Buena Vista residents make final plea to save their homes

Palo Alto council set to rule on closure application Tuesday night

The roads they took were different, but they led to the same place: a sprawling mobile-home park in a part of Palo Alto that until two years ago stood apart in quiet obscurity.

On Monday night, with the future of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park hanging in the balance, hundreds of residents packed into City Hall with a clear message for the City Council: Save our homes.

Nicolas Martinez, a resident and father of two, said he moved to Buena Vista after living in several other cities because Palo Alto offered him a safe place to raise his kids.

"When I moved into Buena Vista, it became an ideal place to raise our two kids, to offer them the education I didn't have, to make sure they wouldn't be beat up after school like I was on their way home," Martinez said. "That is why I wanted them to stay here. If you can make that happen, it would be a dream come true for us."

Rosa Maria Garcia raised four children in the mobile-home park and is hoping to live there for long enough to have her youngest graduate from Gunn High School, where he is now a freshman. She called the $29,000 her family was offered in relocation assistance "a joke."

"The situation through which we are now going is very grim," Garcia said. "We are at risk of being made homeless."

Omar Cruz, a sixth-grader at Terman Middle School, asked the council not to take away his education.

"I don't want to lose any of my friends and I'm really planning to go to Gunn and get a good education," Cruz said.

Melodie Cheney, a Buena Vista senior, called her mobile home her "part of the American Dream." It's the first home she ever owned and she was preparing to finish making her payments in December. Now, she doesn't know if she will be living there when she pays it off. With her disabilities, she doesn't know how she'll cope without her home and its close proximity to transit, she said.

"Buena Vista is my second family," Cheney said. "I hope I'll be able to say that for the rest of my life."

Emblazoned on their T-Shirts, printed on their yellow stickers, written on their postcards, and permeating through dozens of speeches, the same message was delivered by dozens of speakers during the first of two hearings on the proposed closure of the city's sole mobile-home park. The discussion will conclude on Tuesday night, when the council is scheduled to rule on the park's fate.

Many of the park's 400 residents and their supporters attended the Monday meeting to urge the council to reject the package of benefits the Jisser family, which owns the park, offered to Buena Vista residents as part of a bid to shut down the mobile-home park.

The question of whether or not the relocation assistance offered to the residents is adequate is at the heart of the dispute between the attorneys representing the two sides.

Last fall, Hearing Officer Craig Labadie sided with the Jissers and gave the green-light to their Relocation Impact Report, paving the way for the park's closure. The Buena Vista residents are now appealing this decision to the council.

Saul Bracamontes, who works as the produce team leader at Whole Foods Market, was one of many residents to argue that the compensation package offered to the Buena Vista families is unfair.

"I ask you to reject the relocation package that owner is offering to us," Bracamontes said. "It's not even close to being fair. What's going to happen to all of our families?"

The residents were joined at the emotional, four-hour meeting by leaders from the faith community, housing advocates, school district officials and neighbors from Barron Park and beyond. With the single exception of the Jissers' attorney, every speaker urged the council to do what it can to preserve Buena Vista.

The big decision may ultimately rest on one narrow question: Did the Relocation Impact Report the Jissers submitted as part of their closure application comply with local law? More specifically, would the relocation assistance that the Jissers offered in the report allow the residents to find "comparable housing" in a "comparable community," as the local mobile-home ordinance requires?

Margaret Nanda, attorney for the Jisser family, argued that it would. The Jissers offered to pay each household the appraised value of the mobile home, startup costs for new housing (a security deposit and rent for the first month) and a year of rent subsidies equal to the difference between the residents' Buena Vista rents and what they would be paying elsewhere. The family has a right to close the park, she argued.

She also noted that Labadie had already considered the arguments from both sides and the assistance package that was offered and had agreed that it complies with the local ordinance.

"A mobile-home park owner in the State of California can exit the rental business," Nanda said. "That is the law. The family can close the park. They can close it and they do not even need to convert it to another use."

The city's ordinance empowers the hearing officer to approve a closure application on the condition that its mitigation measures "are adequate to mitigate the adverse impacts on the displaced residents." The officer may condition approval on other conditions, provided that they "do not exceed the reasonable cost of relocation."

Nanda didn't dispute the arguments from the Buena Vista residents and their attorneys that affording a new home in Palo Alto would be challenging, if not impossible. She noted that the average price for a condominium on sale in Palo Alto today is $1.25 million. Yet that is not the fault of the Jissers, she said.

"Does that exceed the reasonable cost of relocation? Yes, it does, and I don't believe anyone can disagree with that," Nanda said. "The fact that there are no affordable housing options for the residents to go to in Palo Alto, to remain in the schools and in the community that is so dear to them is (not) the fault of the park owner. It is not the park owner's responsibility to build affordable housing in Palo Alto."

Nanda made her presentation after Nadia Aziz, an attorney representing the Buena Vista residents, laid out her case for why the compensation offered by the Jissers runs afoul of the law.

Aziz, a senior attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, argued that the Relocation Impact Report should have considered the high quality of local schools in determining what constitutes a "comparable community." By failing to consider local schools, the compensation package falls short of what's required to assist displaced residents in obtaining "comparable housing" in a "comparable community."

"Palo Alto is its schools," Aziz said. "The reason Palo Alto is such a valuable place to live, the reason people want to move here, is because of its schools. Palo Alto has some of the best schools in the nation."

Aziz argued that in determining the value of a Buena Vista mobile home, one needs to consider the value of it being in Palo Alto -- "the fact that children in that mobile-home park can attend world-class schools, the fact that it's close to transit, close to Stanford and close to amenities."

Elizabeth Seifel, a real estate consultant who testified as a witness for the Buena Vista Residents Association, also cited schools as one of several amenities that make Buena Vista unique when compared to other mobile-home parks in the region. The park, which is located at 3980 El Camino Real, is also close to great medical facilities, parks, jobs and transit, she said.

Buena Vista's low-income residents are unlikely to afford comparable housing anywhere in the region, she argued, citing average housing prices throughout the region. According to her presentation, a Buena Vista family currently playing $633 for a two-bedroom trailer would find itself in a housing market where two-bedroom rents range from an average of $2,800 in San Mateo to $3,730 in Palo Alto.

"If displaced, Buena Vista residents will face an affordable housing crisis like we haven't seen in many, many years or even ever before in California," Seifel said.

Many speakers at the Monday hearing argued that preserving Buena Vista would benefit not just the park's residents, but the community as a whole.

School board members Terry Godfrey and Camille Townsend both spoke in support of Buena Vista. Ken Dauber, who also sits on the school board but who said he was speaking as a Barron Park resident, urged the council to reject the Jissers' application because it doesn't factor in schools.

Godfrey said she is very grateful that Buena Vista children attend Palo Alto schools, "not just because of the individuals they are, but because of the voices they bring."

Their parents, much like her own, came to Palo Alto so that they can better their lives through education.

"They bring value to our city today," Godfrey said. "They'll bring value to our city in the future."

The meeting will resume on Tuesday night with a 10-minute presentation from the Jissers' witness, David Beccaria of the appraising firm Beccaria & Weber.

Beccaria is expected to explain the methodology behind the appraisals his firm performed for Buena Vista and rebut recent criticisms that his appraisals had received from an appraiser who was commissioned by the residents' attorneys to review Beccaria's work. The council will then proceed with questions before making a decision on the closure application for Buena Vista.

Visit the Weekly's YouTube channel to watch videos of Monday night's hearing.

The Weekly has compiled an archive of news coverage capturing the many voices of the people involved in the fight over Buena Vista.

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33 people like this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2015 at 6:21 am

Best to take the money offered to you and move on. Do it before the amount is reduced.

11 people like this
Posted by Winter
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 7:47 am

The Appeal Hearing continues tonight at 6PM sharp in city council chambers, Palo Alto City Hall. Come on by - it is excruciating, energizing and interesting.

Last night the BV residents were tremendously effective in their remarks, as were their many supporters. Some of the organizations represented made insightful contributions. I did not expect such a huge turnout - once again chambers was stuffed and all who attended got schooled by experts (BV residents) on poverty, opportunity, hard work, sacrifice, determination and hope in Palo Alto. BV residents make Palo Alto better. We must find a solution that works for the owner and for these neighbors.

Come tonight to the last evening of the Appeal Hearing. There is no more chance to speak - that is over. But come and observe and get to know BV folks better. Become a Friend of Buena Vista - email:

38 people like this
Posted by Interested Citizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 8:28 am

I watched the entire 4 hour proceedings on-line. Most of the evening was taken up by emotional appeals to keep the trailer park open or to provide further subsidies for the residents. After hearing the presentation of M. Nanda documenting the number of aged RV's, some with converted shells vs actual mobile homes I was really left to wonder how the city had allowed this to have continued for so many years.

48 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 8:39 am

I'm sorry but I just don't see why they Jesser's have an obligation to provide housing. It is their property. If the city was so interested in making housing affordable, the simple solution is to put a cap on the selling price of single family homes.

Let's restrict all home to an annual 3% appreciation. Then we will see all the greedy seniors who bought their homes for $17,500 back in the 1960's/1970's having to sell for under $500,000. Now that would be a huge amount of affordable housing coming onto the market. And they would have to sell to the buyer with the lowest annual income.

Of course people will complain that this is unfair. That they deserve the right to sell their property for the highest they can get. They just want someone else to have to provider affordable housing not them.

53 people like this
Posted by Bad taste
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

The fact that these families are being displaced is very unfortunate but after watching the proceedings I came away most convinced by the property owner's attorney Ms. Nanda. So many of the public comments were emotional pleas to keep the park open but that was not the purpose of this hearing. The purpose was to assess the sufficiency of the RIR.

I couldn't believe when some residents started to trying to place monetary value on a PAUSD education in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and that the BV residents should be compensated as such. I understand that it is in the best interest of the BV residents to maximize their relocation assistance but this started to feel like a money grab. Thank goodness Ms. Nanda brought to light that the ordinance calls for the relocation assistance to be within reason and that quality of schools does not need to be factored in the the relocation compensation. The property owner has rights too!

The comparables Ms. Nanda showed between what most BV homes are like vs other mobile home parks was very enlightening and made me feel that they current package being offered was not unreasonable.

39 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:22 am

The park owner needs to have his rights respected too. If he follows the applicable laws he should be allowed to do what he wants with his property. I do feel for the people who are going to be displaced, but that is life. Hopefully the money they get will help ease their transition. I also feel for young couples who can't afford to buy a home in the area. It is time to put this issue behind us and move on.

16 people like this
Posted by Schools Affect Home Value
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:41 am

>> I couldn't believe when some residents started to trying to place monetary value on a PAUSD education in the hundreds of thousands of dollars...

Really? You don't think the astronomical price of homes and rent in Palo Alto has anything to do with our schools? Think again!

7 people like this
Posted by stop already
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:47 am

[Post removed.]

21 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:58 am

Hulkamania is a registered user.

Schools Affect Home Value said, "Really? You don't think the astronomical price of homes and rent in Palo Alto has anything to do with our schools? Think again!"

There's a reason why Palo Alto was scored number one city in the greater Bay Area twice by the SF Chron. It was schools.

In just about every real estate ad for Palo Alto the local school districts are listed.

No monetary value of a PAUSD education? You're kidding. Right?

28 people like this
Posted by Bad taste
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:02 am

To Schools Affect Home Value, of course I think the real estate values & rental costs in Palo Alto are at least partially related to the quality of our schools. What I found unbelievable was the suggestion that the BV residents should be compensated for this because as Ms. Nanda pointed out the ordinance does not call for schools to be factored in to the relocation impacts. Also the BV residents are not property owners in Palo Alto. They own their mobile homes/RVs which also as pointed out by Ms. Nanda have very little intrinsic value. Most of the value they have comes from the fact they are sitting on land in Palo Alto, which is owned by the Jissers.

13 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:10 am

This is a great opportunity for Palo Alto. How often does this acreage come available? Buy it and build our ABAG-mandated housing there. It's got transit. It's in PAUSD territory. Everybody's happy.

16 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

Owning a mobile home park is different than owning an apartment and a businessperson taking that on goes in with their eyes wide open. BV residents have rights, and for good reason.

One thing I do not see discussed here in the "comparable" equation is stability. What is "comparable" today won't be comparable the next day in a rental. One of the reasons the mobile home park was stable and low-income was the fact that residents do own the structures. Anyone who owns, be it a mobile home or a castle, has a more stable cost situation. Paying for the kind of relocation in that report is setting everyone up for instability. One of the most important considerations in "comparable' in the Bay Area should be stability.

28 people like this
Posted by Buean Vista is a Loophole
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:42 am

Buena Vista residents have never paid the price for a Palo Alto education. They have been enjoying the greatest housing loophole that Palo Alto has to offer for many many years. Since they never paid the price for a Palo Alto education, why should their relocation package take into account Palo Alto schools? The answer is, they shouldn't. Anybody that disagrees is simply passionate about affordable housing at all costs. That type of person probably cannot imagine that any relocation package is reasonable unless the relocation package actually equaled the cost of living in Palo Alto. But if the residents got that kind of handout, it would be like winning a lottery. The only viable solution for Buena Vista is for a rich person that loves affordable housing at all costs to step up and buy the property from the Jisser family at the fair market price of the property.

29 people like this
Posted by everyone else is paying
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:45 am

It sounds awful to point this out but the city didn't swoop in to help me when I got essentially2 weeks notice that the landlord wanted me out (AKA displaced) so that he could rent out to his close family and eventually tear everything down and build town homes he could sell. The City isn't helping other single income families I know that earn decent money and also have their kids in PA schools but can barely make rent for a home here. Everyone in this city who is paying PROPERTY TAXES is paying for these schools. Notice that Renters are paying indirectly at best. I'd be interested to know where the kids from BV who went through these "great" schools ended up? Did they really make good of this great education? Shouldn't those kids have stepped forward to say "without the opportunities received in PAUSD while leaving in BV they shouldn't be the success they are today?" Where are the success stories to indicate that these families in BV are actually benefiting from all of this?

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North

on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:58 am

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19 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

Greenacres is a registered user.


When my child's teacher got a space at BV, all the kids benefitted from their teacher living nearby and being able to bicycle over to work on a moment's notice, including for events. It was the only affordable place nearby.

When my friends needed a room addition, the only contractor they could afford was someone at BV who charged a reasonable rate, did a great job, and just as with the teacher, was able to pop by on a moment's notice because he lives so close by.

Palo Alto benefits from having this economic diversity. The neighborhood benefits from not having to fight another mega-development - who wants to fight Jisser over an upzoned development with all the traffic it will bring in an already overdeveloped area? Most would much rather try to fight to help their neighbors who benefit the community.

18 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:15 am

Greenacres is a registered user.

everyone else,
"It sounds awful to point this out but the city didn't swoop in to help me when I got essentially2 weeks notice that the landlord wanted me out"

I know, this area is tough, same has happened to us, more than once. Renting in this area is tough, but if anything, that should be more reason to care when a large community of people is threatened with being made unstable -- that has its costs to the public, too, by the way.

The difference with BV is the fact that it's a mobile home park. The contract and circumstances are different. If Stanford wanted it's land back on which Gunn High School sits or Stanford wanted to evict hundreds of homeowners whose houses are sitting on their land because they wanted to put in offices, you bet there would be public involvement and outcry. That's a more comparable circumstance, people just don't think about it because of prejudice against the poor, frankly. A low-income person's mobile home is proportionally a greater deal in those comparable circumstances, though.

And nobody is "swooping in" here, they are following the process under the law. Everyone has rights, and they are exercising them under the code.

17 people like this
Posted by almunday60
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:49 am

almunday60 is a registered user.

Its all about doing what is right and not always for monetary gain.
The people/families have built a community which is most important "a community"

Not sure what compromises can be had to keep this community together.
I will pray that BV residents get to stay and be together.

26 people like this
Posted by Jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Jerry99 is a registered user.

The Jisser's own the land and it is their right to close it and sell it as they see fit. 12+ years ago the City Council begged them to keep it open until the utilities/sewer/electricity, etc. exceed their useful life. That time is now. The Jisser's let the trailer park remain open for 12+ years. [Portion removed.]

Time to sell. The first judge approved the package, which was added as a new Palo Alto law covering trailer parks, which was developed and passed after the last attempt to close the park 12+ years ago. With only one trailer park in Palo Alto its just a thinly veiled attempt to force the owners to keep the place or give millions of dollars to the BV people. [Portion removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

Let's face the real issue. The owners want the land vacated so they can build multistory housing. The neighbors don't want multistory buildings.

Trailers and RVs are single story. Therefore push to keep the status quo. An upfront advocacy for that will not work in this town, so enlist every housing/education/"community" advocate in the area in a mass emotional pitch to city council to set closeout conditions that would make it impossible for the owners to close the trailer park.

But that won't work either. Money and the Constitution are in the way. Irresistible force, meet immovable object. Should be a good show.

32 people like this
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

"The Jisser's own the land and it is their right to close it and sell it as they see fit. 12+ years ago the City Council begged them to keep it open until the utilities/sewer/electricity, etc. exceed their useful life. That time is now. The Jisser's let the trailer park remain open for 12+ years. Its time to sell and upgrade the neighborhood."

This sums up my view of the whole thing. The BV residents have had an excellent deal for a long time. Nothing says it has to go on forever.

10 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 14, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Bad Taste:

This is a negotiation, and the schools do add tremendous value to residing here. There is no reason the residents should not request that be a factor. I understand schools are not explicitly called out as a factor in the code, but that looks like an omission:

When describing a comparable mobile home park, the code requires:

-- "...similar access to community amenities, such as shopping, medical services, recreational facilities, and transportation."

In the very next example, when describing "comparable housing" (in the event there are no appropriate mobile home parks within 35 miles), the code drops a few words in what is otherwise an cut and paste:

-- "...access to shopping, medical services, recreational facilities, and transportation."

If someone can explain a logical reason why these two descriptions differ, other than lazy writing, I'd love to hear it. Assuming the community requirements should be identical for either another mobile home park or "comparable housing," the list of community services is noted with a "such as," which means the list is in no way exhaustive. It is completely reasonable to expect access to comparable public education is another such requirement.

I think the residents have a valid legal position from which to fight for compensation based on the loss of a great school district.

I do respect property rights, but this is obviously not a simple issue. I hope the Jissers will reconsider selling the park, and some more philanthropists would step forward and help the residents, City, and County buy it.


7 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.


Can you please elaborate on what crime is being caused by the existence of the Buena Vista Park? Otherwise, it sounds like you are libeling the residents.

17 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2015 at 4:10 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

We should have more low-income housing. In my personal and political life, I support low-income housing, health care, education, etc.

However, I do not expect to have to shoulder an unfair myself burden to provide for these things. I also do not ask others to pay more than their fair shares.

In particular not the Jisser family. They have provided low-cost housing for decades. The quality of the job that Joe Jisser has done can be heard in every comment from the residents.

But the Jissers do not want to do this anymore. Decades of generosity should not be used to force more generosity. Unhappily, much of the rhetoric seems to suggest that his property rights should be ignored. This is wrong.

The relocation issue is being greatly overplayed. The ordinance does not include schools or other amenities of this community.

The Jissers should be treated fairly, thanked for their years of support to many people, and allowed to move along in dignity. It's time for others to shoulder this burden.

8 people like this
Posted by Ellen Gold
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Ellen Gold is a registered user.

I'd like to clear up a few things. I've lived at BV for 20 years. The jissers are not generous, they have [portion removed] made a cash cow out of BV. [Portion removed.]

They have never provided management, only rent collection. They've failed to comply w/state law requiring a night and weekend manager on site. Basically, if their lips are moving, they are prevaricating.

They provide no maintenance to the park, ever, unless something is falling down or they are ordered by the state to fix something. I called the city arborist about the house built around a tree. The arborist came out and said not problem.

The city building codes do not apply to BV. BV is only mandated to comply w/the state building codes for mobile home parks. The jissers knew about all building going on in the park. They never advised residents on obtaining permits to build until their ten year state inspections. We've had 2 in the twenty years I've been here. The most recent was about 2 years ago and it took a full year for the jissers to comply with the state requirements.

As far as safety. check out the city's stats on auto burgs for instance. I doubt you will find even one at BV. BV is by far the safest location in town w/the lowest instances of crime in the city.

The jissers are only on site the first and last weeks of the month to prepare rent statements and collect cash rents.The do not enforce the rules they have distributed to the residents. Because the jissers have allowed and encouraged over crowding, there is a huge parking problem which the jissers refuse to ameliorate.

One of the reasons they've encouraged the over crowding is because they've charged non english speaking residents BY THE HEAD for monthly rent. You name the tenant abuse, and I'll give you an example of them doing it.

I receive my mail at a private off site mailing facility because the jissers access the mailboxes at BV.

Please don't feel sorry for the jissers. We intend to pay them fair market value of their property. I recently found a discarded rent statement from the jissers to ONE of the mobile phone companies with antennas on the jissers tower, located next to the spa.

This was in the amount of 3k, for just one mobile phone company for one month. Do the math!

The residents and the neighborhood want the park to exist in perpetuity as safe, low profile, affordable (NOT SUBSIDIZED), low income housing. NO PACK AND STACK.

Once the residents association takes over the park ownership, professional management will be hired and improvements to the park will be made.

9 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Ellen Gold,

A note about economics: there is no way that this park can continue to be operated as a trailer park without some sort of subsidy. The land is simply too valuable. The subsidy might come from the city/county buying it and then running it on a subsidized basis, or from forcing the Jissers to continue operating it without being allowed to sell it, in which case the Jissers would be subsidizing the park.

I support low-income housing but on a fair basis where the costs are borne by all of us and not just one family.

I am sorry that you don't think the family has been generous, I had heard many times that people liked the park and Joe Jisser, whom I do not know, but perhaps I am wrong. In any case, many positive comments have been made about the park by residents in the last few months, including in front of the city council.

3 people like this
Posted by Jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Jerry99 is a registered user.

Be Kind PA- we now have the BV plus four apartments for low income housing within one mile of BV, with the new low income housing development built on the Recordings for the Blind property approximately one year ago. Barron Park has experienced a significant rise in property crime over the last several years including many car break-ins, property theft, gang graffiti, etc. Its true none of this may be the BV residents, or even the other four properties, but the explosion of crime needs to stop and the City Council needs to stop putting all the low income housing in Barron Park.

12 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Crescent Park Dad is a registered user.

Believe me, PAUSD is not the end all in school district excellence.

The Mountain View - Los Altos high schools are equally high performing. So are all of the high schools in the Fremont Union HS district (Fremont/Sunnyvale, Monta Vista, Cupertino, Lynbrook, Homestead). Both districts do not have tragic teen deaths either.

There are seven mobile home parks in Mountain View. Since the MVLA HS district serves those parks, this is a fair comparison to PAUSD. I'm guessing the BV folks don't want to hear about this...

I just looked up one of the available mobile homes for sale in Mountain rental is $1650/month.

16 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 6:54 pm

m2grs is a registered user.

If a doctor has three patients who urgently needs a liver, a heart and a kidney transplant, is it OK for the doctor to find and kill a healthy person in order to save the three lives?

OK you say you can't kill. How about pluck an eye from a healthy person and give it to someone who is going blind so he can see? After all the healthy guy still has one good eye, right? Is that a moral thing to do?

Jisser family has enormous financial interest in their own property. It is not OK to sacrifice their financial interest in order to do some greater good, unless they themselves are willing. This is the foundation of our society. This is why we are not Venezuela.

7 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2015 at 8:12 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

I hate to say it; emotional pleas do not change a law. If & when a judge rules on a law that judgement can be appealed up to the Supreme Court. Something that can be done if a law is unfair " on the face " a jury can NULLIFY the use of a law. Jury Nullification can look at the law and decide that a law will not and cannot in this case.
Evergreen, CO has had a similar case. A land owner wanted to put up condos for the " rich out of state " house buyers. No utilities, just a small patch of land that the owner saw $$$ signs in his eyes. A new set of high density condos were just built up the hill. Evergreen Metro was already stretched to the limit.
Jefferson County Open Space made a reasonable offer for his land and it was turned down....When that land owner saw what permits cost AND a one time " faucet fee " to add sewage and water to the parcel, his hope of $$$ quickly vanished.
I now can see and hear all the juveniles playing organized soccer training on the latest park created by Jefferson County Open Space. It still has to have Porta-Potties on site and no piped in water ( yet ) but people up here know how to get along with the People, Deer, Elk and the occasional predator on their property.
I even had a perfect stranger stop and help me to get back into my ( temporary ) wheelchair today!That kind of unselfish compassion is needed here from both sides.

P.S. Jefferson County has several Mobile Home lots. Elglewood, CO is building Senior Housing next to Swedish Hospital and is within wheelchair and powered wheelchair distance to Downtown.
Boulder, CO has been working on a similar plan and still has several Mobile home parks within walking distance ( and both have nationally acclaimed schools ).

4 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.


I'm not sure if you intended your last post to sound condescending, but it does to me. I would suggest letting those that are pledging money toward buying and running the park concern themselves with how they will accomplish that. Anything else is just speculation.


I can definitely commiserate with your situation in Barron Park, but I truly believe the BV residents are not your problem with crime. The apartment buildings, with much more transient populations, are probably more likely to be the root of increasing crime. I wish I could help you with that, but they are already there. Are you at all concerned about what Jisser will do with this property if he succeeds in evicting the current, stable residents? You could go from the frying pan to the fire...


It's frightening that you equate a human life and critical human body parts with money.

I, for one, have not suggested the Jissers be forced to "sacrifice their financial interest." It's pretty clear they are not interested in sacrificing even a small amount of their fortune for a "greater good," so I did not suggest that. I simply hoped that they would reconsider selling the property, and my assumption was at fair market value.


I agree: the process is moving along and no matter what the City Council decides, there will likely be a lawsuit from one side or the other next. How much better it would be if someone would step up and donate the rest of the money to buy the park, at fair market value, and the Jissers would be willing to sell it to them. There are so many obscenely rich people here that could help a stable community of low income people that adds so much needed diversity to this town.

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Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:25 pm

rick is a registered user.

>> "There are so many obscenely rich people here that could help..."

That would violate the Prime Directive. (There is serious philosophy behind it.)

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Posted by Ellen Gold
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Ellen Gold is a registered user.

rsmithjs, when residents of mobile home parks purchase their parks, no subsidies are involved. check with HCD

from what I've heard the family that owned the park before the jissers came along was very well loved.

look up slum lord - thats what we have with no maintenance, no management, only rent collection.

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:36 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Thanks to all and to Be Kind to PA.
When a discussion becomes emotional in Union dealings, a short " cooling off " period is enacted. When the period is enacted the real money people usually get a deal made. It is presented after the cooling off period and the rank and file either reject it and go on strike or accept what is offered.
The overall problem is affordable housing for the poor and elderly.
You cannot claim these residents have been given a " free ride ". Many have worked for a living in or near Palo Alto. They literally fought for a piece of the " American Dream " and now see it snatched away.
Palo Alto is at a turning point; build new, cheaper housing for many of those BV residents or let them be forced out.

The best way to look at a community is to see how they treat the poor and elderly.
It does not look good for the community in Palo Alto; you may need to put up a statue of the god MAMMON in the new California street works you are doing.

4 people like this
Posted by Richard C. Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

Richard C. Placone is a registered user.

Putting aside all the legal and emotional arguments, I cannot understand why this article and none of the comments have mentioned the fact that the county and the city have jointly identified $16 million from local government funds for just this purpose. In addition, the residents of BV once put together a package of grants, loans and perhaps other means of about $14 million. The residents agreed to assume this amount of debt, a situation I have been told still exists. This results in a potential fund of $30 million. If the Jissers are asking $33 million, it seems to me that the city and the county could come up with an additional $3 million. Or perhaps a few of Palo Alto's billionaires could make tax free contributions. I have personally written to two such persons who live in Palo Alto, suggesting they contribute to the cause. I have received no acknowledgement of my letter. It is too bad that in such a wealthy community this problem cannot be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. And anticipating some comments on my message - No, I am in not financial position to come up with that kind of money, but would if I could. I do agree that BV should be saved for the residents and the community, and that the Jisser family should receive fair compensation for their property.

2 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Crescent Park Dad is a registered user.

There's no such thing as a tax free donation.

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Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:27 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Have not followed the whole story but if there is some money being made available, is there are other piece of land in Palo Alto available to buy?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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