There ought to be a law against city land grabbing

What if you owned 4 1/2 acres in Palo Alto and you wanted to sell it, is there anything wrong with selling your own property?  Yes. It turns out, some property can’t be sold unless local politicians say it’s OK.

For example, according to Palo Alto City Council and Santa Clara County Supervisors, Joe Simitian and David Cortese, they know what to do with your property and your money, better than you do.

In the case of Palo Alto’s last mobile home park, Buena Vista, the City of Palo Alto will not let the owner, Joe Jisser, sell his own property because years of inside deals, mismanagement, favoritism, a high tech boom, gigantic wealth creation and poor planning have created a low income housing shortage.

Too bad we’re not more like Detroit. But who wants to live in Detroit?

‘There ought to be a law’

Would you like to live on the Champ de Elysee in Paris or maybe a little spot on the beach in Bermuda? Why not a two bedroom in the Tech capital of the world, Palo Alto? These are all nice spots, but alas, rents are high.

So according to Supervisors SImitian and Cortese, someone else should pay for you to live wherever you want. As Joe Simitian is fond of saying, ‘there ought to be a law.’

And it turns out there is a law that’s legally extorting money and property from the ‘Palo Alto mobile home park owner,’ Joe Jisser. Even though he has already offered residents between $ 31,000 – 56,000 for their mobile homes and also offered to pay residents 100 % of the difference between their rent at Beuena Vista and their next home for a year, according to Palo Alto City Council and Joe Simitian, that’s not enough.

According to ‘law,’ the Palo Alto City Council has to think about it and see if they can find a way to be even more generous with Joe Jisser’s money and land.

Simitian and Cortese put your money and land where their mouth is

Here’s a better idea. Why don’t Palo Alto City Council members and Supervisors Joe Simitian and Dave Cortese donate their own homes to low income people? Why should these politicians live in nice houses when there are so many needy people in Santa Clara County? Will Joe Simitian and Dave Cortese lead by example and donate their property?

Will they respect the property rights of Joe Jisser and let him sell his own land? Or will they put other people’s money, where their mouth is?

5 Replies to “There ought to be a law against city land grabbing”

  1. “Will Joe Simitian and Dave Cortese lead by example and donate their property?” – Very good point! I would also like to add, “If these gentlemen do not donate their property, could we get a public reply to the simple question, and why not?”

    Bravo! Love to see an article that gets right to the point!

  2. The laws don’t complicate the sale of the park per se, they apply to the closure of the park.
    The ownership group says, contrary, that the park is not for sale.

    When they bought the park, in 2000, they presumably read all the laws and ordinances that apply in this case.

    The mobile home park industry is huge; there are plenty of other operators who would probably want to buy them out, should they decide to sell. I read that Zell Company (who now own the LA Times) own 5,000 such parks.

    Have you done any work, either for the ownership group or the tenants?

  3. Oops. According to this article, Sam Zell’s Equity Lifestyle Properties ELP owns 140,000 mobile home properties. Sounds like a growth industry, and Buena Vista is quite the anomoly.

    And I grant you that politically, you would probably like Zell’s politics, more than I might: he is against rent control and tries to fight it. I’m just saying it is odd the way the issues are framed here, and with due respect it is a misconception that the City is hindering a sale. The owners only want to sell if we upzone them and double their money. Why should we?

  4. If rent in the area is that high then he should be charging 2K a month for a lot. He’s not running a low income business and never bought it for that purpose. He bought it as an investment.

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