citizens felt Vegas party trips were no longer a responsible use of income. Major constructions went bankrupt and halted their completion like the Summerlin shops and Cosmopolitan. Everyone in our tourism-driven community felt the pinch.

Why now is a Good Time to Invest in a Home?

Everyone almost gave up when we went so near rock bottom. Even the middle class has bankruptcy declarations; about 13,068 (individual and business) foreclosures were from the Clark County. It increased by 2010 to 25,000 but eventually recovered in the first quarters of 2015 to 4,566.

The market was slow in picking up the pieces left by this upheaval in the US housing bubble. However, the latest findings show that where it struck hardest, the recovery will also rise fastest. Las Vegas had made the largest jump in the number of renters to owners ratio from 39.5% (2006) to 49.4% (2014).

Home values are now recovering at a fast pace; more so due to the fact those tourists are again pouring back to the Strip. Businesses are booming. All temporized construction and plans are resumed. Las Vegas is reinvented and reinvigorated.

Born and Raised in South Africa, Margaretha has moved in the USA since 2004 after extensive travel through Europe. Well versed in the international market, she was also able to cater her Real Estate services to those from Canada, China and Europe. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, invest as a first time home buyer or a seasoned investor; it would be Margaretha’s honor to apply her strong negotiating skills to your transaction. She is motivated to build a strong business relationship with all her clients and can show you why she is the right person to market your home.“Top 100 Women in Real Estate in 2017” by MYVEGAS Magazine, Top 10 Real Estate Agents on Social Media by Property Sparks and currently the #1 Real Estate agent for 2018 with Urban Nest Realty.

Contact information:

Mobile: 702-813-1770

email: mbreytenbach@mac.com

photos after car accident

What to Photograph After an Auto Accident

In auto accident cases, seeing is definitely believing. Often, one picture can do more good or harm to a case than hours and hours of witness testimony. This is also true when negotiating with insurance adjusters. The more photographic evidence of car damage and bodily injury they receive, the more likely they are to offer higher amounts of money to settle your case. With the prevalence of smart phones and camera phones, there is no excuse for not taking photographs to document your auto accident. If you are ever in an accident, you should immediately take photographs of three things.

Photograph the Car That Hit You.

First, you should take photographs of the car that hit you. This should always be done FIRST because you never know how long the other driver will remain at the scene. It might feel a little awkward taking photographs of someone else’s car, but it is very important. If the other driver protests, tell him or her that your insurance company has instructed you to take pictures of the scene. Often, this will be your only chance to document the damage to the other car. The other driver’s insurance will not allow you or your attorney to view any of its own photos until after a lawsuit is filed. This is because in a rear-end accident, the front of the rear car almost always shows more damage than the rear of the front car. The front of a car has more things that can be broken (grill, lights, etc.) than the back of a car, which is usually just a solid plastic bumper. In addition, when the other driver’s insurance company does take pictures of the damage, they will usually have the car cleaned to remove any dirt streaks that may make the damage look worse. They will also take pictures from angles that minimize how bad the damage looks. Thus, you must protect your case by immediately taking pictures of the other driver’s car.

Photograph The Damage to Your Car.

Second, you should take pictures of the damage to your car. If possible (and not dangerous), do this at the scene. When you take the photos at the scene, this removes any argument from the other driver’s insurance company that you may have tampered with your car before taking the photos. The other driver’s insurance company will eventually schedule an “estimate”. This is their opportunity to assess the damage to your car before offering to make any repairs. At the time of the estimate, the representative for the other insurance
company will take multiple pictures. Again, these pictures will be taken from angles that minimize the damage that is shown. In fact, some estimators have been known to carry towels and other cleaning supplies with them so they can try to buff out as many scratches and streaks as possible before taking photos. If you have taken photos of your car at the scene, these photos will help show a jury that the insurance company is trying to trick them into believing there was less damage to your car than there actually was. Your photos will have more credibility because they were taken much more closely in time to the accident than whatever photos the other driver’s insurance company may take.

Take Photos of Your Injuries

Third, you should take photos of any injuries to your body. Visual representations of injuries are much more powerful than simple descriptions. If you notice any bruising or scratches caused by your accident, you should photograph them immediately. Often when we are negotiating with insurance adjusters we will push them to their highest offer and then send them a client’s injury photographs. This automatically triggers an increase in the amount of money (called “reserves” or “authority”) that the adjuster can offer. The insurance company never wants a jury to see injury photos because they prove that the impact of the accident was definitely strong enough to cause injury.

If you are ever in an auto accident, make the simple effort to photograph these three things as soon as possible. Doing so will often increase the amount of money you are awarded at the end of your case.

cost of estate plans

How Much Do Estate Plans Cost in Nevada?

Estate Plan costs vary depending on who does the work. A do-it-yourself solution may be quite cheap, but could easily be full of holes. For a good estate plan, you should use an estate planning attorney who has the experience to give you what you need, without the holes.

  • Basic Estate Planning Forms: $300 – $500
  • A Paralegal Prepared “Estate Plan” $500 – $800
  • An Attorney Prepared Estate Plan $1500 – $2000
  • A Complex Estate Plan by an Attorney $3000+

 

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jordan Flake. I’m an estate planning attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group. One question that we get all the time – and it’s a very legitimate question.

In fact, nearly every client asks this, and they should ask this … Is, “What’s your fee for preparing an estate plan?”

Now, for the purpose of estate plan, I’m going to use the idea of a living trust because that’s what many people end up needing if you have the standard range of assets, where you own a house and a few bank accounts and maybe retirement accounts like insurance policies, things like that.

A lot of people will fall into the category of wanting a basic revocable living trust package which includes the trust, the will, power of attorney documents and possibly a deed transferring a house to the trust, so it’s kind of your basic estate planning package that you would get.

When we talk about preparing this, the costs on the marketplace can range from maybe six or seven hundred dollars on the low end to thirty-five hundred dollars plus on the high end for this basic living trust package.

I just want to talk a little bit about why is there this big difference in cost and how can you as a potential consumer be savvy about the differences between a lower cost estate plan package and a higher cost estate plan package.

I Understand Your Perspective; Lawyers are Also Consumers

Let me first tell you that attorneys are consumers too. We go out in the world and we have to purchase things and I can tell you that when my car breaks down or if I ever have a mechanical issue, I’m not inclined, I’m not the kind of guy who can just pop open the trunk when the smoke is pouring out and then take the wrench and impress my wife by how quickly I get it all taken care of. That’s not me. I have to take the car in and I have this kind of paranoia inducing moment where I’m talking to this mechanic and he or she seems like a really good person who’s not going to overcharge me but I’m not really sure.

I feel pretty vulnerable in that situation because really I don’t know if this fix is something that could be done for a hundred dollars or if the fix should be costing a thousand dollars and I’m worried because I don’t have that knowledge and I feel pretty vulnerable.

I take that experience and I say, “Every day clients are going to come to me and they’re going to feel some of that same vulnerability. They’re not going to know whether or not the knowledge and skill set that I possess is worth several hundred dollars or thirty-five hundred plus dollars,” so our goal at Clear Counsel Law Group is to provide you with complete transparency with respect to what the services are, what they’re going to cost and very importantly what similar services are going to cost on the open marketplace.

Why There is a Range of Cost for an Estate Plan

Let’s just take this basic estate planning package for example and you can get this basic estate planning package, you can find it out there for four, five, six, seven hundred dollars. You can find all those documents. You can also pay upwards of thirty-five hundred dollars for all those same documents.

There’s a lot of room in between, but most law firms are going to charge somewhere in the fifteen hundred to twenty-five hundred dollars to prepare all these documents. Why is there so much variance? That can be attributable to the fact that on the lower end, some of these documents are being offered by paralegal services.

This kind of frustrates me as an attorney because that paralegal, I’m not so concerned that they’re undercutting the marketplace. I’m not one to care if the marketplace gives you good product for less money. I say, “Great. If that’s the place the market is headed, so be it.”

I’m not going to try to change that.

I’m going to try to beat it in fact.

The reality is, is that a paralegal doesn’t have the license to practice law and so yes, it might be a little big less expensive to hire a paralegal but there’s no governing body like the state bar that’s holding that paralegal strictly accountable for being competent and for being ethical and for managing client’s money in the proper way.

Really that paralegal shouldn’t be practicing any type of law in the first place. They should get shut down for the unauthorized practice of law.

What do estate plans cost?

Why a Licensed Attorney Should Draft Your Estate Plan

In contrast, as attorneys, the state bar is there to watch over us and make sure that we’re always competent and always ethical and if you as the client have any type of issues with any of the attorneys then you can actually go to the state bar.

Furthermore, a paralegal is not going to get malpractice insurance. They’re not going to be qualified to have an insurance company come along and insure their practice of law because they’re not licensed to practice law.

As an attorney, if we happen to make a mistake, any attorney, they’ll have malpractice insurance in place to make sure that you don’t have to pay for their mistake.

The attorney can pay for the mistake, not you. That’s not something you get with a paralegal.

When you do pay a little bit more money for an attorney to prepare these documents as opposed to a paralegal, understand that what you’re getting is you’re getting the guarantee of having malpractice insurance in place.

You’re getting the oversight provided by the state bar and then I’d say the very most important thing that you’re getting is the experience and the knowledge to make sure that it’s being done properly.

Don’t Worry If Your Estate Plan Was Not Drafted by a Lawyer, I Can Fix It.

I see this all the time. I have individuals who come in and they say, “I don’t think that the person who prepared this document was even an attorney.”

They’ll bring me a trust, this basic trust package that I’m talking about and they say, “Yeah, a financial advisor or a paralegal prepared this for me.” I’ll look through there and invariably I’ll find something that just required a little bit of experience, a little bit of nuance and a little bit of our knowledge but they totally missed it in the underlying documents and it had the potential to cause them huge problems.

I’m going to give you a quick example.

I had a woman in here who has a child who has special needs. That child is currently receiving governmental assistance.

The trust that was prepared by the paralegal would have just given an outright distribution to this child who had special needs upon the passing of the client. If she passed away and an outright distribution went to this child, that child would have lost their government assistance and would have after a few years just been totally destitute.

That paralegal or that financial advisor didn’t have the legal background that allowed them to say, “Aha. That child has special needs. That child needs what’s called a special needs trust where we can control that money in a way that won’t affect their ability to receive governmental assistance.”

Proper Estate Planning Should Not Be Done With a Form

It’s just little things like that. It’s the nuances. Think about how important your family is to you and how important your assets are to you and then just think are you going to entrust that to an individual who doesn’t have a license to practice law.

If you’re being really honest with yourself I think you’re going to say, “No. I don’t want to take any risks with this. It’s too important. It involves my loved ones, involves my hard-earned assets to which I gave my life taking care of my profession and my savings to make this happen.”

You don’t want to entrust that to somebody who doesn’t have the skills necessary to make sure it’s done properly.

That’s the lower end of the spectrum. On the higher end of the spectrum, I have a very high opinion of the attorneys here in Nevada. I feel like most of the attorneys that I know are going to give you a fair shake. They’re going to try to be forthright and honest with you.

I do think that there are some outliers on this end of the spectrum who may be somewhat relying on your lack of knowledge and experience, to charge you more for services that another attorney would charge you much less to provide the same services. I am concerned about that. I don’t think that as an attorney I have the right to use your lack of knowledge unfairly to my economic advantage.

Obviously, to some extent I do have the knowledge and I should be compensated for that so that question of where does it become unfair is the real issue. That’s where you’re going to see most attorneys clumped into this same area where we’re within five to eight hundred dollars of each other.

These outliers where it’s way lower, that should raise a concern or these other outliers where it’s a lot more expensive, that should raise some concerns too.

In any event, our goal at Clear Counsel Law Group is to provide complete transparency for why we’re charging what we’re charging. Our goal and ninety-nine percent of the time we’re able to achieve this, is after the initial consultation we will tell you exactly what you’re going to pay.

It will be a flat fee and it will be all-inclusive of everything that you have asked us to perform. There won’t be any doubt as to whether or not you get slapped with additional fees or charges at the end of the day.

There won’t be any concern that if I take a two hour nap and I dream about my client, that I hit him with a seven hundred dollar bill because, “Well, I technically was working on your case, Mrs. Jones.” Nothing like that.

That’s where we call ourselves Clear Counsel Law Group because we prize that kind of transparency with our clientele to where you have the peace of mind that you know exactly what you’re paying for, you know exactly how it compares to the rest of the marketplace and you can rest assured that we will provide the services that we said we’d provide at the cost and with the fees that we agreed to.

Please feel free to give us a call. There is no charge for the consultation. That’s when we come in and talk about the different options. Once you select an option, then we talk about the cost for providing that service.

Then we provide the service and you pay that amount and what we hope we get out of that transaction is a life-long client.

We want it to be a super-positive experience for you and for us so that you can come back to us in the future with any other legal needs or questions.

Feel free to give me a call. We’ll meet for a consultation and then we’ll discuss the options.

Thank you so much.

ClearCast #16: Why Did Clark County File Suit Against an Environmental Group?

[Editor’s note]

Welcome to Episode 16! Oh, do we have some fun coming!

But let’s not for one moment discount this fantastic conversation that we are proud to publish today!

If you are unfamiliar with the Save Red Rock organization, this column from Steve Sebelius will get you all caught up about who the major players are.

I want to personally thank Mr. Jones for taking time out of his busy day last Friday to explain to us his perspective as to why Clark County is suing his environmental group. This was above and beyond what I hoped for!

If Mr. Sisolak is serious about running for governor as a democrat in this state, he’s going to need to explain why the county brought the suit against Save Red Rock.

I have a hard time believing any of the folks marching downtown over the weekend approve of their municipality suing an environmental group to silence it, let alone the people that just reelected him.

I have spoken with Dan Kulin of Clark County and asked him to comment on the anti-SLAPP element of the discussion. He said he would respond in the coming days. I will publish the response when/if he does.

You will see also that Mr. Jones explains why he doesn’t trust this specific developer based on their previous history. Please know that I have spoken with Ron Krater of Gypsum Resources and invited him to join us Thursday to defend himself.

My hope is that after a few long-form conversations about Blue Diamond Hill with the relevant parties, the truth regarding the matter will rise.

We publish; you deduce.1)Copyright pending?

See you next time.

-Brian

[End Note]

 

 

Jordan Flake: Hi, I’m, Jordan Flake and I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group and welcome to ClearCast. Today we’re really happy to be joined by Justin Jones, also an attorney here in town. We want to address something that we believe is probably near and dear to the hearts of a lot of our viewers, a lot of our clients, a lot of our friends on social media. That is the topic of Red Rock. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have people come from out of town, they sometimes ask like, “You know, what is there to do in Nevada or Las Vegas besides the Strip.” I’m quick to tell them about the fact that there’s a really beautiful Red Rock Preserve just a few minutes from downtown that’s really fun to go visit to kind of strike a contrast with the downtown Strip.

Justin, maybe you can tell us, I know that you go by the handle “The Red Rock Guy” on some of your social media. What sort of … You’re an attorney and you relate to this on a legal matter, which we’ll discuss in a second but I think it’s safe to say you also relate on a personal level. Maybe I’ll have you address that quickly first.

Justin Jones: Sure. And thanks Jordan for the opportunity to sort of talk about this issue and it is personal for me. I don’t live too far from Red Rock, out in the Southwest part of town. I hike out there. I’m out there with my family on Saturday afternoons, at Spring Mountain Ranch. I was out there, did a trail-run this morning in the rain. It’s my happy place. I love to be out at Red Rock, whether it’s in the winter or frankly out in the summer. My family was out there earlier this week. We’ve had a lot of rain and snow and we were able to go to the Children’s Discovery Trail and see the waterfalls, which you just don’t get to see around here too often. My kids had a blast playing in the water. We’re just fortunate, like you said, to have such a national treasure right here within 15, 20 minutes of the Strip.

Jordan Flake: Absolutely. I’ve been up Ice Box Canyon, hiking with my family. There’s all kinds of great things to do out there. I don’t think anybody disputes that. Unfortunately, for many years now, the county’s been kind of embroiled in a legal battle in which there’s kind of, as I see it, three main actors. There’s the Jim Rhodes of Gypsum. He’s a developer. He wants to develop some land that he purchased from the BLM that is basically Red Rock land. It would basically have a huge influence on that, like you said, that national treasure. There’s the county. They’re kind of in the middle trying to say, “Well, you know, we do have democratic processes in places for development of property. That’s part of what’s on the books.” Then there’s, can I call it Justin’s group? You’re not the President but you’re the lawyer representing Save Red Rock. Is that right? What can you tell us about Save Red Rock?

Justin Jones: Save Red Rock was started about 15 years ago, not just around this issue of the development but around other issues in the Red Rock area. There are a lot of cyclists out there who had trucks going past them on a daily basis. They really got started after one of these cyclists, unfortunately, was killed by a trucker.

Jordan Flake: Oh, did not know that.

Justin Jones: Save Red Rock had worked with the legislature and the county to ensure that there were good speed limits, better speed limits out there, and also to widen the bike lanes out on this Red Rock Scenic Byway, which is State Route 159.

Jordan Flake: My father-in-law loves biking out there. We want to keep him safe, obviously. Right now, can you give us … I know the procedural history is complicated but what’s going on right now? What’s the current battle? How’s it shaping up? How do you and Save Red Rock play into what’s happening right now? My understanding is Rhodes is trying to take a 2,000 acre parcel of land and get it approved for subdivision that would allow several houses on each acre. It would bring potentially 14,000 people and accompanying traffic and infrastructure to this area that just is right, butts right up against Red Rock. You’re trying to stop that obviously. What more can you tell us about that situation?

Justin Jones: Sure. Jim Rhodes bought this land more than a decade ago. When he bought it, it was actually an old mine, a gypsum mine. When he bought it, it is zoned that he can build up to one house per two acres. It’s not very dense up there right now. The land is surrounded by the Red Rock National Conservation Area on three sides and by BLM land on the other side. In 2010, after some dealings with the county, he submitted an application for development up there. The county approved that plan, with some modifications. Then Save Red Rock, they reached out to us and asked us if we would join with them to pursue a land swap so that they can build down in the valley as opposed to up there and we thought that was a good idea. We joined with Jim Rhodes and pushed the BLM and our congressional delegation to try and make that happen. Unfortunately, the BLM in the end decided they didn’t want to go forward. Also during that time, Rhodes didn’t pursue his plan and didn’t do what he’s supposed to do under the county code in order to avoid expiration.

Jordan Flake: So his plans that were approved were, in your view, expired.

Justin Jones: Correct.

Jordan Flake: Which would require him to do that-

Justin Jones: Start over.

Jordan Flake: Start again.

Justin Jones: Right.

Jordan Flake: In the meantime, there was also a statute passed that was deemed unconstitutional and it kind of embroiled the county and the state in some lawsuits with Rhodes. That’s relevant because the county and state had to battle it out with Rhodes and pay a big fine or pay settlements and things of that nature. Now, what’s happening with the county?

Justin Jones: Well, this is interesting. Back in June of last year, Rhodes went to the county and said, “Hey, I want to restart that application that we had back in 2011.” The county said, “Sorry, you have to start over.” Rhodes went ahead and submitted a new development plan, paid all the fees and started the process, first going through the citizen advisory council for Red Rock. They said no. They recommended disapproval of the plan. Then went on to the planning commissions, sort of a three step process here. Went to the planning commission and the planning commission heard it in October and unanimously recommended denial. They recommended denial on a number of issues, one of them was that the county has a comprehensive plan. It sort of lays out all the land use values for the entire valley. That area is designated as rural. The planning commission said, “Based on a lot of the traffic and other issues that were raised, as well as on the comprehensive plan, we recommend denials.” That was a big win for us. We weren’t sure that was going to happen. We sort of walked out of there happy, thinking, “Okay, well surely the county will listen.”

Jordan Flake: You just won. Yeah

Justin Jones: Right.

Jordan Flake: You just won because the commission, or hopefully, almost won because they just they looked at it, they examined it and they said no, so you kind of walked out of there really happy. Then what happened. This is where the story gets sad for you.

Justin Jones: This is where it gets kind of weird. The county commission had planned to hear the application on December 7th. On December 7th, they decided they were going to postpone that vote to February 8th. Then two days later, I’m at a pro bono lunch and I get this email that says that the Clark County Commission, that Clark County had sued Save Red Rock. I was stunned. This was completely foreign to me that the county would sue a grassroots conservation organization that’s trying to protect our national treasure right here in the Las Vegas valley. There were a bunch of different claims in there. One of them was seeking to prevent Save Red Rock from raising issues at the county commission that it had raised before in the 2011-

Jordan Flake: Because the county is trying to say that plan had never actually expired, even though all of the behavior by both of the parties would indicate that it had expired. They’re now saying, “That never expired, therefore, Save Red Rock you needed to complain back in 2011, not now.”

Justin Jones: Right. Just to be clear, at the planning commission meeting, the county’s own agenda says that the county determined that the prior application expired. That’s not just us saying that. That’s what the county had said publicly.

Jordan Flake: The county’s admitting that it had expired. Their behavior is consistent with the idea that it expired. Now they’re coming along, trying to muzzle you in effect, saying “You had your chance in 2011 to oppose this and you didn’t.”

Justin Jones: Right.

Jordan Flake: Okay. There’s really kind of two things that interested us and interested Brian in this story is one, preserving this national treasure that’s in our back yard and two, preserving something that is even more important than Red Rock and that’s our right to free speech, our right to protest things. Those are kind of the two issues out on the table. Let’s just take each one in turn. What can you tell us or tell our viewers to get them really motivated and to understand. You can even pitch your website if you want to. Not your website. Save Red Rock website. To get them to understand what’s at stake here, currently.

Justin Jones: The proposal right now is for more than 5,000 homes to be built on top of a mountain that is next door to the conservation area. Under the proposal, they’re saying 5,000 homes but frankly, if you read the actual text, it could be 8,000 or 9,000 homes. Like you said, that can be 14,000 people living in 5,000 homes or it could be more than that if they ended up building more homes than that. We go from zoning of one home per two acres to two and a half per acre. That’s a 500% increase in the zoning for that area.

Jordan Flake: Density of residents.

Justin Jones: Right. Big change in the density. There’s also an issue of how do you get up there? Right now there’s just one dirt road that comes from the Red Rock side. The county’s already said they can’t use that road. The BLM has already said they don’t have a right of way for traffic to go up there. The alternative is that they have to go up the east side of the mountain. To get there, they have to come off of Blue Diamond Road, which is already congested as a result of Mountain’s Edge and Rhodes Ranch and all of the other development that are along the Blue Diamond Road.

Jordan Flake: You’re sitting here as an attorney for Save Red Rock, and as somebody who on a personal level enjoys Red Rocks, saying, “I don’t want 5,000, 8,000 homes. I don’t want the infrastructure that’ll make future approval of kind fill in developments.”

Justin Jones: Right. It’s more than that. If this were a developer who had a pristine record, maybe things will be a little bit different. Jim Rhodes has a long history of bankruptcies. He has a history of walking away from projects in Arizona and Nevada. He has a history of not doing what he said he was going to do. With Rhodes Ranch, he was supposed to build a nice park right there. The county and others had to fight him for years just to get him to do what he said he was going to do.

Jordan Flake: Initially, to get-

Justin Jones: Promises of this is going to be a beautiful development with lots of open space sound great, but he doesn’t exactly have a great record.

Jordan Flake: You’re concerned it’ll just be a money grab that will have no regard, whatsoever, for the physical impact and things of that nature. He’ll just try to get through things as quickly as possible.

Justin Jones: Exactly.

Jordan Flake: That’s where Justin is coming from and it’s a valid concern for somebody like me who loves Red Rock and wants to preserve that in our back yard essentially. Talk to me a little bit, or talk to us a little bit about this, the anti-SLAPPing too. Preserving Red Rock is not the only thing on the line, we also talked about is the county trying to muzzle you. Do you feel like your first amendment rights are at stake here, to some extent?

Justin Jones: I think absolutely. If you guys understand what anti SLAPP means. SLAPP suits are strategic lawsuits against public participation. There were several states over the last few decades that passed anti SLAPP laws, which basically say, “If you’re trying to shut somebody up, the party they’re trying to shut up has the ability to go straight into court, quickly, and file a motion to dismiss that gets in front of the court and says, ‘Hey, they’re trying to abridge our first amendment rights. Dismiss this lawsuit or dismiss the claims that are trying to shut us up.'”

Jordan Flake: That’s interesting. We actually had a situation on our website where somebody was just ripping us apart on Facebook for something we didn’t do. They were just having cousins and aunts and uncles join on and we thought about suing them. Then we were concerned about that, whether or not that would fall under this anti SLAPP situation so we kind of held off to try to find other ways to do it. It was very very unfair but it, ultimately, as a law firm, we want to side on, we want to be on the side that says, “People get a chance to discuss openly and publicly what should be done. You feel right now by the country saying that 2011 thing never expired, you guys can’t fight it, that they’re essentially trying to take you out of the public forum.

Justin Jones: It’s more than just the they’re trying to go back to 2011. They actually, their second claim in the lawsuit actually says we should be barred from raising arguments that were raised in 2011. Based on that, we filed an anti SLAPP motion to dismiss and that’s going to be heard early next month. We’re pretty optimistic. We did not ask to dismiss the whole lawsuit because there are some other claims that we feel are at least legitimate for going forward. They did aggressively file a motion for summary judgment during the holidays, so we responded to that motion for summary judgment earlier this week. We feel pretty confident that at the hearing the judge is going to side with us and agree on some of the other issues in the case.

Jordan Flake: We’ll have to see how that goes. We’ll follow that closely. You’ll be the one at the hearing, making the arguments?

Justin Jones: I’ll be arguing.

Jordan Flake: Well, good luck with that and you know, really what’s at stake here is this concept of, can a county, this is why this is a little bit shocking to Brian and me, it’s a little scary with your regular citizen worried about a county filing a lawsuit against a grassroots environmental organization saying, “You can’t participate in this public forum contest.”

Justin Jones: It’s your taxpayer funds that are paying the lawyer to sue you as citizens.

Jordan Flake: You as citizens and I need to at least be very educated about the fact that this is happening. Our county representatives are, it appears, according to Justin Jones, reaching out and putting their hand over the mouth of a grassroots organization. That’s a big concern in our democracy. That being said, if you’re out there and you’re the county or you’re Jim Rhodes and this video happens to make it up on your laptop, feel free to come in and give us your side of the story. We try to fair at ClearCast and hear everybody out. Maybe there’s something that we’re misunderstanding. Jump on our Facebook. Comment on there. Jump on our blog. Make comments. We’re happy to hear all viewpoints.

Justin, I found what you say really concerning and persuasive and educational. I really appreciate it. Anything, last word you want to throw in here before we go?

Justin Jones: Sure. Again, thanks so much for the opportunity. If you want to learn more, be sure to go to saveredrock.com. We have a petition that we started in September to keep Red Rock rural. We already have nearly 30,000 signatures. Go on there, sign a petition and learn more about this issue.

Jordan Flake: Justin, thanks so much. We really appreciate you joining us.

Justin Jones: Thank you.

Jordan Flake: Thanks so much and we’ll see you next time on ClearCast.

 

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Copyright pending?

ClearCast #15: Our Friends at VidAngel May Have Some Trouble On Their Hands

Welcome to today’s ClearCast! A fun one for Episode 15!

I feel like our audience will be divided into two groups: those whom are fully invested in this legal battle with no further explanation needed1)“Get to the lawyers already!” I hear you. & those of whom that have never even heard of VidAngel. If you are in the former group, please feel free to skip right to the great episode; I won’t be offended in the slightest.

Now for the rest of you, (I’m in this group too don’t feel bad), you have got to check out this VidAngel company. The marketing is hilarious! I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.

In essence, this streaming service provides a means for consumers to censor movies in the way that they choose, whether it be censoring language or violence.

I’ll let Mr. Flake and Mr. McArthur explain the specifics of how it works.

For those of my friends of the more liberal persuasion that likely are objecting to on the grounds of “censoring art,” I have a couple of questions for your consideration.2)Mr. Flake and Mr. McArthur have some great ones of their own as you’ll see

  1. Shouldn’t parents be permitted to introduce their children to socially questionable material on their own terms instead of what Hollywood thinks is best? (as in, the majority of society has questions about certain behavior)3)Is this about Freedom?
  2. Wouldn’t you at least concede the the violent imagery/language on tv/in movies is more extreme now than it has ever been?4)For those of you who say “then just don’t watch it.” Don’t worry..

I don’t have children, but these desires seem very reasonable to me.

Nor do I have a stake in this fight5)I have not nor would likely use the service, but I certainly pity the good folks over at VidAngel. From what I’ve seen, I really think they meant well.

Thanks for watching!

-Brian

[End note]

..There’s been an update! The 9th Circuit ruled; see below.

Jordan Flake: Welcome to Clear Past. I’m attorney Jordan Flake and I’m really happy to be joined by Matt McArthur. He’s an attorney in our firm who practices in bankruptcy. Even though this video isn’t about bankruptcy, you’ll see that Matt has some experience that makes his viewpoint on this subject relevant. What we’re gonna talk about today is in response to this New York Times article that’s catching a lot of interest. It says here, “Hollywood: Faith Goes to the Movies.” What the article addresses is the streaming video service called VidAngel. Now, I know a lot of my Facebook friends and family have used VidAngel. We’ve had conversations about it. I’m sure you’re the same.

Matt McArthur: Sure.

Jordan Flake: Have you used VidAngel before?

Matt McArthur: I have.

Jordan Flake: Okay, so you’re a consumer of VidAngel.

Matt McArthur: Yeah

Jordan Flake: Tell us why you wanted to use it, how it works. A lot of you probably already know, but just by way of review Matt’ll talk to us about how it works and then we’ll get into what’s happening with the lawsuit. Go for it.

Matt McArthur: The way VidAngel works is you go through their services, through their website or their app and you purchase the digital rights to a movie or a television show, and it’s akin to a cross between Redbox and Netflix where you can stream the video content that you’re purchasing and still have the option of being able to keep it for a short period of time, sell the digital rights back after a day, and still be able to recoup the vast majority of the expense of actually buying the movie. In the past, my recollection is a little fuzzy here, but it was about $1.50 or something in that neighborhood to be able to watch a movie for 24 hours and be able to give those rights back to VidAngel.

Jordan Flake: Great, and so what happens then is you buy a video off of VidAngel, you purchase it for a good reasonable fair market value, they have a digital copy which they’ve purchased that corresponds with your copy. In that sense the studios are being made whole by the fact that there’s an actual copy corresponding with the copy that you purchase in your home?

Matt McArthur: Correct.

Jordan Flake: Why VidAngel? What’s VidAngel?

Matt McArthur: The neat thing about VidAngel is unlike Redbox or Netflix, by using the VidAngel app you’re actually able to edit the content that you’re consuming. If you wanted to filter out all of the F-words in a movie or all of the graphic violence or nudity, you can filter that right out of the movie and be able to watch a movie that you are otherwise unwilling, or perhaps your children were unable to watch.

Jordan Flake: Brian’s off camera here. Brian, did we get some of Matt’s beautiful children in this?

Brian: They are in the shot you bet.

Jordan Flake: Are they in the shot? Okay, because we have here Davis, and Allie and Dex. We don’t necessarily want these little children of yourself watching some of the content, but at the same time there’s some really great stories out there. I don’t know if Davis is ready for Last of the Mohicans or something like that, or Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings being a great one. There’s just a few things that might be too scary for kids his age.

Matt McArthur: Sure. You’re able to consume the vast majority of-

Jordan Flake: Do you remember what VidAngel movie you watched? Maybe you don’t remember.

Matt McArthur: I do remember. We watched Argo. I didn’t watch that with the kids, but I watched that with the wife and that was a movie that we would have otherwise not watched. My wife’s appetite for that type of material in movies is perhaps not as high as some others.

Jordan Flake: Argo’s a great example because you take a few language elements and there’s really nothing super violent about it, there’s nothing inherently inappropriate from a sexual, nudity standpoint. You win. You’re winning because you’re bringing in this movie in the home. From VidAngel’s perspective they’re winning because when they sell you the movie and buy it back, they get to pocket the dollar or $1.50 or whatever from the transaction.

Matt McArthur: By the way, if you decide that you like the movie so much, you can retain the digital rights.

Jordan Flake: You don’t have to send it back. It’s $19 or whatever. From VidAngel’s perspective, they would also say, “Hey, the studios are winning because we bought a copy to correspond with the copy that we sold to the McArthur family. Now, obviously they’re upset. The studios are very upset at this. I think the reason’s they’re upset probably go beyond the scope of my understanding of the industry, frankly. At a bare minimum, we know that the studios make these contracts with Netflix, with Redbox, with Amazon, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Blockbuster, whatever. The VHS at Blockbuster. Bryan’s dying off camera here. Basically, they want to be able to control the digital content. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the final analysis, in the smoke-filled room where the diabolical studio executives are sitting, just kidding. The real question here is one of how to control the digital content, not just for this one little VidAngel slice of our story, but also prospectively in the future. How do we make sure that we control this?

Matt McArthur: I was just gonna follow up on that presumption you’re making. Do you think it’s more of a artistic license freedom issue or is it a monetary issue, or both?

Jordan Flake: Both because I think there’s a situation where the movie creators, the creative minds, they get done meditating in the morning and having their chai latte. I’m so full of stereotypes today. What’s going on? The point is they say to the studios, “I want creative control over this.” If the guy who produced Argo, which I think is an excellent movie, if he comes along and the studios say, “Hey, by the way, one of the ways that Argo’s gonna get disseminated out to the public is by way of VidAngel, and they’re gonna take your movie and make it appropriate for five year olds.” They’re gonna say, “Well I’m not gonna do business with you, studio, because I have my artistic standards and I want my work to be protected.” I definitely think that there’s a creative, protect the creative process, “my movie is a work of art and I want it to be put out in the marketplace the way that I intended it to be put out there, not in some other diluted form.”

When this originally happened with CleanFlicks, another prior company that underwent a similar lawsuit, Steven Spielberg took great exception to his masterpiece, Schindler’s List, being totally neutered by CleanFlicks, turning it into a story about a really nice business guy who hooked up some victims with an additional life. The violence, for Steven Spielberg, was a necessary element to show the horrific suffering of the Holocaust on the one hand, and the extreme magnanimity of Schindler in purchasing and doing what he did to preserve these lives on the other. To him, it was a huge affront to take this and gut it, from a creative angle.

Matt McArthur: I get where you’re going with that, but at the same time, if you look at what TNT or TBS does when they’re replaying movies for the general TV audience, there’s censoring.

Jordan Flake: Or what they do on airliners, right?

Matt McArthur: Sure. That can’t be the whole story.

Jordan Flake: They’re responding to a market need. That’s all the VidAngel are trying to say is, “We’re just responding to a market need here, and one of our needs is the McArthur children. We want to bring quality films like Argo, take out the few objectionable parts and makes it so that Misty McArthur can enjoy viewing that movie. I understand that. That’s the creative side. The money side is obviously they don’t want Jordan Flake purchasing 10 digital copies of a movie and then going to my friends and saying, “Hey everybody, I’m gonna create Jordan Flake’s digital streaming platform, and I’m gonna rent these movies out to you, and you guys are gonna give me three bucks back.”

Matt McArthur: They’re being completely cut out of the deal.

Jordan Flake: Cut out of the deal because I’m the guy, it’s sort of a Napster except for Napster was illegal downloads, this would be legal downloads, but unanticipated hosting, me capitalizing off of somebody else’s hard. Those are kinda the big questions. VidAngel, I’ve seen their videos, their ads are funny. They run a very good defense of what they’re trying to accomplish and what they’re trying to do. Let’s talk a little bit about one of the cases right now. Right now there has been an injunction issued against VidAngel.

Matt McArthur: Take a step back. Big studios are suing to stop VidAngel.

Jordan Flake: Studios are suing to stop VidAngel and saying, “This represents a huge end around of our entire industry. It threatens the creative side, it threatens the monetary side, and we gotta shut VidAngel down.” VidAngel’s waving their hands and saying, “How can you tell me I can’t buy a Pablo Picasso. I can buy a Pablo Picasso and I can tape other little figures in the Pablo Picasso or I could cover parts of it with sticky notes because it’s mine. I own the Pablo Picasso, I can put sticky notes on it. Then I can go back to the art dealer and say, “Hey, the sticky notes didn’t do any damage cause it was on the outside of the frame. Now I’m gonna sell you this Pablo Picasso back and you get to keep some of the money from the transaction. How can you tell me what I can and can’t do with your art that comes into my home?”

This is where the streaming rights, it gets very complicated, the monetary angle, what the studios are allowed to do, what they’re not allowed to do. The studios have agreements in place with the creative minds that we won’t let certain things happen with your content. That’s where it becomes an issue and they sue to shut VidAngel down. They did something called an injunction. Although that’s not my area of expertise, civil litigation, my understanding is that an injunction is basically saying, “Hey listen, Your Honor. We need to shut these guys down now.” It might take two or three years to resolve this case, but in the meantime VidAngel shouldn’t be allowed to operate because they’re doing irreparable damage to us by not allowing us to capture the profits that we would otherwise. They’re probably hurting our relationships with Netflix because one VidAngel tagline is ‘See this movie before it becomes available on Netflix,'” which must have the studios pulling their hair out.

There’s the irreparability angle, and also there’s a likelihood of success of the merits angle. It’s probably pretty hard to get a California court that are traditionally very liberal, traditionally very everybody has their day in court, to issue this injunction unless there really was a likelihood of success on the merits. Right now there’s an injunction in place and they’re saying, “You can’t go show these movies.” I guess, Bryan, was there a violation of the injunction?

Brian: My understanding is that Neal kept putting movies up on VidAngel after the injunction was put in place.

Matt McArthur: Neal is the owner of VidAngel, correct?

Brian: Yeah, he’s putting up new films as well. Sully, and two other films.

Jordan Flake: Just the mere fact that we’re saying Sully, I can see the directors and creators of Sully saying, “That was a family movie to begin with. Why am I subjecting it to this filtering service?”

Brian: Maybe Tom Hanks is saying, “I want as many people as possible to see my movie.”

Jordan Flake: Exactly, maybe he’s saying, “Let it go with this. I want the McArthurs, who for whatever reason they object to the use of this word or that word, they’re still getting the main idea of the film. They’re still getting to appreciate a nobility of the character, etcetera. That’s this current legal status. Do you have any thoughts about what’s likely to happen, how it’s gonna go down, what you hope happens?” Just give your take on that.

Matt McArthur: I can’t say that I used VidAngel a lot, but the times that I did use it, I was very impressed. It really opened doors to us that were otherwise shut, either because me and my wife were unwilling to watch a movie with content that we didn’t really appreciate, or because I wasn’t going to subject my children to certain types of content. For me, as a market consumer, it gave me more options and more content. Quite frankly, it was really convenient. It was like I didn’t even have to go down to the Redbox and rent the blue-ray. I could just stream it from my own home, and have a really nice, cheap on-demand type service, or I could just stream the movie. From my perspective, I would love to see VidAngel be able to overcome this lawsuit and be able to continue it. Whether it’s working out some sort of arrangement with the production companies to where they’re being cut in, or winning outright.

Jordan Flake: I think that’s where consumers probably would, if they’re thinking about this clearly, that’s what we would all hope for.

Matt McArthur: There’s some kind of room for a middle ground where everybody can win.

Jordan Flake: There’s gotta be a way that says, “Hey, listen, studios. Why don’t you create VidAngel, brought to you by the studios?” Then I think the hangup there is that the creative side might not appreciate that, but then you have the TNT, TBS, airline exceptions. Why don’t those things come into prevalence? This is obviously a big bowl of fish hooks. I think one thing I can say is we can’t have a situation where regular consumers are setting up movie hosting sites that undercut the studios. The reason why I say we can’t have that situation is because if the studios can’t make money off of streaming, they’ll stop creating movies and then it’ll be incumbent on the individual users to create movies, the individual hosting sites to create movies. That’s something that VidAngel is facing right now. Netflix is coming up with original content. Honestly the Netflix original content is probably a surprise for most people. Wouldn’t have thought that Netflix was going to be doing its own shows.

Matt McArthur: Yeah, they had some … They had some big hits there.

Jordan Flake: Several years ago, they’ve had some really good hits. Maybe that’s one angle, is VidAngel can do its own content. Maybe there is some comprise to be had between the studios and VidAngel. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. I definitely hear you on the content things. Under any circumstances, the McArthurs certainly are not going to change their mind about allowing certain content in the home. It’s just not gonna happen.

Matt McArthur: Quite frankly, if the movie companies are being cut in on some of these rental profits that VidAngel’s currently making, it’s simply broadening our horizons.

Jordan Flake: We’re very interested. We know we have viewers out there who, like Matt, have tried VidAngel and were very curious to see where you stand on this. We’ll keep you posted if there are any interesting developments in this story. In any event, it’s very interesting to see how this’ll progress. Thanks so much for joining us for Clear Cast. Definitely let us know how you feel about this. Thanks.

Matt McArthur: Bye, everyone.

 

[Endnote]

The 9th Circuit denied the emergency petition from VidAngel. (The 9th Circuit is essentially “the California circuit”. Hard to imagine them weakening the copyright protection of Hollywood, yes?)

Next week I’m going to explain why as a Nevadan, you should be concerned if they don’t add a ninth justice to the Supreme Court.

How do you feel about living under California law?

Stay tuned..

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. “Get to the lawyers already!” I hear you.
2. Mr. Flake and Mr. McArthur have some great ones of their own as you’ll see
3. Is this about Freedom?
4. For those of you who say “then just don’t watch it.” Don’t worry..
5. I have not nor would likely use the service

ClearCast #14: In Response to the Rob Graham Matter

[Editor’s note]

Welcome to today’s ClearCast!

A quick word about today’s video.

If you are unfamiliar with what is being alleged, you can read more here about one of the victims. This is a horrible story about a local probate lawyer allegedly misappropriating client funds; it could be for even more than 13 million dollars.

If you are a client (or prospective) of Clear Counsel Law Group, we understand that it’s important that you trust us with your most valuable assets.

In turn, we produced this video to explain how your money is protected.

Of course, if you have specific inquiry (or just need a little reassurance, certainly understandable), please reach out to us at (702) 522-0696.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

-Brian

[End Note]

 

ClearCast Episode 14: Answering Your Questions Regarding Rob Graham

Jordan Flake: Hi, I’m Jordan Flake and I’m here with my partners Jared Richards, Jonathan Barlow. The three of us are the managing partners are Clear Counsel Law Group, and welcome to another ClearCast. Today we’re going to be talking about something that has kind of rocked the legal community. We’ve had friends and family who’ve asked us questions about this news story. Through this ClearCast and potentially others, we hope to respond to some of these questions we receive, but I’m referring to the Rob Graham issue. Rob Graham is an attorney here in town. He practices in the areas of guardianship, probate, trust administration. The allegations right now are that he stole money from his client’s trust account, basically that he misused that money. A lot of my friends and family have asked me, “What’s a trust account? How did this happen? Why can an attorney all of a sudden steal a lot of money?” The allegations are that he stole $13 million, potentially, of his client’s money is missing.

First of all, before we even get into those questions, we just roundly wholly 100% condemn any type of misuse, any type of unethical illegal access to clients’ funds. That should never, ever, ever happen and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. We all feel horrible and we spend a lot of time talking about the clients who are victims in this situation, and our heart goes out to them and their families. We’ll talk about that a little bit more too as well, that we feel really, really bad. It’s the worst possible way to spend the holidays, knowing that there was money that was being held and entrusted in an individual and now that money has essentially been stolen.

First, Jonathan, you’re the one who, in our firm, in the three of us, you take a little bit more of a lead role in managing the trust account. Can you talk to us and some of our viewers about what is a trust account and difference between a trust account and operating account, how that works. There’s a chance that people viewing this may actually be our clients and have money in our trust account right now and they’ll want to know what’s going on.

Jonathan Barlow: What we’re doing. In short, there’s two types of accounts that a law firm generally holds. One is what we call the operating account. That’s money that we’ve earned. It’s our law firm’s money. We’ve earned it through fees, through clients paying us money to perform our services. That’s our money as a law firm. We use that to pay our employees, we use it to pay our rent, and all the other expenses of operating the law firm. That’s our operating account.

The story about Rob Graham doesn’t really have to do with his operating account as far as the missing funds. What the missing funds came from was that second type of account that’s called a trust account. A client trust account. Attorneys in various types of practices will have a reason to be holding money in a bank account that is not our money. For instance, just like Mr. Graham did probate work, we do probate work. That’s when a deceased individual leaves behind assets that need to go through a process before they’re distributed to the heirs. In doing that probate work, we’ll collect a bank account. We’ll close a bank account that the deceased individual had and we’ll bring that money and deposit it to our client trust account.

Though that account at the bank is held with our law firm’s name on it, it’ll say “Clear Counsel Law Group” on the account statement as a designation IOLTA interest on lawyers’ trust account, it’s not our money. It’s not ours. We are responsible to ensure that it goes to the right places, that it’s applied appropriately. We are strictly prohibited from reaching into that client trust account and using it to pay anything other than the client’s expenses.

Jordan Flake: Let me just stop you there and make sure that everybody’s understanding. Grandpa John passes away and there’s a bank account just in his name at Wells Fargo. There’s $48,000 in that account. We get a probate started and we can go and we can liquidate that $48,000. We can’t turn around and use that $48,000 to pay our employees, to buy Christmas presents for our family. We can’t do anything like that because it’s actually the family that Grandpa John left behind, that’s their money we’re just holding in trust. Can I shift over here to Jared? Jared does personal injury. Can he talk to us a little bit about the mechanics of a trust account in the personal injury context?

Jared Richards: Right. In a personal injury context, we go and we gather money for an injured person. When we gather the money, we put it into our trust account. Again, the moment it hits the trust account, it is somebody else’s money. We then are responsible for making sure that that money goes to the right places. The money will often need to go to pay for medical providers. Sometimes it’ll need to go to pay back, say if Medicare or Medicaid had paid medical bills. Sometimes that happens and we have to repay the government. Then we have to pay our clients. Out of that, we also get paid a fee.

At the end of a case, when we are going to distribute money, before we distribute money to ourselves for certain, we will send the client an accounting so the client knows where all the money went, where if we had to advance money for filing fees with the court or to pay to go depose another party’s expert and we advance that money, we also account for that money when we get paid back for that amount. At the very end of the case, the client knows where every penny has gone and then gets the money that the client deserves.

Jordan Flake: There’s a $50,000 vehicle insurance policy, $50,000 policy. You make a demand and say, “Hey, insurance company, your guy, your insured hit Tommy, our client.” We give us the $50,000 and we hold that in trust because Tommy has medical bills that need to be paid out of that purse.

Jared Richards: Right. For example, as you said, let’s say that Tommy got hurt and there’s a $50,000 insurance policy. We make a demand on the insurance. The insurance company agrees and they pay $50,000. That $50,000 would go into our IOLTA trust account, the trust account we hold for clients. We then do an analysis of are there medical bills that need to be paid out of that account? Are there contractual obligations that our client has that we need to honor in that account?

Jordan Flake: If we just gave that money to the client …

Jared Richards: Then it would be a problem because then we may be breaching the client’s contractual obligations. We may be breaching our own contractual obligations, and we may actually be violating the law that require us to, say, pay back Medicaid.

Jordan Flake: Right, and if we use that $50,000 to run off and pay our own expenses …

Jared Richards: Then we’ve got major problems. We’ve just stole the money.

Jonathan Barlow: Then a similar issue related to that is several law firms have several different actual trust accounts with different account numbers. We hold all ours in one account. We got Mr. Jones’s money in there, we got Ms. Smith’s money in there. It’s all in there. Just like we can’t use the trust account to pay our expenses, I can’t use Mr. Jones’s money to pay Ms. Smith’s medical bills for her case.

Jordan Flake: Which is why from an accounting standpoint we have sub-accounts that we keep track of who has what share of that account.

Jonathan Barlow: What we do is we have every single case that we have, every single client that we have, we separately distinguish, this is their money, this is where it went, this is where it’s going. Because I can’t dip into this account or this person’s money to pay the other person’s money. That’s essentially how a trust account works until it’s determined, like Jared said in the personal injury context, this is where all the money’s going. Similarly, we do that in the probate or trust context of determining where it’s going to be distributed.

Jared Richards: We’re all very careful to not make mistakes. However, if the attorney does make a mistake with that money, the attorney is personally responsible for that money. While that money is in the attorney’s trust account, that attorney’s on the hook for all of it.

Jordan Flake: Right, and that’s been my experience since starting our law firm, is that when we have our trust account checks and I’m signing a check and that check’s going out the door, I look at that and I say, “Am I sure that this money is money that is under the law ready to be legally paid out?” There’s no other considerations here, because if I did send out a check that I shouldn’t have sent out, then I personally am on the hook for that. I would go to Jonathan and I’d say, “From operating account you need to reimburse this client because we mismanaged some trust funds and we need to put it back immediately.” If that ever happened.

Jared Richards: Not that that does happen because we’re careful, but if it were to happen, that’s exactly what would happen.

Jonathan Barlow: In the Rob Graham context, one of the big questions is it’s $13 million, and that’s a significant and sizable trust account.

Jordan Flake: Clear, I’m going to lawyer this one. To be clear, we don’t know. We don’t have any personal knowledge about what went on with Rob Graham. We just read the same newspapers everybody else does and we hear the same allegations. When people are hurting and they lost their money and it appears that an attorney abused a position of trust, we’re all human first and we are rabid and we want justice, but Jared, I think what you’re getting at is facts are going to come in and we need to be careful.

Jared Richards: The allegation is right now that he stole $13 million, and if that’s true, then [crosstalk 00:09:56].

Jonathan Barlow: My only point is the price tag is shocking, the amount.

Jared Richards: It’s a huge amount.

Jordan Flake: What is alleged to have happened here, if you guys want to go into that at all? Did Rob Graham one day open up his online trust account and see that there was $13 million and think, “Okay, this is my chance to write a check to myself?” What’s the allegations say?

Jared Richards: I think that what happens in situations like this, you have two possibilities. Either the attorney makes a conscious decision to liquidate the entire trust account and run away with it, which I don’t know of any actual incident where I’ve heard that happening, but I’m sure it has happened before. I think that the allegation here is that Rob Graham was not running as efficient and as successful as a business as he wanted to project, and that he was using client money to supplement his own business, his own money, which is just as illegal and just as wrong. It’s just a slower and more slippery slope.

Jordan Flake: So there wasn’t a $13 million check?

Jared Richards: Probably here. We don’t know.

Jonathan Barlow: I don’t think that’s the allegation. I think the allegation right now is that over the course of time, he started dipping into some client funds and then continue to dip in to try to make that right. Sort of a Bernie Madoff type of a transaction.

Jordan Flake: Ponzi scheme.

Jonathan Barlow: Almost a Ponzi scheme.

Jordan Flake: Almost, where he’s using the money that’s there today to meet those obligations.

Jonathan Barlow: Exactly.

Jared Richards: And hoping that the money tomorrow will come in to pay yesterday’s obligations.

Jordan Flake: The money that he’s waiting to have come in through the door in this situation appears to have not been his money, and that’s the major, major problem. If we’re just running all of our expenses out of the operating account, that’s business. That’s just the way it’s done. If an attorney were to ever dip into the trust account and say “I need to make payroll this month. Shoot. I only have $15,000 in my operating account and I have $4 million in my trust account. I could use some of the $4 million to pay my payroll since I don’t have enough in my operating account.” That’s kind of what might have happened here.

Jonathan Barlow: Who knows if thinking, “I’ll pay it back.”

Jordan Flake: I’ll make it back and I’ll …

Jared Richards: The only difference between the allegation of him stealing all $13 million in one fell swoop or him dipping in month after month for a number of years is the dipping month after month, we can more humanize it, but it doesn’t make it any less wrong.

Jordan Flake: Right, because the end result is the same, which is a tragedy of thinking, “My Grandpa John died. He had $48,000 in his Wells Fargo account. We hired Rob Graham to go and liquidate that $48,000 account and we were going to split it up three ways.”

Jared Richards: Exactly.

Jordan Flake: “We were hoping to be done around the holiday season so we could all have that extra money to go out and buy Christmas gifts or whatever for our family.” Now that money’s gone. That’s horrible.

Jonathan Barlow: It’s devastating.

Jordan Flake: It’s devastating to the families.

Jonathan Barlow: There’s a couple other allegations that raise points that are red flags in the way that a lawyer handles his trust account. Apparently, according to allegations, it appears that Mr. Graham was the only person at his office who really controlled the trust account, who had any access, knowledge of the trust account. That sure makes it easier to hide some things that you don’t want other people to know about. One good protection, and particularly with the three of us here, is to have multiple people who have control of the trust account, who have eyes on the trust account, and who review that trust account and realize, “What’s this payment coming out?” And can question those things if necessary. That’s been a good thing for us, is that the three of us can have that equal access to it, equal control over it. Heaven forbid one of us try to do something wrong. You have two people who are going to watch over it.

Jared Richards: Exactly. You have at least multiple partners that have oversight that can track it. Also, something that we do that I think more firms ought to do is we have a bookkeeper that is the employee of a separate accounting firm who helps us keep track of our books. If there are abnormalities that happen in the books, the bookkeeper would be alerted and the partners would be alerted. Those two things are safeguards: multiple partners with oversight, and somebody outside the firm that’s connected to a separate accounting firm that has oversight as well.

Jordan Flake: To that point, you have the bookkeepers keeping their books and we’re keeping our books and they have to match up every single time. That’s all done internally. One of the problems with the Rob Graham case, the allegation is that his mother-in-law was the bookkeeper, and so those conversations and those huge red flags that needed to pop up in this context apparently never did.

Jonathan Barlow: Right. If our books that we keep here on my computer don’t match with the accountant’s books, then we make the correction as necessary.

Jordan Flake: Do either of you expect to see more regulation from the government or the state bar? State of Nevada, or the state bar?

Jared Richards: The problem is that from time to time, you will hear the Nevada bar reprimand somebody for overdrawing their trust account. Because any bank, the rule is the banks, if they hold attorney trust account money, if the check bounces, if the account is overdrawn, the bank is required to notify the state bar so the state bar can do an investigation as to why. The shocking part of Rob Graham is yes, it appears that he may have stolen some money. I know, I’m a lawyer, I’m being all cautious. That’s why they’re smiling. Because we don’t know. The allegations may have some …

Jonathan Barlow: It’ll come out.

Jared Richards: Yeah, the allegations will come out and the facts will come out in their own due course. The two things that are utterly shocking about this case is the size of the alleged theft and the prominence of the attorney. In the probate estate planning community and those people that watch, I can’t remember what news channel Rob advertised on, but Rob Graham’s a known name. We all know the name. Between those two things of a large amount stolen by a noted, prominent attorney, it may jar the rule makers into making more rules.

Jonathan Barlow: I wouldn’t be surprised, really, to see something else change. Really, the only time that the state bar, and this is why I think there probably will be some changes, the only time the state bar will come and look at your client trust account and make sure to get a truly outside from the government or state bar or whatever, is if there’s a complaint made against one of our attorneys, that doesn’t even necessarily have to do with a client trust account. Say one of our attorneys messed up a case. Client gets upset and they file a complaint with the state bar.

Jordan Flake: I’m going to lawyer that one too. We don’t do that.

Jonathan Barlow: Right, it hasn’t happened because we haven’t ever been audited. Anyhow, in the context of the state bar coming in to investigate, “Why’d you mess up this guy’s case?” They will audit the book at the same time.

Jordan Flake: Just as a matter of course.

Jonathan Barlow: As a matter of course, almost. That’s about the only time that they independently come in to audit books. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some audit requirements coming out of this.

Jared Richards: The problem you have with that is the sheer number of attorneys out there handling [crosstalk 00:18:06].

Jonathan Barlow: Trust accounts, yeah. It’s a monumental task.

Jared Richards: It would be a monumental task to send in auditing standards for everybody.

Jordan Flake: Right, but if that task is necessary to restore the community’s faith in our profession, which is one of the goals of the state bar, then they’ll have to do it.

Jonathan Barlow: One of the good things to that point is what’s happening with Rob Graham’s client. As discouraging as it was to see a very prominent name like this happen, we have observed the rest of what we call the probate bar. The other probate attorneys have rallied around this issue, not to pour dirt on Mr. Graham’s grave, but to try to get his clients back to where they need to be. That was primarily led initially by Jason and Brandy Cassidy, excellent probate attorneys here in town, who took the initial task of .. What the state bar’s asking them, “Cassidies, would you do this?” They took those client files and they’ve been trying to sort through those files. They’ve done an excellent task of doing that. Now, I’ve seen multiple attorneys who have offered to help and who will be probably taking on some of those cases, including our law firm. We’ll be taking on a large handful of these cases to help them move forward.

Jared Richards: With the understanding that the money for those cases already seems to have been embezzled.

Jonathan Barlow: Almost in every case, the attorneys will be doing that pro bono, including our firm. Meaning without payment.

Jordan Flake: Without payment. You’re right. This is just a small silver lining on this sad story, but it is nice to see that the attorneys all recognize how wrong this is and what a tragedy it is for the clients involved, and to the extent possible we’re trying to mobilize our resources, and especially good shout out to Jason and Brandy Cassidy, who are really taking on the bulk of that project, and we’re all here to help. Any last closing thoughts on this from either of you? On this whole situation and what you would want to tell our viewers.

Jonathan Barlow: It’s shocking to see a story like this. It shocked us to see a story like this about an attorney. It’ll shake confidence. A lot of people don’t have good opinions of attorneys in the first place, so it’ll certainly shake some confidence of them. If there’s any hope behind this, is the fact that this is such a rare occurrence. I’ve been practicing 10 years and nationwide, this is the first story that I’ve seen of this size or nature. Just happened to happen in our backyard with somebody we know. It’s such a rarity to see something like this happen that you can take some comfort in knowing there’s a lot, 99.9% of the attorneys out there are doing this the right way, including our firm trying to do the right way the best we can.

Jordan Flake: Great, any last thoughts?

Jared Richards: No, I think Jonathan covered it.

Jordan Flake: I think the only last thing I’d say is really with any regulations, the biggest and best regulation is just be extremely trustworthy. To know why we’re doing this and to know that there are real people, our clients are real people and that they deserve trust, respect, and especially when it comes to valuable assets and things of that nature. Thanks so much for joining us for ClearCast. If you have any thoughts on this ClearCast, please link us, comment us, ask us any questions. If you would like to see us answer questions in a future ClearCast, please let us know. Jonathan, Jared, thanks so much for joining us today and we’ll see you next time.

 

ClearCast Episode 12: Pat Hickey Answers Your Tough Marijuana Questions

[Editor’s Note]

Welcome to today’s ClearCast!

The most discussed (Easily!) Ballot Question this year is Question 2, regarding ending the prohibition against the sale of marijuana in Nevada.

And do we have a special treat for you today! A nearly 40 minute conversation with the most prominent advocate of “No on 2,” current Nevada State Board of Education Member, Pat Hickey!

Following along on social media, the conversation surrounding Question 2, unfortunately, has been unable to move beyond 140-character insults. A few days ago, we sat down with a Nevada marijuana dispensary owner, Andrew Jolley, and he was kind enough to explain what marijuana is for those of us not who need a little more background before evaluating Question 2.

In that conversation, he advocated for passage for Question 2, so we wanted have a representative from the ‘No on 2’ Campaign come on the ClearCast so you could hear both sides.

I doubt you will find a more articulate presentation of the ‘No on 2’ materials!1)Just my personal opinion, but I thought Pat was great. I wish the “No on 2” campaign would stop trying to trick people, and adopt this course. You can make good arguments against marijuana legalization without being dishonest. Watch the video!

For many viewers out there2)I speak of the prominent ‘Yes on 2’ folks, Pat may not persuade you to vote No on 2, but regardless, listening to his concerns is certainly worth your while. If marijuana is soon to be legalized in Nevada, it needs to be regulated properly. Pat is raising a lot of valid points here.

In the conversation, you will hear that Pat names Nevada state senator Tick Segerblom three times (in a less-than-becoming manner) in reference to Nevada marijuana regulation.

Know that Monday morning, we are scheduled to sit down with Tick so he will have an opportunity to respond..

Thanks for watching!

-Brian

[End Note]

 

Transcript:

Jordan Flake: Hi, I’m Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group. I’m really excited today to be joined by Pat Hickey, who is leading the coalition I would say against the regulation and legalization of marijuana Question 2 here in Nevada. As always, on ClearCast our goal is to hopefully provide an objective viewpoint of the different issues that we cover. We’re always very interested to where we may have been wrong, what we might have missed, what your opinions are. You can always leave comments on the videos, either on Facebook or on our web page.

Pat Hickey, I don’t know too much about your history. I appreciate you coming. I understand that you have been an assemblyman in the past and that you are kind of the state coordinator for the opposition against this Question 2. Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be interested in Question 2.

Pat Hickey: I will, and thank you for doing this. It’s a great service to your clients, your potential clients, and the public at large, because ballot questions … Not everyone even knows that issues are going to be on the ballot, much less have an opportunity to avail themselves of this information.

Jordan Flake: Right.

Pat Hickey: I appreciate you doing this. Quickly, yes, I have served in the Nevada Legislature four different terms in two different decades, and in fact in two different centuries, because I came and went … Apparently lost my mind and returned and came to my senses and left again, so I have been a part of the Nevada Legislature. I now am serving on the State Board of Education, appointed by Governor Sandoval, which led me to concerns about recreational marijuana from two points.

One, this is a very serious and impactful public policy question, whether or not to legalize a recreational drug, and I would add commercialize one, because that is a big part of the move behind this, to create should Question 2 be passed by the voters aiding new dispensaries, or as have traditionally been called pot shops, throughout the Las Vegas area.

My two concerns, and we’ll get into it, are number one, for education in Nevada we have serious challenges anyway. The new Nevada that Governor Sandoval and many educators envision is one where the emphasis of career Pat Hickey’s for our students are to be things like advanced manufacturing, the law, a professional industry that’s not just reliant upon tourism and basically catering to the whims and the pleasures of people who may be visiting the Las Vegas Strip.

Secondarily, concerns about work force. I’m in the construction business, and workplace safety is a real consideration for those that are involved in either alcohol or substance abuse, including marijuana. In Colorado, and I’ve been to Colorado three times in the last six months, as a result of legalization … Resulted in real workforce challenges, especially manufacturing and the construction industry, and even the gaming industry, which obviously is important to us.

Jordan Flake: Really there’s just … Education is obviously a big concern for you and the effect that legalization could have on our ability to kind of implement this new Nevada, especially from an educational standpoint, and then just kind of a constructive workforce aspect of this is do we want to have marijuana be something that’s easily accessible to and potentially affect or ability to be productive in this state.

You’ve gone to Colorado a few times and done some research on this. Let’s just kind of take the classic case when somebody comes up to you and says, “Hey, Pat Hickey, I went online and I tried to find resources about the dangers of marijuana,” and I’ve heard people say there’s just no proof that it’s any worse than alcohol. In fact there’s some indication that it’s nowhere near as alcohol. Alcohol is I heard a hundred and fourteen times more toxic than marijuana and there’s never been an overdose in marijuana, whereas alcohol kills people.

Alcohol yet is something that we regulate and something that we allow and something that people can participate in recreationally and socially. Why can’t we just regulate marijuana the same way we regulate alcohol to an extent? How would you respond to that? I’m sure you’ve heard that countless times.

Pat Hickey: Right. Right. In some ways it’s true. Abusing or overusing alcohol can certainly be detrimental to a person and so can marijuana. While it’s technically true that there aren’t instances of people that sat down and smoked so much that it killed them, as can happen in the case of alcohol, but at the same time it’s a cumulative effect. I mean the same could be said about tobacco.

Jordan Flake: Sure.

Pat Hickey: I don’t know of anyone that has sat down and smoked for thirty-five hours straight and has died as a result of it.

Jordan Flake: Right.

Pat Hickey: The health impacts, the costs to society are the result of a lifetime of a habit that is not altogether healthy for you. We have a huge challenge in this country. We seem to be having a growing tendency towards dependency. In fact, there’s an epidemic of prescription drugs that society, and Nevada in particular, is facing right now. To the point about if you regulate something and you tax it, legalize it, then don’t you take care of the problem? I would argue that prescription drugs are both legal and regulated and yet we’re abusing them horrendously.

The new marijuana, while most people who smoke marijuana do not become addicted or become a great detriment to them, but the new marijuana is far more toxic. The THC levels, the  psychoactive elements of them are far stronger than the elements … The THC of the marijuana in the sixties and seventies, sometimes seven or eight times as strong. In the form of edibles, which are now being marketed and arguably are somewhat child-friendly by the big marijuana industry, which I would say is quite akin to the big tobacco industry, that a number of decades ago thought that by marketing Joe Camel they would appeal to a younger clientele and therefore create for themselves a customer base for life … I think the same thing is going on with the marijuana industry.

 

Pat Hickey, Question 2, Las vegas, marijuana

 

Jordan Flake: You raised a lot of additional questions that I have just in your response there. First by way of clarifying what you said, the alcohol corollary is one way to argue it, but the prescription drugs is another. People would disagree about that, whether it turns out to be regulation leads to dependency of use, as in the case of prescription drugs. Just kind of having you respond a little bit more on the alcohol front, would you favor the prohibition of alcohol if you were the end all, be all, and could just make it happen?

Pat Hickey: We tried that once in our history and there were socio and economic reasons for doing that. The reality is at this point in time … I think it’s somewhere in the category of seventy percent of Americans participate in one way or another in the consumption of alcohol. It’s somewhat like eight percent for marijuana, and alcohol has a long cultural history to it as well. On the surface, yes, it’s another substance that certain people choose to enjoy. I don’t have a problem with decriminalizing possession, and while a member in the Legislature I looked for people to co-sponsor that. The problem that I have with it is the over-commercialization of it that Question 2 is going to do.

For example, not putting in the language of the initiative petition anything to restrict advertising, anything to control the potency or the THC levels, or to even ban the marketing of edibles such as gummy-bears, pot tarts, soda pot and other ice creams and things that obviously have an appeal-

Jordan Flake: It’s the Joe Camel of marijuana.

Pat Hickey: It absolutely is.

Jordan Flake: To that point, you mentioned big marijuana. We know who big tobacco is. We can get on our websites and we can identify these companies that really are big tobacco. Who is big marijuana? Do we know who these people really are?

Pat Hickey: Yes, we do, but let’s talk about Nevada, and especially with the law firm you’re certainly aware of … And the “Panama papers” recently disclosed the fact that it’s quite easy to hide behind shadow corporations in the state of Nevada, given the way that we’ve marketed ourselves in the use of resident agents and other corporations for tax reasons and others. It’s quite easy to incorporate in Nevada.

Yes, we do know a number of the people behind them, and in fact they’re not Woodstock hippies. They’re corporate folks with trust funds and others that are investing into a market that they think will be profitable. An example can be a corporation just purchased from the Bob Marley family, the old Reggae singer from Jamaica, where marijuana is somewhat of a religious icon or a custom. They just purchased the naming rights from Bob Marley for a product, Marley Naturals, for fifty million dollars, so we’re talking about corporate interests who are behind this.

Specifically, this is on the ballot in Nevada due to the support of the Marijuana Policy Project, which is a Washington DC lobbying organization, somewhat of a guild for the industry itself, funneling its investment monies, and much of the original monies were from Colorado, California and others, where the industry already has a foothold. This is big business.

We love big business in Nevada. My argument is I would much rather see the Teslas, the Switches, the Faradays, socially responsibly investing in our future rather than trying to produce a new economy where what the jobs are pot shop cashiers.

Jordan Flake: Right. I get your point. That’s interesting. I admit that I don’t know who these big players are, who the big investors are, and it does give me a little bit of pause to think about what their motives and intentions are and just-

Pat Hickey: It’s green.

Jordan Flake: Right, yeah.

Pat Hickey: And not necessarily the stuff that is rolled into the joint if you’re still smoking it.

Jordan Flake: I have no doubt that’s the case. With respect to children, my understanding when I spoke with the owner of a dispensary the other day is that here in Nevada it would be illegal to have anything shaped like a bear, anything shaped like a … Something that would identify with kids.

Pat Hickey: That’s not accurate. That’s in response to the fact that in the initiative itself there are absolutely no restrictions to the way it can be packaged, produced or marketed.

Jordan Flake: There’s not a restriction on the ability for it to be something that would be easily opened by a child?

Pat Hickey: No, no, but now they hope to put that in through regulation. You’ll see proponents like Tick Segerblom and others say we’re going to go with the Legislature and fix all of these things that the concerns have been raised. My argument would be why don’t we do this at the Legislature to begin with and really have this discussion out in front of the public and with the public involved? In other words, a person should be at the table from the business interests involved with the government entities that are going to have to regulate this, with educators who are going to have to deal with its impacts, with Metro and law enforcement. We ought to all be at the table and have this discussion.

One of the arguments, and it was made by the Colorado Governor, when he’s advised Governor Sandoval and others to say wait a few years. See how it’s working in other states before you go headlong into it. We just legalized medical marijuana, and oh, by the way, there are still some real challenges there.

Jordan Flake: Skeptics would say that that Colorado Governor is potentially saying I want to keep the money and I want to keep people coming here for a few years and keep the party going in Colorado.

Pat Hickey: Fine. As far as I’m concerned, let him.

Jordan Flake: No, this is great. This is great information. One thing that … You said so many things that I could kind of pick up and very interesting, want to go with it. One thing I think is indispensable here is you said, Pat Hickey, that you actually wouldn’t have a problem … I don’t want to put words in your mouth, with private possession of marijuana. Maybe it sounds like you’re more concerned about the corporate kind of policy effects, and not so much of the individual’s choice and right to consume. Is this a-

Pat Hickey: Right. Even Adam Laxalt, conservative Attorney General, chief law enforcement official in Nevada, has said we are not interested in arresting people for what they do in their private life. In fact, we already have de facto decriminalization. It’s been by legislative regulation reduced down to a misdemeanor. Most people, if they’re arrested, are just going to get a ticket or sent to an education class or a drug enforcement court.

Police in the state are not interested in arresting people for it, and by and large federally less than one percent, 0.7 percent in fact are in federal prisons or state prisons for that matter for mere possession of marijuana. There are still a lot of monies and crime related to selling drugs. One of the arguments against it is the black market on drug dealership, it doesn’t go away.

The Attorney General of Colorado has said we have more cartel activity than ever as a result of it, because when you legalize it, then a person’s possession of it is no longer a factor whatsoever, so drug dealers, as we’ve seen in Las Vegas, they simply innovate and they find ways to still pretend to be legal delivery services in the instance of medical marijuana, and in fact they’re not, and they’re going to pop up all over should legalization take place.

The tourist that comes down on the Strip and visits from Ohio for a convention isn’t going to want to try to go over to Maryland Parkway and find the closest pot shop. They’re going to order off an internet service that they find that says it will deliver to their hotel room, and they’re probably going to pick the cheapest one, which will in most cases probably result in them being an illegal one, since they don’t have to comply with the regulations, they aren’t taxed, and so these … Drug dealing will continue as it has in Colorado. We’re not going to get rid of it by legalizing.

Jordan Flake: Interesting. I haven’t read up on it and I don’t know the extent to which … I’m at a loss to kind of respond with counterarguments that might be out there at this point. That being said, one thing that you mentioned earlier that I want to come back to was the threat of marijuana use on the workplace. I understand that the question actually continues to protect an employer’s right to drug test their employees. If every employer, including for example Clear Counsel Law Group, my law firm, we could do this, even if it gets legalized I could still say, “Hey, employees, we’re all getting tested because this is one of the conditions of working at this job.” Doesn’t that cover that-

Pat Hickey: As written, that’s correct. Question 2 does not take away that right of an employer to still have a zero tolerance drug policy in effect, drug test. Many industries in the state in fact are required to. Certainly the gaming industry does, our largest. Anyone involved in transportation, the construction industry, which I’m a part of. I mean workers comp, and you deal with things like that … Our liability insurance dictates that you better have a zero tolerance drug policy or you’re going to see the expenses for workers comp and insurance go through the roof.

Jordan Flake: Right.

Pat Hickey: While it does not remove that, what it does is create additional challenges for human resources departments and others, because then you’re going to get litigated persons that have a medical marijuana card and say I should be able to be using it on work since it was “prescribed” by a physician. So far in Colorado, the courts have held up the rights of employers to still make those decisions and dismiss employees who have broken their policies. On the other hand the Marijuana Policy Project … This will be good business for lawyers, by the way, have promised to litigate this right and left.

Tick Segerblom said he thinks Nevada employers if legalization takes place, and he’s on record for saying this, that they’ll probably have to loosen their drug enforcement laws because everybody will be smoking it. That’s okay, but as a parent and grandparent and member of the State School Board, I don’t want that relaxed for school bus drivers, for teachers, for airline pilots, or for people that climb my forty foot ladders in my painting business.

Jordan Flake:     So we’re not quite as concerned immediately that people are going to be showing up to work high? It’s the fact that this is going to create litigation, additional policies, additional need for regulation, and just basically a ton of HR headaches essentially, along with the likelihood that as a result of that litigation the door will possibly get wider open to permit a high school bus driver, for example?

Pat Hickey: Yeah.

Jordan Flake: These are some of the concerns that are out there?

Pat Hickey: One of the problems … Look, I fully understand as an employer the problems that alcohol can bring to bear on a family, on an employee. If someone falls off one of my ladders in my painting company, we’re going to rush them to the emergency room. They’re going to be treated, but one of the first things that’s going to happen is a drug test by the hospital. If it comes out that this person was inebriated or impaired on the job because of abuse of a substance, marijuana or another drug, it’s going to impact my workers comp rates, my insurance rates. I may even be taken to court for not enforcing a drug-free policy because it endangers my fellow employees, it endangers my customers, so it presents all kinds of problems, which translate into costs.

Let me tell you something specific about our industry, the gaming industry. In Colorado I visited with the head of their Resorts Association before I briefed members on the Strip of our Resorts Association, who took a very strong stand against this. There I was told that they’re having a particular problem in their casinos in Colorado, and they’re few and far between, nothing like Nevada, but especially in their entry level positions in food and beverage departments. They are finding more and more employees, because they do drug test and they have to because it’s against federal law, and in order to keep their gaming licenses, our Gaming Control Board has been adamant to gamers in Nevada, big and small, you cannot have anything to do with this industry whatsoever, the Gaming Control Board has.

You can’t take monies that come in from the cash business. You can’t be investors yourself. You’re going to have to report under sections of money laundering any people that you bring in that you suspect are coming from a marijuana dispensary, because maybe it smells like skunk. I say that affectionately of course.

Back to the point in Colorado, they are having entry level employee problems because there are people that are applying for jobs and they’re typically eighteen to twenty-nine year olds who are now frequently using more in Colorado, number one it’s popular, legal, permissible, abundant, and they’re failing pre-employment drug screens. When that happens, then where do they get jobs and does society have to take care of them in other ways?

Jordan Flake: I have some brothers who work for the federal government and I think it’s the same story on the federal level, that’s just not going to be permissible. That’s interesting. You kind of heard it here first from Pat Hickey, that if this passes and you don’t consume marijuana, then you’re almost assured to get an entry level job. Is that right? Because they’re going to have a hard time-

Pat Hickey: That’s a good point. We in the construction business … Let’s assume the Oakland Raiders become the Vegas Raiders and the stadium is built. One of the reasons for the support of lawmakers, which I used to be one, is predicated on the notion we’re going to have a lot more construction jobs. Great. The industry has been somewhat depressed since the Great Recession. Okay, but still those guys, union or non-union, are going to be drug testing because they’re going to have to. Already the construction industry has great challenges finding qualified employees. I can tell you that personally. This is one more barrier to that.

Another problem with marijuana impairment, we haven’t scientifically come up with a test to be fair about what is real impairment. People can actually test positive because it stays in your system, in your fatty areas, unlike alcohol which is in blood and then it sort of dissipates, so you can tie one on Friday night, come to work on Monday, maybe experience a random drug test and be fine. That may not be the case with marijuana. You may be determined to be impaired even when you’re actually not, and that’s certainly not fair either.

Jordan Flake: Right, and that’s interesting, because that issue of impairment, that’s another one we could spend a very long time on that, but I know that that’s part … As a voter, part of what makes all this very hard to read and understand is that both sides are obviously going to use the data that supports their position, and I don’t blame them. That’s the reality of politics that I’m sure you know a lot about.

Some of the data that says, for example, more accidents are as a result of marijuana abuse. I’m wondering if that’s relying on data about impairment that means that yes, there was marijuana, the person that caused the accident had marijuana in his system, but it was actually from two days ago and he was just a bad driver because he was checking his cell phone. You see what I’m saying? There’s data problems that-

Pat Hickey: Of course there are, and you’re right to the point that both sides can use things selectively for their own argument. I get that, okay? That’s why I appreciate an opportunity like this where we’re talking about not just the talking points that the other side would use. We’re going to have all kinds of money for schools. Let’s talk about that, or are the edibles or DUIs going to affect us.

We’re having a more nuanced conversation here, and that’s why … Part of my argument is what’s the rush folks? Even Colorado took twelve years to go from medical to recreational. We’re trying to do it in the span of one or two years, when we still have real challenges and questions about how to regulate appropriately and fairly the medical marijuana industry, which I do not oppose and I voted for the funding mechanism for it.

 

Pat Hickey, Las Vegas, Nevada, marijuana, question 2

 

One of the real challenges is this coming under the Department of Taxation as written in Question 2 in the initiative. There are huge challenges for them to become the new super agency to have to manage this. In fact, in Colorado their counterpart met with our head of Department of Taxation and said I’m here to tell you three things. This is going to be far more complicated than you think. Are you setting up the infrastructure, the ecosystem to manage this whole new business, because make no mistake, government is going to be now in the business of marijuana even in more significant ways than we are alcohol, I’d be happy to point that out.

He said it’s going to be far more complicated than you think and it’s going to take much more time, and maybe most importantly, or it should be most important to the taxpayers, it’s going to be far more costly than you think, and it’s all front-loaded, because we’re going to have to put all this money into infrastructure, in growing a department … And if you’re in business, you know the Department of Taxation has taken fourteen months to figure out the two-sided form for the new commerce tax, and it’s still a big fat mess.

Now we’re going to ask our glorious Department of Taxation, I have friends there, to become the new Food and Drug Administration, to deal with pesticides, with labeling, with potency, with background checks, with educational programs to present to schools to warn people-

Jordan Flake: What we have is some-

Pat Hickey: We’re ill-equipped for this to go rushing into.

Jordan Flake: We have some bureaucratic heavy lifting to do and a really steep growth trajectory, but don’t you think that … Isn’t it the case that the taxation of marijuana over the course of time, the taxes that they levy on the actual purchase and consumption, et cetera, et cetera, will be a great boon to the coffers of the State of Nevada?

Pat Hickey: The proponents would certainly like it to be a great boon.

Jordan Flake: Has it not been in Colorado?

Pat Hickey: For those … Not exactly. They’ve said that. The Governor and the drug czar and others have said those things. The Governor said, “If you think this is going to pave roads and hire new school teachers, you’ve got another think coming.” Most of it is going to go into creating the infrastructure implementing. Nevada law as it’s proposed, thirteen pages, is very different from Colorado’s. At least with Colorado’s Amendment 64 a certain percentage of monies went to education first.

In the Nevada initiative, we’re third on the list. Education sort of gets the crumbs. After taxation, local municipalities, counties and cities are repaid for their expenses, then the budget of the district schools … Let me say this specifically about it. Proponents will tell you in advertisements from their studies that when all is said and done and all those back-fills have been done to government, they project Nevada will get annually twenty million dollars a year pure for education. You say that’s good, I’m a proponent for education.

As a Republican, I voted for more taxes for schools, for education, which got a lot of people un-elected as Republicans standing with Brian Sandoval on that. I’m for more money for education spent appropriately, but take that twenty millions in the context. We spend, and I know this as a member of the Budget Committee and a chair of some of the sub-committees on funding … We spend a total of $5.9 billion annually in education from all sources, federal, state, local, property taxes. That twenty million that they’re projecting is less than one-third of one percent of our overall education budget, so to say it’s a mere drop in the bucket … Even Chris Giunchigliani on PBS television admitted there’s very little money that’s going to go to schools, but they’ve been advertising-

Jordan Flake: Right. That doesn’t stop people from saying, “Smoke marijuana, help our children.”

Pat Hickey: Yeah. Think about the logic of that. I love the editorial recently by … Our rural papers keep us somewhat sane in Nevada. The Elko Daily, which is not all that unsophisticated with their billion dollar companies, Barrick and Newmont Mining out there, recently editorialized against Question 2 and said selling marijuana in order to pay for schools is kind of like selling pornography to support daycare, something to think about.

Jordan Flake: Yeah. That’s a very visceral kind of … You have a very visceral reaction to that quote for sure.

Pat Hickey: Yeah. The other side of it is though … Your more serious question was isn’t over time this going to be a boon or a help to the expenses of society? Again, I would point to both alcohol and tobacco, to the proponent’s point if we regulate and tax it, isn’t that a good thing? The reality is for both alcohol and tobacco, for every dollar in revenue that is paid, and this is from national studies, ten dollars goes out other doors to pay for related health costs, for regulation, for lost employment time because of substance problems that people have, just the whole infrastructure. Tobacco, cigarettes, and I would argue marijuana, they’re money drainers on society. They’re not money makers.

Jordan Flake: That’s interesting. I think any proponents listening to this would kind of freak out at the idea that you’re equating tobacco-

Pat Hickey: They can just chill out. Just take some Segerblom haze and it’ll calm them.

Jordan Flake: Tobacco and marijuana, equating those I think would be a big problem in the minds of some of the proponents.

Pat Hickey: Okay. I’m happy to make that comparison. The industries are comparable.

Jordan Flake: I’m talking about from anatomy, biological standpoint.

Pat Hickey: Do you think it’s any safer to smoke marijuana than it is to smoke tobacco? I think the science says no. That’s why it’s evolved into edibles and things like that, just because of that very fact. Isn’t it also true the tobacco industry argued effectively for decades that tobacco was not addictive?

Jordan Flake: That’s true. Yeah.

Pat Hickey: In fact, there’s famous scenes … I think one of Michael Moore’s movies, you know, where they’re all lined up before Congress and the committee chair is now, “Is tobacco addictive or not?” “No, it is not,” Philip Morris. “No, it is not,” Marlboro Man, all the way down the line, when in fact Congressional research found that they knew from the 1930s that tobacco was addictive.

Proponents are saying marijuana is not addictive. It’s less harmful, less addictive. I think studies will show otherwise, and I do think we should be studying it more. Anecdotally, I think many of us know people, and I do as a child of the sixties … You can say it’s addictive or not, but I have friends that smoke it four or five times a day. Now if you want to call that an addiction or just a serious habit, to me that’s all … That’s a matter of-

Jordan Flake: Yeah. Pat Hickey, I appreciate you so much coming and talking to us. I have one more question here and then I’ll let you go. You’ve been great to answer all my questions. You make the argument that Sandoval’s new Nevada should focus on getting Faradays and Teslas in here. I certainly agree with that vision for our future, but at the same time isn’t there kind of this idea that we live in Sin City, we already participate in many, many of the vices out there and we actively market that image, and it would almost seem that marijuana is just a natural fit for that industry, that if you come to the Strip you can participate in a wide array of debauchery and now legally marijuana?

Part of the boon to the economy is this idea not necessarily of just the twenty million that would go to the schools, but also the increased commercial activity based on the … This is an argument out there and-

Pat Hickey: I get that. Of the forty-two million tourists that fly in annually and the rest that drive in from SoCal, maybe sixty million-

Jordan Flake: Sixty million a weekend.

Pat Hickey: Okay. According to proponents, and I think it’s true, and according to Metro, if they want to get marijuana now they can. Frankly, I don’t care about the impact of marijuana upon tourists. I do care about its impact upon Nevadans. This is a Nevadan’s choice, whether or not we want to decide to legalize, regardless of what other states have done. In the overall, I would say I don’t think it supports the direction that we’re trying to go in. I don’t think it’s going to be helpful for students in the state, where once it’s legalized, popularized, it will become more abundant, more acceptable, frankly more used. Colorado and Washington state already proved that. It’s just common sense.

I don’t want to see more barriers. I teach in the schools. I teach at the university level. I’m on the board of a charter school. I substitute teach in the Washoe County School District. I don’t want more barriers to our students’ finding success either beyond school or once they get into the workplace, and that’s why I’m opposing it.

Jordan Flake: Great. Pat Hickey, I really, really appreciate it. I feel like we could have talked two or three times this long. You have a lot of opinions and views on this and a lot of information. Thank you so much for giving us so much of your time. I really appreciate it. Thank you for joining us for ClearCast and please let us know what you think. We could potentially do a follow-up, especially if it doesn’t pass and comes on for another-

Pat Hickey: If it doesn’t pass, I’m taking a long vacation and I’m not going to talk about this stuff-

Jordan Flake: For a long time. Thank you so much Pat Hickey.

Thanks for joining us.

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Just my personal opinion, but I thought Pat was great. I wish the “No on 2” campaign would stop trying to trick people, and adopt this course. You can make good arguments against marijuana legalization without being dishonest. Watch the video!
2. I speak of the prominent ‘Yes on 2’ folks

ClearCast Episode 6: Does Nevada Need a Tough Vaccination Law Like California?

{Editor’s note} Welcome to Today’s ClearCast!

We appreciate you stopping by on your busy day. The feedback from our past episodes has been great; thank you so much for taking the time to write and share your opinions!

We will continue to try to contribute the best we can to the ongoing discussions of Nevada public policy.

Today, we take on the laws pertaining to vaccination of your kids.

A little background..

Last year, Gov. Brown1)Yes, the same one! of California signed into law one of the toughest vaccination requirements in the nation by removing the previous exemption for religious/personal beliefs.2)It seems from afar that the measles outbreak in 2015 freaked out everyone

There are still many parents in Southern California that do not want to comply with the new law, one of the few doctors catering still to these folks is Dr. Sears.

Unfortunately for “Dr. Bob,” he is now at risk of having his medical license revoked. At issue3)not the only issue is his willingness to write doctor’s notes for parents to excuse them from vaccines. (Read the full complaint here).

As Nevadans, we are very concerned about any serious disease outbreak in SoCal, given how many folks travel between destinations.

More important for Nevadans though, we need to consider if Nevada needs to adopt the tough, new California law that does not permit exemptions for vaccines..

Thanks for watching; all the best.

-Brian

{End note}

Should Nevada Adopt California’s Tough Vaccination Law?

Transcript:

Jordan Flake: Welcome to Clearcast. I’m Attorney Jordan Flake, and I’m here with Attorney Taylor Waite, and we today, in our continued effort to steer clear of anything that’s the least bit controversial, we thought we’d talk about vaccinations, so that’s obviously something that people feel very strongly about. Mostly because it brings in a lot of issues of caring about our kids, caring about public. Sometimes it brings in issues of science versus religion, but the reason this is back in the news, and the reason why we wanted to tackle it today somewhat, or I should just say touch on it today, because there’s so much in our Clearcast is because recently a doctor in California, Dr. Bob Sears, has been accused of gross negligence in connection with a child, J. G., was the child’s initials, who he’s been seeing. Just a little background on Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob has a following because he has been very outspoken critic of the California Law, which says, “You must vaccinate your children.” It’s a misdemeanor not to do so, and your children must be vaccinated, even if you have a religious opposition to vaccinations. It doesn’t matter in the State of California.

Dr. Bob met with this kid and his mother, and the mother said, “Well, when he was two and he got some vaccinations, then he couldn’t urinate. He couldn’t pass food. He basically was sick. He was lethargic.” Dr. Bob wrote this medical recommendation saying, “Okay, well, this kid doesn’t need to get medical treatment anymore.” I’m sorry. “This kid doesn’t need any future vaccinations. He’s exempt from these.” He’s tried to give basically a doctor’s exemption, but the Medical Board came down really hard on him and said, “Whoa. You didn’t take any real data. You didn’t collect any type of samples, and you didn’t send this off to other labs to determine why this kid had the reaction that he did.”

The Medical Board in California has basically sued Dr. Bob to potentially revoke his license, and it kind of just brings up a lot of these issues about the extent of which kids can … Parents can protect their kids, and make decisions about their kids’ health. I guess the question for us today, Taylor, and what I want you to weigh in on here, right now, Nevada says that, “You can have a religious exemption to vaccinations?”

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Should we adopt the California Law? Should we continue with the Law that we have? Should we say some kind of a compromise, where it’s like if you have a kid who has a religious exemption to vaccinations, that’s fine, but you can’t be in our public schools. How would you start to think about some of these issues? Maybe take us back a little, and what are some of the fundamental issues here at play?

Taylor Waite: It really is a hard question, because fundamentally, as parents, we believe that we’re entitled to do the best by our children. They’re our children. We know what’s best for them. They obviously share some traits with us, so things that worked for us, we share our religious beliefs with our children, so those are important considerations. At the same time, and again, those beliefs go way back. The idea that we’re going to allow people to have children at all, suggests that we are willing to let them parent their children, which should include, to some degree, their ability to make health decisions for their children.

Jordan Flake: The people who oppose vaccinations are extremely passionate in saying things like, “Listen. You would not let somebody inject your kid with poison.”

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: The last time that my son got a vaccination, I watched as I wondered if he was going to pass away, because for basically two days, so I’m very, very sympathetic.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: To the idea that you should be able to protect your children.

Taylor Waite: Absolutely, but I

Jordan Flake: Share your religious beliefs.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: With your children.

Taylor Waite: Fundamentally, even speaking religiously though, I think we do teach as well to our children, that our individual choices still do affect others, and now there is a limit to our ability to choose to do whatever we want to do. What I choose to do in my home, within the walls of my home is one thing, but when that begins to affect my neighbors, begins to affect the people across the street, the neighborhood kids down the street, then it does have to open a broader discussion about what we are willing to do in a society where we’ve decided to come together in public schools, and things like that. It is a difficult question.

Jordan Flake: Yeah, so we have basically, our country acknowledges the right to raise your children however you want, provided it doesn’t hurt anybody else, and the difference between people who are pro-vaccination versus anti-vaccination, is the anti-vaccination crowd maybe doesn’t recognize, or believe in, or subscribe to the idea that whether or not I put these chemicals in my children actually affects the kid down the street.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Whereas, the scientific community, by in large, is supportive of the idea that, “Listen. You have to vaccinate your kids, because that will affect the kids down the street.” Look at the outbreak of, I believe it was Measles in Disneyland.

Taylor Waite: Yes, in Disneyland. Obviously the anti-vaccination. We’ve read some of that stuff. They suggest that there wasn’t enough scientific data to determine that that actually was related to non-vaccination, given the number of foreigners that were there, and everything else. I mean, there are other arguments, but absolutely.

Jordan Flake: Right.

Taylor Waite: It does affect others. Like our willingness to vaccinate or not vaccinate.

Jordan Flake: It’s my understanding, vaccines is limited, but it’s kind of my understanding that my one child not getting a Measles vaccination is not going to have an effect, but implementing a policy where everyone can say, “Well, I don’t want to be the one to vaccinate-

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: “My child, because it could in the margins be harmful.” It’s very interesting. It’s kind of we’re trying to all make the deal that, “Listen. We know on the very margins, some vaccinations might interact badly with some people, potentially.” The science on that is hit or miss, but we’re all agreeing, we’re all buying into the system where we say, “Hey, we all vaccinate-

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: “Because we don’t want these many diseases.” Let’s talk specifically about the Nevada Law then. How do we start to think about whether or not to permit the … Continue to permit the religious exemption? That’s tough, right?

Taylor Waite: I think it is tough, but it think it has to be a consideration for parents that are willing. It is problematic, I think, for someone like Dr. Sears, assuming that a doctor could come forward with a legitimate rationale. Medical background, that was one of the concerns when you read through the information we have, is that his recommendations were not necessarily based entirely in actual-

Jordan Flake: It’s almost-

Taylor Waite: Diagnosis.

Jordan Flake: It’s almost like Dr. Sears, he had a big opportunity, “Like, oh, man.”

Taylor Waite: Yes, to prove his point.

Jordan Flake: To prove his point.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: I read that as maybe he didn’t want to go and actually run the tests, and get the data, and support. He didn’t want to go through the arduous, but well-recognized process of supporting his concern that the vaccination caused this in the child, because maybe he was worried that it would have been something else. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, that’s I know a cynical view of Dr. Bob here, but I’m concerned that he was just sitting there thinking. I mean, it doesn’t add a ton of credibility that he tried to treat an ear infection with garlic.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Color me slightly skeptical. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sympathetic to parents who want to control their children’s lives, but if your doctor … This I will stand by. I will take a slight position here. If your doctor isn’t willing to go through the well-recognized processes for diagnosing, recording all the information properly, going through the testing procedures, that’s a big red flag.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: If you’re going to be an anti-vaccination doctor, be my guess. That’s your right to academic inquiry. Go for it.

Taylor Waite: It still has to be based. If we’re going to press the conversation, then both sides have to agree that we’re going to do it in the context of actual medical evidence.

Jordan Flake: Right.

Taylor Waite: If they want to come forward with alternatives, we’ll listen to those, and we need to listen to those. There is progression. Right. The anti-vaccination, we have to be willing to listen to those, but we can’t just come in, and pound our fists, and say, “We’re not going to listen to your science.”

Jordan Flake: It’s funny, because on the one hand, we’re demanding standards, scientific standards, but on the other, when it comes to religion, it’s like, “Hey, I just started the Church of Jordan, and the Church of Jordan actually only has one tenet. Basically, you can be a bad person in all the ways you want, but you just don’t vaccinate your kids.” Do you know what I mean? Sorry, religious exemption, so we have medical standards on the one hand.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Then we just kind of throw those out the window, and we say, “Okay, any person for religious exemptions.”

Taylor Waite: Religious exemptions.

Jordan Flake: That makes the medical community here in Nevada kind of pull their hair out, and say, “Well, then why do we have standards at all if we can just say religion?”

Taylor Waite: Correct.

Jordan Flake: Church of Jordan”4)Now accepting applications! people can just be like, “Oh, one tenet of the Church of Jordan is to not vaccinate the kids.” There’s no standards for that.

Taylor Waite: There’s always concern when we build exceptions into the law that they will swallow a law [entirely 00:10:13], when that’s always a concern.

Jordan Flake: Yeah.

Taylor Waite: If we set a rule, then we can live by that, but if we start to add exceptions, then we start to go through who is, so how do we define who is, and is not entitled to that?

Jordan Flake: Like normal, I think, we’re just raising more questions than we have answers for.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: As always, we invite our listeners, and viewers, and readers out there to give an opinion about, I guess specifically any opinion you have on anything we discuss. Feel free to correct us. We’re not experts on this. We’re happy to hear you out.

Taylor Waite: Absolutely.

Jordan Flake: I think we are very interested to see, should Nevada continue to allow this law, which states, “That if you are religiously opposed to vaccinating your kids, then you’re exempt.” Is that okay to continue that? Second question we didn’t really get to, but we’d love to hear what you have to say on it, is if we do exempt kids from vaccination for religious purposes, would it be okay then to say, “That they can’t attend public schools,” or, “That they can’t go to the same daycares that require vaccination efforts,” et cetera, et cetera? Anyway, thanks for joining us for Clearcast. We barely just scraped the surface of this issue, but we’d be more than happy to hear what you have to say on it. Thanks so much, and please join us next time.

Taylor Waite: See you.

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Yes, the same one!
2. It seems from afar that the measles outbreak in 2015 freaked out everyone
3. not the only issue
4. Now accepting applications!

ClearCast Episode 5: A Federal Court Says Nevadans May Not Buy a Gun If They Possess a Medical Marijuana Card

6 September Update:

[Editor’s note] Thanks for all the responses we received!

I’m going to take a few minutes here and address some of the concerns brought to my attention1)because we care!. The points are not related, but I present my points in list form so it is easiest to read.

First, here is the video for you to enjoy:

 

 

If you scroll down, you will see a transcript from the conversation, along with my original analysis from last week.

1. “She claims she wasn’t using, but I don’t buy that.”

This is the most discussed angle of the case, which I just find a little silly, given that there are many an issue in dispute from this Order. This is not one of them.

Some of you may not be versed in the intricacies of appellate law2)Come on, get it together, but you should know that the 9th Circuit panel accepted Ms. Wilson assertion that she does not consume marijuana as true. And it was not an option. Let’s go to the text:

However, taking Wilson’s allegations as true, as we must
on an appeal from a motion to dismiss, Usher v. City of Los
Angeles, 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir. 1987), she is not
actually an unlawful drug user. Instead, she alleges that,
although she obtained a registry card, she chose not to use
medical marijuana for various reasons, such as the difficulties
of acquiring medical marijuana in Nevada, as well as a desire
to make a political statement. Regardless of her motivations,
we agree that Wilson’s claims do not fall under the direct
scope of Dugan.3)p. 12(emphasis added)

Ah, there it is. What’s going on? There is a (good) rule in appellate law, that the reviewing court accepts all of the allegations of the appealing party as true in a motion to dismiss.

This is necessary because none of these three, 9th Circuit judges were not present4)or even in the state of Nevada when the evidence was introduced. Appellate judges just aren’t in a position to evaluate Ms. Wilson’s claim.

Therefore, in order to give her appeal its full weight, they accept the allegations as true.5)If they would have decided for Ms. Wilson, they could have sent the case back to Nevada district court to have the evidence issues fully litigated. Ms. Wilson was never even given a chance for a trial. Her claim was dismissed even before the summary judgment phase.

Even if are still inclined to disbelieve Ms. Wilson6)You do you!, just know that the 9th Circuit here did not decided against her because they thought she was lying about consumption. They accept her allegations that she only possess the card but doesn’t consume and still denied her gun rights just as a medical marijuana card holder.

 

2.  What’s the Deal With This Term “Unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance“?

Great question! Wouldn’t “unlawful user” be sufficient?7)in English, yes, but this is the law What would you say if I told you “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” is actually of term of art, in law?8)I know; contain yourself

Because I care for you, dear reader, I dissected the Code of Federal Regulations9)You are not the only person asking, wait, what is this? I will explain because we are all about empowering you. Most everyone is familiar with the ‘Separation of Powers’ under our Constitution. The legislature writes the laws, the executive enforces the law, the judicial branch evaluates. It is not practical for the legislature to write out every detail of new laws, so often the rule making (that is, how the law will be put into effect. For example, the legislature will say “No drug users can buy guns,” but how that law is enforced (will the federal government assign an agent to every gun store? Maybe an open letter would be more efficacious) will be assigned to the appropriate executive department, in this case the ATF. and found the definition. I will reproduce it in full so you may see it in all its glory:10)Remember as you read, people classified as an “unlawful user” may not buy a gun in Nevada

Unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance. A person who uses a controlled substance and has lost the power of self-control with reference to the use of controlled substance; and any person who is a current user of a controlled substance in a manner other than as prescribed by a licensed physician. Such use is not limited to the use of drugs on a particular day, or within a matter of days or weeks before, but rather that the unlawful use has occurred recently enough to indicate that the individual is actively engaged in such conduct. A person may be an unlawful current user of a controlled substance even though the substance is not being used at the precise time the person seeks to acquire a firearm or receives or possesses a firearm. An inference of current use may be drawn from evidence of a recent use or possession of a controlled substance or a pattern of use or possession that reasonably covers the present time, e.g., a conviction for use or possession of a controlled substance within the past year; multiple arrests for such offenses within the past 5 years if the most recent arrest occurred within the past year; or persons found through a drug test to use a controlled substance unlawfully, provided that the test was administered within the past year. For a current or former member of the Armed Forces, an inference of current use may be drawn from recent disciplinary or other administrative action based on confirmed drug use, e.g., court-martial conviction, nonjudicial punishment, or an administrative discharge based on drug use or drug rehabilitation failure.11)source (emphasis added)

Thoughts on what the bold section above means? Where did I put my Wittgenstein12)Doubtful, we want to be having a function vs. essence discussion with legal code (Drudge-esq) alarm13)Must have left it in the sandbox again..darn?14)It’s “not limited to…within a matter of days or weeks before”

I have now read that sentence at least 6 times. It makes less sense with each rereading. The problem is the word “recently,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “during a period of time that has just passed15)Did they really split the infinitive? Oy.

Above, we have the government applying the word “recently,” then denying the word’s definition. How can something be “recent” if it hasn’t happened in weeks?16)That’s how it’s done Ron Darling

I don’t have much else to add on this point other than, if you don’t like this, write your congresswoman.

One last point on this section of the CFR. Did you notice that they made a distinction in the definition for members of the armed services17)In theory, I’m not against this?

Would the case have turned out differently if she was retired from the Air Force? Should it?18)I can see both sides

This is not useful for gun sellers that want to obey the law.

This is the open letter19)the link in the opinion is broken cited in the Opinion that the ATF sent to the gun sellers.

..It’s pretty obvious why the seller denied Ms. Wilson a firearm. Can’t blame him; the man is just trying to run a small business without federal interference.

[End Update. Thanks for coming back. Just wait until Friday when I drop 2000 words about the legal ramifications of misnaming a Wade Phillips'20)Apparently “dog” is a defense? “Blitz”… -Brian]

Are We Going to Allow a Federal Court to Distinguish Away Our 2nd Amendment Rights?

[Editor’s note] Hello and welcome to your Labor Day Weekend ClearCast!

Did you hear what a California federal court did your 2nd Amendment rights?

Our friends in the media have only begun to notice what happened in San Francisco earlier this week.

Yes, you read that right. A federal court said that Nevadans may not buy a gun if they are a registered medical marijuana patient.

(I can hear the chorus of objections of all sides…not to worry folks, that’s what we are here for.)

Unfortunately, Mr. Flake and Mr. Barlow had/have client obligations this week, and asked me to supplement this ClearCast.

First, you need to understand that Nevada is under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit, as you can see below:

circuit map

Now you understand why a ruling from San Francisco can affect your gun rights. On to the show!

Beneath the video I added aides to help with the discussion.

[Still noting]

Here is a link to the opinion. And here is a link to the ATF form discussed (the question is “e”). Here is how the DEA schedules different drugs.

I think Mr. Barlow and Mr. Flake have the global analysis of this case exactly right: that one of our fellow Nevadans wanted to use the federal courts to expand the scope of the 2nd Amendment (count me in the group that think’s Ms. Wilson’s protest is reasonable), and said protest went horribly wrong, and in fact, they achieved the exact opposite of the desired result.21)This is has been a horrific Summer for fans of conservative jurisprudence [and I’m not talking about North Carolina, that nonsense isn’t conservative, it’s just racist partisanship], or at least as the media describes it. Recall the reproductive rights case handed down by the SCOTUS a few weeks ago? They essentially cemented access to an abortion as a fundamental right. It seems, from afar, that the conservative strategy to undermine abortion was to distinguish away the rights in small phases. For example, see the difference between the rights articulated in Roe v. Wade verses Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In this year’s Texas case, the anti-abortion folks got a little too overzealous, and decided to run that Texas law (requiring abortion clinics to have all the same medical equipment as a hospital, without justification [except that they don’t like abortion, which doesn’t count]) all the way up the chain. Instead of getting the abortion prohibition [which always seemed unlikely], the Supreme Court drew a bright line for how far abortion restrictions can go. The court would have never commented on abortion without prompting; now, (from my humble perspective) they will need a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion.

I see something similar here. It seems absurd that a medical condition would prevent someone from buying a gun; so the lawyer here thought he was onto something. However, these constitutional challenges are not free (literally in terms of cost, but also in terms of political risk) because you are at risk of a judge taking your facts and making the law he wants. This means if you are going to bring a constitutional challenge, especially because it affects everyone, you have a duty to argue this case correctly. I agree with my employers, the lawyer here made a huge error of omission of not questioning the government’s assertions that medical marijuana has no medicinal value and/or medical marijuana users are more inclined to be violent. We, as Nevadans, would be better off if they would have never brought this legal challenge. Please don’t challenge constitutional law if you are unable to/won’t prepare sufficiently. It affects all of us.

Before you head off for your Labor Day fun, I want to show my liberal friends why I support my 2A brothers and sisters. I am going to quote a graf22)Yes, I just did that from Wilson:

Because the degree of fit between 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.11, and the Open Letter and their purpose of preventing gun violence is reasonable but not airtight, these laws will sometimes burden–albeit minimally and only incidentally–the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are reasonably, but erroneously, suspected of being unlawful drug users. However, the Constitution tolerates these modest collateral burdens in various contexts, and does so here as well. For instance, the Fourth Amendment allows an officer to burden an individual’s right to be free from searches when the officer has “reason to believe” the person is armed and dangerous, see Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 27 (1968), a standard comparable to the “reasonable cause to WILSON V. LYNCH believe” standard of § 922(d). Moreover, as previously noted, there are various ways for individuals in Wilson’s position to minimize or eliminate altogether the burdens that 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.11, and the Open Letter place on their Second Amendment rights. Accordingly, 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.11, and the Open Letter survive intermediate scrutiny, and the district court did not err in dismissing Wilson’s Second Amendment claims.23)pp 18-19

You see now, liberals? Yes, that’s right. The constitutional amendments are stronger, together24)sorry. They are using that awful Terry decision (where the Supreme Court gutted the 4th Amendment under specious reasoning)25)This is only my opinion to justify why the 2nd Amendment does not mean what we all understand it to mean in a post-Heller world.

ALL of us need to support ALL constitutional rights, or we ALL will be sorry..

Thanks for watching!

-Brian

Transcript:

Jonathan: Welcome to ClearCast, today’s episode of ClearCast. Today, we’ve got Jordan Flake, and myself, Jonathan Barlow, we’re attorneys here, and there’s a super-interesting case that came out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, that’s based in California, yesterday, and it ducktails two very hot-topic issues in the law and society today. It dealt with gun rights, under the Second Amendment, and Medical Marijuana use, and the rights of those who hold Medical Marijuana cards under State law. The Ninth Circuit is a part of the Court of Appeals that covers nine Western States, including mainly California, is the largest one, of course, but it also covers Nevada, which is where we are.

Jordan, you have to tell us a little bit about what this case said, and what it does?

Jordan: Well, first of all, the very second that you mention Second Amendment rights, Gun Rights, and Medical Marijuana, hopefully, everybody is just filled with opinions, and filled with all kinds of angst, and that’s fine, that’s what we’re here for. We’re very interested in advancing the discussion.

Let me just run down what happened: A woman in Nevada in 2011 went to go purchase a gun, and Brian’s our off-camera support here; he’ll help us and correct us if we get any of the facts wrong

Brian: Hi, everyone!

Jordan: She went to go purchase a gun in 2011, and she was denied, because she has a Medical Marijuana Card. She is confused; she says, “Well, I have a right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, and the mere fact that I have a Medical Marijuana Card shouldn’t be a big deal!” In fact, she said she didn’t even use marijuana …

Jonathan: She just kept the card?

Jordan: She just kept the card because maybe it made her feel cool … Made her be able to hang with the cool kids, and show the card, and be like, “Yeah, I don’t really smoke, because I don’t like it …” Anyway, she was denied purchasing a gun, so she brought this lawsuit, essentially saying, “Listen, this is not valid grounds for restricting, and taking away my Second Amendment rights to bear arms and purchase a gun.”

The government came along and …

Jonathan: The Federal Government …

Jordan: The Federal Government, yeah, it’s really important to know, what we’re talking about here is the Federal Government, because the Federal Government classifies marijuana as a “Schedule 1 drug.” A Schedule 1 drug is a drug that is deemed by the Federal Government not to have any practical medical uses; that’s a hot topic for a different day, because I know a lot of you out there will be saying, “Well, Medical Marijuana has been shown to have …”

Jonathan: It’s legal!

Jordan: It’s legal, and it has been shown to have good uses. Well, one of the frustrating thing about this case, jumping ahead in the story a little bit, is that we missed an opportunity to put some of these arguments about how Medical Marijuana helps people in front of the court. That’s one of the things that’s frustrating about it.

Basically, what happened here, is because it’s a Schedule 1 drug, ATF, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Agency, sent out a letter to all the gun sellers in the country, and said, “Listen: If a potential purchaser of a gun has a Medical Marijuana Card, they can’t purchase the gun, because we have restrictions against people with substance abuse issues purchasing guns.”

Jonathan: The interesting thing for this lady is that that the law, or that mailing, came from the ATF, says it doesn’t matter if they don’t even use marijuana, because the gun seller is required to infer … Something along those lines, the gun seller is supposed to infer that the person, because they hold a card, is a user of Schedule 1, regardless of whether they actually use or not.

Jordan: Right, so the purchaser comes running and screaming into court, screaming “My Second Amendment rights have been taken away!” Whenever rights are taken away, whenever constitutionally-conferred rights are taken away from an individual in this country, the court looks at that with what’s called a “Standard of Review,” which can be kind of like, “Does the law that takes it away, is it somewhat reasonable?” There are different levels of scrutiny there, there’s something called “Strict Scrutiny” that says it has to be … Absolutely, the law has to be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling purpose, and that’s not really what they said here.

They instead looked at something called “Intermediate Scrutiny,” which is essentially just, “Is the law generally able to fulfill this important, not narrowly tailored to fulfill a compelling interest, but just kind of somewhat tailored to fulfill an important interest …” It’s kind of a weird distinction. You’re the Con Law scholar …

Jonathan: Right, and the woman thought she was going to come in here and expand gun rights; that’s what she really was trying to do, was expand gun rights, and the Court did a 180 on her, and actually shot her in the foot, so to speak …

Jordan: The Court came back and said, “Listen: This thing that the ATF has done, and this thing that the Federal Government has done, is basically okay … It’s only moderately restrictive, because guess what, young woman? You can actually go, shred that Medical Marijuana Card, and then go out and get a gun. It’s not like we’re totally taking away your Second Amendment rights, here; we’re just saying that, if you have a Medical Marijuana Card, you can’t get a gun … But you can get rid of the card, or you can purchase a gun in September, and get a Medical Marijuana Card in October …” You know what I mean?

That’s how the Court looked at it, and they said, “It’s not extremely restrictive; it’s not like we’re saying ‘women can’t purchase guns ever,’” because then it’s like … The woman’s like, “Well, I can’t change who I am,” you know what I mean? This is more … The government’s like, “Listen, this job is somewhat generally tailored towards this objective,” but the real issue here, and the thing I was referencing, and I think the last point that we’ll make here is, the plaintiff’s attorney, the attorney who was representing the young woman, really missed an opportunity to shove a bunch of evidence in front of the court, saying “Things have changed with marijuana since the 1980’s.”

They didn’t present any evidence to show that most of the users of medical marijuana are legit, low-crime, oftentimes high-demographic, socioeconomically speaking, way less likely to commit crimes, oftentimes … The typical example would be your 85-year-old grandmother who is using medicinal marijuana because she has glaucoma. The plaintiff failed to make all of these arguments, and unfortunately, that probably resulted in the door being slammed shut on this situation, and who knows when the Court will bring it back up for review.

Jonathan: That’s the interesting last note, is that we have what? Twenty-five or so states that allow Medical Marijuana use. Again, this Ninth Circuit decision only applies to the nine states in the Ninth Circuit, so theoretically, one of the states that’s not in the Ninth Circuit, you could have a similar case come up in the Sixth Circuit …

Jordan: In that case, hopefully, the attorney would bring forth the mountain of evidence that has justified the use of Medical Marijuana in nearly half the states, and basically use that to have a more robust conversation. What happened here was, the attorney didn’t offer the evidence, so the Court just kind of said, “Okay, well, they’re not offering any evidence here; we’re just going to accept the notions and assumptions we have about drugs, based on studies from the 1980’s, which notions and assumptions have been drastically altered through study, and usage, and things of that nature.

Kind of interesting …

Jonathan: Totally. If you live here in one of the nine states in the Ninth Circuit, and you hold a Medical Marijuana Card, and you want to go and purchase a handgun, now you have a decision: If you want to keep your Medical Marijuana Card, you get no gun; if you want a gun, you’ve got to get rid of your Medical Marijuana Card. That’s the state of law right now in these nine states.

Jordan: Right. As we always say to close these things out, we are very interested in your opinions on Medical Marijuana, and Gun Control, and especially this case. I think that, on our blog, we’ll have a link to the decision. Feel free to hit us up on Twitter, or our blog, or Facebook, and let us know what your thoughts are on this.

Thanks so much for joining us for ClearCast.

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. because we care!
2. Come on, get it together
3. p. 12
4. or even in the state of Nevada
5. If they would have decided for Ms. Wilson, they could have sent the case back to Nevada district court to have the evidence issues fully litigated. Ms. Wilson was never even given a chance for a trial. Her claim was dismissed even before the summary judgment phase.
6. You do you!
7. in English, yes, but this is the law
8. I know; contain yourself
9. You are not the only person asking, wait, what is this? I will explain because we are all about empowering you. Most everyone is familiar with the ‘Separation of Powers’ under our Constitution. The legislature writes the laws, the executive enforces the law, the judicial branch evaluates. It is not practical for the legislature to write out every detail of new laws, so often the rule making (that is, how the law will be put into effect. For example, the legislature will say “No drug users can buy guns,” but how that law is enforced (will the federal government assign an agent to every gun store? Maybe an open letter would be more efficacious) will be assigned to the appropriate executive department, in this case the ATF.
10. Remember as you read, people classified as an “unlawful user” may not buy a gun in Nevada
11. source
12. Doubtful, we want to be having a function vs. essence discussion with legal code
13. Must have left it in the sandbox again..darn
14. It’s “not limited to…within a matter of days or weeks before”
15. Did they really split the infinitive? Oy.
16. That’s how it’s done Ron Darling
17. In theory, I’m not against this
18. I can see both sides
19. the link in the opinion is broken
20. Apparently “dog” is a defense?
21. This is has been a horrific Summer for fans of conservative jurisprudence [and I’m not talking about North Carolina, that nonsense isn’t conservative, it’s just racist partisanship], or at least as the media describes it. Recall the reproductive rights case handed down by the SCOTUS a few weeks ago? They essentially cemented access to an abortion as a fundamental right. It seems, from afar, that the conservative strategy to undermine abortion was to distinguish away the rights in small phases. For example, see the difference between the rights articulated in Roe v. Wade verses Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In this year’s Texas case, the anti-abortion folks got a little too overzealous, and decided to run that Texas law (requiring abortion clinics to have all the same medical equipment as a hospital, without justification [except that they don’t like abortion, which doesn’t count]) all the way up the chain. Instead of getting the abortion prohibition [which always seemed unlikely], the Supreme Court drew a bright line for how far abortion restrictions can go. The court would have never commented on abortion without prompting; now, (from my humble perspective) they will need a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion.

I see something similar here. It seems absurd that a medical condition would prevent someone from buying a gun; so the lawyer here thought he was onto something. However, these constitutional challenges are not free (literally in terms of cost, but also in terms of political risk) because you are at risk of a judge taking your facts and making the law he wants. This means if you are going to bring a constitutional challenge, especially because it affects everyone, you have a duty to argue this case correctly. I agree with my employers, the lawyer here made a huge error of omission of not questioning the government’s assertions that medical marijuana has no medicinal value and/or medical marijuana users are more inclined to be violent. We, as Nevadans, would be better off if they would have never brought this legal challenge. Please don’t challenge constitutional law if you are unable to/won’t prepare sufficiently. It affects all of us.

22. Yes, I just did that
23. pp 18-19
24. sorry
25. This is only my opinion
Las Vegas Raiders stadium

ClearCast Episode 3: Serious Concerns About the Las Vegas Raiders Stadium

[Editor’s note] Hello and welcome to Friday’s ClearCast!

The whole Las Vegas Valley is discussing the Las Vegas Raiders stadium proposal, but there are still a lot of questions out there about bias1)The LVRJ is owned by the same person trying to acquire the stadium.

Our own Jordan Flake, Esq., although excited at the prospect of a NFL team, is concerned about the finances of the Raiders stadium as a passionate Nevadan.

Mr. Flake was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time so that these concerns will be made public. He, like you, is worried about Nevada taxpayers.

I have gone through the transcript and added the appropriate links so you may follow along.

Thanks for watching! Have a great weekend.

-Brian

 

Transcript:

Hello. I’m Jordan Flake with Clearcast. On this Clearcast today, we want to talk about something really interesting, I think. It’s this Raider’s stadium that they’re proposing to build here in Las Vegas. As you can hopefully see, it’s a pretty good-looking stadium and it comes with a price tag of 1.9 billion dollars.

That’s right, 1.9 billion dollars is what they’re projecting for the cost. I just want to talk about this for a second. I’m really excited to get any opinions of any of our viewers or listeners. First of all, let me just say, I look at this and my natural inclination is to say that’s cool.

That’s great. I want an NFL team in Las Vegas.

Not a huge Raiders fan2)kidding Raider nation!, but I figure I can learn to somehow become a Raider’s fan, but there’s still some, as always, there’s still some lingering concerns and questions in the background.

Obviously, the first one is where are we going to come up 1.9 billion dollars, and what are some of the concerns swirling around that? What about maintaining it? How about is this what people really want here in Las Vegas?

Is it something that the public is really standing behind? First of all, one of the concerns is that the private investors here have, which include the Adelson’s and the Raiders themselves, the Raiders organization, they basically came to Las Vegas and said, “You want us, the Raider’s here in Las Vegas?

Okay, fine, Nevada. Give us 750 million dollars.” That’s basically what they’re demanding. “750 million or we won’t even, essentially, we won’t even consider it,” and the 750 million goes towards creating the stadium.

The proposal for getting the 750 million is to increase the, what is the name, Brian? Brian’s here.

Brian: Resort tax.

Jordan Flake: Resort tax, yes. Thanks. The resort tax right now is 12.5% of whatever a guest pays for their room. They want to increase that by .8 essentially, so that would make it 13.3 resort tax. That might not seem like a big deal because a lot of residents here in Nevada aren’t the ones paying these resort taxes.

They’re the out of towners who come to Nevada and they just stay in the hotels, but there are two concerns.

 

Is This How We Want the Resort Tax Revenue Spent?

One is we already have a pretty high resort tax.

One of the highest in the nation is Oregon at about 14% for every room, and it’s like, man, does Las Vegas want to be like, “Oh, hey, sorry, last year’s resort tax was 12.5. This year’s resort tax is 13.3. Go Raiders.” You know what I mean?

It’s a little bit in question whether or not that will disincentivize guests from coming to Las Vegas. I don’t know.

I feel like people coming to Las Vegas are so focused in on partying that they’re not really going to get too scared away by the .8% increase, but we do have to keep in mind that we’re competing with other gambling destinations throughout the world at this point and we have to make sure that we’re a reasonable place to visit.

Here’s my real concern with increasing the 12.5% to 13.3% or whatever it would be, is that it really doesn’t give us very much more room to increase that if we really needed it for something else.

Imagine that there was some kind of a statewide emergency that needs to and the state incurs a lot of debt that needs to get repaid in response to a statewide emergency. Imagine we have some other serious budget crisis in Nevada. Then we can’t then very easily … We could take it and we could take that 12.5 and bump it up to 13 or even 13.3, but we can’t very easily once it’s at 13.3 bump it up to 14 or 14.5 without really putting a strain on the marketability of the Las Vegas brand.

Think about what we’re doing here is we’re potentially incurring some taxation type costs, for what? For the entertainment that would be a Raiders franchise. Not a traditionally super winning team recently, of course.3)Now if the Broncos are interested..

That being said, this is a public and private venture.

The public would have that 750 million dollar stake in the stadium. It’s not like the investors are hopefully going to get the full benefit of it.

That’s obviously another concern is the investors are very savvy and we hope, and that’s one of the things we have to be wary of is that they’re taking advantage of the public funds to structure the deal in a way that would just enrich themselves, so that’s obviously another concern.

 

Stadium Maintenance Concerns

More concerns, what if we put up the 750 million as taxpayers, these would be the resort tax, and then they just say, “Oh, we need more money.”

What protections are in this contract and this building of the stadium contract that prevent them from just all of a sudden saying that they need more money or how about what happened to Quebec City in Canada?

In Quebec City, they built a stadium so that an NHL team would come, and you’re scrolling through your NHL knowledge, and it turns out that no hockey team actually came, so they just have this really beautiful multi-million dollar stadium in Quebec City, but they don’t really have any NHL team that would go and play in that stadium, so now they’re having to pay maintenance costs for this stadium and find other uses for it, and they just didn’t get the promised benefit.

What if something like that happened here? We build a stadium and the Raiders, for whatever reasons, find a loophole and decide not to come, or maybe one of the other California cities swoops in and outbids us?

We’re just not sure.

 

Does Popular Opinion Matter?

One other issue is just how do people actually feel about this? Like I said earlier, my tendency is just to be like, “Oh, Raiders, cool. A football team. Yeah. In Las Vegas. I want it.”

They did a poll here, a Rasmussen poll, and it turns out that 55% of Clark County voters are actually against funding the stadium and only 35% are in favor of funding the stadium.

This reminds us of what happened in Cobb County, which is a county in Atlanta, with respect to the Braves stadium. The chairman, Tim Lee, the Cobb County chairman didn’t really pass this by the voters before he tried to use taxes to fund 500 million dollars in a stadium for the Braves in Cobb County, and he, of course, did not win his next election.

One of the options here that our public officials should consider is actually just putting this to a vote. We have some time. We can get it on the ballot4)Unfortunately, this option is not being considered. Let everybody vote.

If they want to put up the 750 million and raise the resort tax and bring in an NFL team, then so be it.

Yay, democracy!

Anyway, those are just some of the concerns and considerations. I’ve just barely scraped the surface.

As always, I’d be very interested to hear what you have to say about the stadium, about the Raiders franchise, about whether or not public funds should be used to fund this public/private venture.

Definitely reach out to us on our blog, on our Facebook page, on our Twitter, and just let us know. Again, if you need any help with any type of legal issue, please feel free to call Clear Counsel Law Group. We’d be happy to assist you.

Thank you so much for joining us for Clearcast today.

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The LVRJ is owned by the same person trying to acquire the stadium
2. kidding Raider nation!
3. Now if the Broncos are interested..
4. Unfortunately, this option is not being considered
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