News

Buena Vista residents rally to save their homes

With hearings on mobile-home park set to commence, residents try to raise awareness

More than 40 Buena Vista Mobile Home Park residents on Thursday protested against the planned evictions from their longtime homes, which would make way for a high-rise apartment development at the 3980 El Camino Real site..

Parents, toddlers, aged gardeners with calloused hands and students waved signs at the four corners of Robles Avenue and El Camino Real to raise awareness about their plight.

The protest is one of several organized by Buena Vista residents in the weeks leading up to a hearing on the Relocation Impact Report, a document prepared by the Jisser family that lays out a plan to compensate the displaced families.

The report, which is required by local law, cleared a major hurdle in February when the City of Palo Alto deemed it complete after more than a year of negotiations with the property owners.

The Jisser family had offered to buy each mobile home for its appraised value and to pay for the "startup costs" of relocating, including rent for the first and last month, a security deposit and 12 months of subsidies, equal to the difference between rent at Buena Vista and rent at a new location.

The offer has done little, however, to ease the anxieties in Buena Vista, where residents remain deeply concerned about having to find a new place to live and new schools for their children to attend.

Acceptance of the report would pave the way for removing the more than 100 families who pay on average $930 a month to rent a space for the mobile homes they own. The residents say the plan's compensation is not commensurate with the market value of their homes, and it would force them out of Palo Alto.

Several hundred feet away from the protesters, across El Camino, a banner on a swanky new senior community was a reminder of the competition for housing space that low-income and working-class residents increasingly face in the city. Monthly rents at the senior apartments start at $5,300 for a studio with rents as high as $8,900 for a two-bedroom unit.

Many Buena Vista residents said they have lived in the mobile home park for decades, and all that they don't want to be pushed out. They made two offers to the Jissers to purchase the mobile home park for $14 million, which would be paid for in large part with federal and state loans and grants, but the property owner could reportedly get an estimated $30 million in a deal with San Mateo-based developer Prometheus.

Erika Escalante, president of the Buena Vista Homeowners Association, said that residents are taking to the streets to garner community support and encourage people to come to the May hearings.

"We're asking for residents to support us," Escalante said, as passing rush-hour traffic honked in solidarity with the protesters.

"On Monday (May 5), we will go to the city to challenge them to help us. We want the City Council to help us find a way to stay. They're taking affordable housing and it's not just our issue. It's a Palo Alto issue," she said.

Resident Juana Lugo has two children who attend Barron Park Elementary School and Terman Middle School, and her family has lived in the mobile home park for nine years.

"We moved here because it was affordable," she said. "We used to live in Redwood City, but the rent increased too much."

The park closure would force the family to leave Palo Alto, she said.

"No high school dropouts at Buena Vista," some signs read, emphasizing one of the main reasons -- Palo Alto's schools -- for why residents want so much to be able stay.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, April 29, dozens of residents also attended the City Council meeting to garner support. Blanca Fonseco asked the people in attendance not to forget about Buena Vista.

"We have more than 100 families, including children, disabled and resident seniors in Buena Vista that are being affected by the closure process -- residents that have been Palo Alto residents for over 20 years," Fonseco said during the oral communications portion of the council meeting.

Residents also plan to hold a rally at Cogswell Plaza on Monday, May 12 at 5:45 p.m., right before the first of three hearings on the relocation impact report. The hearings, which will be overseen by hearing officer Craig Labadie, will take place on May 12, 13 and 14. Each will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Avenidas, 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto.

Related stories:

New report boosts effort to close Buena Vista Mobile Park

Study sheds light on Buena Vista children

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by BarronParker
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

BarronParker is a registered user.

The first paragraph is "not even wrong", it's so bad.

It claims the property will be developed as a High Rise. However, it's zoned RM-15, which means a maximum of 15 apartment units per acre. That's almost certainly a 2-story building, which doesn't conform to most people's definition of a "high rise".

Then it gets worse. This "news" article claims it's for "tech workers." Oh my. We all know what a disaster it is when Tech Workers move into a city. (They've already destroyed San Francisco, with all those big white buses!) But wait -- they're already here. Palo Alto is crawling with them. They're quiet and drink caffeine-laden drinks to stay productive in their 70-hour work-weeks. Who wants them for neighbors?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carlos
a resident of Green Acres
on May 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

As much sympathy or attention some of these signs might generate, here are two basic and simple issues that people don't seem to understand. It's based on the 'rule of law' and not following this principle will get us closer to the type of third-world situation that many of us wouldn't like Palo Alto to turn into:
1. Owner's rights: there's a rightful owner of this property, who invested real $ into it some time ago with all the risks that entails, and now he's ready to move on by selling the property and realize some gains. A basic concept in a civilized society.
2. Affordability: nobody is 'entitled' to live in Palo Alto. It's one of the priciest neighborhoods in the country, and highly educated and succesful people make huge sacrifices to move into this neighborhood. If you cannot afford to live here, there are more affordable places outside this town. A very simple concept.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 11:05 am

I have terribly mixed feelings on this issue. While it may be good for the occupants and the city to have the trailer park remain, I can't really expect the Jisser family to bear the financial burden of the occupants staying there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by weekly reader
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 11:16 am

Why don't we have some of the folks who are supporting the occupants turn their lots and/or properties over instead of asking the Jisser's? I'm sure they would be happy to do so in the name of social progress.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

I saw these folks protesting, but it was on Wednesday.


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Posted by former resident
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

First of all, BarronParker, the issue isn't that people don't want tech workers (I was one!). The issue is that the town needs the services of a lot of kinds of workers and where are those to live who clean all the office buildings, serve you your caffeine, teach and care for your children, are in your police and fire departments, and more? Try to see through your veil of entitlement and take a realistic view. There is insufficiency of public transportation, other than EPA there are few "cheaper" places to live anywhere near Palo Alto.

Carlos shares the veil of entitlement distorts your view and is really rather disgusting. Little sense of practicality and, of course, no empathy there. Your attitude is what has "ruined" Palo Alto, as far as I'm concerned. You say "If you cannot afford to live here, there are more affordable places outside this town. A very simple concept." It is NOT a simple concept, particularly, as I pointed out earlier, there are few places anywhere near Palo Alto in which a low income person can live, there is almost none of the kind of low cost public transportation which would make it possible for those people to commute to Palo Alto for jobs. Evidently you think you can live your privileged lives with no help from anyone else but you are delusional. As I also pointed out earlier, these people are part of the infrastructure that you don't even see, don't even acknowledge from your lofty perch, those whom you look down upon, but without whom no city can function.

God Almighty! Palo Alto has become worse and worse through the years and now what I read on here from many people is enough to gag a maggot! The entitlement, the superiority, the total lack of empathy, and a total lack of appreciation for the infrastructure upon which you depend. Snot City. Getting uglier and uglier as it gets richer and richer. I lived there 38 years and both my husband and I were in tech work so I believe I know somewhat whereof I speak. I went from being in love with Palo Alto to being pretty much totally disgusted with it. Far as I'm concerned it's been ruined. I wouldn't move back there even if I could afford to.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

>If you cannot afford to live here, there are more affordable places outside this town. A very simple concept.

Not exactly that simple, especially when so many are only able to live in Palo Alto due to discounted tax rates, being heavily subsidized by new residents. Then again, people are pretty good at twisting the logic of it all, so that one break is "deserved" while one isn't, in order to avoid some messy implications of treating two groups differently.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

They have just as much of a right to try to stay in Palo Alto as anyone else. It's not about deserve or not deserve. It's about rights, and how the law works with those rights. Mobile home housing laws are complicated, which we've seen throughout this process. Then, there are the rights of the Jissers and the city at play - a complex mix of laws, history, dynamics and current needs. The Jissers know this.


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Posted by True Blue
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

True Blue is a registered user.

Interesting that the City laments the lack of low-income housing and tries re-zone to higher density to build it where it doesn't belong, and simultaneously completely ignores an opportunity to save EXISTING low-income residents. Why is this city not doing something to prevent these people from being kicked out of town? We just heard about all the extra cash they have, how about putting that together with some philanthropist's donations and buy the property from the Jisser's?


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Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

I sympathize for sure, but the owner has rights, and he did offer what seems to be a fair package.

He got an offer of $30 million, and the current residents offered him $14 million, so what more do you want him to do?

I don't get what the "ask" is.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Barron Park Dad - the article doesn't make clear what the ask is, except for these parts:

"We're asking for residents to support us," Escalante said, as passing rush-hour traffic honked in solidarity with the protesters.

"On Monday (May 5), we will go to the city to challenge them to help us. We want the City Council to help us find a way to stay. They're taking affordable housing and it's not just our issue. It's a Palo Alto issue," she said.

Since the hearing is coming up, maybe they want more compensation if they can't stay. I'd say trying to stay is their first priority, their second is more comp. Sounds like they have a good strategy.


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Posted by RussianMom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Just an example. Studio in PA is listed for $1910-1935

Web Link

Carlos - 100% agree. It's a right to own and sell private property. It's a risk you are taking to rent it.

"On Monday (May 5), we will go to the city to challenge them to help us. We want the City Council to help us find a way to stay" I don't want to pay for that with extra tax. You buy what you can afford. You do NOT need to live next door from where you work. It's a luxury. Nothing wrong with Palo Alto.

What is sad, that kids are growing angry at 'rich PA', 'kicking them from the schools'. could be nice to educate the younger generation that you work hard to update the 'wants', not "We want the City Council to help us find a way to stay"


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Posted by True Blue
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm

True Blue is a registered user.

@RussianMom: Can I interpret from your comments that you oppose affordable/low-income housing in Palo Alto?

These low-income kids are getting a great education which will hopefully provide them opportunities to break the cycle of low-income status. Kicking them to poor neighborhoods with bad schools dramatically decreases their odds of being successful and going on to college. Impossible? No. Mush less likely? Yes.

If Palo Alto wants low-income housing it should start with the existing residents!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

BV residents have done exactly what renters should do - understand their rights, organize and advocate for what they want, as well as a solid back up plan. Everyone involved knows this, from the lawyers to the developers to the residents to the city secretaries. This is how a democracy works.


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Posted by RussianMom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Cute. NO, I do NOT oppose affordable/low-income housing in Palo Alto. I support the low-income housing with my taxes. I support the schools with my taxes. I support the law with my taxes. Build low-income housing in PA and then move BV residents, or anybody qualified. But the owner has the right to sell property (in compliance with mobile park laws). Hmmm, why don't you advocate law for the owner? Where is my "snobbery" exactly? I am all against entitlement. You buy what you can afford. You don't expect "the City Council to help us find a way to stay".
Regarding an education. I wouldn't mind paying more taxes to improve educational system, so EVERY kid will have an access to it. It should be fixed first. But it's not for me to do.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on May 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

>NO, I do NOT oppose affordable/low-income housing in Palo Alto. I support the low-income housing with my taxes.

The next time a "affordable/low-income" housing development comes up, can we please put it in your neighborhood (Old Palo Alto)? In fact, are there any of the elite neighborhoods that will raise their hand and volunteer? If so, make sure it is by a secret vote.

Regarding BV, it is a private deal, and I don't want CPA to invest money in it, or to get sued. BV is a real eyesore, and it needs to be cleaned up. However, if the limo-libs in PA can walk their talk, and get the money together, they can buy the place, keep the current tenants (in upgraded circumstances). Any takers amongst our rich liberals?


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Russianmom - of course I advocate the law for the owner - but truly, that is their attorneys' job. Of course getting the city council involved is the smart thing for the BV residents to do, because this isn't just private property - it's housing. Housing involves the democratic process. The Jissers know this. They're waiting it out, negotiating, doing what's smart for them. The BV residents are doing what's smart for them, too - this is how the process works.

Perhaps if you learn more about mobile home park laws in Calif you'll better understand the complications, gray areas and negotiable aspects that are involved.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by BLANCA
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

To those who don't live in the park as I do and have for 14years,the reason these people don't want to leave the park is because ,they don't have to follow rules as they would any where else they go and live in our cities those who have lived here see what really goes on in the park. It's time these people move on and see what life is really like not being hidden away from the rest of the world. these families live here because they have extended families and that wont be allowed when they move out of their safehaven. the owners let it do too far not putting down his rules . would you want to leave where you can do as you please and no one says nothing. so these people don.t want to leave a place where they have so much freedom.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm

While I totally sympathize with the residents of BV, I wonder how many of them applied to the Eden Housing project on Alma that recently opened. Preference was given to current PA residents, so that could have helped quite a number of the residents.

I'm not sure what the residents expect the City to do. The City has to follow the laws regarding the closure of mobile home parks and so far, they have tried to delay the closure as much as they can. I don't think there are any legal ways to stop the sale of the park, and based on the recent sale of the Maybell site, BV is now probably worth closer to $35 million than $30 million.

As far as the residents not being offered "market value" for their mobile homes, many/most of them are converted RV's not the manufactured houses that are usually in mobile home parks, so their "market value" is pretty limited.


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Posted by member
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I feel for the residents of Buena Park but the bottom line is that the owner of the property is just that the owner and he has a right to sell his property. If the owner of the house we rent wants to sell the house...are people going to help my family stay in PA so my children can stay in the PA school system? Many, many, many families struggle to live here and to afford 'this' school district for their children not just the residents of the Buena Park Mobile home. The owner of the property has rights as do the residents who have been living there for many years, it is a tough situation but realistically he has a right to sell and the children will have to go to school in a different school district.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jane
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm

The sign the lady is holding up says it all. "what make the OWNER think he can give me what he wants for it". This is insane. the answer is simple. he does not want to buy your home!!!! he just wants it off his land. The law says he has to pay you the cost of moving it. again he/she do NOT want to buy your home.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

member - the laws governing the sale of single family homes is different from mobile home parks, so your comparison isn't actually comparable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RussianMom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I agree with Jane and Member.
Hmmm, please share with us the mysterious mobile park laws, that you are referring all the time. Owners offer seems pretty generous to me


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Sorry, Russianmom, you're on your own to brush up on the mobile home park laws.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Russianmom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

[Portion removed.]

Without the mobile park specifics - owner has the right to sell private property for profit, paying fees, required by law. Difference between RENT and fully paid OWNERSHIP.

If tomorrow I will loose my job and still paying mortgage, bank wouldn't take into consideration that I live in PA for 18 years and my kids benefit from good schools. I will be forsed to pack and move. So is the member. So is many more Palo Alton's who rent or pay mortgages, who live paycheck to paycheck, cutting many luxuries to afford rent here.

Once again - I am not against the diverse (financially, culturally, etc) community. I am against the entitlement.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Seriously - the laws are complicated. [Portion removed.]

Homeowners receive many entitlements. Renters receive very few. If a multifamily dwelling is sold, there are laws in place for good reason, incl mobile home parks. To pretend that your bank is the same as mobile home park laws is foolish. Your comparisons don't hold water.

Were you born in Russia, and if so, what entitlements were you offered as an immigrant coming to the US? Not that it's comparable to mobile home park laws, but you know, let's just keep making false comparisons.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RussianMom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm

[Portion removed.]

When i come to US (who said from Russia? I saw the forum name Batman) I was not expected any 'benefit package' as a low-income immigrant. I worked my way to live in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on May 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

>Seriously - the laws are complicated.

Hmmm, you are correct, the laws are complex regarding mobile home parks. I don't think they should be, but they are...a reflection of protection of the poor where they are...just don't let them move into the elite neighborhoods! However, the rules only go so far...then what?

If anybody thinks that the Jesser family will cave, then you had better be willing to take on a major lawsuit. I want to avoid this issue. Let them work it out, without any more CPA involvement.

As I have said, rich liberals in PA can write a check, buy the property, fix it up, and the tenants can stay. Where are they?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jane
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

hmmm. This is were you are really wrong. State law dictates the park and city law cannot overwrite the state. In the end the owner is obligated to pay "reasonable relocation cost". That is it taken directly from the state and city ordinance. All of these protestors and
The attorneys can blow as much smoke as they want. In the end anything above the "reasonable relocation cost" is a lawsuit against the city.

I can't wait for this in going story to finally come to an end.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I'm not wrong at all. You might want to check your reading comprehension, because I never said what did or didn't trump state law.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Craig - it has nothing to do w/liberals or non-liberals. It's all a negotiation, involving people whose political leanings you don't know about. But yeah - you get where these laws are complicated and what your city is dancing with, and where their advocacy is likely to end.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Russianmom - I never said that you were a low-income immigrant. I asked what entitlements were offered to you as an immigrant, and you're not answering my question, as of course is your right. [Portion removed.] Why aren't you willing to get a better working knowledge of the laws at work, unless I tell you what they are?


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Posted by Jane
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Hmmm. You are wrong about the end result. You talk about the laws but you never say anything of meaning or value of the law. This is for all the people reading these posts. The owner is only responsible to pay " reasonable relocation cost". That's it. The tenants are not entitled to anything else. If they are rewarded more than that, then expect the owners to sue the city.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Exactly, Jane, re the relo laws. But you still don't get it, or you don't admit that you get it. I get it, and it's not my job to teach anyone about the mobile home park laws. How can I be wrong about the end result when I don't predict the future? I have my private opinion about what'll happen. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by True Blue
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

True Blue is a registered user.

For the record, I am not saying the Jisser's should not be allowed to sell their property for whatever price the market will bear, of course they should. The Jisser's are not villains for wanting to sell their property.

I do understand a little about the legal differences with mobile homes, but will not attempt to explain the legalities because I am not a lawyer. I will highlight the basics though. In a nutshell, the difference with mobile homes stems from the fact that mobile home residents own the home/dwelling, but rent space on the land on which it resides. So, it is true that it is not the same a renting an apartment or single family home. When a mobile home park decides to sell/close, the residents are forced to either move their homes to another property (extremely expensive) or sell their mobile homes at market value (which is next to nothing in a park that is closing, given the high cost of relocation). So these families are actually part home-owner (with an investment in the structure) and part renters (for the land on which their home sits).

In the perfect case, there would be a place to re-locate these homes to another mobile home park in town with the Jisser family paying the relocation cost, but there is no other park in town (and even if there was, it would likely not have a bunch of empty spaces).

The mobile homes have not been well maintained, but how many homes in Palo Alto are in the same boat? Long-term residents that can no longer afford the cost of living as well as remodeling their home? When they finally sell their home and property, it is for the value of the land, and the old home is torn down and replaced.

So the BV residents (many of them long-term) are in a tough spot - they have paid more to live there by "buying" their homes, but are now expected to take a pittance for the value of the structure and go find a rental in a far-away and/or poor neighborhood where the safety and education will be significantly inferior. This is all legal and a fair-market event, but not at all humanitarian or value-driven.

Please, John Arillaga and similiar extremely wealthy people, buy this property from the Jisser family, return it to livable standards (by enforcing safe living conditions), allow the residents to stay for up to 20 years so they can relocate over time or generation, buy out anyone who wants to sell and don't re-sell to new residents, and phase out this park over time, allowing current PAUSD students to graduate. 20 or so years from now you can sell this property at a huge profit and would have done something positive for the less fortunate residents of Palo Alto.

Of course, in the mean time the BV residents need to be educated on their own situation and understand that their old, declining homes were never built to last forever, which is why they are so much cheaper that permanent houses (which also don't last forever), and that at some point they are of no value and they must walk away.

OK all you haters, fire away! :-)


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Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on May 2, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

I believe the alleged offer of $30 million assumes upzoning. Prometheus has made it clear it wants to build ~ 180 units, which the citizens of Palo Alto will never allow. No one is entitled to a gift of increased density from the City.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2014 at 6:19 am

Agreed.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 3, 2014 at 11:01 am

@margaret furth - the $30 million dollar value for Buena Vista is both for the current zoning and up zoning. The Maybell property is 2.46 acres and just sold for $22 million, it has comparable zoning on part of it and less dense zoning on part. That make the current value of Buena Vista at least $36 million.


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Posted by jane
a resident of Barron Park
on May 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The sign the lady is holding up says it all. "what make the OWNER think he can give me what he wants for it". This is insane. the answer is simple. he does not want to buy your home!!!! he just wants it off his land. The law says he has to pay you the cost of moving it. again he/she do NOT want to buy your home.


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Posted by Jane
a resident of Barron Park
on May 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

If Maybell sold for 22M for 2.5 acres then Buena Vista at 4.5 acres is worth 39.5M. The developer just made 9.5M for doing this deal. This just makes it that much harder for the tenants to purchase the park.


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Posted by Dana
a resident of College Terrace
on May 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Reality is, the owner can do what he wants with the property and has no obligation to please or take care of the current residents. It's like buying a home and then selling it. The current resident then finds a new place to live. If the city wants to step in and figure out a solution for where the residents should go then so be it. There is enough affordable housing in Palo Alto and I do not see a problem with commuting from another city to work here. Just because you work in Palo Alto doesn't mean that you have to live here. I live in Palo Alto but commute to another city for work. Most of the world commutes to work. Some even fly! Regarding education, even if the kids in the mobile park move to East Palo Alto they can go to Palo Alto schools under the Tinsley Program so they won't lose their opportunity for a good education.


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Posted by weekly reader
a resident of Barron Park
on May 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Maybe we could get Google to donate a shuttle bus or five to help with the commute like they do with all of their own workers who do not live near where they work.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm

It is getting harder and harder for anyone to make in this state. 2,000 dollars a month for a studio, apply.1/3 of income.for rent rule. 72,000 dollars a year, car payment with full coverage, gas and if you have student loans. Good luck.

Not all jobs tech, high wage producing jobs.

Think about this for a moment, how would like.to drive from Palo Alto to Livermore in bad traffic, watching gas prices rise each year.

Try saving for a house, saving that sometimes get eaten for car
expense. Then when you do buy a house, Tracy is all you can afford or risk paying more to live closer.

If you business owner you are another side of the coin, you pay people more or you lose customers. Beside why should you care where your workers come but then again why should you lose profit for wages, rent and.competition from chains that really don't.

Was raised on small businesses employing most workers but the way it is going businesses owners are becoming low income.

Not everyone is willing to pay a house cleaner 72,000 dollars a year.


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Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Many of us that were raised in Palo Alto generations ago, and can no longer afford to reside there, are resigned to the fact that the city is not what it was used to be. Nothing is. C'est la vie.


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Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on May 3, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

The 2013 appraisal of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, commissioned & paid for by the owner, Joe Jisser, claims that the appraised value as a mobile home park is the same as it was in 2012, & includes an estimated 3-6 months probable marketing time (this could be much shorter & simpler with ready buyers who have already made an offer). It also alleges that with the current RM-15 zoning & with the proposed increased RM-40 zoning it has exactly the same appraised value. The claim is that higher construction costs exactly offset the increase in value due to the proposed increase in density. If this were true, there would be no reason to apply for a zoning change. There is no update since 2013.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 3, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Typically ignorant comment: "Reality is, the owner can do what he wants with the property and has no obligation to please or take care of the current residents. It's like buying a home and then selling it." That is not the case, which is the main reason that this issue is not yet resolved.


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Posted by Cathy
a resident of Mountain View
on May 4, 2014 at 12:13 am

I wonder how Palo Alto would function with out the lower class workers. Who's going to be communing from Stockton to serve the yuppies coffee.


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Posted by BL
a resident of Barron Park
on May 4, 2014 at 7:49 am

BL is a registered user.

Looks like the ending of this story is the same as how you want your kids to grow up: Work hard for the things you want in life.....or ???


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 4, 2014 at 8:20 am

@margaret furth - I agree that it is strange that the appraisal (which is on the City's website) has the same value for R-15 as R-40 zoning, but the best way to value a property is using comps. Maybell just sold for 22 million and is zoned a mix of R-15 and R-2, so even less dense than BV's current zoning. That makes BV worth over 35 million easily. The up zoning by Prometheus was because they want to build apartments, if they don't get the zoning changed, they could resell the property at a profit.

The only "catch" in the appraisal is that the mobile homes need to be gone.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 4, 2014 at 8:21 am

@margaret furth - I agree that it is strange that the appraisal (which is on the City's website) has the same value for R-15 as R-40 zoning, but the best way to value@margaret furth - I agree that it is strange that the appraisal (which is on the City's website) has the same value for R-15 as R-40 zoning, but the best way to value a property is using comps. Maybell just sold for 22 million and is zoned a mix of R-15 and R-2, so even less dense than BV's current zoning. That makes BV worth over 35 million easily. The up zoning by Prometheus was because they want to build apartments, if they don't get the zoning changed, they could resell the property at a profit.

The only "catch" in the appraisal is that the mobile homes need to be gone. a property is using comps. Maybell just sold for 22 million and is zoned a mix of R-15 and R-2, so even less dense than BV's current zoning. That makes BV worth over 35 million easily. The up zoning by Prometheus was because they want to build apartments, if they don't get the zoning changed, they could resell the property at a profit.


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Posted by IMO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 4, 2014 at 8:56 pm

The land where BV now stands will be sold to the highest bidder. The residents are simply trying to get better compensation from the owner (likely IMO) and, preferably, a guarantee that their kids can stay in PAUSD if they move out of PA (unlikely IMO).


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Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on May 4, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

Comparing Maybell & Buena Vista is like comparing apples & pickles. Anyone here want to live on a state highway? El Camino Real is one.

The Tinsley program has a limited, rationed number of places, & only allows admission in grades K-2, not older kids.

I believe that the new buyer of Maybell, like Mr. Jisser & Prometheus, is speculating that they can obtain an upzoning density bonus.


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Posted by Mom by Gunn
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 5, 2014 at 2:50 am

This story is boring..same things being said over and over and OVER! Now I am OVER IT!!!
So the mobile homes are in dumpy condition...sad, but as was mentioned above, they don't last forever .... The present owner owned many trailers over the last several years which he got for free from residence people who either did not pay their rent and he evicted them and even received some from other people who died and property was considered abandoned property. Then HIS property. He then rented them back out and pocketed the money. This I know for fact. He was so smart, he now doesn't have to pay (possibly) in the future to relocate those few trailers just the families as HE owns the property they are on. And this is the type of stuff that goes on in "Shallow Alto".....



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Posted by weekly reader
a resident of Barron Park
on May 5, 2014 at 10:52 am

That is such a stale argument about having laborers live near the homes they work in. People should just clean their own homes and do their own yards or pay the employees more so as to cover the commute costs.

Our kids could use more opportunity for after school and summer jobs so having the aforementioned retail workers replaced by our kids would be fine for the community.


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Posted by mom of teenagers
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 5, 2014 at 11:27 am

mom of teenagers is a registered user.

weekly reader - your argument is good, but I know very few high school students who have time for a job instead of community service, sports, homework and extracurriculars for their college "resume".


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Posted by weekly reader
a resident of Barron Park
on May 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I think that will be changing over the next while. The prices for college and the vapid loading of resumes is reaching a head.

Maybe kids will choose a job when it becomes more likely that they can get one.

If Obama is able to put his money where his mouth is, he will mandate that colleges receiving federal funding put a job above or at least equal to other resume "activities" when considering admission.


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Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I grew up here in the 70s when things were different - high school students actually had free time, elementary student traveled all over town via bikes or skateboards, downtown didn't offer much. Much to my surprise, I was a "regular" kid in the Palo Alto elementary when I had been a star student at my former working class school in the East Bay.

Fortunately, my husband's income allowed us to move back to Palo Alto a decade ago. Palo Alto has changed and people need to accept it. This is capitalism. Prices are insane here, and only those who can afford to live here should live here. Mixing oil and water is impossible. The rich/poor, black/white conflicts will never cease. Those who really want to help should look to help a Third World country. We are all spoiled in America - people just need to work hard to succeed. But not everyone has the right to live in a city they can't afford.


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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on May 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm

People need to work hard to succeed, Palo Alto Native? Succeed at what? What is your definition of success - being lucky enough to marry a man who makes plenty of money? Helping the "the third world", even though it's not referred to that way anymore? Maybe people prefer to help in their own area, not areas far away.


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Posted by member
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm

If I live here and have to move away because I cannot afford to live here any longer, why should I have a RIGHT to be educated here? If these kids are so committed to their education (as presented) they will work hard and be successful at ANY school. They will be fine. Its also about parenting. Seems like the owners/sellers have offered fair/generous comp and the owners of the property have a right to do what they want within the law, for a sale.
Maybe the rich of Palo Alto will help to bail BV residents out, but otherwise
they should relocate.


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