Is Buena Vista ‘gone with the wind’?

Driving past the landmark Stanford Theatre, and noting the upcoming marquee news of the cinematic classic, I am moved to compare the famous Margaret Mitchell-based movie to the situation here and now about Buena Vista mobile home park.

How would watching the movie “Gone With The Wind” shape perception of the local land-use and policy issue regarding the future of the Palo Alto mobile home park?

The latest news is that the county-based Housing Authority might use eminent domain to save the park as a source of affordable housing, for the 117 families and 400 residents there.

Meanwhile, a federal judge threw out the case by right wing property advocates challenging the legitimacy of the local policy that protects mobile home residents and would enforce an $8 million fee on the closure of the park.

My first thought is that the 1960s era local laws that protected the rights of the mobile home residents may be archaic to the extent that there is not an obvious consensus that a local Democracy should protect the least among us. That is, did the Palo Alto of 2014 (when I ran for office and spoke out, and wrote, in favor of government intervention, on behalf of resident, including possible condemnation) change so much since the laws were written that we do not really mean to enforce this? So, in effect the idea of a Democracy that would protect this community is, like the antebellum South, gone, a thing of the past, archaic?

Am I therefore saying that the speaker for the current owners is like Rhett Butler? (i.e., materialistic, opportunistic).

Does that make Winter Dellanbach (leader of the community support for BV) Scarlett O’Hara? (or is she the Olivia DeHaviland character — the Stanford Theatre notes that July 1, 2016 is Olivia’s 100th birthday).

Or is Joe Simitian Rhett Butler, i.e. the hero of this story?

I’ve seen the movie — always thought it was too long, or glad for the intermission. I can’t say I quite get it. We think of the Confederacy as representing obsolete or undesirable values (slavery, for one) yet we admire the principles of the residents of Tara?

I don’t strictly mean to compare the BV residents to the ante-bellum underclass.

I think it would be interesting if there was some kind of romantic intrigue between the young-ish leader of the ownership group (i.e. the son) and the young-ish female speaker for the residents — but I don’t think that is happening. (I do always scoff at the use of the word “family” to describe the ownership group when my research shows that as of 2010 or so a corporation or LLC bought out the so-called family owners).

D.P. of the local biased rag wrote a crappy editorial against the promise of eminent domain which makes me want to say “D.P.” back: due process.

I recommend we all flock to Stanford Theatre to see “Gone with the Wind” if only for the insight into this important policy issue (and for subsidized pop corn: or is my notion a Let-Them-Eat-Pop-Corn kind of thing?)

  1. Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post, from July, 2015 on why contemporary audiences might not appreciate this classic of cinema, (or why, conceivably, Black Lives Matter might actually protest our local screenings. Maybe my idea not so hot.)
  3. As I am questioning self here — is this post a bad idea? — I am starting to think of the number of times I wondered if Stanford Theatre deliberately picks a movie as some kind of inside joke, usually of a rightwing variety. Film patron David Packard is rather conservative. I’ve never seen people raise the question publicly as to whether he is propagandizing with some of his movies. My thrust here is to ask whether the arts can provide insight into policy. And more people think “classic” rather than “racist” with this movie.

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, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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