David Lee Hoffman fined $200k


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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby TwoDog2 » Oct 18th, '12, 03:45

Hypothetical situation:

I live in the suburbs of America. Small residential lots, one after the other. I build a manure pit in my front yard. This is against local residential zoning codes. The city warns me, after my neighbors complain. I am aware that I am breaking the law, as the city has warned me. I ignore these warnings. I also continue to expand the manure pit, making new pits for cow manure. It's a fantastic pit. The warnings from the government keep on pouring into my mailbox for months. I choose not to head said warnings, and decide their ought to be another addition to the ol' manure pit, as there is still plenty of yard space that I can convert into a holding tank for hog waste. Warnings continue coming in, I continue to ignore them. Many years pass, with me willfully breaking the law, and getting notified by the government. After awhile, the city comes by to enforce the law of the land and fines me. Whose fault is it that I am being fined?
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Tead Off » Oct 18th, '12, 03:49

MarshalN wrote:Tead Off - when DLH claims his teas are 10 or 15 years old, and they look like they're new - sorry, that's not a matter of taste, that's just bad. Which way, I don't know, because it could be bad storage, it could be bad info, it could be a lot of things, but he's not doing his job as a vendor when that happens. Shah82 and I disagree on what's better, but I'm pretty sure if you give us a set of teas we can agree on a lot of the basics. DLH's teas don't pass the basics test. His list of teas are confused, to say the least.

Of course I'd show respect to people who are well acquainted in their field, regardless of their background. I deal with them all the time in my day job as a historian of China. My dissertation advisor is a Jewish man who is probably better acquainted with late imperial Chinese history than almost anyone out there, so don't accuse me of being some angry Asian who can't see past colours just because you didn't read carefully. I was specifically talking about DLH's attitude being of the "I know more than you all do" when it's pretty clear he doesn't. Sometimes it's justified, sometimes it's not. In his case, I'm unconvinced. I'm sure you'd agree if there's a foreigner who's an antiques dealer who sells a whole bunch of really questionable items or obvious fakes, you'd think he's a fraud too. Well, that's DLH.

I agree with you 100%. No problem here. It's just that you said 'white man'. BTW, I enjoy reading your posts with Shah82.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby ethan » Oct 18th, '12, 05:21

In regard to "outsiders" not being respected in regard to understanding others' ....

I deal in Burmese jade. Sometimes to sell I've gone into shops, galleries, etc. in the USA owned by Asians or others & been immediately told to leave. Maybe because they don't want people in the place to get a hint of jade's cost being so much lower than their retail prices; maybe because a place is selling antiques &/or fakes that are ugly, & they don't want something new & beautiful next to them; maybe they like their established ways--what they believe, who they buy from, what they think, etc.-- & don't want change. Or, maybe they don't like the way I look. I never found words that got me around immediate strong exclusion & stopped trying to figure out what the problem is at particular moments.

Now I think I should ask such difficult people to give me a dollar. If they ask why, I'll ask them, "Isn't it obvious, that I am needy & desperate walking around w/ a bag of worthless stuff?" I'll see if that results in anything good happening.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Tead Off » Oct 18th, '12, 08:21

ethan wrote:In regard to "outsiders" not being respected in regard to understanding others' ....

I deal in Burmese jade. Sometimes to sell I've gone into shops, galleries, etc. in the USA owned by Asians or others & been immediately told to leave. Maybe because they don't want people in the place to get a hint of jade's cost being so much lower than their retail prices; maybe because a place is selling antiques &/or fakes that are ugly, & they don't want something new & beautiful next to them; maybe they like their established ways--what they believe, who they buy from, what they think, etc.-- & don't want change. Or, maybe they don't like the way I look. I never found words that got me around immediate strong exclusion & stopped trying to figure out what the problem is at particular moments.

Now I think I should ask such difficult people to give me a dollar. If they ask why, I'll ask them, "Isn't it obvious, that I am needy & desperate walking around w/ a bag of worthless stuff?" I'll see if that results in anything good happening.


This is a testy subject that will rankle many feathers on this board. Only your own experience tells you what's what. You already know the score. I sell to Asians through other Asians, never face to face. It's the only way I've found through the door.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Chip » Oct 18th, '12, 11:59

Nobody is being arrested or fined here on TeaChat, however perhaps we could get back to the actual TEA topics as discussions on politics (and governement) rarely end well on internet forums such as TeaChat.

Plus they are technically not permitted on TeaChat for this reason. TeaChat is an oasis ...

Have a great TeaDay,
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 18th, '12, 18:34

MarshalN wrote:
gingkoseto wrote: I myself don't think the house project is his fault at all. I believe it's pretty much due to vague (and lack of) building guideline to begin with.

I'm quite confused why you would think that.

From talking with people who know him or followed this issue...
I was quite confused how some people jumped to the conclusion that it's his fault... ?

MarshalN wrote:It seems like there are years (decades?) of notices from the county sent to him regarding his property and what he built there and how they violate the code.

Yeah in my eyes that also sort of indicated the regulations were vague and/or didn't exist when he started building the house. In the States, things happen relatively slowly, but usually people who build illegal houses are sued, fined and stopped within a year or two.

Besides, I'm very cautious on any notion indicating that "if the authority is after you, there has got to be something wrong with you..." (I wasn't sure of my wording so I replaced "government" with "authority", Chip :mrgreen: )

I wasn't surprised that some people didn't like him or his house project. I don't know him well enough, and that's exactly why I wouldn't quickly conclude it's his fault. I talked to a few people who personally know him, and they all said good things about him and about his house project. I didn't know Tead Off knew DLH too, but his comment sort of confirmed to me that DLH is not commonly hated by people who know him. That's basically why I was quite surprised that some people here seem to dislike him so much, while they don't seem to personally know him either.

I have no idea about his tea. But so far from anything I've heard about him, his business or the film, it doesn't sound like he did any unforgivable big damage to American tea culture...

I also want to add that DLH's house issue caught my attention because I've been interested in the topic of eco-friendly housing. One of the things from the film that caught my attention was DLH was interested in eco-friendly cultivation (with earthworms) as early as ... (before the film was made) and he practiced earthworm compost personally at his home. So I guess I can't agree with some people's description of his house project as a public disaster.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby wyardley » Oct 18th, '12, 19:03

gingkoseto wrote:Besides, I'm very cautious on any notion indicating that "if the authority is after you, there has got to be something wrong with you..."

I think it's important to note, though, that this is in Marin County, probably one of the crunchiest places in America. We're not talking about somewhere where people are going to be upset just because you're trying to be eco-friendly - quite the contrary.

And, while government can be bureaucratic sometimes, it seems pretty clear that there are clear violations of health and building code going on here (and, from my limited understanding, I don't think that you're automatically grandfathered in even if what you built pre-dates the code).

Given the number of years this has taken place across, it seems pretty clear that he has continually, and willfully ignored the notices sent by the state, and has ignored code which existed before he started at least some of the work. Since he's been doing ongoing construction without getting the necessary permits, he's pretty clearly in violation of the law. Whether you're building yourself or having others build for you, most areas require regular code inspections, and I think it's hard to say that this isn't a good thing overall. If anything, it's only because he's in Marin County that he hasn't already been forcibly evicted.

Despite the way the NYT phrased it, I don't think vermiculture itself is the problem - this is very mainstream and even encouraged by most municipalities. However, having a grey water system that is completely open and could potentially overflow seems like an obvious problem which could affect folks other than just the people living there.

I think Marshaln kind of hit the nail on the head - if you want to do this kind of experiment, live somewhere that is even less densely populated and has laxer (or non-existent) zoning restrictions. Otherwise, if you choose to live someone that has requirements, follow the laws there.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby chrl42 » Oct 18th, '12, 23:25

iovetea wrote:
fdrx wrote:
I find a lot of these comments unnecessarily snarky, hateful and judgmental. I have to ask, why all the negative energy?

+1 :|


i wasn't being sarcastic, there was a guy on a documentary who had a expensive tea house in los angeles were the rich live. he showed some kind of red pu erh and said he sells it for a few hundred bucks, he said pu erh is all a well kept secret and chinese burry them in the ground and leave them in the earth for 50 years.

:lol:

I didn't really watched the film, actually couldn't watch it, no dling available at that time(I think that was around 06), but thought it's cool there's finally a film about tea
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 19th, '12, 12:36

wyardley wrote:
gingkoseto wrote:Besides, I'm very cautious on any notion indicating that "if the authority is after you, there has got to be something wrong with you..."

I think it's important to note, though, that this is in Marin County, probably one of the crunchiest places in America. We're not talking about somewhere where people are going to be upset just because you're trying to be eco-friendly - quite the contrary.

And, while government can be bureaucratic sometimes, it seems pretty clear that there are clear violations of health and building code going on here (and, from my limited understanding, I don't think that you're automatically grandfathered in even if what you built pre-dates the code).

Given the number of years this has taken place across, it seems pretty clear that he has continually, and willfully ignored the notices sent by the state, and has ignored code which existed before he started at least some of the work. Since he's been doing ongoing construction without getting the necessary permits, he's pretty clearly in violation of the law. Whether you're building yourself or having others build for you, most areas require regular code inspections, and I think it's hard to say that this isn't a good thing overall. If anything, it's only because he's in Marin County that he hasn't already been forcibly evicted.

Despite the way the NYT phrased it, I don't think vermiculture itself is the problem - this is very mainstream and even encouraged by most municipalities. However, having a grey water system that is completely open and could potentially overflow seems like an obvious problem which could affect folks other than just the people living there.

I think Marshaln kind of hit the nail on the head - if you want to do this kind of experiment, live somewhere that is even less densely populated and has laxer (or non-existent) zoning restrictions. Otherwise, if you choose to live someone that has requirements, follow the laws there.

I think you and MarshalN and some others did make some reasonable points and this is a debatable issue to begin with. Just like I said, I wouldn't be surprised some people dislike his house project. But at the first, reading this discussion gave me an impression that a lot people just took it as a plain fact that this is a bad person who did a bad thing, and immediately jumped in to blame him. That's what I was surprised at. It's not a plain fact, and there are different opinions held by many other people.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby edkrueger » Oct 19th, '12, 12:54

...
Last edited by edkrueger on Oct 20th, '12, 15:05, edited 1 time in total.
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How are Hoffman's teas?

Postby hster » Oct 19th, '12, 19:03

TIM wrote:If you like tea with mold


After drinking five Hoffman samples, I can say that dry storage is more of an issue than mold.

Since I live less than an hour from Hoffman, I would love it if he did carry a good selection of aged puerh. I'm an addict- I wouldn't have to work hard at all and be readily supplied. I tasted 5 of the 7 samples sent to me generously by Emmett. Let me just politely mention that I'm not jumping up and down to be supplied by Herr Hoffman.

Hster

p.s. Hoffman's funky buildings are not the main issue. Marin County has made it very clear that Hoffman cannot risk sewage and waste water contamination. Open sewage/wastewater ponds and tea vendor don't go very well together in my mind. Just gross IMHO.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby hster » Oct 19th, '12, 21:51

gingkoseto wrote: So I guess I can't agree with some people's description of his house project as a public disaster.


Gingko-

There can be varied opinions on the quality of his teas but there really should be no confusion about Hoffman's open sewage ponds. His above ground sewage and wastewater holding ponds risk contamination at multiple levels. The most obvious risk is simply ground seepage into the aquifer. We also have heavy rain and flood seasons here in Northern California as well as frequent mini-earthquakes so open sewage pools are a bad idea.

(Sorry everybody... Back to tea drinking now.)

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 19th, '12, 23:15

chrl42 wrote: :lol:

I didn't really watched the film, actually couldn't watch it, no dling available at that time(I think that was around 06), but thought it's cool there's finally a film about tea

I think you can still find full (or almost full) version of it on youtube. But if you are in China you may need the “jump over the wall" thing to watch youtube :wink:
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 19th, '12, 23:24

hster wrote:
gingkoseto wrote: So I guess I can't agree with some people's description of his house project as a public disaster.


Gingko-

There can be varied opinions on the quality of his teas but there really should be no confusion about Hoffman's open sewage ponds. His above ground sewage and wastewater holding ponds risk contamination at multiple levels. The most obvious risk is simply ground seepage into the aquifer. We also have heavy rain and flood seasons here in Northern California as well as frequent mini-earthquakes so open sewage pools are a bad idea.

(Sorry everybody... Back to tea drinking now.)

Hster


That's exactly what I was surprised at. I think the issue is far more complicated than what some people take as truth here.
I remember the newspaper article mentions concern of fish that might potentially suffer from DLH's house project. And to quote somebody who has visited DLH's house (and who is also a seasoned tea drinker), "... I'm sure no fish would be unhappy living downstream of DLH's house..." (I paraphrased.)
My opinion was not formed instantly, and I know some people's critique on DLH's house was not formed instantly. But some other comments in this discussion sound to me more negative than necessary, and some are rather unfounded.
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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby jcov » Oct 20th, '12, 02:23

gingkoseto wrote: But some other comments in this discussion sound to me more negative than necessary, and some are rather unfounded.



I agree here. I agree that DLH needs to at least prove his methods work in order to keep them and that some things need to be considered. But some accusations seem to be with the same foundation that a kinder gardener would accuse another of having 'cooties'. If I want to accuse someone would at least provide good proof rather than. 'I don't know him but he is bad' or 'I haven't tried his teas but they are horrible'. If you have tried several and all have let you down then, well you may have a point. Otherwise, is just rumors.
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