News

Palo Alto asks court to dismiss Buena Vista suit

City claims Jisser family violated statute of limitations when it filed a lawsuit in a federal court in November

Calling it a "baseless suit," the City of Palo Alto is asking a federal court to reject a court challenge that was leveled against the city in November by the owners of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, the Jisser family.

The city's motion to dismiss, which will be heard in a U.S. District Court on May 26, alleges that the Jissers violated the statute of limitations and failed to seek remedies at local and state levels, as the law requires, before filing their lawsuit in a federal court. The Jissers, who have been trying to close the Palo Alto mobile home park since 2012, allege in their suit that the city acted illegally in requiring them to provide relocation assistance to the roughly 400 residents who would be displaced if Buena Vista were to close.

The relocation benefits, which the Jisser family estimates total about $8 million, are a requirement under an ordinance that Palo Alto approved in 2001 to govern closure of mobile-home parks. These benefits include the cost of each mobile home, moving costs and rent subsidies for a year (the difference between their Buena Vista rents and their new rents). Ironically, most of these benefits were proposed by the Jissers themselves as part of a Relocation Impact Report the family filed during the closure-application process.

The family first applied for the park's closure in November 2012 and only received the city's approval last spring, after a string of emotional public hearings and years of revisions to the Relocation Impact Report, which was finally approved last spring after four prior drafts were rejected.

Now, the Jissers are hoping that the federal court will toss out the requirement, which their attorney equated to extortion. The lawsuit calls the requirement "oppressive and unreasonable."

"In effect, the Jisser family has been told that they must choose between an unconstitutional taking of their money and an unconstitutional taking of their land," the brief from the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents the Jisser family, states.

The city's motion to dismiss rejects this characterization and calls the claims in the Jissers' lawsuit "untimely and meritless," with fatal flaws that are "multiple and beyond cure." The city's claim, filed by the Oakland-based firm Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP, likens the challenge with other prior efforts by property owners to use the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause "as a sword to attack cities' lawful exercise of their police powers to protect vulnerable residents."

"Courts have consistently rejected these attempts to undermine the laws upon which both mobile-home park owners and their tenants have reasonable investment-backed expectations," the city's motion states.

The city's attorneys are arguing that because the Jissers are effectively challenging the law itself, rather than the way in which the city applied the law, the statute of limitation should apply to the time when the law was enacted: 2001. Because the statute for limitations for challenging laws that passed before 2003 is one year, the Jissers' challenge should be tossed, the city argues.

Furthermore, the city's motion faults the Jissers for filing a federal lawsuit without first exhausting their options on the local and state levels. The family did not dispute the council's approval in May of the relocation benefits. Rather, the family submitted a letter in August stating that it "now formally accepts the city's decision regarding the park closure."

The plaintiff, the City notes, did not appeal the city's decision either on an administrative level or in a state court. In fact, the Jisser family in April defended a hearing officer's decision against the residents' appeal. And unlike the residents, who filed their own suit in a state court in August, the park owners went straight to the federal level.

"Thus, the City never had an opportunity to determine whether a lesser amount of relocation assistance would preserve for Plaintiffs reasonable economic use of their property, avoiding (or limiting) a potential takings," the city's motion states.

The lawsuit is one of two that the city is facing over Buena Vista. Attorneys for the Buena Vista Residents Association claimed in the August lawsuit that the relocation package approved by the council is "grossly inadequate" and will eliminate "any opportunity for Buena Vista residents to relocate to comparable homes in a community comparable to Palo Alto."

"Instead, virtually all Buena Vista families will be forced to leave Palo Alto," the residents' lawsuit states. "Many will be forced to leave the Bay Area altogether, meaning that they will be leaving their jobs, schools, health care providers, friends and community."

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

Comments

29 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Dismiss? Really this is what they want! Dismiss the case and sue again in state court? What's the point!!!

Also, really people every council member was trying to figure out how to raise the benefits during the meetings. Now they are arguing they did not have the chance to reduce the benefits in a state court.

Sounds like more delay tactics by the attorney. Imagine 3 years and still trying to close down a business. What a joke and waste of tax payers money. Great job city!!!


51 people like this
Posted by won't fly
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm

See the PAO discussion from the original article discussing the lawsuit (Web Link). Jisser's lawyers have a strong case. OTOH, the BV residents' case (Web Link) appears far weaker. This should be the one the city tries to get dismissed.


8 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Property rights activists across the country desperate for court decisions that uphold their interpretation of what constitutes unconstitutional "takings" will be anxiously awaiting the May court date. The city's legal argument sounds pretty good to this layman, but I'm biased. We'll see what the court makes of it after the Pacific Legal Foundation lawyers respond.


8 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 1:08 am

@Joe,
The point is not that Jisser should file in state court now, the point is that there is a principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies before you can sue in federal court. Since Jisser did not file within the statutory time limits in state court, he likely has no recourse in federal court, it doesn't matter whether he has a good case or not. The development of all that exhaustion of administrative remedies area of law was a rightwing insurance interest brainchild, with a lot of moneyed interests - and case law - behind it. It's hard to see how anyone could poke a hole in that without bringing some big league legal interests against them.

Residents filed their suit when they did at the very last minute, to protect their right because of the statute of limitations. Very normal and necessary. Jisser is filing in federal court because it's too late to file in state court, but .i think it's likely they'll tell him tough nuts.


52 people like this
Posted by PA Lawyer
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 6, 2016 at 7:13 am

The ciy should get some decent legal advice.
The PLF lawsuit has merit and they know what they are doing.
PLF is not an organization to take lightly.


34 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 7:23 am

@Greenacres. To many people here sound like they have been talking to attorneys about this. The Pacific law foundation are brighter than anyone that will post on this sight, including PA own city attorney. They did not take this case knowing that it will simply get dismissed. There are no statues for constitutional violations.

The city has a weak argument here, many case law to prove this. Arguments always read strong until some people with experience point out all the flaws in it. Wait for the response.

For example, the article read "ironically, most of these benefits were proposed by the jissers themselves". Sounds to be true. But when you read the ordinance, it lays out what must be proposed benefits . Then include that the city rejected the first five proposals over a period of a year. Then modified it again during the appeals process. Ask yourself, who really put the offer together?

The city is really screwed here by their own making!!


7 people like this
Posted by again?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

"For example, the article read "ironically, most of these benefits were proposed by the jissers themselves". Sounds to be true. But when you read the ordinance, it lays out what must be proposed benefits . Then include that the city rejected the first five proposals over a period of a year. Then modified it again during the appeals process. Ask yourself, who really put the offer together?"

Joe, this is just typical Weekly reporting. As you say, nothing to do with the suit. Any time the Weekly adds it's own narrative, it falls on its face. Not the brightest people in the room.


59 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:13 am

I hate to say it but I think that the city literally begged for this lawsuit. I really feel for the Jissers. They are very good people and they did not deserve the treatment that they received from the city or the people who lived on their property.


65 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:26 am

What is sad here is that we have become a society that looks at the majority vs minority vs what is right and wrong. In the Buena vista case, nobody can deny the fact that 3 years and the jissers have not been able to out of business is just wrong. but they are just one family (the minority) and the tenants are the majority.

Here is the truth that nobody wants to believe. the jissers signed documents (leases) with their tenants that both landlord and tenant agree that the landlord will rent the land to the tenant and in exchange for $$$ the tenant will be able to park their travel trailer on it. Now that the lease is up the landlord should have the right to ask for the land back with no obligation.

The fact that the trailer/mobile home is hard to move is NOT the landlords problem. the people who bought the home should have known that. The only reason this is an issue today is that the people are considered very poor, thus the city wants to take the money from the owner (who is considered rich here) and give it to the poor. This may sound ok to people on the left but it is against our constitution.


60 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 6, 2016 at 11:35 am

When my lease was up a year ago, I had to move because I couldn't afford the 37% rent increase requested by my landlord. I moved to a smaller & less costly home. Gosh, I guess I should have claimed that my landlord had some obligation to subsidize my rent because I couldn't pay the requested rent?
This whole "save the trailer park" thing is absurd. The tenants, many of whom violate city occupancy laws with too many people per residence, do not deserve to remain in place at the property owner's expense. Let the bleeding hearts who don't want them to move offer them trailer-parking space on their own properties. What? You don't want a trailer with 1 or 2 "families" living in your backyard?
Isn't there a basic principal that people should live where they can afford to live? A lease specifies a finite occupancy period & doesn't guarantee renewals. If you don't like it, don't lease. Buy. If you can't afford to buy where you want to live, lower expectations.
Anyone want to rent me a Los Altos Hills house for an EPA price? Didn't think so.


8 people like this
Posted by Not a lawyer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 11:59 am

"The city's motion to dismiss, which will be heard in a U.S. District Court on May 26, alleges that the Jissers violated the statute of limitations and failed to seek remedies at local and state levels, as the law requires, before filing their lawsuit in a federal court."

I would expect this motion to fail, given that the challenge is based on the 5th Amendment "takings" clause, and that the Constitution is supreme over state and federal laws such as the statute of limitations. But I'm not a lawyer.


8 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 1:57 pm

@Jack and Susan,
Jack you make it sound like Jisser bought an empty plot of land and surprise! Realized there were people living there. He is the one who was making a significant income from the property and could afford lawyers to let him know all the downsides of such an investment vehicle.

Susan, the mobile homes are investments that in some cases cost a lot of money. Some of the tenants may have loans. It's not comparable to your rental, but more like a condo if the landowner wanted to sell the land. The condo owners have a property and investment interest, too. Same with mobile home parks.



6 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm

@Jack,
I am not a lawyer nor have I been speaking to one. I just know a lot about the exhaustion of administrative remedies and how it has been wielded (shamefully if you ask me) in law. But there it is. Maybe the right doesn't think it will apply to them since it was a rightwing brainchild?


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm

"The only reason this is an issue today is that the people are considered very poor, thus the city wants to take the money from the owner (who is considered rich here) and give it to the poor. This may sound ok to people on the left but it is against our constitution."

But the left is always complaining about the US tax structure that takes money from the poor and gives it to the wealthy, so it's all even.


14 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 2:28 pm

@greenacres. You seem to forget that the jissers bought the mobile home park. Then 15 years later the city passed the ordinance pertaining to mobile home parks. Knowing that BV is the only park. Do you see a problem with this????

further, the bought the land with the leases in place. Thus they own the lease. Not the trailer.

Can't wait for a ruling by a judge!!! The truth will come out.


2 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm

@Curmudgeon. Since when did "complaining" about the tax code make it true. Like it or not this is the law of the land. You don't have to agree with it or like it, but at least respect it!


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm

"@Curmudgeon. Since when did "complaining" about the tax code make it true. Like it or not this is the law of the land. You don't have to agree with it or like it, but at least respect it!"

OK, OK. I like and respect it, just as Samuel Adams liked and respected the Stamp Act.


19 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 3:26 pm

@Curmudgeon. Really? You had to go back to the stamp act and do you really believe that it compares to Burma vista situation?

Let's be clear.

1. Owner buys Only trailer park in pa in 1986

2. City passes a ordinance on mobile home park in Palo Alto in 2001. Rephrase this as city passes law against a single business owner in Palo Alto

3. 2012 owners want to close business down

4. 2016. Park still not closed, city uses the ordinance against the Jisser family

5. Tenants and landlord both sue city.

6. City wants case dismissed!


4 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Susan - this isn't about you nor is it about Palo Alto rental laws.


21 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm

@ Hmmm - I don't think Susan is suggesting that this article is about her LOL. She's making a comparison between her personal situation (as a renter) and those of the BV residents (who are also renters- they rent the land upon which their trailers sit). The principles involved are the same.


4 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jan 6, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

[Post removed due to inaccurate factual representations.]


4 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 5:36 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm

"Let's be clear.
1. Owner buys ... etc., etc."

Sorry, I thought we were intelligently discussing competing macroeconomic and taxation approaches. My mistake. Bye.


5 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm

@Joe,
The fact that there is only one park is irrelevant to whether there need to be protections for the residents because they have investments too and are uniquely vulnerable. During that time period, there were changes in the development climate and mobile home law that made the ordinance reasonable. If Jisser didn't think so, he had every right to contest it THEN. Lots of things happen that are unfair and people lose because they wait too long to file. Lots of people have lost cases when they unequivocally had cause because they did not file suit when they needed to, or went to federal court when they had failed to pursue other remedies first. The insurance industry has a big interest in NOT allowing anyone to chip away at the construct of exhaustion of administrative remedies. It always remains to be seen, but I think it's a long shot for Jisser.


34 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:26 pm

"It's not comparable to your rental, but more like a condo if the landowner wanted to sell the land."

This is a completely invalid analogy.

Condo owners actually HAVE fractional ownership of common areas (including land). Land renters (mobile homes) do NOT have fractional ownership of the common areas.

"The owner(s) of a unit within a typical Condominium project owns 100% of the unit, as defined by a recorded Condominium Plan. As well, they will own a fractional or percentage interest in all common areas of the Condominium project."

The Buena Vista residents are land RENTERS, and have no common-area/land ownership rights.


1 person likes this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Reader - that's my point - the principles aren't the same. Pretending otherwise is either ignorant or disingenuous. Her personal story isn't relevant.


2 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm

@old Steve. Yes the Jisser early on tried to discuss a future potential development with the city. But no development plans or zoning changes have been proposed.

The estimated $8M is the cost to close the park with zero development rights. [Portion removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm

@ Old Steve:

In what world does it make sense that a city can prevent a property owner who has fulfilled the contracts of the leases on his property from selling his property?

The city messed up...big time.


19 people like this
Posted by better to settle
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 6, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Seems like it would make more sense for the City of Palo Alto to settle the lawsuit to avoid being saddled with higher lawyers' fees on top of a larger payout.


Like this comment
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:38 pm

The City is rightly involved whenever a change in use is part of any potential sale. There is no buyer for Buena Vista, only for the vacated land. Thus the closure proposal that was submitted.


2 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:47 pm

@old Steve. You are still 100% wrong. The business of leaseing land to trailer owners needs to close for the owner to find potential buyer, or develop it themselves or any other options that they may choose with their private property. City involvement is a must just not at this time. Hence the lawsuits the city is now dealing with


39 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 7, 2016 at 6:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The City created a huge conflict of interest in this matter - on the one hand it was engaged in a consortium to buy the property and on the other hand it was using its powers to lower the value of that property.


25 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 6:43 am

@Train Fan

In regards to your comment "...The Buena Vista residents are land RENTERS, and have no common-area/land ownership rights..."

You are absolutely correct. However in Palo Alto and other communities there seems to be some distorted perception that long term renters somehow "acquire" ownership rights.

You see this all the time in regards to apartment rent control. A landlord sells the property and the new owner raises rents and the first thing you read about is how "I'll lived here for 10 years and even painted a room. They shouldn't raise my rent". A lot of the rent control arguments seem to be based on the perception that a renter somehow acquires rights into the property by the simple fact of renting, beyond anything set forth in a lease or rental agreement.

Same thing with BV. Somehow by living at the park for a long time, the residents have somehow acquired a "right" to property and it's future.

/marc


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:03 am

Possession is nine-tenths of the law.


4 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

@Marc,
If any of those renters paid $30,000 for their apartments, they probably would have a right to expect some kind of ownership.

There is no perfect analogy here, but probably the closest is Stanford land. What if Stanford demanded back the land on which Gunn HS sits? You don't think the City would put up some kind of resistance?

The fact is, there are laws protecting mobile home owners because they are uniquely vulnerable. Th residents are simply trying to exercise their rights under the law, just as the landowner is. Jisser didn't protest the law when it was made and he had a perfectly good right to do then. He probably didn't anticipate being able to make the kind of money as now, so didn't want to put the effort into it then. There are statutes of limitation in the law, though. That is the hard reality for Jisser. I don't know why it is so difficult fir people to accept the hard reality for the rich guy when they find it so easy to make up hard realities for the poorer ones.


13 people like this
Posted by jack
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2016 at 9:36 am

@Greenacres, it happens all of the time. as Stanford leases expire and the tenants move out, Stanford not only gets back the land they also get any buildings that were built by the tenants.

Look it up, basic ground leases happen everyday.


22 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 10:06 am

@ Greenacres: I think that a Stanford comparison is quite faulty. Correct me if I am wrong, but Stanford no longer owns the land upon which Gunn High School sits.

There really isn't an adequate analogy because California has special mobile home laws that differ from other rental laws. On a moral level, I think that any lease law can be compared where a property owner wants to sell her/his property once the terms of the leases are complete. This is what happened here.

Still, there are a handful of responsibilities that state law places upon trailer park owners. I suppose that we can all question the rationale behind such state and local laws and consider whether or not those laws unfairly burden property owners.

In the case of the city ordinances, I think that the Jissers can argue that they were the sole target of a law passed in 2001.

This reminds me of the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah case decided by the Supreme Court in 1993. While the Constitutional merits of that case differ from this one, the unanimous decision of the court revolved around the notion that the city of Hialeah passed an ordinance that was not neutral or generally applicable.

In other words, the city targeted one group (in that case, a voodoo church) with burdens that would have limited certain freedoms. Whereas the Lukumi case involved the targeting of the religious behavior of one group, the Jisser family was targeted for the sake of an outcome hoped for by city officials.

In this case, the Jisser family has been strong-armed by city officials and even tenants.

I can't think of any specific ordinance that the Jisser family has not fulfilled. The lease contracts were completed. The family did everything that they could to acquiesce to state and local laws. The family has taken a substantial financial hit even though they have complied with the law (including the local ordinance passed in 2001).

As with any law, I think that the people should have a right to declare whether or not it is fair or not. In this case, the city ordinance just seems like a burden. I understand that the city has its own reasons for wanting the trailer park to continue existing in the city on that property, but do they really have the power to do what they have done? If so, should any city government have such power?


41 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 7, 2016 at 10:44 am

> There is no perfect analogy here, but probably the closest is Stanford land.

Actually, you unwittingly stumbled upon what is probably a very close analogy, but it sinks your argument.

There are in fact private homes sitting on Stanford land right now. The Menlo Park neighborhoods of Stanford Hills and Stanford Creek have many homes owned by private homeowners in which the homes they own sit on land that is leased from Stanford. The homeowners OWN THE HOMES, but NOT THE LAND (sound familiar?).

See here: Web Link

and here: Web Link

These Stanford land-leasing homeowners have NO ownership rights to the Stanford land. None. And when those leases expire, the land-leasing homeowners have to go bye-bye, and Stanford takes back usage of the properties...homes included.

And in the case of the Stanford land leaseholders, it's unlikely moving the homes is an option both because of the infrastructure issues with moving homes of that size, and because those homes are considered improvements and attachments to the land, and improvements stay with the land (even if you paid for the improvements). At least with the Buena Vista land-renters, there's the potential to move the mobile homes (unlikely as that is, since the cost of moving them is probably more than the value of the mobile homes).


> If any of those renters paid $30,000 for their apartments, they probably would have a right to expect some kind of ownership.

The Stanford Hills and Stanford Creek homeowners are paying millions for their homes, they have no ownership rights to the land.


22 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 7, 2016 at 11:06 am

> What if Stanford demanded back the land on which Gunn HS sits? You don't think the City would put up some kind of resistance?

1st of all, Stanford doesn't actually own that land; the Jissers actually own the Buena Vista land, so your analogy fails right there.

2nd, Stanford wouldn't try that because Stanford knows it would lose...badly and decisively. If Gunn's background is anything like Oak Knoll Elementary School in Menlo Park, the land was purchased via eminent domain, and purchasing land via eminent domain is allowed provided the land is used for a public use; Gunn and Oak Knoll are PUBLIC schools and are an example of using eminent domain in a reasonable way. (and I'll also point out that the Bay Area was a lot less crowded back then, so it was easier to acquire land back then).

I see that other posters are pointing out the massive flaws in your Stanford analogy. Personally, I liked it because your analogy inadvertently maked a strong case that the Buena Vista residents have no basis for any type of assumed land ownership.


26 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 7, 2016 at 11:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

At least two Palo Alto parks and at least three Palo Alto schools are on Stanford land.

Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School are on friendly land transfers from Stanford University, not by emminent woman, and if their educational use is ever terminated, the land would revert to the university for the value at the time of transfer.


12 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 7, 2016 at 11:20 am

Interesting, thanks for the clarification, Peter.


12 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Thanks for the info, Peter Carpenter.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Nayeli - Vodu isn't Lukumi, and neither is voodoo. The term you needed was ATR, African Traditional Religion, as they're all African diasporic traditions.

It's arguable that the Jissers were targeted by the City of Palo Alto.

I'm surprised that the City was allowed to get as involved in this as they did, making a much bigger mess.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe_in_Indiana
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2016 at 3:23 pm

I live in Indiana and I cannot believe this ever happening here.

I would expect this motion to fail, given that the challenge is based on the 5th Amendment "takings" clause, and that the Constitution is supreme over state and federal laws such as the statute of limitations. But I'm not a lawyer(my wife is and she is on the Jisser side).


15 people like this
Posted by ced1106
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 7, 2016 at 3:39 pm

And you wonder why there aren't more private individuals catering towards the needs of less fortunate individuals. If this is what a someone should expect to happen with his property, that's not much of an incentive to help them at all.


Like this comment
Posted by Barbara
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2016 at 3:53 pm

So, according to the City Attorney, the owner is completely out of options even though:

1. The residents are still living in the mobile home park
2. The residents are entitled to appeal the final appraisal of their homes
3. The residents haven't yet been paid any compensation for the closure

Interesting legal theory!


11 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 4:50 pm

@ Hmmm: I used "voodoo" loosely (echoing what one of my professors said in explaining the case). The point is that -- regardless of the specific religion -- the city of Hialeah retroactively targeted a particular religious group after they were already established in the city.

Still, I do think that it is obvious that the Jisser's trailer park (Buena Vista) was the primary reason for the 2001 ordinance. Moreover, the city is the primary reason why the trailer park has not been closed. Consequently, this has not allowed the Jisser family to do whatever they wanted with their own property.


27 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 4:55 pm

On a personal note, I feel that...

1.) The Jissers should be allowed to close the Buena Vista trailer park.
2.) Those who rent trailers should NOT receive a dime from the Jissers or the city.
3.) Those individuals who own trailers but have had expired leases should only be given a minimal amount to assist in physical removal of their trailers off of the property.
4.) The Jissers should be allowed to sell the property to anyone who wants to buy it.


3 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 7, 2016 at 6:26 pm

"it is obvious that the Jisser's trailer park (Buena Vista) was the primary reason for the 2001 ordinance."

So what? You gotta go with what you got. Would you make the same accusation if the city passed an ordinance regulating the only nuclear reactor in town?


11 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2016 at 7:50 pm

@Commentator. "The only nuclear reactor". Really this has become a bit extreme. The government regulates who can or cannot run things like nuclear reactors and such.

A real example would be. What if mark zuckaberg owned 100% of Facebook and choose after making billions he simply wanted to shut it down. Should he have the right? Or should the government get involved and make him pay all the users because of the inconvenience.

Let's get real with our examples. The jissers are a single family who own a rental business. Nothing more.


27 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:49 pm

BV residents rent their parking spaces from the Jisser family. Why should the landlord pay anything to tenants after leases expire? Those trailers are "mobile" homes, which are personal, not real, property. If the owners value them, they should move them.
There is no logic for a land owner to reimburse squatting ex-tenants for any moving expenses. If you owned an apartment or office building, would you pay moving expenses for tenants to vacate when the leases are up?


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Susan - in plenty of cases, yes, the landlord pays tenants for moving expenses from their homes. But more importantly, mobile home park closure laws are different enough from other tenant-landlord laws that your analogy is poor. It's been said over and over and over, but commenters like you refuse to get it. Being a mobile home park up for closure is why there's so much controversy. Why you residents have allowed your elected officials to further muddy the waters is astonishing.


10 people like this
Posted by Telll It Like It Is
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 8, 2016 at 7:02 am

A travel trailer is not to be considered a mobile home." See Greene County v. N. Shore Resort, 238 Ga. App. 236, 237 (Ga. Ct. App. 1999)"

"Travel trailers" or "recreational vehicles" define and describe a "park trailer,". A "park trailer" is 400 square feet or less, is pulled by a pickup truck, and is designed to be moved from the premises once a year for at least two weeks; this does not describe a "manufactured home." A "recreational vehicle" or "travel trailer" must have a registration and license tag. Since a "manufactured home" is not expected to be moved on the highway except for installation, then only the moving trucker must have a special license for the move. "Mobile (manufactured) homes" require a specially issued certificate of title.

"Mobile Home is defined as “a detached residential dwelling unit designed for transportation after fabrication on streets or highways on its own wheels or a flatbed or other trailer, and arriving at the site where it is to be occupied as a dwelling complete and ready for occupancy except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly operations, location on jacks or other temporary or permanent foundations, connections to utilities, and the like.

a "travel trailer" is "a vehicular portable structure built on a chassis, designed to be used as a temporary dwelling for travel and recreational purposes, having a body width not exceeding eight (8) feet," for normal highway travel. (Emphasis supplied.) Clearly, a "travel trailer" is not intended by the regulations to be treated as a "manufactured home," because it is both designed and used for purposes requiring mobility, i.e., used temporarily for travel, recreation, camping, or seasonal use.


19 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2016 at 8:41 am

@ Hmmm:

I understand the need for laws and ordinances to protect individuals under lease from shutting down a trailer park while lease contracts are still in effect. No mobile home owner should be forced to move while they have a lease.

However, if I understand the facts correctly, the Jissers have been trying to close this park for years -- and all of the leases have expired.

There should not be any laws that place an unfair burden on a property owner when he has already fulfilled the requirements of 177 lease contracts.

The Jissers have been very patient with the city and even the tenants. Unfortunately, their patience and good-nature has allowed them to be exploited by the city and the very tenants that they have been so good to.


1 person likes this
Posted by Matt
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 8, 2016 at 11:23 am

If I were the Jissers I would have just raised rents to $100k per month or whatever, the tenants obviously won't pay, so they would be evicted, and then there are no tenants to raise a fuss when you sell.


2 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm

@Hmmm wrote:

"Susan - in plenty of cases, yes, the landlord pays tenants for moving expenses from their homes. But more importantly, mobile home park closure laws are different enough from other tenant-landlord laws that your analogy is poor. It's been said over and over and over, but commenters like you refuse to get it. Being a mobile home park up for closure is why there's so much controversy."

Commenters like Susan et al. do get it, they just don't agree with it. Remember, this is Palo Alto.

"Why you residents have allowed your elected officials to further muddy the waters is astonishing."

Perhaps it is because they would rather grouse on Palo Alto Online than vote or petition their elected representatives? If you are wondering why the Palo Alto City Council is so dysfunctional, look at who elected them. Now does it really seem so astonishing? Sure, some voters are normal, rational and level-headed, but there are also many who are not.


11 people like this
Posted by Tell It Like It Is
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 8, 2016 at 3:37 pm

@Matt : "If I were the Jissers I would have just raised rents to $100k per month"

No. If you were the Jisser's you wouldn't do that.
1) Because you are the only property owner in Palo Alto who's property is rent controlled.
2) Because he has never noticed a rent increase that reaches the rent control limit.
Ref the RIR at: Web Link



8 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm

The end of rent control: The Battle of the Buena Vista Trailer Park the Waterloo of Rent Control in California. On Google. Mr. Jisser as citizen of the year award, I'm trying to get the Palo Alto Historical Society to declare this. James Madison was conscious of the fact that politicians will do anything for votes (Rhode Island inflated their currency to help the debtor class). Mr. Jisser stands against a pack attack by the politicians and their insatiable desire to appear politically correct. The Buena Vista mobile home park debacle is the most important historical event in the history of Palo Alto.

Geroge Drysdale, a social studies teacher


2 people like this
Posted by This-and-That
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2016 at 7:15 pm

> Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School are on friendly land
> transfers from Stanford University,

The property where PA High is located was transferred to the PAUSD as a result of an eminent domain law suit in the 1950s. Stanford was compensated monetarily. It is true that the land would revert to Stanford if the PAUSD were to cease using the site for a school.


2 people like this
Posted by bystander
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:23 am

PLF have responded: Web Link


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

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 71 comments | 3,333 views

Global Warming Diet
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,351 views

Couples: "Taming Your Gremlin" by Richard Carson
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,237 views

Preparing for kindergarten
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 683 views

 

Pre-registration ends today!

​On Friday, September 21, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, or—for the first time—half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More