News

Buena Vista's closure hangs on new appraisal

Emotionally torn City Council upholds decision by hearing officer but asks for assessment of monetary value of local education to park residents

Though the fate of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park remains cloudy, residents of the sprawling El Camino Real park received a sliver of good news Tuesday night when the Palo Alto City Council agreed to raise the financial compensation that they would receive in exchange for eviction.

After a five-and-a-half hour discussion, the council unanimously affirmed the decision by Hearing Officer Craig Labadie to approve the Relocation Impact Report, which lays out the relocation compensation that would be provided to residents when the park closes. The document is a key component of the application, initiated in late 2012 by the Jisser family, the property owners, to shutter the mobile-home park.

Yet even in approving the document, the council added a long list of conditions and modifications that would significantly alter it in ways that favor the residents. The biggest change was a requirement that a new appraisal be conducted for the Buena Vista mobile homes and that this time the appraiser consider the impact of being displaced from Palo Alto schools.

The Relocation Impact Report that was approved by Labadie last fall excludes schools from consideration, a point of deep contention between the park owners and the Buena Vista residents. The council's decision sets the stage for another hearing next month, at which time the legal clash over relocation assistance will resume.

Tuesday's hearing was the council's second of two nights on the topic of Buena Vista's closure. For yet another evening, hundreds of Buena Vista residents packed into City Hall, wearing black T-Shirts that stated, "Save Our Homes." Once again, the Council Chambers was filled with yellow stickers and hand-held signs, though this time the crowd began to dissipate as the discussion dragged on into the late hours of the night.

The tone and the substance of Tuesday's discussion was strikingly different from Monday's. While the first day was filled with emotional, at times tearful, testimony from dozens of Buena Vista residents and their supporters, the second day was dominated by legal wrangling by attorneys and intricate, paragraph-long motions from the council. At the heart of the debate was the methodology used for appraising the properties and the role of schools in determining compensation for residents.

The council found itself in a highly unusual position Tuesday, more akin to a judge scrutinizing a highly technical case than a legislative body setting policy. Its task was to consider the appeal from the Buena Vista Mobile Home Association, which contested Labadie's approval, saying the Jissers' offer isn't sufficient to allow the residents to find comparable housing elsewhere. The Jissers' attorney, Margaret Nanda, argued that her client has the right to close down the park and he has followed all the local and state rules associated with the closure.

Council members made it clear in their early comments that their decision wouldn't rest on their personal views but rather on narrow legal issues. Councilman Marc Berman called Tuesday night "probably the most difficult night I've ever had on the council.

"Often as a council member I'm free to let my values dictate my vote, and I've been comfortable and confident with all the votes I've cast. ... Tonight, my values are pleading with me to do everything I can to stop the closure of Buena Vista and to keep the residents in place," Berman said, with a crowd of Buena Vista residents looking on. "You all are important to the fabric of our community. We're losing that socioeconomic diversity, and I'm worried that we're losing it permanently."

Yet he noted that Tuesday was "different" from other meetings.

"Tonight, I'm not here to make policy decisions. Tonight, my job is to determine whether the state law and the city ordinance is being followed," he said.

Councilman Greg Scharff likewise called the Tuesday deliberations "difficult," conflicting with his desire to save the largely low-income and Hispanic community of about 400 people. But he struck a hopeful tone, referencing behind-the-scenes efforts by nonprofit organizations to buy the park and preserve it.

"No matter how the council votes today, one of the things the public should know is that it's not a vote to close the park, but really the beginning of saving the park," Scharff said. He said he looks forward to future community discussions about "how we can save Buena Vista."

Councilman Eric Filseth told the crowd that while no one wants to close the park, the park owner is not responsible for maintaining the city's socioeconomic diversity. Yet he also acknowledged the park's closure would hit its residents hard.

"I don't think there can be any misinterpretation of the human suffering that's going to happen if the park closes," Filseth said. "A lot of these Palo Altans are not likely to find housing anywhere near Palo Alto, in some cases even in the Bay Area. Children in Palo Alto schools will be uprooted and taken elsewhere."

While the council's affirmation of Labadie's decision was in some ways a victory for the Jisser family, it could turn out to be a Pyrrhic one. The list of conditions that the council appended to its approval was long, substantial and largely responsive to the wishes of the Buena Vista Residents Association. By the time the council finished crafting its list of requirements, the Jissers' visibly exasperated attorney was threatening to take the city to court.

At the heart of the debate was a simple question with an ambiguous answer: Does the city's ordinance require schools to be considered in the relocation compensation package? The Jissers believe it does not. The residents say it does.

The city's ordinance is not clear. It requires the park owner to provide the residents with adequate compensation to afford housing in a "comparable mobile-home park." Such a park would have to be "located within a community similar to that in which the park that is being closed is located and has similar access to community amenities such as shopping, medical services, recreational facilities and transportation."

Attorney Nanda noted that the ordinance does not include "schools" in its list of amenities. Councilman Cory Wolbach countered that it does include the words "such as" and that they effectively broaden the list of amenities to include other items that are not specifically called out -- most notably, schools.

"The purpose of including expansive language is to allow for consideration at a future time of items that may not have been included in a specific list," Wolbach said.

Nadia Aziz, an attorney representing the residents, agreed and argued that the listed amenities are meant to be examples. Palo Alto's schools should be included in consideration of compensation, she argued.

"If you look at what makes Palo Alto Palo Alto, it's the schools," Aziz said. "When you look for housing, in particular in Palo Alto, they list which schools are closest to the real estate listing. The reason why prices are so high here is because of schools. That's a factor that needs to be in consideration when you look at comparable housing."

It was Councilman Pat Burt who ultimately proposed to add "schools and safety" to the scope of factors that would have to be considered in a new appraisal. The council also required the park owner to complete a survey of rents in jurisdictions around Palo Alto and spelled out a process for the homeowners to submit supplemental data to the hearing officer in response to the updated appraisals.

The proposal to revise the scope of the appraisal met a sharp rebuke from Nanda. She explicitly reserved her right to go to court to appeal the council's revisions to the appraisal's scope. The council, she argued, is effectively rewriting the law.

"You're changing the process and the procedure of the ordinance itself," Nanda said. "I don't think you can change the ordinance against my client like that."

With its unanimous vote, the council extended the debate over the relocation assistance into next month. Even so, several members acknowledged early in the meeting that the residents are about to face some difficult times.

Councilwoman Liz Kniss noted that the closure process is "very hard" for the residents but urged them to remain hopeful. She also pointed to the ongoing effort by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and other elected representatives to raise money for Buena Vista's preservation. Simitian and the county Board of Supervisors have already committed to earmarking $8 million for Buena Vista's purchase. Palo Alto City Manager James Keene likewise set aside $8 million in local funds for the cause, pending the council's approval.

"I do not want you to give up hope," Kniss told the residents. "This is really a tough position for all of us. Everyone feels bad about it, there's no question. I never feel that you can give up that little glimmer that I hope is still out there. I hope you still will keep hoping."

To watch a video on Tuesday's deliberations, visit the YouTube channel.

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

Comments

63 people like this
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 15, 2015 at 6:39 am

What about residents that don't have children in Palo Alto schools? Are they going to get additional compensation? The City Council is out of control-----again. This will end up in court and cost the tax payers plenty.


67 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 6:56 am

I live across the road from the park and thus and well aware of what goes on there, for example:
* Exceedingly loud music that violates city ordinances
* Police activity a few times a month
* Residents frequently drive at fast unsafe speeds through our complex, where young kids live and are often outside. My appeals to them to slow down, or better yet drive along Los Robles instead and rejected often with a curse word or the middle finger.

I don't believe this behavior would be acceptable anywhere in Palo Alto or any other civilized city.

I don't object to the trailer park, I often walk through there and donate clothing and toys to the residents. I only ask that they behave in a manner that is respectable to their neighbors.


57 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:21 am

I attended the CC meeting.
It was appalling to witness the council's confusion by the wording of their own ordinance. The key issue causing amendments was interpretation of the "intent" of the wording where unclear, yet not one of the CC members had contacted any of the council members who crafted the Original Ordinance a decade ago to get clarification. And where was the City Attorney ?


51 people like this
Posted by Spoiled CC
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:42 am

Our city council is like a spoiled child who tries to change the rules of a game they are playing when they start to lose the game. As others have mentioned I believe their behavior will end the city up in court and cost the taxpayers money. Very, very disappointed in our elected officials for trying to change their own ordinance so late in this process.


58 people like this
Posted by Miscarriage of justice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:43 am

"The list of conditions that the council appended to its approval was long, substantial and largely responsive to the wishes of the Buena Vista Residents Association. "

Anyone surprised by this? The council, under the leadership of Karen Holman, is clearly clueless as to it's own law. Does Holman and the council think that they can change the rules as they please, in order to appease a very vocal minority. This meeting was supposed to decide if Jisser had met the conditions in order to close the park (the city appointed arbitrator had earlier decided that he did). Why does the council think that they can now throw more roadblocks in Jisser's way--many of them not mentioned in the city's own ordinance? Obviously to appease certain people. Some of the council members have clear conflicts of interest--they are good friends and colleagues with the leaders of the anti-Jisser/closure movement. Clearly, in this case, the council (under sway from the anti-Jisser/closure movement) has no respect for the private property rights of the owner of the park.
It is quite clear what the endgame is--continue to throw obstacles in Jisser's path until he gets fed up and sells that park at below market value.
I thnk his only chance for relief is a lawsuit directed against the city and it's council


63 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:55 am

This is a City-sponsored shakedown of a private property owner. It is also the setup for a massive lawsuit against the City.


32 people like this
Posted by Legal Eagle
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:58 am

Congrats to the CC on getting this right.

Well done to Councilmember Burt who stuck with it through the obfuscatory ranting of the Jisser's attorney. She was doing her job and advocating for her client but she really did not need to be given the chance to talk so extensively for an additional length of time. If anything that was unfair to the residents, who did not get a similar amount of time for their attorney.

The primary problem I saw was that the Council largely did not understand how to sit in a quasi judicial role. It was not "changing" or "rewriting" the scope of the ordinance. It was finding that the Hearing Officer erred when he determined that schools should be excluded from consideration. That's an error by the Hearing Officer that the Council was entitled to correct on appeal.

Molly should have clarified that and she probably put the City in a somewhat disadvantageous position going forward if she does not correct for that by the next meeting.

The way to handle this is to use the language from the ordinance that defines "comparable mobile home park" as a "similar community." She can set this off in Whereas clauses, simply wording the resolution to make it clear that the plain language of the ordinance does not exclude the consideration of schools; that the council considered but rejected Jisser's argument that it does exclude the consideration of schools; and that the Hearing Officer erred in concluding that the language of the ordinance or the intent of the ordinance was to exclude the consideration of schools and the safety of the surrounding community.

That is a finding of an error and a correction on appeal, not a change to the "scope" of the appraisal. The appraisal was incorrectly done and now must be correctly done. The issue is being remanded to the hearing officer for a correct appraisal rather than the incorrect one previously done.

All the howling about lawsuits is just that. When the number comes in 20% higher they will pay it. They still get a huge bag of money at the end, now slightly reduced by the FMV of the homes. On the other hand, they treated the park as a wasting asset for the last 15 years and allowed it to become a slum, so it's hard to feel sorry for the poor slumlord who is now getting a big windfall from the schools, which will be reflected in his sales price.


28 people like this
Posted by Legal Eagle
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:19 am

It was also in my opinion both unseemly and improper for Nanda to repeatedly threaten to sue the City in a clear (and often successful) effort to intimidate Molly and the Council. There was entirely too much deference to her -- nothing like that would ever have been shown by an actual judicial body. She preserved her objections for the record, which is fine. But to say repeatedly, "we will consider court action" was a blatant effort to intimidate the decision makers sitting in a judicial body and it was ugly. The second time it happened, she should have been corrected and the third time she should have been told to sit down.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:26 am

One thing I haven't seen mentioned (although it may have been and I just missed it) is where do these people work at present. If they are working in Palo Alto, how far away will they have to commute to get to their jobs? If they are forced to live more than an hour's commute, will they still be able to keep their jobs?

Now I understand that we are not responsible for that, but at the same time we are getting ourselves into a quandary in that our service workers are going to be priced out of the area. As with the "gentrification" of EPA, the area is becoming more and more expensive for service workers to live here.

MacDonalds workers are protesting for higher wages for living expenses.

Our basic cost of living in Palo Alto is going to get higher as we start paying service workers higher wages.

A $10 Happy Meal may soon be a reality.


46 people like this
Posted by Missed opportunity
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:27 am

Is this a missed opportunity to just close the park and clean up the area? Instead the CC has created a bunch of delaying tactics which could allow this trailer/RV park to continue while all sorts of undefined factors are "worked" out.

Fortunately, they do have until May 4 to clean up the mess they created.

It is time to close this facility and move on. We don't need to buy more time.


21 people like this
Posted by Miscarriage of justice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:29 am

"Congrats to the CC on getting this right. "
So you agree with the decision of the council that the Jisser family can close the park?

"It was not "changing" or "rewriting" the scope of the ordinance. It was finding that the Hearing Officer erred when he determined that schools should be excluded from consideration. "
The council IS trying to re-write the ordinance, so that it favors their buddies. There is nothing in the ordinance discussing schools. The hearing officer made no errors. the council is way out of line last night.

"It was also in my opinion both unseemly and improper for Nanda to repeatedly threaten to sue the City in a clear (and often successful) effort to intimidate Molly and the Council. "
When the council was so clearly ignoring their own ordinance, the lawyer had no choice but to remind the council that they may be sued over this gross violation if rights.


20 people like this
Posted by Legal Eagle
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:34 am

Yes I agree that the family can close the park. But the law must be fully complied with prior to that closure. One of the requirements of the law is the payment of a lump sum for those whose homes cannot be moved. The calculation of that sum is provided by the ordinance. That ordinance does not exclude the consideration of schools. The hearing officer erred when he excluded the value of the schools.

That determination of error on appeal is what happened last night, and the Council must clarify that when they take this back up again or they will be open to suit. It was late, they were tired, most of them are dumb anyway, the only lawyer on the Council didn't really care about helping the residents, and everyone was putting on a show of crocodile tears except for Schmid and Burt. Burt was the only one who seemed to have any idea what he was doing, and even he struggled to get out the message that this was an error on appeal not a rewrite.


22 people like this
Posted by Miscarriage of justice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:42 am

"That ordinance does not exclude the consideration of schools. The hearing officer erred when he excluded the value of the schools. "

You are wrong. As stated in the article above:
"The city's ordinance is not clear on this matter. It requires the park owner to provide the residents with adequate compensation to afford housing in a "comparable mobile-home park."
Nanda noted that the ordinance does not include "schools" in its list of amenities. Councilman Cory Wolbach countered that it does include the words "such as" and that they effectively broaden the list of amenities to include other items that are not specifically called out -- most notably, schools."

It is quite clear that the council is illegally trying to change the wording of the ordinance at this juncture. If the city had wanted to include schools in the ordinance, it could have when they wrote it over 10 years ago. After all,w e all know this ordinance was written specifically for the only mobile home park in town.

The council clearly overstepped their bounds and will get slapped down for it in the future,


7 people like this
Posted by bottom line
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

Bottom line is do we want poor people living in Palo Alto? Yes or no. There is no inbetween.


24 people like this
Posted by NancyK
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:25 am

The City Council is on solid legal footing to require the park owner include the value of Palo Alto's top ranked education system in evaluating the compensation due to the mobile park residents.

The Palo Alto closure ordinance requires the park owner to compensate the Buena Vista families at a level that allows them to relocate to a "Comparable Mobilehome Park."

The ordinance then defines a “Comparable Mobilehome Park” as “a mobilehome park that is . . . located within a community similar to that in which the park that is being closed is located.”

The issue is - what is a “community similar” to Palo Alto? The answer is fairly easy - Palo Alto is its schools. The Palo Alto schools are the reason families – not just the Buena Vista families – move to Palo Alto. Palo Alto schools are the first factor listed in any home sale - the neighborhood schools close to the particular home for sale.

Also, "a community similar" to Palo Alto includes top quality medical services, safe neighborhoods, and transportation opportunities.

The ordinance requires these factors defining Palo Alto to be included in the package so the mobile park home owners may relocate to "a community similar" to Palo Alto.

That's the law, and City Council carefully followed it last night.

The hearing officer erred in omitting these significant factors.


37 people like this
Posted by Richard Watson
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

There's plenty of affordable homes for working class people in the Central Valley. Living in an affluent community is a privilege, not a right. California politicians need to use common sense.


6 people like this
Posted by comparable park vs comparable apartment
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:30 am

I agree with Nanda that schools shouldn’t be included, but I think Scharff made the case better than Nanda. The “such as” phrase is only in the definition of Comparable Mobilehome Park. If the resident decides to move to a mobile home park, they get the benefit of the “such as” and can have schools included.

“Such as” appears nowhere in the definition of comparable housing. That clearly says apartment or condominium […] that has similar access to shopping, medical services, recreational facilities, and transportation OR a comparable mobile home in a comparable mobile home park.” OR. You either get the apartment or condo with the medical, shopping, rec, and transportation, OR you get the mobile home with the “such as” that comes with it.


18 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:38 am

I just voted for more money for the schools to help increase the value of my home. Since when do the schools not figure into comparable value of residential real estate? The law says "comparable" value, that would mean schools too.


22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:38 am

I get Richard Watson's point.

I just question whether they can get work in the Central Valley and if all the poor people move there, what will happen to our service sector?

Do we want the school janitors, the garbage collectors, the restaurant bus boys, the car wash workers, all living and commuting from the Central Valley too?

There is something wrong in a society if we think of our service workers as not worthy of living near us. Either we expect them to commute two hours each way, or we expect no services, I don't see how we can have both.


Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:24 am

Brouhaha...nothing to see here


5 people like this
Posted by justin
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

While I do sympathize with the park residents I also feel for the park owner who has the right to sell their property. The park residents knew getting into it that they were only renting spaces at the park and that they could be kicked out someday. Most of the residents have very little chance of moving their mobile homes to another park because most parks will not allow older homes to be moved into their parks. The trailers might have a better chance of finding a park but the demand for park spaces is so high there is probably low vacancies. If they city council and all the concerned citizens are so passionate about helping these residents then maybe they should buy the park from the owner and let the residents stay. What ever compensation the residents get is not going to go too far. I heard is was something like $25k right now maybe that amount will increase with the new rules the council has laid out for the owner but even if it doubled to $50k which is insane to expect the park owner to pay these renter that much to move out they will still not find much in the way of another mobile home anywhere in the bay area.


32 people like this
Posted by Perspectives
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:27 am

Perspectives is a registered user.

@Bottom line: I don't agree with your bottom line assessment- this is not about whether we want poor people in PA or not.

One of, if not the, biggest issues in this case is that so many people are thinking that is what this is all about, when in fact, what this is about is the fact the Jissners are not legally required to subsidize low-income city housing on their own personal real estate. It's a legal private-property rights issue. The emotional aspect and pleas are understood- this is a sad and heartbreaking situation- but it's come down to a purely legal responsibility issue. The Jissners do not have an obligation to be the ones shouldering low-income housing opportunities.

As soon as people cut through the emotional elements of this case, only then can we ( I.e Council) begin to make logical and wise decisions about how to move forward with fair and appropriately legal compensation for the displaced residents.

Now- I don't see how there is a reasonable way to assess a monetary value of the loss of a "Palo Alto education".... I think trying to do so is going too far. Yes, it's a great school district, but please... So many people act like it's nirvana and are getting way too caught up in this- including the realtors who follow the lead of pushing it as the number one reason to move here. Come on- that is not the number one reason to move here (and I've had kids in PAUSD for years). Economic opportunity, general community (not just school!), and many many conveniences and access to amazing things and places are the main reasons.

Besides, there are oodles of other school districts in the country that offer great educations and don't need to get ranked with 990 API scores- and these places also produce successful and wealthy graduates. Perspective has been lost I think, and is greatly needed in this Buena Vista case.

The spirit of the "similar community" provision is clearly to ensure the BV residents won't get compared to a community in the slums or in a dangerous town or- with respect to education- in a town with awful schools. "Similar community" schools should be a community with good schools, period. But to try to grab at and monetize a "special wonderful pinacle PAUSD education" is completely losing perspective.


43 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:32 am

@bottom line....This is about the right of the property owner to sell the land he owns and has nothing to do with whether or not we want poor people living in Palo Alto. We don't have a say in this. It has been legally determined that he can sell. He has conformed with the letter of the law and has been generous with his compensation offers. City Council can't change the law on the fly and if they try this stunt, the city will be sued and lose.


31 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

This little ego exercise is gonna cost PA taxpayers.

Why of course no other school system could ever be comparable to our PAUSD, so we'll just put the BV owners on the hook for an undefinable unfulfillable obligation that we impulsively decided to add to a done contract.

It'll not be pleasant when a series of judges (surely we'll appeal this sacred point all the way to the Supreme Court) slaps that silliness down, and our smug city hall gets the lawyers' bills.

Recall those chuzzlewitted knuckleheads now!


31 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:05 am

Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google. All companies who have BILLIONS in the bank. 30 million is chump change to them, especially collectively. They should pay for that mobile home park to be saved.

After all, they created this monster.


11 people like this
Posted by Difficult decision
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:26 am

It was amusing to listen to the ego-centered remarks of Marc Berman, and how difficult this decision is for him (as though his difficulty even compares with other people's).

"Often as a council member I'm free to let my values dictate my vote, and I've been comfortable and confident with all the votes I've cast. .."

We do know what his values are from his occupation (business lawyer) and his votes in favor of development and real estate interests. He wasn't explicit about those values.


33 people like this
Posted by Follow-The-Law
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

What's interesting about this schools issue is that none of the residents contribute to running the schools via direct taxation--like other property owners are. While the property as a whole is taxed, and presumably the rent for each resident includes a portion of the tax, this amount is never seen by each resident.

As to parcel taxes, the 100-odd "homes" share only one parcel tax collection, which comes to about $10.

Amazing how important PAUSD schools can be when you are not paying the bills to operate them.


19 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:31 am

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

The ordinance also requires the "similar community" to be located within *35 miles*. So trying to send these folks to the central valley and across the rest of the country is not an option.

Definition of similar (Merriam-webster.com): "almost the same as someone or something else." "having characteristics in common : strictly comparable." "alike in substance or essentials."

I am at a loss to understand how anyone can exclude schools (as well as the many other amenities @Perspectives highlights: Economic opportunity, general community (not just school!), and many many conveniences and access to amazing things and places...) as part of the assessment of "similar."

As I wrote on another thread, the fact that the "such as" terminology was left out when describing "comparable housing" versus "comparable mobile home park" is nonsensical and most likely due to laziness on the part of those whom drafted it. I believe the CC must define "similar community" the same way whether it is with respect to a mobile home park or comparable housing. I suspect any judge would interpret the intention of the ordinance and not just the exclusion of two words.

I strongly suspect that if this park was full of all white people the community reaction would be far more sympathetic.

I'll say again: I am not suggesting Jisser subsidize anything, just adhere to the ordinance. Sorry if that means paying the residents more than you want to, but the assessment of the residents' value should be calculated the same way the Jissers property value is assessed, and I guarantee that includes schools and all of the things wonderful and unique about Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:43 am

After the city pays $30M for the property, who will be responsible for eventually building the housing?
They should be using the money to start moving the families out 1 by 1, so that in 2 -3 years the site can be redeveloped.
Move the residents to the top of low-income housing lists in Palo Alto and offer bonuses to people who move sooner (to other communities.


16 people like this
Posted by Miscarriage of justice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:47 am

"The ordinance also requires the "similar community" to be located within *35 miles*. "
SO what "similar communities" are within 35 miles. We know that Palo alto is special and is a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. So that means THERE ARE NO similar cities.
I wonder if this ordinance would stand for a legal challenge. Sounds like it is badly written. Also looks like it was written for the sole purpose of targeting a single individual. And now the council wants to make changes to it on the fly!!!
Shows you how out of touch and clueless Holman et all are


11 people like this
Posted by minor details
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:57 am

Schools are regularly taken into consideration when detailing compensation for home owners. e.g.: Web Link

"A comparable unit has facilities that are equivalent to the household's
existing rental mobilehome with regards to the following features: a) unit
size including the number of rooms; b) rent range; c) major kitchen and
bathroom facilities; d) special facilities for the handicapped or senior
citizens; and e) willingness to accept families with children. comparable
unit is located in an area no less desirable than the household's existing unit
with regards to accessibility to the following features: a) the household's
place(s) of employment; b) community and commercial facilities; c) schools;
and d) public transportation. unit is not comparable if it is located in
building for which notice of intent to convert or demolish has been given."

The city's ordinance is just poorly worded and the attorney was taking advantage of that. This has been the problem from the beginning. It's not about whether the Jissers can close the park, it's the level of compensation they need to make to the home owners.


29 people like this
Posted by dennis
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:59 am

This is liberalism at its ugliest best. The owners have the right to sell the park, end of story.


10 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Miscarriage: It doesn't seem you have even read the ordinance before screaming that the council is "trying to make changes to it on the fly." Like any law, the ordinance has to be interpreted where it is less than clear, and that is all the CC is doing here.

This ordinance was, in fact, written with the cooperation of the Jissers when they were working with the City of Palo Alto on providing affordable housing back in 2001. I can't help but wonder if the city staff member deliberately left out the "such as" wording to give the Jissers a loophole... Even 10 years ago it was obvious none of the homes in the park could be moved to another mobile home park.

Not sure what happened to the "affordable housing" plan the Jissers were talking about back then - that seems to have disappeared.


2 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Should have said *15 years ago.


27 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm

We are truly in a silly season. As I have posted before, I am sympathetic to the mobile home renters, but we have rules and laws in this country, including private property rights. It is up to YOU to know what you are getting into if you rent in a mobile home park, purchase a town home or sign whatever contract. It is not up to the private property owners to guarantee lifetime low rent or special dispensations, or to the taxpayer/government to provide a specified special deal to these people. I am disappointed in the Palo Alto City Council and support the landowner in this case.


10 people like this
Posted by Miscarriage of justice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm

"Miscarriage: It doesn't seem you have even read the ordinance before screaming that the council is "trying to make changes to it on the fly." Like any law, the ordinance has to be interpreted where it is less than clear, and that is all the CC is doing here. '
I have read the ordinance. Schools are not mentioned at all. The article clearly states that the council added a whole list of requirements. If they had wanted the ordinance "interperted" in another way, they should have made that clear when this whole process started years ago.
The council is clearly out of touch and acting in an unprofessional manner (not unexpected).

"Not sure what happened to the "affordable housing" plan the Jissers were talking about back then - that seems to have disappeared."
That is completely irrelevant to this discussion


15 people like this
Posted by Richard C. Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Richard C. Placone is a registered user.

I posted this comment in Monday's story on this subject, so may as well repeat it here:
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.


17 people like this
Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:24 pm

When the "hostage" situation going to end! There is an ever increasing "greed" for ransoms as the final moment approaches!
The politicians just "grand standing" and seeking spot lights!


12 people like this
Posted by a one off
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:29 pm

It would be nice if we had a motion and unanimous vote of the Council to assure the rest of us of comparable neighborhoods and amenities and quality of life to what we had when we moved here and what we expected. Let's
make this public pronouncement of values last night not a one off situation.


25 people like this
Posted by Follow-The-Law
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Not only is the idea of compensating the families having to move for the value of the schools hard to fathom--harder to fathom is who should get that money? Should it go to the parents, or the children? How would the City of Palo Alto force the parents to use any school-based compensation to actually be spent on education of their children?


14 people like this
Posted by Eric F
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Eric F is a registered user.

I would disagree with the folks who argue that the Council rewrote city and state laws last night. If you look at the final Motion that passed, I think you’ll find it hews closely to the Hearing Officer’s report.

In my mind we included essentially three things: a very limited ability for residents to request review of their Appraisal; a modification of how some primarily “un-permitted” additions should be treated in the calculation of the first-year rental subsidy; and that the Appraiser make extra sure the value of schools and safety are properly represented in the Appraisal.

Of course the discussion last night ranged much wider than what eventually made it into the Motion, and rightly so – these are serious issues which will impact 400 Palo Altans’ lives. The Ordinance is clear on the importance of the value of the homes, and I don’t recall any disagreement that school quality is a key driver of home value in Palo Alto. It was very important to us to get this right. At the same time, this kind of Appraisal is quite complicated, and nobody on Council wanted to tell the Appraiser how to do his job. IMO the language that ended up in the Motion captured the right balance.

Again, I would encourage anybody interested in the details of this to read the actual Motion from last night, but I don’t believe any of this either conflicts with the Ordinance, or is in fact unreasonable.

(It’s probably a little confusing, but I should add that the majority of the two evenings’ contention about school value did not directly focus on the home appraisals at all, but applied to a different part of the Ordinance, covered elsewhere in the Hearing Officer’s decision.)


29 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:42 pm

People are all too eager to spend other people's money for issues that are so important to them that they can't be bothered to kick in anything but a few words on an online bulletin board.

It is a shame that these residents need to find a new place to live. In a way they were getting the benefits of living in the community without really paying the price so they should be thankful they got as much as they did. Should they be compensated if the city they have to move in doesn't have a decent downtown? Where does it end? If they live in some districts they can apply to access the PA schools via the Tinsley program can't they? What is the value of a PA education versus a Santa Clara or Sunnyvale education? What if they don't even have any kids??

Enough is enough already. Let the property owner do what he wants. In a way I hope he does sue the city just to try to teach a lesson to people-- although I doubt they will learn anything from the experience.


12 people like this
Posted by Miscarriage of justice
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Naturally Eric F. is eager to defend his and the council's behavior last night. His comments need to be viewed as those made by a politician trying to cover himself from the blowback.

Eric F. states:
" If you look at the final Motion that passed, I think you'll find it hews closely to the Hearing Officer's report."

While Gennady and the Weekly state:
"The list of conditions that the council appended to its approval was long, substantial and largely responsive to the wishes of the Buena Vista Residents Association. By the time the council finished crafting its list of requirements, the Jissers' visibly exasperated attorney was threatening to take the city to court.:

So is the weekly guilty, once again, of trying to fan the flames with provocative, yet false, reporting? Or is Eric F trying to sugercaot what the council did?


35 people like this
Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:50 pm

I just get completely disgusted when I heard this nonsense that has come out of the City Council. All Silicon Valley has good schools. It is only the self aggrandizing of Palo Alto residents that think that Palo Alto is the center of the universe. If you look in the multiple listing you will see San Francisco has higher property values and is supposed to have schools less "center of the universe" than Palo Alto schools.
Value of Schools is intangible and not a factor in property values for Silicon Valley- it might be in Amish country where all grades go to the same schoolroom, but not here.
What incredible stupidity, Trailer Park closure generally takes 6-9 months in CA, but we are at 3 1/2 years and the City Council is still making up reasons to slow roll it to appease the trailer park residents.


10 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Well, if I was one of these BV residents, I would take the dislocation money, buy a big motorhome, and stay right here in the Palo Alto area. With a last permanent address being Palo Alto, the kids can continue to attend PAUSD schools. Gas to move the vehicle every day would be cheaper than paying rent.

They could even afford to join the Elks club and use their parking lot for periods of time. Does Walmart still allow motor homes to stay overnight in their parking lots?

Maybe the only way to get through to this City is to add 100 motor homes and 400 homeless people to our streets. That would be too bad for the Palo Alto residents that can afford to live here, but life isn't always fair, is it.


33 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2015 at 1:04 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

The city council is a political entity that is accustomed to being responsive to its constituencies. It is interested in creating policy, not enforcing procedures.

This fact became very apparent last night. The council was in a purely judicial role on this matter. Here is a summary of how they handled it.

1. They wore their hearts on their sleeves and fell over each other to say how much they did not want to follow the city's own laws. They were not even-handed or dispassionate in the least.
2. They argued at length and openly about how to circumvent the ordinance to provide additional compensation, even considering very open-ended terms.
3. Their eventual decision clearly rewrites the ordinance in only ways that are favorable to the residents.

Yes, Palo Alto is about the schools, this has always been obvious. It was certainly obvious to the council that wrote this ordinance in 2001. Had they wanted schools to be included in the compensation process, they would have added it at that time. The word "schools" is conspicuous by its absence in the ordinance. Senseless semantic arguments about phrases like "such as" were just an excuse for denying the clear legislative intent of the 2001 council.

The council has now created the possibility of a court case against the city and have done so with their eyes wide open and having been fully warned of the possible consequences.


7 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2015 at 1:32 pm

"The Ordinance is clear on the importance of the value of the homes, and I don't recall any disagreement that school quality is a key driver of home value in Palo Alto."

So how do you objectively quantify that, Eric, as you now must do in order to fix the value of the BV compensation? How do you attach defensible numbers to the relative quality of our neighboring school districts and to their quantitative influence on property valuation in their communities?

That is the challenge the council gave itself last night. Tell us how you think it can be resolved.


17 people like this
Posted by Michelle H
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm

What really strikes me reading through the comments is the notion that somehow only children of affluent parents "deserve" a Palo Alto education or for that matter a PA "lifestyle". Have we forgotten that public education is supposed to be the great equalizer - really a joke in the US where funding is largely locally sourced making it very much dependent on the wealth of the community. And are we blind to the reality that our very nice PA lifestyle is very much dependent on the low wage workforce that is being pushed out of not only our city, but our region?

If the community of Palo Alto cannot find a way to keep the residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto it will be a tragedy, not only for the residents but also for what it says about who we are and what we value.

I sat in the meeting last night with my 7th grader and have been discussing the issues with all my children. My daughter did not get to her homework last night (civic engagement takes priority over grades) and she will not be attending the very expensive (optional) trip to Washington in 8th grade. Instead, as a family we will continue to engage at the local level, including attending City Hall meetings and figuring out how we can in our own small way support efforts to save the only truly low-income community left inside the borders of Palo Alto.

I have faith that the city, PA school board and many residents really do care about the fate of the residents of Buena Vista. Lets turn that faith into action, channeling not only the incredible wealth - but also the spirit of innovation and disruption that are hallmarks of Silicon Valley - into finding a way to save Buena Vista.


9 people like this
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm

With $8M from Santa Clara County and $8M from the City of Palo Alto, the Palo Alto Housing Corp. could kick in the $6.4M they got in profit from selling Maybell($22M sale price-$15.6M purchase price) to total $22.4M.

How much more is needed to buy out Jissers and upgrade park?


18 people like this
Posted by Perspectives
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm

@Michelle H: I haven't gotten the same vibe from the comments (that many people think only the affluent deserve a good education)

Would you agree that much of what makes PAUSD a stand-out from the norm is the personal funding from parents in the community (PTA, PiE, etc), as well as a spectacularly large amount of parent volunteers and parent-funded events? This has been my experience. It's not to say the teachers don't contribute, or administrators, or some policies, etc., but when the layers are peeled back, much of what pushes PAUSD forward is due to efforts of the community. I think anyone who contributes to that "deserves" the specific PAUSD education. Otherwise, yes, anyone in America has access to public education and- ideally- it would all be equal.

But whether someone has the "right" to a PAUSD education isn't really the issue here with BV. It's whether a private citizen with personal property should be forced to shoulder the burden of a steroidally-high-income community not having enough low-income properties.

I think one lesson to be learned from this is that Palo Alto certainly has a lot of passion around providing low-income housing.... this should be channeled appropriately. Let's find ways to get that properly funded and managed and not put the burden on one man and his family who are not personally choosing to be the primary benefactor.


44 people like this
Posted by What?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm

I cannot believe this is not over with yet. When people can't afford the mortgage payment or rent in Palo Alto, they move elsewhere. Why are these people so entitled? Why does anyone owe them any money? Because they are poor? When people move from a rental because they can't afford rent, no one pays them.


9 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Bike Commuter,

The Jissers have stated that they have no interest in selling. Just like the rest of us, there is no way to force the owners to sell other than eminent domain, which has its own problems.

Estimates on the value of the property start at $30M and go up. It all depends on how it is developed. One approach would be to shut down the park and then wait a few years for the right opportunity to redevelop. I suspect he will let some time pass and wait until people want the park redeveloped. My speculation is that, once the conversion has taken place, a quiet offer of $40M would get them to sell, but that would be a very good price.

Fixing up the park could also be very expensive, depending on how aggressive you are about codes and the like.

One estimate I ran a few weeks ago showed the rental rates increasing by a factor of 2.5 or more if you wanted the park to be self-sustaining without ongoing subsidization, after paying market value for the land and fixing things up. This is because you have to a) buy the land, including all of the hassles, b) fix the park (at city contract rates!), and c) staff the park with people to take care of it, collect rents etc. All of this is done quite expensively by our city.

It is a question how much effort the city will actually put into this. Remember, if the park is redeveloped as housing according to existing zoning, the city will get a lot of taxes that they would not receive by keeping it a park. The city is conflicted. Like the owner, they may want to wait until this blows over and then see the space redeveloped. The #1 priority of the city council is revenue generation.


6 people like this
Posted by Eric F
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Eric F is a registered user.

@curmudgeon: “How do you attach defensible numbers to the relative quality of our neighboring school districts and to their quantitative influence on property valuation in their communities?”


What a simple and sensible question. The answer is not only complicated, but turns out to be extra complicated for mobile home parks, where you buy the home but only rent the property; and even more complicated for Buena Vista in particular, which has a number of characteristics not commonly found in other mobile home parks.

Calculating this is beyond the Council itself (and this is a Council of economists and engineers and lawyers, too), so you’re dependent on an expert appraising it, and including those factors. The Appraiser was there last night, and I thought he was credible. There’s a lengthy stretch where he discusses his approach; I’m sure it will be on the video once it gets posted. If I understood him right, the really oversimplified summary is it’s a regression: he’s trying to compare sales in both BV and other nearby mobile home parks, and then normalize for all the factors he can possibly identify: date, size, age, type of unit, size of pad, park amenities like pools and game rooms, etc. At some point the only major factor left is location, which presumably schools factor into. But it’s tricky because the sample size just isn’t that big, and there are a lot of possible factors. Last night he had a couple other ideas about further refinements, which I’m not completely sure I understood. But basically that’s what we asked him to look into.

I wish I had a better answer for you here, since it’s crucially important to the discussion. Exactly how it relates to what the Ordinance mandates is complicated too, and is one of the elements of the months and years of wrangling that have gone into this.


37 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Just to answer the liberal guilt accusation that Palo Alto does not want poor people: Count me in on that...I don't want poor people to be subsidized in Palo Alto. I hope that is clear enough. Liberals who think that the poor should be subsidized should donate their money or homes as charity.

If private money wants to come forward to save BV AND to bring it up to code, I have no objections. But I don't want to see any buckets of public money spent on this private deal.


9 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2015 at 3:23 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Craig Laughton,


I am quite willing to have public monies spent on low-income housing but it has to be done sensibly and fairly.

1. A big problem with how Palo Alto is proceeding is that they are treating the Jissers unfairly. Adding new compensation criteria in violation of the ordinance seems like confiscation to me. The city and the media have virtually demonized the Jissers, this is really awful treatment for someone who has provided this park for decades.

2. It is not clear that the best use of public housing monies would be to buy and refurbish that park. It sounds likely to be a very inefficient way to handle it.

3. I also wonder about the fairness of putting the park residents at a very high level of city commitment. There are waiting lists for public housing, and this would seem like putting the park residents at the front of that list, pushing down many people who have been waiting for years.


18 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 15, 2015 at 3:32 pm

>I am quite willing to have public monies spent on low-income housing but it has to be done sensibly and fairly.


rsmithjr, Really? How about putting subsidized housing in your own neighborhood, for example the shopping center that just lost its grocery store anchor? Or do you just want subsidized housing in the non-elite neighborhoods like Barron Park, College Terrace, Ventura, etc.? Limo libs love to dump subsidized housing outside their own elite 'hoods'.


40 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

My educated daughter and her husband had to move away because they can't afford to buy a house in PA. The landlord raised the rent $3000 per month if they had wanted to extend their rental lease. Where is my daughter's compensation? They moved out of state.


2 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2015 at 3:48 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Craig Laughton,


I have had friends in subsidized housing, good people. Just didn't strike it rich.

There are a lot of factors for locating subsidized housing, mostly economic. The Fresh Market location would not be an efficient choice I would think.

Incidently, did all of our shopping at the Lucky/Albertson, which had a lot of clients from EPA. We liked the store, although Albertson's ran it down.

Some of your thoughts are very correct, BTW.


31 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Quit using public funds on this issue. Move if you cannot afford to live in PA. Don't use my tax money to subsidize a small group of BV residents. This is a private dispute between the land owner and the BV residents. Let the courts handle this problem. PA has other issues to deal with.


6 people like this
Posted by BPer
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

If the burning issue here is how and whether to compensate the BV residents for the cost of the PAUSD schools, I think this issue can be mitigated allowing current BV kids to continue attending PAUSD schools after being relocated.

If the school board has the authority to grant this exemption, then it might be just a matter of "if you can get there, you can stay there." And if transportation costs are an issue, perhaps a fund can be set up to bus these kids to school.


17 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm

The council over stepped their authority. They have no respect for jisser and his rights. Last night was clearly all about extending this matter for another couple of years. Eric. Can spin this all he wants, but the council is trying to circumvent their,own ordinance.
And I am not sure why Craig Laughton is using this thread for his tired " put subsidized housing in your neighborhood" and " your neighborhood is elite".
This discussion is not about that issue.


Like this comment
Posted by Follow-The-Law
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Got a question. Seems that there are two issues about extra compensation for relocating former BV residents being discussed here:

1) Value-added because property is in PAUSD.
2) Compensation to families because school-aged children will not be enrolled in PAUSD.

Is it true that (1) and (2) are on the table? Or is only (1) actually being considered by the Council?


5 people like this
Posted by Legal beagle
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 15, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Not too smart for a city council member to be commenting on this thread, but consider the source.

The Jissers are not being treated unfairly. There is an ordinance that is designed to provide compensation when an owner wants to close a mobile home park. The compensation is supposed to enable residents to move to a comparable park. The definition of a comparable park includes a "similar community." What that includes is up to the City Council, within some bounds of reasonableness. Would a court disagree with the Council that similarity includes schools? Probably not, which is why Jisser's attorney is blowing smoke when she's threatening to sue.

Should the Jissers not be subject to the ordinance, because it's somehow unfair? That's a political and moral question, not a legal one. I don't see any reason why they should not have to comply with city ordinances, any more than any property owner is subject to zoning restrictions.


19 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2015 at 5:08 pm

@ Michelle H.....I read through the comments again after reading your post and don't seem to find anything that suggests a Palo Alto education is only for the affluent who live here. The Palo Alto community is not responsible for finding a way to keep the residents of BV Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto, as noble a purpose as that might be. The property owner has rights, one of which is to sell his land if he so desires and follow legal guidelines to do so. He has done that and can do what he wants with the property within the zoning laws.


5 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2015 at 5:42 pm

"If I understood him [the appraiser] right, the really oversimplified summary is it's a regression: he's trying to compare sales in both BV and other nearby mobile home parks, and then normalize for all the factors he can possibly identify: date, size, age, type of unit, size of pad, park amenities like pools and game rooms, etc. At some point the only major factor left is location, which presumably schools factor into. But it's tricky because the sample size just isn't that big, and there are a lot of possible factors."

Regression models can be mathematically imposing, but are too often much less uninformative than their users will voluntarily admit. With small samples the results are usually glorified sampling noise, unless dominated by one or two eigenvalues, which can be identified and removed by a principal components analysis, at which point you are left with 99.44% pure noise. So the schools had better be a totally dominant factor if we're depending on regression to enlighten the issue.

Then we have to quantify the influence of parents, and remove it to arrive at a proper schools-dominated result. Good luck on that.

Then there's the Realtor hype factor in buyer perception of schools. How does an appraiser adjust for that? That guy's got a lifetime gig here.

And, if the result turns out to be a given fraction of the dwelling's value, then BV residents with $17k dwellings aren't going to get much school money after all.

Speaking of sample size, BV is the only trailer park in PA. No comps. We will have to delicately allow that trailer parks elsewhere can be on a par with Palo Alto's. That could open up a floodgate of concessions.

Finally, let's be careful our schools pride doesn't carry us into expensive hubris. We must keep into mind that the vast, vast majority of students at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Berkeley, Cornell, Duke, Smith, Dartmouth, UCLA, Davis, etc., etc., came from schools other than PAUSD. There are many, many other excellent schools and teachers beyond Palo Alto. Even within 35 miles of it.


5 people like this
Posted by @Filseth
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 6:14 pm

[Portion removed.]

Basically, the law says "similar community." Any "similar" community to Palo Alto will also have excellent schools. But your Hearing Officer ruled the consideration of the schools out, claiming it was excluded by law. That was an error of law. It is not ruled out. The council [portion removed] instructed the Hearing Officer to consider the improperly excluded factor. The Council should have left that there but instead engaged in a lengthy colloquy with the appraiser, who said he would consult with others and come up with a method to consider the improperly excluded factors of schools and safety (both of which the Council determined were improperly excluded.


8 people like this
Posted by Michelle H
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 15, 2015 at 6:24 pm

“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.” posted by Buean Vista is a Loophole (comment thread from Monday article “Buena Vista residents make final plea to save their homes”)

“It is a shame that these residents need to find a new place to live. In a way they were getting the benefits of living in the community without really paying the price so they should be thankful they got as much as they did.” Posted by Skeptical

“What's interesting about this schools issue is that none of the residents contribute to running the schools via direct taxation--like other property owners are. While the property as a whole is taxed, and presumably the rent for each resident includes a portion of the tax, this amount is never seen by each resident.
As to parcel taxes, the 100-odd "homes" share only one parcel tax collection, which comes to about $10.
Amazing how important PAUSD schools can be when you are not paying the bills to operate them.” Posted by Follow-The-Law

“There's plenty of affordable homes for working class people in the Central Valley. Living in an affluent community is a privilege, not a right.” Posted by Richard Watson

@ Perspective and @38 Year Resident: Perhaps I over-reached or read too much into the above comments, one of which came from the article on Monday, but it was these specific comments – and no, I am not saying this is a majority view in Palo Alto, but I definitely think that it is out there – that led me to sense that there is an attitude that it is only those who can afford housing in PA (which these days by definition equals affluent) who deserve or should feel entitled rather than grateful for the excellent education that PA public schools provide.

@ Perspective – I agree with you that it is the incredible commitment of PA parent volunteers along with the financial contributions to PTA and PIE that make our schools great. And our community should feel proud of this commitment, especially compared to other equally affluent communities who neglect their public schools, the majority sending their kids to private schools. However, I would argue that our ability as a community to put volunteers in the classroom at the rate we do and to make substantial financial contributions to the schools are directly related to the affluence of this community. That is just the reality. Robert Reich has written on this issue: (Web Link

I am glad that the City are now including the value of PA education as part of the compensation package. I am not arguing that the owners of the park cannot sell the property. What I am advocating is that we work together to find a way as a community to buy back the park from the owners at a fair price – a combination of County, City and private funds could achieve this and it is great to see so many great proposals in this comment thread.

And yes, beyond the BV situation, we need to support city measures to provide more low-income and affordable housing options.


40 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Crescent Park Dad is a registered user.

Wow.

Talk about moving the goal line after the game has started.

The Jissers agreed not to close the park over 10 years ago. They agreed to the new city ordinance in good faith. Now the city is seemingly saying, "Oh sorry, we didn't do a good job writing the ordinance. Sorry, but you'll have to do more than what was originally agreed to." Such hooey.

Let this action put every PA resident on notice - the City of Palo Alto does not deal in good faith. The city's word cannot be trusted.

re questions about PAUSD allowing the BV kids to still attend after they move. PAUSD cannot do this on their own (the BoE is already on record of confirming this). Each kid has to apply for a transfer from his/her new residence school district. PAUSD can approve the transfer - but if the new school district doesn't want to allow it, they don't have to. Typically the reason why school districts deny transfers out of their district is due to the loss of state revenues (which are based upon total number of registered students). Basic aid districts don't have that problem and generally cooperate on transfer requests.

For comparison - one only needs to look at the seven mobile home parks in Mountain View. Fantastic high school district - just as good as PAUSD (or better)...without OCR complaints, bullying, homework stress, death clusters, teachers blowing off web-based homework notifications, several parcel taxes, etc. Both high schools have been updated and look beautiful.

I looked up a beautiful mobile home for sale in MV --- the space rental is $1650/month. The purchase price was about $250K....but that is for a clean/beautiful mobile home...no owner additions that break code. No broken RVs in the park either. Clean park. Pool and clubhouse. And Mountain View has become the legitimate high tech center of the Bay Area...Google, EBay, LinkedIn. Medical services from the PAMF center on ECR and the wonderful El Camino Hospital. Great downtown. Plenty of *large* grocery stores (Safeway for example) and big box stores (Costco, etc.).

So as a counter argument - I'd like to suggest that a "mobile" home in BV doesn't stack up against a mobile home in MV. The parks are nicer. The mobile homes are certainly way nicer. The school district is just as good without all of the baggage that PAUSD has these days. Medical - check. Shopping - check. Downtown amenities - check. In other words, the Jissers' offer may be better than some people may realize, as one could argue that the PA mobile home location/value is not as good as one in MV.


7 people like this
Posted by Todd
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:11 pm

One positive to come out of this mess: next time a property owner wants to build something within the confines of the law and zoning, we have all these voices aganst any small group who tries to slow down or derail that process!


21 people like this
Posted by Just curious
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:53 pm

Someone put it very well above that this is a shakedown of the property owner. The city council has been so one sided in these negotiations its laughable.

Does anyone know if Buena Vista is under some sort of rent control? I'm surprised Jisser hasn't gotten frustrated with how long this whole process has taken and started to jack up the rents to motivate quicker closure by the residents association and offset some of his potential losses from the sure to be increased assessments in the next round.


10 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:59 pm

Crescent Park Dad is a registered user.

No rent control in PA.


18 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:36 pm

ORDINANCE NO. 4672 ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PALO ALTO

"An Owner shall not demand, accept or retain rent for a currently occupied space in a mobilehome park exceeding the rent effect for such space on December 19, 2000, plus 5%"

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by all good
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:56 pm

It sounds like the residents will get a more favorable payout AND the owner will finally be able to close the mobile home park. Everyone wins.


2 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:05 pm

At least for me, it is helpful to remember that our justice system is an "adversarial" one, where each party tries to convince the (hopefully) impartial judge or jury that his or her perspective is the correct one, and in civil cases, the end result is often a settlement that finds some compromise between the differences rather than some absolute truth.

In the Buena Vista situation, it appears that each side has a valid position. The Jissers have a right to close the park because they own the property. The residents have a right to compensation because it is mandated by a city ordinance.

The legal wrangling -- including the debate about the meaning and intention of specific words in the law -- is just part of the process, business as usual. It is not unique to Buena Vista or Palo Alto.

A major point of contention surrounds the definition of a "comparable" community. The law lists several factors "such as" shopping, medical services, recreational facilities, and transportation, but does not mention public schools.

The Jissers argue that the omission means that public schools were not meant to be included in calculating the assessment. The residents maintain that the "such as" language means "for example" and does not exclude elements not listed, such as the public schools. The jury, in this case, City Council, agrees with the residents.

It isn't a revision of the law. It's an interpretation. Courts do it all the time. In fact, the US Supreme Court is set to consider a case concerning the Affordable Care Act in which the two sides disagree about whether some wording is meant to apply to both state and federal health care exchanges vs. only state health care exchanges. Sound familiar?

Back here at home, my feeling is that the original legislation, though well-intended, was flawed in concept as well as execution. Certainly, the language provides ample opportunity for speculation. And the whole "comparable" community notion is a nice idea, but seems designed for controversy.

Still, at the end of the day, some formula will be accepted by both sides. Then, and only then, the future of the park will be determined. Perhaps some affordable housing coalition will make the Jissers an offer they can't refuse. Otherwise, it is likely the park will close.


10 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:22 pm

ORDINANCE NO. 4696 ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PALO ALTO AMENDING TITLE 9 OF THE PALO ALTO MUNICIPAL
CODE TO ADD CHAPTER 9.76 RELATING TO MOBILEHOME PARK CONVERSION

"A Resident may ....petition for review of any notice of rent increase that alone or in combination with any other rent increases imposed in the last twelve months exceeds the (sum of the then current Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price, Index ...plus 6%"

"An eligible resident may refuse to pay any rent in excess of the
maximum rent permitted by this section. "

Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by Gone OnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:27 pm

So yes
@Just curious and
@Crescent Park Dad

There IS rent control at BV.


8 people like this
Posted by Just sayin...
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:28 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:36 pm

Abitarian - you are assuming that CC process is equivalent to our nations judicial process. I absolutely disagree. CC proceedings are quasi or pseudo juducial and lacks the stringent process of the courts. Thus when all else fails, the Jissers can take the city of Palo Alto to Court and sue the city in order to enforce land ownership rights. Otherwise, there would be no recourse for the Jissers if he felt that PA had violated his rights.


Like this comment
Posted by Follow-The-Law
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:41 pm

The posting about there being rent control at BV provides a link to the emergency ordinance which was passed in 2000, and expired in 2001.


10 people like this
Posted by GoneOnToo Long
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:49 pm

@Follow-The-Law

Two posts above.
First post was 2000-01 "Emergency" rent cap effective til the Conversion Ordinance took effect (se the second post) and effective 2001 till now.

You are welcome to do your own research please.


10 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 9:56 pm

@Follow-The-Law

ORDINANCE NO. 4672 emergency Cap (00-01)
ORDINANCE NO. 4696 Conversion Ordinance (01-present)

There IS rent control at BV.


Like this comment
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Me -- Yes, of course, the official judicial system would adjudicate if the matter can't be resolved. Hopefully, the parties will see the wisdom of reaching a settlement without resorting to the higher authority.


9 people like this
Posted by Valuable schools?
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:49 pm

For low income students, our schools are not particularly good.


12 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 1:23 am

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

The Jissers bought a low-income mobile home park, ignored it completely other than collecting rent, then tried to raise rents by 20-25% in 2001. The City then decided to create a Mobile Home Park ordinance just like all other cities in California. Jisser said at that time they had no plans to develop the property for the next 10 years. Over the next 10 years, the park continued to become more rundown while the Jissers allowed more and more residents to move into the park.

The Jissers have been collecting $800K per year in "rent" while failing to maintain the park other than what was legally required (and only after residents filed complaints and the Jissers were forced to act). They did not enforce any kind of building/development standards in the park. They simply allowed anyone willing to pay rent to move in, and anyone who paid rent to do whatever they pleased. [Portion removed.]

Some people in this city have traded morality for their desire for affluence. Here's a clue: The *truly* affluent don't need to beat down the less fortunate to maintain their position! Those that beat down the less fortunate are insecure wannabees that need to feel superior over whomever they can.

Disgusting!

[Portion removed.]

Again, I hope the displaced BV residents buy motor homes and stay in and around Palo Alto as "homeless." I would be happy to have them park in front of my house, and will lobby churches to let them use their parking lots Monday-Saturday.


23 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 16, 2015 at 6:23 am

You're missing one small item. The Jissers wanted to close the park right after they bought the property. It was the city that asked/convinced them not to close for 10 years. Back then there were no city ordinances, just State ordinances on closing mobile home parks.

We wouldn't be having any of these conversations if the Jissers closed the park when they first wanted to.

Looking the other way on all of the illegal remodeling is a two-way street. The residents were the ones breaking State code. And it can easily be argued that the residents benefited a great deal by this...allowing to add space so they could pack in more people per unit than allowed. In fact, this is one issue many people are forgetting. If someone is able to pull off a purchase of the park (I know, it's not for sale), the new owner will be obligated to bring the park up to State code...and bring the utilities up to City code. There will have to be some units removed (too many on the site), all of the illegal remodeling demolished and removed (at trailer owners' expense) and headcount per unit would have to be reduced as well.

I'm not saying the Jissers are angels, but it takes two to tango when it comes to some of these issues.


12 people like this
Posted by responding to Valuable Schools
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2015 at 7:45 am

To Valuable Schools,

You said: "For low income students, our schools are not particularly good."

BV Park residents attend Barron Park Elementary School.

On standardized measures:

933 PAUSD API

Barron Park subgroups:
- 767 API Hispanics (> 90% of BV Park residents are Hispanic/Stanford report)
- 774 API Economically Disadvantaged
- 785 API Disabled (43% of BV Park PAUSD students receive special services/Stanford report).

According to the State, the closest similar Santa Clara County elementary schools - similar demographic characteristics, similar educational challenges, and similar opportunities as Barron Park - are in San Jose. Web Link




19 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:38 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

It's interesting to see how Palo Alto Online reported the story vs Mercury News:

PAO:
headline: "Buena Vista's closure hangs on new appraisal"

lead: "Though the fate of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park remains cloudy"

Mercury:
headline: "Council OKs Buena Vista Mobile Home Park closure"

lead: "Residents of Palo Alto's one and only mobile home park saw their hopes of keeping it open dashed this week"


12 people like this
Posted by Just sayin...
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 16, 2015 at 10:00 am

The school scores of the BV kids provided by Responding to Valuable Schools negate any argument that the appraisals should be based in part on the value of the "quality" of the school district. These kids aren't performing any better than the Hispanic students in any other district in the area so aren't deriving any more value from the schools than they would from "lower" quality schools.


23 people like this
Posted by mercury news
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 16, 2015 at 10:02 am

The Mercury News link is:
Web Link
Their summary:
"Residents of Palo Alto's one and only mobile home park saw their hopes of keeping it open dashed this week, but they may walk away with fuller pockets than expected."
So, it seems that the hullabaloo is all about money.


28 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 16, 2015 at 10:12 am

On the contrary, true citizens of PA are extremely generous and sympathetic to all social causes. We have paid high property taxes over the years and most homeowners continue to support any additional Parcel Taxes that are put forth such as the upcoming Prop A. Like someone had said before me, the Jissers are very generous, compassionate, and patient folks. Had they closed down the park 10 years ago, there would not have been this kind of drama.

Having said this, how can I support a small group of people that feel as if they are entitled to a piece of land that does not belong to them to begin with? I am sympathetic to their cause however, we all have to abide to the rules of law.


12 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 11:07 am

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2015 at 11:16 am

@Slow Down...PA Online wants to gin up sympathy for the tenants at BV Mobile Home Park so the headline and lead were conjured up to do just that. The Mercury, although a very liberal publication, presented a more factual account of what happened with their headline and lead. Your astute observation of the local rags is much appreciated.


27 people like this
Posted by Just the facts
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Racism? Because the word Hispanic was used? It's factual that >90% of the BV residents are Hispanic. The school scores are factual and describe the performance of the majority of the BV kids. Racism isn't a factor and using the race card is a cop out and an excuse to stir up emotions that are not relevant to this discussion.


8 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

If racism wasn't a factor then race would not have been brought up at all. Tell me, why was it important to break down the BV residents by race, and then go out of your way to find statistics of the same race if not to overtly state that Hispanics perform less well and therefore justify why they should be relegated to lesser school districts?

[Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by responding to Valuable Schools
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm

The Weekly's been running stories about PAUSD SCHOOLS and how minority and special needs students perform in them compared to similar students in other districts, a concern of candidates running in last year's school board election too:

"Board hopefuls: More needed for minorities, special education" Web Link ("In many of the candidates' comments Saturday -- in response to questions posed by the Palo Alto Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC), Parent Advocates for Student Success (PASS) and the audience -- they ...agreed the district has significant work to do on addressing the achievement gap, providing equal opportunities for students with disabilities")



18 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 16, 2015 at 5:05 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Be Kind PA and others,

Race has been brought up repeatedly by supporters of the residents. They have claimed that the park adds to the diversity of the city. This claim is probably true enough.

The fact is that, in educational research, demographics such as sex, race, level of English, and socio-economic status (generally proxied by free-school-lunch status) are considered extremely important factors. The variances in educational achievement that you see based on these factors is generally huge, and the factors have to be used as variables in regressions in order to avoid biases in the results. I think educational reeearchers across the spectrum agree on this point. BTW most educational researchers I know (myself included) are very liberal politically.

BTW it is not clear to me that Palo Alto schools are the best choice for everyone. I had to send two of my four kids to other schools for a time, they were under too much pressure. I know many people with similar stories. This is of course an individual matter.


9 people like this
Posted by Just the facts
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2015 at 7:57 pm

[Portion removed.] Be Kind PA completely missed the point. The BV residents are arguing that they should be more highly compensated for their mobile homes because they need to be able to move to a "comparable" school district which is obviously being gauged by school scores. Therefore the scores of these particular residents are relevant to which school districts would be appropriate fits for relocation. Their ethnicity is only used as a means of identifying their scores- no racism, just facts.


11 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Just:

[Portion removed.]

The value of the homes in BV are not based on individual kids'(or racial profiles) of specific students, they are based on overall school district metrics. The valuation of the homes is not tied to the value to each, existing resident, it is meant to identify the value of the resident to a potential buyer (ignoring the fact the Park is closing, obviously).

Forgive me for providing a basic education, but you seem to need it:

1) The value of Palo Alto schools are not measured by a bunch of sub-categories of kids, they are based on overall test scores.

2) No metric (I'm aware of) has been provided on how Hispanic kids fair in a high achieving school district, like PAUSD, versus a not so high achieving district like San Jose.

To put it in more plain language, how can you show you are comparing apples to apples? Or do you believe all Hispanic kids are the same, destined to the same test scores, and environment is completely irrelevant? Do you fee the same about white kids, that environment is irrelevant? Why then, do people pay so much for a home in PAUSD? Oh, wait, now we're back to the beginning of this discussion...


15 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Be Kind PA - "how can you show you are comparing apples to apples" You can't, which is why the whole situation is absurd. Does a comparable school district need to show an abnormally high suicide rate? This is just extorting a little more time and money from the owners of the property.


17 people like this
Posted by Just the Facts
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm

@Be Kind PA- I'm not sure why you continue to make personal, condescending remarks. This discussion is about the closing of BV park and whether the compensation being offered to the BV residents is fair to the BV residents AND the Jissers. Please try to stick to the issue:

The mobile homes have already been appraised and the compensation ordered fair by the judge adjudicating the case. The BV residents are now claiming that their mobile homes were undervalued based on the quality of their school district. The compensation that the Jissers are paying the BV residents is designed to allow the residents to move to a new location and offset some of the cost of the relocation. If the quality of the school is a factor in the amount of the compensation it would only be so in order to compensate the residents more highly so they could move to an equally high performing school district.

As mentioned by others before me, for many reasons, placing lower performing students in a high performing school is not necessarily a positive situation and could be quite negative especially if the lower performing students are a very small minority (which would be the case if these kids were scattered amongst a bunch of different high performing schools). As for the basic education, PA school scores (as well as the scores of every district and school in California) are absolutely broken down by ethnicity as well as socio-economic level (metric used is kids on free and reduced fee lunches) so it is very easy to compare the performance of Hispanic students at Barron Park Elementary to the performance of Hispanic students in other schools and districts.

As far as I am aware from what I'm reading, the closing of the park is no longer negotiable- it's going to close. The only question
remaining is how highly the residents will be compensated. IMO the schools should not be a factor in the compensation because there are many schools in the area that will allow these kids to perform comparably to their PA performance.


7 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Slow Down: The most recent conversation was about racism, and using Hispanic test scores as some kind of valuation of the BV properties. All of the other school factors are irrelevant to this micro-discussion.

And I see the Weekly's editors are frantically deleting any comments that might make white people feel uncomfortable, so for me, the conversation is over.


11 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Just: Categorizing students by ethnic background, in an effort to draw conclusions about how all members of that background will perform, is racist. I'm so sorry you do not understand that.

Even sorrier the PA Weekly is restricting any conversation that may be deemed controversial. Not surprising.


9 people like this
Posted by Just the facts is a racist jackass
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:49 pm

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Just the Facts
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2015 at 10:13 pm

@ Be Kind - we are talking about the averages of the scores, not each individual's score. Yes, there are surely variations amongst individuals but the facts are that the majority of the Hispanic kids at Barron Park Elementary come from BV Park and the scores for that group are what they are (see Responding to Valuable School's numbers above). As a group, the low socio-economic students at Barron Park are performing similarly to those in EPA, Mountain View, San Jose, etc. Those are just the facts.


10 people like this
Posted by Just the Facts
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2015 at 10:25 pm

@ Be Kind- "Categorizing students by ethnic background, in an effort to draw conclusions about how all members of that background will perform, is racist. I'm so sorry you do not understand that."

This is the way the scores are reported- by ethic background and by socio-economic level. I'm sure the demographics are useful for a variety of reasons. The categorizations are not meant to be racist.


2 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Just: Reporting the scores is one thing, drawing conclusions and predictions about how ethnic groups will perform for the purpose of *justifying* a lesser educational environment is racist.

I am stunned that the Weekly is deleting some comments while letting other, clearly racist, comments stand. I guess comments toward a single, anonymous poster are deemed worse than comments toward an entire ethnic group.


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

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