Will of the People for Buena Vista Park, public hearing, 250 Hamilton, April 13, 2015

Erica Escalante and family plea their case, for Buena Vista Residents association, before City Council, Palo Alto; she is a Gunn graduate

Erica Escalante and family plea their case, for Buena Vista Residents association, before City Council, Palo Alto; she is a Gunn graduate

edit to add, the next day: I sat through the four hour public hearing on the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park possible closure or opportunity to convert to homeowners association, which featured about 70 brief speeches, the bulk of which were by actual tenants, many of those English is their second to Spanish language, some with interpreters and the most touching talks were by school children, pleading to remain at Barron Park School, Terman or Gunn.

I spoke for about 2 minutes. These are my original notes, which probably would have taken me 6 minutes to get thru. Plus I had the advantage of riffing off of what was already said. I will try to recreate the exact 500 words or so in a minute.

Notes on BV

Highest and Best Use is flawed, in that it does not weigh properly the covenant; Smith and associates april 18, 2013
2. Obvious pro-developer bias in the press, especially Jason Green’s reporting, on the ownership history and timeline.Jisser LLC of 2000, v. “Jisser family” 1986 blurred
3. Prometheus is irrelevent; don trump might pay $80 M
4. on the other hand, please disclose contact between this group and council?

5. Molly Stump was wrong to gag the candidates, this should have been solved long ago.
5.a burden this puts on the residents

6. todays’ Merc has something about rent control
7. todays Times has something about Blackstone investment in real estate. They manage $278 B BILLION IN ASSETS. in real estate along they made $2 Billion in profits in two years.
8. here in PA alone, its is a billion dollar industry, commercial real estate. apples and oranges thingy, or how monolithic, but pressures are considerable, incentives.

if it were a dirt lot, yes its worth $30 M and you could move around the dirt. but there are people there, they are not dirt, cannot shovel them into bags, toss them on a freight train or something.

the clear moral choice is to force a deal and be done with the current ownership.

i’d rather be sued for leaning too far in this direction than to not do enough on this point.
it’s still one person one vote and not one dollar one vote.
Its sort of like Huck Finn, feeling he is going to hell for wanting to help Jim escape slavery.
When Enron went out of business, and we knew they were corrupt and going away, we still paid them $20M rather than fight, which is a disappointment;
per the recent GJR of 6/14, we tend to kowtow to power rather than stand by principles. that’s still a valid observation about leadership here, sorry to say.

its the greed of one guy or one entity versus the need of the 400 humble people, and I think the will of the people is to side with our morals and these people and not give in to mammon, or babylon or moloch.

John Barton backed by Gail Price and others on his board seemed to weigh in in support of the poignancy and humanity of rejecting the ownership entity's designs on gentrification. Gail later made her own address.

John Barton backed by Gail Price and others on his board seemed to weigh in in support of the poignancy and humanity of rejecting the ownership entity’s designs on gentrification. Gail later made her own address.

For my actually address, I avoided using the name of the ownership entity, the so-called family.

I also shot and texted the photo or emailed rather to John Barton with Gail Price.

the meeting re-convenes today Tuesday at 6 p.m., with deliberations by our 9-member council. I have to admit the presentation by Ms. Nanda, attorney for the ownership group was impressive. She seemed to imply that the covenant, of 2000 (I thought it went back further, to the 1960s?) written by then City Attorney Ariel Collone (sp?) was pretty weak, weaker than we assumed. What popped into my mind is the Hebrew term “a stone and a stone” which is etymologically linked to the word “ebony” and the concept of false measure. As in, what we thought was rock solid was maybe just a dark wood that looks like stone. I continue to believe that The Will of The People is to save these 400 people, and let them become owners here.

I sat next to Joe Simitian — actually I sat by his assistant or aide Micaela Hellman-Tincher — Veronica’s grandkid and a fellow Gunn grad — and then Joe sat down and I noticed that despite pledging $8 M from county coffers that he did not stand with the people who were asked to stand if they support the residents. He is officially neutral.

My notes, rewrote in a book:
1. HBU ignores covenant >> unrealistic valuation
April 18, 2013 Smith & Associates device of “hypothetical value” inappropriate, caused damage, although I’m not a lawyer, I said
2. Press has run with this, fanned the flames. Pro-developer bias
–blurred the distinction between the ownership entities
since 2000, LLC
family since 1986
(I noticed that the attorney refers to her client as a “family” when in fact it is an LLC a corporation)
(also when I passed Jason Green of the Merc I held out Matthew Artz page one story Monday, “A New Call For Rent Control: With runaway increases displacing many, activists reviving progressive tool” but he ignored me; I had written he and his editor Mario Dianda five times on these same two points; when I pigeon-holed Jason on this a few months back he muttered “Property rights…property rights” which is a tell. But yes Jason you are right that I wrote in my blog that you were playing with a digital device at the candidates editorial meeting in September 2014 when you were actually scrolling thru a recording device, or not deleting, and I printed that verbatim).
3. Barton John former Council, PAUSD bd, architect
Paul George, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
Who are we?
What has changed since 1964, when we cut this deal?
I submit that we will not be the same, Palo Alto, if we let this happen. To those Palo Alto family members.
Maybe we would have to change the name from Palo Alto, after I said Oak but I mean mighty pine to Palo Corto, Palo Bajo, Palo Flaccido, Mayfield or may not field? I gestured back and forth, our ambivalence and weakness of intention.

My outro which the buzzer barely permitted and I did push thru a click or two to the other side, Rabbi Janet Marder (I greeted on my way up, I also fist bumped Lydia Kou speaking before me) referenced Levitticus “love your neighbor” but I also know Matthew “that which you’ve done for the least of my brethren, so have you done for me” There’s a moral imperative here to help these people.

outro, Bill Frisell doing John Lennon, “Nowhere Man” and “Strawberry Fields”, NPR Tiny Desk concepts which has little or nothing to do with BV other than its a nice break from all this, if you have the full 20 minutes to listen to this, take a break. It dawned on me, and several of the residents said this, that the three year period of doubt and loathing exacts a toll as well. Frisell of course did two shows at Cubberley, including one solo guitars, in the late 1990s I set up, and Terry and I saw him but did not get back stage to greet him July.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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