An effort by Santa Clara County and Palo Alto to save Buena Vista Mobile Home Park from closure could be approaching a key milestone.
County Supervisor Joe Simitian and Mayor Pat Burt are preparing to announce on Wednesday what they call a "breakthrough development" in the quest to keep the city's sole mobile-home park in place.
The county Board of Supervisors and the City Council had already committed $14.5 million each in county and city funds, respectively, to purchase Buena Vista from the Jisser family, which has been trying to close it since 2012.
So far, the family has been loathe to sell the 4.5-acre park. Last August, after several months of negotiations, the Jisser family declined an offer from the City and the County for the mobile-home park. At that time, the plan was to turn over the management of the mobile-home park to the nonprofit Caritas Corporation. The announcement from the family came just after the Buena Vista Residents Association filed a lawsuit against the City, alleging that officials should have done more to protect the mobile-home park from closure.
The City is also facing a suit from the Jisser family, which is contesting the relocation-assistance package that it is required to provide to Buena Vista's roughly 400 residents. This includes the first and last month's rent, moving costs and a year of rent subsidies that would cover the difference between rates at Buena Vista and at their new residences. The City Council approved the relocation package in May 2015, when it affirmed the Jisser family's right to shutter Buena Vista.
While a potential deal between the City, the County and the Jissers fell through, the Wednesday announcement suggests that public agencies are now eyeing a different strategy.
Simitian and Burt are preparing to announce "significant developments regarding the preservation of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park," the press release about the Wednesday event stated.
They will be joined at the Wednesday press conference by Katherine Harasz, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara, a local government agency that administers the federal rental assistance program, develops affordable housing and provides services to low-income households. Also joining them at the 10:30 a.m. event at City Hall will be Erika Escalante, president of the Buena Vista Residents Association.
The Weekly has compiled an archive of news coverage capturing the many voices of the people involved in the fight over Buena Vista.