Barber Bob Martin (left) cuts the hair of a customer who declined to identify himself on Thursday in Snohomish. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Barber Bob Martin (left) cuts the hair of a customer who declined to identify himself on Thursday in Snohomish. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Rogue Snohomish barber faces big tab for his political protest

Bob Martin must pay a $90,000 fine and may lose his license after defying stay-home order in May

SNOHOMISH — The price of protest for defiant Snohomish barber Bob Martin is $90,000.

And in a few days, it may also end his livelihood if he doesn’t pay up, close down or appeal.

The 79-year-old barber plans to do none of the above.

“Good luck,” was his response Thursday when asked about the state’s mandates.

Martin reopened the Stag Barber Shop in May in very public defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, which was aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

He referred all other questions to the man handling his legal affairs, Rick Martin, who came from Texas in May to take on his case.

“By what authority do they have to charge him $5,000 or $90,000? They have no lawful authority,” said Rick Martin, no relation to Bob. He said he is acting as assistance of counsel to the barber.

He calls himself a “constitutional lawyer.” He did not go to law school.

So the lawyer without a license defends the actions of the barber without a license. “This is an unlawful false edict,” Rick Martin said.

Complaints flooded the state Department of Licensing, which suspended the barber’s cosmetologist operator license May 7 and served him with a cease-and-desist order. Bob Martin was first licensed in 1967.

Martin proudly kept cutting hair while other shops stayed closed during the stay-home order. Customers lined up outside the shop in the plaza on Avenue D. On Thursday, more than a month after salons and barbershops were allowed to reopen, customers steadily trickled in for a cut by Martin or the other barber at work.

Officials imposed a fine of $5,000 for each day he operated. It reached $90,000 on June 2. That’s when the state agency began the process of revoking his license for 10 years. A statement of the charges got mailed to Martin on July 23. There’s a 20-day appeal period.

If he doesn’t appeal, the revocation would be effective immediately, and he would be notified by mail, said spokeswoman Christine Anthony. This is the most severe penalty the agency can impose under state administrative laws, she said.

Rick Martin said he filed three mass tort claims in Seattle for the barber and 700 other plaintiffs.

“Bob was the first one to stand up to say this is unlawful,” he said.

Rick Martin said the claims are against Gov. Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Bill Gates.

“Here’s a guy telling us how to do health and he doesn’t have a medical degree,” he said of Gates.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Everett Fire Department and Everett Police on scene of a multiple vehicle collision with injuries in the 1400 block of 41st Street. (Photo provided by Everett Fire Department)
1 seriously injured in crash with box truck, semi truck in Everett

Police closed 41st Street between Rucker and Colby avenues on Wednesday afternoon, right before rush hour.

The Arlington Public Schools Administration Building is pictured on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
$2.5M deficit in Arlington schools could mean dozens of cut positions

The state funding model and inflation have led to Arlington’s money problems, school finance director Gina Zeutenhorst said Tuesday.

Lily Gladstone poses at the premiere of the Hulu miniseries "Under the Bridge" at the DGA Theatre, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mountlake Terrace’s Lily Gladstone plays cop in Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’

The true-crime drama started streaming Wednesday. It’s Gladstone’s first part since her star turn in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Jesse L. Hartman (Photo provided by Everett Police Department)
Everett man who fled to Mexico given 22 years for fatal shooting

Jesse Hartman crashed into Wyatt Powell’s car and shot him to death. He fled but was arrested on the Mexican border.

Snow is visible along the top of Mount Pilchuck from bank of the Snohomish River on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Washington issues statewide drought declaration, including Snohomish County

Drought is declared when there is less than 75% of normal water supply and “there is the risk of undue hardship.”

Boeing Quality Engineer Sam Salehpour, right, takes his seat before testifying at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs - Subcommittee on Investigations hearing to examine Boeing's broken safety culture with Ed Pierson, and Joe Jacobsen, right, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Everett Boeing whistleblower: ‘They are putting out defective airplanes’

Dual Senate hearings Wednesday examined allegations of major safety failures at the aircraft maker.

An Alaska Airline plane lands at Paine Field Saturday on January 23, 2021. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)
Alaska Airlines back in the air after all flights grounded for an hour

Alaska Airlines flights, including those from Paine Field, were grounded Wednesday morning. The FAA lifted the ban around 9 a.m.

A Mukilteo firefighter waves out of a fire truck. (Photo provided by Mukilteo Fire Department)
EMS levy lift would increase tax bill $200 for average Mukilteo house

A measure rejected by voters in 2023 is back. “We’re getting further and further behind as we go through the days,” Fire Chief Glen Albright said.

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
To combat fentanyl, Snohomish County trickles out cash to recovery groups

The latest dispersal, $77,800 in total, is a wafer-thin slice of the state’s $1.1 billion in opioid lawsuit settlements.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.