Palo Alto , CALIFORNIA
At Palo Alto City Hall, Supervisor Joe Simitian, P.A.Mayor Pat Burt revealed a new effort to preserve Buena Vista Mobile Park, a low income home to about 400 individuals (who are mostly Hispanic service workers). A proposed partnership comprised of County of Santa Clara, City of Palo Alto, and the SCCo Housing Authority will attempt to preserve Buena Vista Mobile Home Park by purchasing this property using, if required, an ‘eminent domaine’ approach. SCCo and P.A. each have already committed $14.5 million each (total $29 million). The amount to to be provided by he SCCo Housing Authority is to be determined.
The collective effort’s focus will be to fund, acquire, improve and preserve the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park as an ongoing source of affordable housing for its current and future residents. The Housing Authority will acquire ownership; be responsible, using a non-profit NGO/CBO contractor, for maintenance, improvements, and operations.
All three parties will be voting to undertake this proposed partnership in the coming weeks (SCCo BOS: June 21, 2016; Palo Alto City Council: June 27, 2016; HA Board of Commissioners: June 28, 2016). If successful, the Housing Authority will pursue the next steps: Funding; acquisition—starting with a property appraisal/assessment; and and improve/assume operational management of the Park via an NGO/CBO non-profit firm.
In announcing this proposed partnership, Supervisor Simitian said that the Housing Authority was, “the final piece of the puzzle necessary to move forward with efforts to save the Buena Vista Park…and the eviction of its 400 Latino residents. The SCCo HA has the resources and will work with both SCCo and Palo Alto to same the Park.” Simitian recognized and thanked Dave Cortese, President, BOS, Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt, and many other NGO’s and CBO’s who stepped up with their supportive actions.
When Palo Alto approved the Park’s closure, residents were discouraged and fearful of their future.” said Erika Escalante, President, Buena Vista Residents’ Association. “We are encouraged, excited, and thankful for everyone involved for coming up with a plan to preserve this Park and help the 400 Buena Vista residents stay in Palo Alto.”
It took the organized interest and effort of the general community to crystallize the voice of “We, the People” who assertively demanded that the ‘right thing be done.”
Hilbert Morales recommends those local Latino citizens who have not registered to vote and prepare to vote this coming November 8, 2016. This is another case in which the voice of the people elicited the efforts to push back forces of gentrification and implement the forces of ‘community stewardship’. Democracy works when all are actively involved influencing public policy which enables doing the greatest good for the greatest number.
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