Buena Vista residents, supporters ask for comparable compensation

Second evening of mobile home park hearing focuses on residents' testimony

Watch a live stream of the Buena Vista hearing as it continues Wednesday, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The washing machines and dryers are infested with cockroaches, but Blanca Fonseca still wants to live in Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, she said during the second day of a hearing on the adequacy of a Relocation Impact Report (RIR) that would pave the way for the eviction of the park's 400 low-income residents.

Fonseca and nearly a dozen other residents told Administrative Judge Craig Labadie that the amount of money being offered by the park property owners, the Jisser family, to compensate and relocate residents is unfair and will not be enough to find replacement housing. The Jissers have offered residents sums ranging from $12,000 to $16,300 for persons moving into one-bedroom apartments and $20,000 to $30,600 for those moving into three-bedroom apartments.

But the majority of residents who spoke on Tuesday night said they would be forced to pay twice and three times as much rent as the average $685 per month they currently pay at the mobile home park if evicted, even with the proposed compensation under the relocation plan. And many will lose their life investment in homes they have purchased at the park, since most of the residences are too old to be moved to another location.

Fonseca has lived in the park since 1992. She lives with her brother and husband and a companion dog. A former sales associate, she has been unable to work after a work-related accident three years ago, she said Tuesday. She said she has searched in other communities for a replacement mobile home.

"Most mobile homes cost $70,000, and I can't buy half of a mobile home in this area," she said, referring to the amount she would receive for her home through the compensation plan.

Pamela Davis, 46, who has lived at Buena Vista since 1995, said she has also searched for another affordable place to live, but has been unable to find one within 35 miles of Buena Vista.

"As of yesterday, there were eight homes on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service used by Realtors). They were not senior homes. Six are in the East Bay, one is in Sunnyvale and one is in San Jose," she said, holding up print-outs of the listings.

The rental costs far exceed the $700 a month she can afford to pay, and those figures don't include utilities.

Davis is disabled and cannot work. She has a companion dog and needs to live somewhere with close access to public transportation. Living in the East Bay would be a hardship, since she also looks after her 76-year-old mother, who lives in San Carlos, she said.

Melodie Cheney, who is also disabled, said she cannot drive, and she moved to Buena Vista because she wanted to feel safe in an affordable community and be close to a bus stop.

"I wanted to have the American Dream and become a homeowner," she said, adding that Buena Vista met her needs for a safe, accessible and quiet place for a single woman. Cheney purchased her home for $30,000 and pays $1,150 a month for her space rental and mortgage. After homeowners' insurance, she still has enough for bills and food, but that will change if she is forced out of Buena Vista and loses her lifetime investment, she said.

"In nine to 12 months my house will be paid off. I improved the pipes, wiring, added wood floors and a new fridge and stove. Those improvements cost $10,000, and I still owe $5,000," she said.

"My home was built in 1960. It is a single-wide. It is old and small, but I can still call it mine. Leaving it will leave a black mark on my credit, and I think my credit rating is pretty good right now. When it comes to my payments, housing costs will double or triple. ... I will need to get a second job to pay my bills. Rents on average are $1,600 to $1,800 a month, not including first and last months and deposit," she said.

The $18,000 the Jissers want to pay in compensation would not come close to replacing what she will lose, she said.

"There is nowhere I can be a homeowner again. I am worried. I'm terrified. I will not be able to find housing and the relocation assistance will not be enough to find a place. The alternative is to allow the residents to purchase Buena Vista (with government loans and grants). Let us keep our homes and our second family; let us keep our community," she said.

Several Barron Park residents spoke in support of their Buena Vista neighbors -- and specifically to whether the proposed compensation is adequate to ensure residents can relocate to comparable settings with comparable amenities.

"It's laughable to me that anyone in this room could think there's an answer to that question," said Don Anderson.

Buena Vista residents would be dispossessed of their livelihoods, community, schools and homes, with no other nearby community offering anything comparable, he said.

"Closing the park would mean a loss of 108 units of affordable housing. It affects the entire city. Where are the people who staff our shops and restaurants supposed to live?"

The economic relationship between the landowner and the mobile-home park homeowners is more than about the structures on the land, added Sara Woodham.

"I want to make sure that (any dollar value) will not decimate families. We need to find a compensation or relocation that allows these families to resettle at some level of comparability," she said.

Resident Ken Dauber spoke to the influence of Palo Alto's high-quality schools on the local housing market. Finding anything comparable outside of the city for Buena Vista's children would be difficult, if not impossible, he said. Palo Alto has one of the highest percentages of college-prepared Latino students, with nothing comparable in either San Mateo or Santa Clara counties. Buena Vista students, many of whom are Latino, have a zero drop-out rate, he said, referencing a study published in March by Stanford University professors Donald Barr, a long-time housing advocate, and Amado Padilla, a former member of the Palo Alto school board. Padilla also testified Tuesday.

Barron Park resident Winter Dellenbach, who started local advocacy group Friends of Buena Vista, spoke directly to property owner Joe Jisser, imploring him to find a solution that would both allow the park to remain and provide his family just compensation through a sale. The Palo Alto Housing Corporation has expressed interest in helping to find a solution, she said.

Prometheus, the San Mateo-based developer with which Jisser has an option contract to build 180 high-end apartments if the deal goes through, is a family-run business that funds medical buildings and programs for children, Dellenbach said, urging the company to step up and save Buena Vista.

"People are on the precipice of losing everything. They are about to be irretrievably wrecked. We have to find a sensible solution where these people end up with a life and a future," she said.

The last night of the hearing will take place Wednesday, with additional public comment starting at 6:30 p.m. at Avenidas, 350 Bryant St., Palo Alto.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 11:25 am

Hearing these people speak is very depressing. This has gone on for to long. Its time for Palo Alto to step in and take responsibility for 114 affordable home. Forcing a private land owner to carry this responsibility is absurd.

Posted by 35 year resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2014 at 11:32 am're absolutely right. Forcing the landowner to carry the responsibility of financing the moves of his tenants is a burden he should not have to pay, unless there is some clause in the rental agreements that call for compensation following the sale of the property.

Selling to the tenants at half what the market cam command isn't feasible either.

Posted by jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 11:43 am

35 year resident. Agreed. To protect from an unfair market number. It was the City of Palo Alto that ordered the appraisal. Being that the city wrote the ordinance and picked the appraising company and the relocation company, any issues with the numbers should be the responsibility of the city. NOT THE OWNER.

Posted by Eva_PA, a resident of Ventura
on May 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

Eva_PA is a registered user.

The market value of the Buena Vista park is only worth $30M IF the zoning is changed from R-15 to R-30, which would allow Prometheus to build a luxury apartment complex there. If the property stays zoned as R-15, the BV residents' offer to buy the property for $15M is a fair offer.

Frankly I don't see the zoning changing from R-15 to R-30 given the current anti-development climate in Palo Alto right now. It's unfortunate that the process doesn't have the attempted zoning change go through first.

In addition, by not selling to the residents Mr. Jisser will have to pay approximately $8M in expenses. It seems like it would make sense just to accept the offer and be done with it.

Posted by Jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

Eva_PA Do you live in Palo Alto? Maybell that is 2 blocks away from Buena Vista just sold for $22M and it is half the size of Buena Vista WITH THE SAME ZONING.

We need to stop all of this "false advertising" of the truth. The land at Buana Vista is worth way more than $30M. NO REZONING IS REQUIRED!!!!

Can we find a way to help these people at market value? and stop with the nonsense

Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Why are these people "owed" anything?

If I am a single family home owner/renter and my income drops and I can no longer afford to pay the rent and/or pay the mortgage, does Palo Alto step in an make it so I can still live here?

The problem of high home prices is due to all the greedy single family home owners that bought their homes for $15,000 in the 60's and 70's and now want to sell them for millions. I don't see anyone protesting about these people. The city should step in and mandate that all property owners should be limited on what profit than can make on ANY property. That will quickly drop all the property values and make living more affordable in Palo Alto.

Posted by Palo Alto, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Why isn't this online newspaper reporting that at last weeks PA City Council meeting, the council voted to endorse exploring changes to Proposition 13??
It's very curious. Was the newspaper hushed up?

Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

First of all the residents at Buena Vista have had the benefit of paying a rent that is tremendously lower than any comparable market rate, many of them for a long time. Second, no one has a right to expect that a landlord has to find them housing at that rate elsewhere, although certainly the compensation offered is useful. And finally house sellers are not greedy. They are selling their homes at the prevailing market price, which as individuals they have little control over.

Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Keep in mind that I believe the average size of the units at BV is only 450 feet. That is smaller than most studio apartments, which can actually be found for $650 a month - I found 15 apts under $700 on craigslist.

Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on May 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Greenacres is a registered user.

"Why are these people "owed" anything? "

Because mobile home ownership is different than other kinds of ownership. Mobile homes occupy a unique place in the law because the people living in them are property owners AND renters, and the law already recognizes that the homes, once in place, are effectively not mobile anymore.

It's very much like the situation of people buying houses on Stanford land, only those people usually don't have to pay Stanford rent.

The residents at BV were paying market rates for their small plots of land. BV is the last place you can live in a lesser surrounding and pay a somewhat affordable rate. Their relationship with the owner - who has benefited both from major rent income and appreciation of the property - was a business relationship, not charity. Mobile home park owners know what they are getting into when they buy parks, and this owner's relationship with the tenants was a business relationship, not a charitable one.

The residents are due compensation under the law, and if it ends up being unreasonable because "comparable" is due them and that seems like a lot, they are still legally entitled to it. If that ends up changing the calculation the owner makes in favor of a sale to the residents, then that is the market place (works both ways). The owner will still end up a multi-millionaire even if it wasn't as many millions as he expected if the residents didn't have rights.

Right now, Prometheus is in contract to pay $30M, so that's the value of the property. It would be good if the City Council would make a pre-emptive announcement that they will not be upzoning BV -- they can ask us over here in this neighborhood, it's not going to happen -- because I keep hearing that former Mayor Scharff was head of acquisitions for Prometheus. Is that true? If so, i can't believe there isn't a conflict of interest problem here in the City council's approval of the closure and other development actions that affected the timing and the ability of the residents to purchase the property.
Let them announce that there will be no upzoning. Jisser's own appraisal says the upzoning doesn't increase the value, so clearly he has no recourse to sue over lost value.

Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on May 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Greenacres is a registered user.

@palo alto resident,
Mobile home residents are usually property owners, not just renters. The rent is usually for the plot of land, not for the place. The residents' whole calculation changes if they don't have the mortgage write off, the asset, etc.

As someone who has lived here a long time, what you see in Craig's list and what is really available is often pretty far apart.

Posted by jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Greenacres. you keep saying between the landlord and the tenants was a business agreement, not a charity. can you please explain why the owner agreed back in 2000 to keep the park open for 10 years and now today, 14 years later under the law the rents should be near $1400. The owner kept his promise to keep it open for 10 year and leave the rent "affordable".

Now that he has lost all the income from the market rents, people expect him to pay above market prices.

Please help the cause and stop blowing smoke into this problem. the owner has the right to sell. The offer came from numbers provided by the city hired appraisal and relocation company NOT THE OWNERS.

Thus rather than not give him the up zone, perhaps we should give it to him. It will increase his profitability and allow more income to help increase the relocation benefits for the residents. why must we always point fingers. CAN'T WE FIND A WIN/WIN?

Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on May 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Greenacres is a registered user.

@ jane,
How about you explain your relationship with Jisser, as you have consistently acted like his right arm?

Secondly, you keep referring to an agreement with the City, can you please quote it with links? I can't find it.

Jisser obviously is a businessman in business to make money, if he agreed to something 10 years ago, perhaps you should ask him what was in it for him? He's clearly not in business out of the goodness of his heart. It doesn't matter anyway, if he has a legal obligation now, he must fulfill it. I'm sure his partner Prometheus is helping him work every angle.

The Weekly says Jisser has an "option" in his contract with Prometheus. I am not a developer, can someone please explain what that means in more detail?

Posted by Patience Please, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm


Your comment, "...14 years later under the law the rents should be near $1400."

Not sure where you get that calculation. The residents own and maintain their own dwellings. The rent they pay is merely for the patch of concrete their residence sits on. $700 for a parking place seems like a pretty good deal for the Jissers!

I wish the weekly would cover the facts so those of us who understand the difference with a mobile home did not have to keep explaining it over and over...

Posted by Jane , a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Greenacres. I have lived in baron park for over 3
Decades now. I purchased a home here with my husband and have seen its value go through the roof. I am a property rights advocate and would hate it if the government was to place a cap on my right to sell. Or in the BV case, a bunch of costly hurdles for the owner.

That being said I would also like to help the residents of BV because I do feel they are extremely important for the neighborhood. It would make sense here to have city who stands to lose over a 100 affordable units and step on ad resolve this issue.

There must be a win win to be found. .

Posted by Bob, a resident of Downtown North
on May 14, 2014 at 2:23 pm

As was the case during the measure d discussion, green acres questions people relationships to others when they disagree with him. Jisser has a right to,close and sell the park. That is not up for discussion. The issue is now compensation. If someone wants to step,forward and help match the offer from Prometheus, then that will be great.
I am not sure the city should buy the park.

Posted by Evelyn, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The BV residents have been very fortunate to have their kids go to JB or BP elementary schools, while I pay $3K a month in rent for the same privilege.

I don't see the problem with residents receiving $100K each for their property; that's plenty of money for a family to relocate to another Bay Area city, pay for five years of rent as well as go to school and earn a degree so they can increase their income. And, Jisser would still make a tidy profit.

Posted by jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm

[Portion removed.] We should be able to find a solution here, where we preserve our rights and help the BV tenants. They are an important part of the neighborhood.

Please, use these post to help the problem, NOT be part of the problem

The owner has the right to sell and the BV tenants are an important part of the community. This is a perfect time for the city to step in and help. After all didn't they just make a bunch of money sell Maybell for 22M?

Posted by C, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Just in case anyone else was curious about rents of other mobile home parks-- As of 10/12/12, the rents of 2 mobile home parks in Redwood City are "$799/month for rent then water, gas and electricity" and "$825/mo to $1050/mo. With PG & E metered separately."
Web Link
The article below gives a citation average rents in 2008 for 3 separate mobile home parks in Fremont. Two of these three averages are higher than what BV residents are paying.
So it does appear, especially that the park is in Palo Alto, that the BV residents are renting for relatively cheap and have been doing so for years.

Posted by C, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Web Link
(Sorry about not including in the first post - must've deleted it on accident)

Posted by Patience Please, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm


Thanks for the links - your stats a bit misleading though. The Fremont Mobile Home Park is a senior (55+) community which drives up the rent, and looks to also be extremely well maintained with a lovely pool and clubhouse. I bet they don't have cockroaches in the washers and dryers.

Of the two Redwood City parks, the more expensive one is not a park for permanent homes. Here is the full paragraph you took a piece from:

"They are a temporary park, no permanent stays. There is currently a waiting list of about80 people. Rates run from $825/mo to $1050/mo. With PG & E metered seperately. Call office if interested in waiting list."

The other Redwood City one that is $799 also looks like a trailer park, not mobile homes, but unclear.

Posted by Rupert of henzau, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Some people are completely ignoring what the topic of this thread is and what has been stated in other threads-- this whole,thing is about compensation for the residents. The trailer park will be closed-- the city cannot prevent it. Those that are suggesting that the residents go to,court to prevent the owner form doing what he wants with his property are completely ignorant of private property rights etc. those that are saying that the jissers should keep the park open are completely clueless as to his rights. Now if those that oppose the closing come up with $30 million dollars to buynthempark, that is fine. However no way should the city put up a penny.

Posted by FYI , a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 7:07 pm

The property owner has no control over the income of the residents, the rise in market rates for homes in the area, or lack of BMR housing in the city of Palo Alto.

The City of Palo Alto wrote the ordinance, picked the appraiser, and the relocation company; any issues with the results is the responsibility of the city. NOT THE PROPERTY OWNER.

Not allowing the property owner to sell the park will create legal trouble for the City of Palo Alto, and will waste tax payers money on fighting a legal battle they shouldn't win.

It is the legal right of the property owner to sell their property in accordance with the law. Period. If not, then the city should have notified the Jisser's 28 years ago that they would have an issue selling their property in the future before the Jisser's made their investment in the park and took on the risk of running a business.

I am sympathetic for the residents. I realize this is a big inconvenience - but its nothing more than a BIG inconvenience. Finding the residents another home that is affordable to them is doable. It may not be in Palo Alto, and the residents may not like the fact that they have to move out of Palo Alto. But its definitely doable.

There are a lot of other people that would love to live in Palo Alto but can't afford it. Thats life -

Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on May 14, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Greenacres is a registered user.

@ Bob,
I asked a legitimate question as Jane keeps referring to agreements that no one else seems privy to. Jane, you keep mentioning these agreements jisser made with the City, please provide some quotes, news stories about them, or links to the direct City ordinance or contract. I doubt very much that a verbal understanding would supersede state law, though.

@ Jane,
I'm glad you're concerned about the residents and about property rights. The BV residents are not just renters, they are property owners, too, and they have property rights under the law, that's what this hearing is about. The are entitled to what they ask.

You are right that the City may not be able to prevent the park closure by ordinance, but they CAN do far more to prevent the closure by simply advocating for the residents. Look at what they did at Maybell - Larry Klein's firm represented the buyer for the purchase, the City was relentless in pushing for their agenda and committed all the money from the affordable housing fund and more, $7.3 million, to the purchase. City employees represented in writing to the state and feds that the property was rezoned and no longer subject to CEQA appeals, even though that (and other statements) was blatantly false, in order to keep the application for funding in the running even though they had missed the deadline (and even though other worthy housing projects were competing for that money and lost out in the funding round because of it.)

That money is available now since Maybell was sold. The money in our affordable housing fund cannot be used for other purposes. Unless our former Mayor Scharff (former head of acquisitions for Prometheus?), who wants to run again, wants to be held to the conflicts/hypocrisy that this is looking more and more like -- suspiciously like they were being sure they drained the affordable housing fund so they couldn't use it to help at Buena Vista when it could have made a competitive offer -- then the City better step up now.

Unlike the rezoning at Maybell, the surrounding neighborhood is very supportive of the City helping the residents stay and retaining the park. The rezoning group has made an official statement in favor of the City doing what it can to save the park. Rupert, if our city is willing to put up millions to let former employees stay in expensive houses, why shouldn't they co-own property as an investment (that won't ultimately cost taxpayers) so that hundreds of long-term residents can remain here in affordable housing, affordable housing that won't require tens of millions to build, just a co-investment of money already committed for affordable housing?

Many residents have called on City Council to pre-emptively promise to respect zoning rules and not to rezone the property too, yet they have remained utterly silent. Recall when it came to the Maybell situation, all the Councilmembers were out schilling for the rezoning, and the Mayor acted as its proponent in the debates. Our City could do plenty. I'll bet the Mayor has plenty of connections at Prometheus and could get them to work something out if he tried.

Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on May 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Greenacres is a registered user.

But that's just it, your post ignores the property rights of the mobile home residents under the law and acts like the park owner's rights are more important.

Posted by Rupert of henzau, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Green acres-- what property rights of the renters are you talking about? Which law are you referring to? They are renting space from the owner. The owner has the right to sell his property, does he not? Read the title of this thread-- it is about compensation. The city cannot stop the closing of the park. BTW, where were you all the years before the owner decided to,close the park? He informed the city in 2000 that he would close in 10 years.

Posted by Jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm

It was made clear at the hearing by the attorneys and confirmed my the residents expert witness that trailers are NOT real estate. They are personal property. The tenants have an uphill battle. That being said I do believe the city needs the park and it's residents.

This is a situation were the owner has right and the city needs the affordable housing. So skip on all the rederick and go straight to a solution. City needs to buy the park or give the owner an incentive.

Posted by Evelyn, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm

[Portion removed.]

I have opened my home to BV residents, as BV kids go to the same school as mine! We donate to PIE, which benefits every kid in the PAUSD, and I've learned more Spanish so I can plan play dates.

As for me not being a part of the solution, re-read my second paragraph. I advocate giving each BV resident a substantial offer that would help them relocate and give them opportunity for advancement.

Posted by Patience Please, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm

@palo alto resident:
The term "trailer park" is only used to describe a mobile home park by either condescending or uneducated people. Since only the poor remain in poorly-maintained mobile home parks, it is indeed common for the wealthy to refer to those parks as "trailer parks," and usually with disdain. The term makes some people feel superior by reducing these homes to something temporary that is pulled behind a vehicle, as opposed to actual homes.

Funny, in 2000 the Jissers informed the City they planned to sell in 10 years, and yet they continued to allow new residents to buy homes in the park. Why didn't they buy the "for-sale" units and allow attrition to reduce the number of people that would be affected when the park was closed? I wonder how hard they tried to inform potential new residents that they planned to level the park.

Mr. Jisser was a wealthy man when he and his partners bought the park for $4 million, and he was even more wealthy when he bought out his partners' $6 million share. That property is now worth $30 million+. That is a wonderful return on investment for the Jisser family.

But wait, the park also operates at an $800,000 PROFIT per year. How much of that tremendous income is being invested back into the park to keep it maintained and livable?

Of course the Jissers have the legal right to sell the land and displace over a hundred families of very limited means. It is legal for this very wealthy family to enjoy the enormous profits from their investment while turning upside down the lives of disabled seniors and families with children. I don't care what they donate to their personal causes if they can't take care of the people and families that have provided them income for many years, living on their rundown, cockroach-infested property.

I do believe that if the Jissers have no conscience and continue to refuse to be compassionate and reasonable (which really would not exactly be a hardship for them), the City of Palo Alto should absolutely step in and partner with the resident group that has already offered $15 million and buy the property from the Jissers at the same price Prometheus offered. The City has the $22 million low-income funds they got back from Maybell to use.

For the City to NOT use the funds available to save EXISTING low-income housing is unconscionable. It is hypocritical, cold, and horrible. The City could partner with the resident group, kill the cockroaches, and still have a very steady source of income while maintaining an asset.

Would Maybell have made them $800,000 per year starting at year one?

It takes money to make money. The residents at BV never had that trust fund, family inheritance, or ivy league education to give them that boost in life. How can a city that is so wealthy just turn their backs on these neighbors like they are somebody else's problem?

As a multi-generation native of Palo Alto, I am embarrassed by the greed and lack of compassion from so many. May you all walk a mile in these people's shoes.

Posted by Jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Ignorance is really not helping the situation. People speak of $4m and $30 million and forget 28 years went by. My home was 150k back in 1982. And according to the local market may be worth a bit over 2 million today. Using those numbers the $4 million back in 1986 is no different than $40m today. If he gets $30 million today it would be a big loss.

The city better step in and make this right. else a huge legal battle will cost us (the tax payer) some big money.

Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on May 15, 2014 at 12:07 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Patience Please, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 15, 2014 at 1:00 am


I have not at all forgotten that 28 years have gone by. What makes you think I have, and why do you think it appropriate to call me ignorant? Just because you disagree with me? Please, try to keep in mind that Jisser owns only a plot of land, not a nice, well-maintained home on a valuable piece of land. As Aquamarine points out, this is not about you or your home - you need to look at the actual property in question. If your property had only a 1000 sq ft house in original condition (i.e. falling apart) it would be worth much less. If my description actually does match your home, it is not worth $2M unless it is on a 1/4-1/2 acre lot.

@Jane, you said:
>> This is a situation were (sic) the owner has right (sic) and the city needs the affordable housing. So skip on (sic) all the rederick (sic) and go straight to a solution. City needs to buy the park or give the owner an incentive.

I really think you should not call other people ignorant.

Posted by Sunshine, a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2014 at 6:05 am

Mr Jisser has developed several parcels in the Barron Park area over the past, not always for the better. First a great pizza place became an ugly housing complex, then the only complete super market in the neighborhood and on our side of El Camino became a strip mall of uninteresting stores. Now he wants to displace owners and renters in a good low income housing situation with a high rise. After seeing the recent high rise developments within PaloAlto I say a firm, no.
Mr Jisser should work things out with the residents to figure out how they can remain in place. Many are old and/or disabled. Finding anything comparable in the area that will let them remain close to family and friends and their support network will be impossible. Why destroy their lives and social structure only for a profit. Children who live in the park attend local schools. Would you displace them from excellent schools to those in the worst areas in San Jose? Areas that are full of gangs? All this just to make room for you?
Perhaps a better solution would be to allow current residents of Buena Vista to remain in place, but to not allow any new residents to enter. Thus as older residents depart or as others leave should their fortunes change, the population will decrease and a better situation found for the remaining few.
A correction to a letter above: by the late 1960s to 70s homes in Barron Park were selling for over $30,000 and within a couple of years they had doubled in price. This is for ordinary "starter " homes (real estate parlance).

Posted by responsibility, a resident of College Terrace
on May 15, 2014 at 6:10 am

If the residents own their mobile home why is it the Jisser's responsibility to pay market value for it? The home owner should have the ability to move the home to a new location and it isn't the Jisser's fault that the home is too old/in poor condition to be moved. The homeowners need to take responsibility for maintaining their "mobile" home to appropriate standards which apparently haven't been done.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2014 at 6:30 am

It's quite a shame that over 90 BMR rental units were built in the last few years, and none were allocated for the Buena Vista park residents. Since the city provided financing and in one case some of the land used to build the BMR units, the city could had made as a requirement that space be reserved for the Buena Vista Park residents. And this could have done with the the Buena Vista landlord contributing the moving compensation to the BMR fund.

Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 15, 2014 at 7:14 am

@common sense - the new housing unit at 801 Alma has 50 unit in it. It could have provide homes for 1/2 of the BV residents.

@patience please -I also wonder whether the Jisser's made new residents aware that they intended to close the park.

Posted by jerry99, a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2014 at 7:45 am

These people are "owed" nothing. They have lived in the trailer park a long time for very low rents. Since the articles continue to say they are very poor I am sure we taxpayers are paying them for Section 8 housing assistance, utilities assistance, food stamps,welfare, etc. A family of four that gets all government welfare programs can receive $35,000/year tax free, and that is close to what the average American family makes each year. [Portion removed.]

So let Mr. Jisser sell the land, close the park and be done with it. With all the government welfare programs these people will make out just fine.

Posted by Fireman, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 15, 2014 at 8:08 am

I agree with jerry99. If your home is so valuable then take it with you. It's not the owners fault you can't find a place for it and it certainly isn't his fault that you did not maintain it. Reality is that they are worthless. Somebody needs to say it

Posted by SallyP, a resident of College Terrace
on May 15, 2014 at 8:31 am

I agree with jerry99.

Posted by Roger, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

Let's assume something, just for a minute.
You own a property, someone offers you 50 million for it, (the amount doesn't matter)
Will you sell it?
Should you be allowed to?
Once you sold it , should you be responsible for what the new owner does to it?
If you answered yes to these three questions then this is not an issue the owner nor the city should even be involved in, only the new owner.
I feel sorry for the people who rent in the park,it isnt fair, but life isn't fair. Time to move on, hard though that may be. If you rent anything it can be taken away from you, why, because its not yours.

Posted by Roger, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

Jerry99 I agree with most of what you say, however I draw the line at your comments regarding ethnicity, there is no room here or anywhere else for bigotry. These are people, they deserve respect.

Posted by Roger, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

Patienceplease, you write a very moving and accurate picture of the situation, I do think you may be a NIMBY though.
Would you consider moving the "trailer park" ( go look at it, that's what it is) next door to your home?
Better yet, would you let some of the people move into your own home for say $100 a month.
Of course this is all hyperbole on my part, at least I admit it.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Patience Please - reading your comments, I was wondering how the BV residents are faring in the heatwave. I wonder about that whenever I drive by in the summertime.

I, too, wonder about Jane's motives in her comments. She actually feels sorry for businesspeople who are about to make many millions of dollars.

Posted by Jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm

"Janes motives". Please people it's not a crime to invest in something and sell it for a profit. It is a crime though to point out only one person in a crowd prevent them from doing so.

Your have so much sympathy for the people of BV that you are unwilling to admit that a land owner has rights too!

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on May 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Trailer Park, Court or Miblie Home Park, does it matter? I feel bad for the residents who in time won't be living here in the future. 15 million dollars or 30 million dollars for purchase price of the park, who will pay for the upgrades?

Some of you purchased 50 year old homes untouched or 25 year old homes. The only problem the rent is so low and the costs here are so high.

Posted by comparable compensation, a resident of Green Acres
on May 15, 2014 at 4:27 pm

In another article posted today, it's stated that supporters of BV residents are requesting $200,000 compensation for each family. This seems unreasonably high IMO given that residents of rent-controlled units in SF are getting $50,000.

Posted by Patience Please, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm


Throw around the NIMBY term all you like - you don't know anything about me and I see no need to defend myself just because you want to make an accusation.

No one is proposing moving the park to some other part of town, and no one is suggesting that anyone move into someone else's home. No clue how you arrived at these ideas based on my post, but it's not germane to the discussion.

It is very sad that people who have so much cannot even muster up any compassion, forget about actually doing something to help another human being.

Posted by Lonny, a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I read the article and subsequent comments here, and find the discussion interesting. I don't think there is a true win-win. The residents must leave with whatever amount has been determined and start over, which isn't easy to do these days. If Jisser sells for 15 million or 30 he still wins. Maybe the people who can afford to move in to the new development will feel like winners.

Posted by questions, a resident of Community Center
on May 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm


"Maybe the people who can afford to move in to the new development will feel like winners."

So, does anyone know how much housing is being planned for the site, how long it will take and what the cost will be to rent or buy there? Is it a condo, rentals?

Posted by Lonny, a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm

@questions, I believe it will be an apartment complex. Midtown apartments go for $3,000 per month and the new development on the corner of San Antonio and El Camino are $4,000 per month for a two bedroom.

Posted by Supply & Demand, a resident of Green Acres
on May 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Let the market decide! Landlord is no criminal needs to be penalized. If you live in an apartment will you get any compensation when move. His or Her profit has nothing to do with you since this is his or her investment. Those only try to high ball in order to get more out of nothing. This ABAG thing is ridiculous. There are plenty of land somewhere if you can not afford here move somewhere else that is why most of the people live somewhere else in the country in the first place.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 15, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

It's not that the owner can't make a profit, Jane. It's your constant defense of the landlord, ad nauseam. You refuse to see the many sides to this issue, so your posts are one-sided.

Posted by Jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Hmmm, I'm not defending the landlord. I'm defending all landlords. Read the posts. I'm saying that the landlord's profits are nobodies business but his.

That being said the tenants are not willing to agree that the city should bridge the gap between market price of the land and the value of the land in its as is condition.

As is its 14m. Empty it's 30m. The owner has 16 million reasons to close it down. The city cannot afford to lose this inventory of affordable housing. They should pay the gap and preserve the affordable housing. This would be a win / win

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Of course you're defending these particular landlords. Perhaps you need to reread your own posts. Of course landlord profits are the business of others...such as the tax authorities, city governments, regulators, lawmakers. any investors.

Posted by Jane, a resident of Barron Park
on May 16, 2014 at 6:38 am

Hmmm. your last post says it all. You must know these landlords personally. therefore I will no longer try to reason the situation with you.

Though to readers of these post it is clear that you would rather see the landlord lose and tenants win rather than a win, win

unfortunately this attitude will hurt the tenants more than the landlord.

and FYI tax authorities can audit peoples books but under strict disclosure laws. its what i did for years before retirement. further regulators, lawmaker have no business in private business financials. they create rules and regulation that can effect the financials but have zero authority to audit books.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I don't know the Jissers - I've never met them. I'm always wary of people working with property developers, as it's stupid not to be wary of them.

Yeah, I know plenty about the tax laws, which you've clumsily tried to communicate. Your lack of knowledge in this area is also obvious.

I don't have dog in this fight, so I'm mostly observing. It's always a shame when lower income people lose housing, because they don't have the options people of more means have. It's often sad when many people are uprooted, because it's stressful and difficult for them.

Each side is fighting to their rights, as allowable by law. It's the way things works. It's messy, but standard.

Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

>I don't have dog in this fight, so I'm mostly observing.


So am I. I don't think that CPA should get involved in a messy private deal (other than original rules applied)...could end up in a big lawsuit for CPA.

CPA needs to apply a minimalist/moderate legal theory to this thing...we do not need to commit to any CPA monies, including legal fees or (possible)subsidies.

Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm

@Greenacres - The removed content of thread you started calling for overdevelopment humor Web Link can be found here - Web Link

(I'll try to post soon allison's take on Allison's "entitlement, no offense," etc.)

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