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JC said

Save the Cave/The Last Resort - David Lee Hoffman

Hi all,

I’m posting this here because I really want to help Mr. Hoffman but I’m powerless and out of ideas. For those who don’t know David Lee Hoffman, I recommend you watch ‘All in this Tea’ movie/documentary on Netflix.

He’s currently facing fines and the possibility of the demolition of his life’s work and current home. He also conducts his tea business from the same location. Here’s the link to the page dedicated to this cause: http://www.thephoenixcollection.com/savethecave/index.php

He’s holding an open House to gather ideas/recommendations on:
Sunday, June 3rd, 10:00am- 5:00pm
230 East Cintura Avenue, Lagunitas, California

He also offered his contact phone (415) 488-1920 for those who can’t attend or wish to contact him directly.

Thanks in advance and lets keep enjoying all the tea!

JC

10 Replies

Why? The link you provided doesn’t give much information.

JC said

I added another post with more info. :)

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Azzrian said

Really wow I found the link to give tons of info.
@ JC Have you thought of starting a petition at Change.org ?

JC said

No, I just started this but I will forward all the information I can gather to David or if anyone has any idea he’s a really humble guy that will pick up the phone and talk to you as if you were a lifetime friend. Thank you for your idea!

Azzrian said

Your welcome and if I knew more about change.org myself I would talk to him but honestly all I know of it is a few petitions I have signed and follow that helped people with some pretty major legal matters. Not that I feel I alone personally did anything but I guess these online petitions work for a lot of people. :)

JC said

I will pass it on to him. I know how you feel but if you have signed you have helped. It sometimes seems like one person doesn’t matter but the truth is that if all the people who thought like that acted it would be a major movement. So I thank you for you idea and I thank all that support/sign the petition.

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Yeah! I hope they will sort this out!

For people who are not aware of it, here is more information from an article on NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/us/in-lagunitas-calif-a-fight-over-worms-and-moats.html?_r=2

I’ve heard different opinions from different people about this. But here is what I wrote on another tea forum:

“Just saw it on twitter.
I think they are very brave to live the life style they believe in and invest on it. It seems to me that it’s a void of law that should be developed to regulate and probably even encourage the more natural life style. The article mentions “possibility of contamination”, but there is no law defining how to measure it. Chances are the short-term and long-term ecological impacts of Hoffman’s design are much smaller than those of conventional housing and septic systems. It’s the responsibility of law makers to study it and find a way to regulate/measure it, instead of trying to stop it without evidence of harm."

Here is what @barbelcarp (creator of http://babelcarp.org/babelcarp/ a very useful online dictionary dedicated to tea, btw)
“I’ve been to David’s place, and as a carp I can say any fish would be happy to live downstream from him!”

JC said

I agree with you Ginko. But as you mentioned there are mixed opinions on this situation. I just hope that we can at least save Mr. Hoffman’s work. I find it shameful to destroy an entire community calling it ‘badly build’ not because it is, but rather because it differs from what is currently the norm.

I hope they can find a way to save the house. I feel some people who are against them hold the thought that “if the authority made the decision of fine and demolition, they must have done it wrong.” But I think it’s a dangerous thought. Most people, as long as living long enough and seeing much enough, would witness wrong deeds done in name of The State and stupid things accomplished by the authority. It’s really up to some people to stand up against wrong decisions of the authority.

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JC said

Sorry about that, I didn’t want to give my opinion on the subject even if I support saving the cave, I feel each one should decide but a short version would be:
“Mr. Hoffman was building a environmentally sustainable community to prove that this can be done and can be both positive and productive for both the environment and to us depending so much from it. However, during the process several building codes were not followed (fill the paperwork correctly or at the correct time and several other situations), now it escalated into a fines and demolition case.”

If you go to the link and to “latest updates” you can find detailed information about the case and the communications. Here’s David Hoffman’s latest update:

“Memorial Day, May 28, 2012

OPEN HOUSE, SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 10:00am-5:00pm

Life is always so full of strange twists and turns and usually happen with unpredictable spontaneity. Forty years of labor on my property have left me with a tired back, two bad shoulders, and thirty or so unpermitted structures. The finish of my laboring career was so close I was even pondering the location for a hammock that I’ve been keeping for just that occasion. But rather than living out days of leisure retirement in the garden, I find myself in another realm, something akin to a tragic Greek Fable when I’m told after four decades of hard labor, rather than receiving an award for accomplishment, I am ordered by the Great Power to now tear it all down!

(See article in New York Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/us/in-lagunitas-calif-a-fight-over-worms-and-moats.html?_r=2

If no news from the County is good news, I would have had nothing but good news since the last day of my tribunal back in February. It was almost as if the whole problem had mysteriously disappeared and life returned back to a familiar routine. I remembered Judge Crowell did appear somewhat sympathetic…

The silence ended a few weeks ago. Judge Crowell issued a forty-page order. (You may view the complete document on our website (remember there are two properties in question) www.thephoenixcollection.com/savethecave Basically I’m guilty as charged. And then some. Fines, penalties, and court costs alone have risen to $226,672.12. If not paid in ten days a lien will be put on the properties. They gave me until August 1st to take out a “demolition permit” and level both properties, including the house where Bee & I live (its not up to “current code”).

Besides shutting down our tea business, and taking away our means of livelihood, the most sobering part was the necessity to vacate the property. I can’t imagine it but the sheriff could, with the court condoning the action, come and remove my wife and I from the property! And all of this simply because I didn’t get anyone’s permission to build.

I am a tax-paying citizen. In fact when I sold off part of my tea business back in 2004, I paid a total of $418,000 in taxes! (That took care of any possibility of retirement). Today is Memorial Day. I especially resent the fact that some $250,000 of my tax money went to fight senseless wars and took the lives of so many innocents. Over what? Our right to cheap oil? As the bumper sticker said “What’s our oil doing under their sand?”

Am I not demonstrating some possible alternatives to our addiction of fossil fuels that contributes so much to global warming? Time is running out.

In my generation, the sixties, we went to war over Communism. I didn’t go to Viet Nam because I didn’t believe in that war either. I remember being told by my government how wicked and evil communism was. Well guess what? The largest communist country in the world has become our biggest trading partner today and so powerful they control and can dictate the fate of the dollar! But I digress…

While I’m powerless to stop the fall of the collapsing dollar I have had to face other pressing issues taking priority at home; survival, increased domestic stress, how to cope with the exploding gopher population in the garden. I had to make some tough choices. The temptation to just walk away was very tempting. Memories of my carefree ten years on the road back in the sixties came fresh to mind. But I have Bee to consider who would not find living a homeless and hobo lifestyle either romantic or a doable solution to our current predicament. We have decided to fight. Fight for the survival of this property, fight for our right to live here, and fight for changing some very archaic laws.

Christina Sherman has taken over as attorney, replacing Carl Shapiro. She has put together an impressive group of consulting attorneys and various experts that will be needed to challenge the County’s allegations. Christina has filed an appeal. The court has set a new trial date for June 27th. No tail between the legs for me. Chin up straight back, I will defend my right to be who I am and how I express my concern for the planet.

The bigger picture in the direction we’re ultimately heading is myself giving up ownership of the properties, turning over to a non-profit, making this place into some kind of historical monument cum tea museum. Comments? Suggestions?

Change is always a bit scary. But change is healthy even though it might be painful. We thought we were voting for change in our last election. But our government is dysfunctional. I’ve become painfully aware of that!

I’ve been going through a few changes myself lately. I was a very private person, shunning cameras, especially on the property. Now all that has changed. Last week I was contacted from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. The week before it was a Guardian journalist from England.

My biggest enemy is time. Or I should say the lack of it. Running my little tea business is a full-time job in itself. But the balls I am now having to juggle has reached beyond my abilities. My wise daughter summed it up, “YOU NEED HELP! AND YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO ASK FOR IT!”

She’s right of course. But I am willing to change. And I have plan…

Please stop by for an Open House on Sunday. Even if you just have a few minutes to come up and say hello, please do so. Supervisor Steve Kinsey has been invited and I asked him to repeat in public what he told me in private the week before. If he makes good his offer, maybe the tide can change. Meet Attorney Christina Sherman. Let her know your thoughts and ideas. I will be there with notebook and pen in hand. If you have skills and can contribute any of the following for a future event, date to be determined, please let me know:

organizers, coordinators, musicians, poets, storytellers, educators, chefs, computer geniuses, journalists, or anyone with a just plain talent or skill to share.

Purpose of the event

· raise awareness of environmental issues facing our planet and community

· raise money for my legal defense through the sale and auction of my personal art collection: Tibetan thangkas, Chinese textiles, Persian carpets, furniture, etc.

· raise understanding in how to prepare for a changing world

Make it fun, educational, informative, productive, and profitable for the legal defense fund.

Bee & I have been so touched with all the love and support from not only our community, but throughout the country as well. We love it here and have many friends. We hope to find a resolution to allow us to remain. I just returned from my 22nd year of travelling to China. I still say the best part in traveling to China is coming home. But our future here is so uncertain. Still, life is good, we live in a beautiful place with a great community, and we are strong and hopeful…

David & Bee Hoffman

415 488-1920"

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