Buena Vista Residents Sue
Palo Alto

Lawsuit seeks to prevent evictions, requires more relocation assistance

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It is clear that the residents are not asking for monetary damages from the city and that the legal action was required to meet a deadline to protect the rights of the residents to appeal in the event that the negotiations to purchase the property did not work out. A number of readers commenting on the story understood this reasoning. One of them wrote:

All this talk about legal fees — the City’s attorneys are already being paid by us and the lawyers representing the residents are working pro bono. That’s a very strong charge to make and may have no basis in fact.

As near as I can tell, it’s just a necessary thing the residents had to do or they would lose any bargaining power they had. Now that there is real money available to help buy the park, it would be a silly thing to do not to retain their rights before the deadline expires. It sounds like there are good faith things happening behind the scenes that none of us knows about, and nothing may ever come of this.

It’s not the greatest for PR, but I can’t see any reason for all the exaggeration.

But if you are in a business negotiation, the talk softly and carry a big stick holds. If you no longer have a stick, even if you would never wield it except in the most extreme circumstances, you lose. The talking is over.

And another added:

Residents of Buena Vista, like residents of all mobile home parks in California, are protected from arbitrary eviction by state statute and local ordinance. I have come to know many Buena Vista residents over the years and have found them to be people who work hard (often at more than one job), who have strong family values, and who don’t have the education or skills to qualify for high income jobs. More than anything, they want their children to have a chance to get the education that the parents missed out on, so they’ll have a chance at better jobs and higher incomes.

I’ve lived in Palo Alto for 30 years. My children graduated from Palo Alto schools and went on to college. If someone had attempted to throw me out of Palo Alto and I had any legal way to prevent them from doing so, you can bet I’d have pursued my legal options to the fullest. If I did so, I would not have considered myself greedy (though apparently some others might have considered me to be greedy).

I think our city is a better place for having a mixture of low, middke and high income residents. Others may disagree. But must we call the residents of Buena Vista “greedy” because they pursue every legal recourse to hold onto what the rest of us want (and, by the grace of God, HAVE)?

The Fight to Save a Silicon Valley Trailer Park

Palo Alto, Calif., has a dilemma: what to do with its only mobile-home park

By CHRISTINA PASSARIELLO, Wall Street Journal

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Here in the center of Silicon Valley’s tech boom, one of America’s wealthiest enclaves is wrestling with an uncomfortable dilemma: whether it can afford to lose the city’s only trailer park.

A block from multimillion-dollar homes and a few miles from the headquarters of GoogleInc. and Facebook Inc. sits Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, with 117 units that are home to about 400 residents, many of them Hispanic laborers.

Erika Escalante, 29 years old, has lived in the park much of her life. The mobile home she owns with her husband is watermelon red with white trim. The yellow trailer three doors down, where she lived during high school, is still home to her parents and youngest brother. Her sister’s family has a green unit in the park, where some rusty trailers still sport Christmas decorations in summer.

Soon, they may be forced out. With property values soaring, the park’s longtime owners, 44-year-old Joe Jisser and his parents, are fielding inquiries from developers eager for a rare large slice of Palo Alto. The value of the park’s 4.5 acres could be as much as $55 million, local real-estate agents say.

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