State, federal funds sought to save Buena Vista

Anna Eshoo, Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon join effort to obtain funds for mobile-home park’s preservation

The effort to prevent the closure of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park has spread well beyond the city’s borders in recent weeks, with state Sen. Jerry Hill, state Assemblyman Rich Gordon and U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo all joining the drive to raise money for the park’s preservation.
Hill and Gordon co-signed a letter earlier this month to the California Department of Housing and Community Development asking the agency for assistance in identifying potential sources of funding for preserving what they call “vital affordable housing.” This came weeks after Eshoo submitted a similar request to Julian Castro, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

[Read the full story…]

Feds Pressed for Buena Vista Funds

by Breena Kerr / Daily Post Staff Writer

Local government officials have asked state and federal housing agencies for money to help save Palo Alto’s  last mobile home park.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Palo  Alto, State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Assemblyman Rich Gordon have all contacted the secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development to ask for money to keep the 100 units of affordable housing from being closed and likely razed for redevelopment. HUD is a federal agency that
gives housing funds to states.

Seeking solution

“I’m confident we can create a solution that will benefit the families of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and allow them to remain in the community that is their home,” Eshoo wrote in her letter to the Secretary of Housing.

The owner of the mobile home park has vowed to close it as soon as the City Council decides whether he has complied with a Palo Alto law that requires him to pay residents to leave.

While both Santa Clara County and the City of Palo Alto have each set $8 million aside to help buy the park, no nonprofits have come forward publicly to pledge money or help.

Local effort

Last week, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said he planned to “work the phones” to see if local nonprofits would join in the effort to save Buena Vista.

On Feb. 20, Palo Alto City Manager Jim Keene said that the city would set aside $8 million that the City Council could elect to use to preserve the park.

The decision by Keene came as a surprise to many since council members had not yet made the decision about whether to allow the owner to close the park. A decision is expected in April.

It’s All About the Children

At the rally at City Hall, PTA Director of Legislation Nancy Krop addressed the Council.  “We talk about numbers. We talk about a hundred children. A hundred of our students living in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. We’re talking about one of eight students at Barron Park Elementary School losing their homes,” Krop said. “But what is behind those numbers is a child. A child who dreams. A child who has hopes for tomorrow. A child who believes that adults can fix things … Every number is a child.”

Erika Escalante, a long-time Buena Vista resident who graduated from Gunn and became her family’s first college graduate, called the mobile home park an “affordable and safe place to live and to raise our children. I want my son and all the children at Buena Vista to have the same access to education and opportunity I had,”

In their research study on the children and families of Buena Vista, Drs. Donald Barr and Amado Padilla from Stanford University found that there were 67 families with 129 children and all school age children (101) were enrolled in school. Despite a 29.3% drop out rate among Hispanic high school students in Silicon Valley, and 27.6% statewide, not a single Buena Vista student had dropped out of school. “The children liked going to school and they liked their teachers”, said Dr. Padilla. “And all of the parents had attended parent teacher conferences.”

At the closure hearings Dr. Padilla testified that “The people (of Buena Vista) take care of each other. It is a community that watches over its children.”

It’s All About the Children!

* Photos by Richard Man. Additional pictures are available at his website.

PTA Joins Fight to Save Buena Vista

How affluent Palo Alto PTA members are trying to save a working-class enclave

by Scott Herhold / Mercury News
POSTED: 03/11/2015 12:04:12 PM PDT

The rules were strict on Monday. Each of the three speakers could talk for only three minutes. The idea was a quick presentation to the Palo Alto City Council and just as quick an exit. Hit them with your point and move on into the gentle evening.

But no one criticized Nancy Krop, the legislative director of the Sixth District PTA, for talking just a little longer. She is a tall, dark-haired woman with an eloquent way of speaking. And she was addressing a topic that touches the heart, the fate of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, a largely Hispanic working class enclave off El Camino Real.

Noting that 100 children attend eight Palo Alto schools from the mobile home park, Krop urged the council to approve $8 million set aside by City Manager Jim Keene to save the park. “What’s behind those numbers is a child, a child who believes that adults can fix things,” she said. As you heard her say that, it made you want to go fix things yourself. [Read full Mercury News article…]

Nancy Krop speaks to the Palo Alto City Council


City Hall Rally for Buena Vista

On March 9th Santa Clara County Supervisor, Joe Simitian, hosted a rally at City Hall to encourage the Palo Alto City Council to set aside funds to preserve the Park.

Buena Vista rally brings hundreds to City Hall

Residents and supporters urge Palo Alto officials to help preserve the mobile-home park

by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly

With a cloud of uncertainty looming over their homes, residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and hundreds of their supporters rallied at City Hall on Monday to express support for the park’s preservation and to thank Palo Alto officials for recent contributions to that cause.

Holding signs and wearing yellow stickers of support, more than 400 people attended the rally at Kings Plaza on late Monday afternoon. After about 30 minutes of pizza, photos and camaraderie, the tidal wave of Buena Vista supporters then spilled into the Council Chambers, filling every seat and spreading out against the Chamber walls and vestibules for the first few minutes of the meeting. The crowd included children, seniors and every age group in between; neighborhood leaders and school volunteers; staunch slow-growth “residentialists” like Bob Moss and Lydia Kou and board members of Palo Alto Forward, a citizens group which favors more housing and a “vibrant” downtown. [Read full Palo Alto Weekly article…]

Winter Dellenbach, founder of the group Friends of Buena Vista and one of the event’s organizers, voiced a similar sentiment. “One of the purposes was to show the breadth of support,” Dellenbach said. “There can never be, fron this point on, any doubt that this town supports Buena Vista.”

“In 30 years of participating in all manner of petitioning our local government for redress, last night’s crowd of Buena Vista supporters and residents was by far the largest. Just under 550 support stickers were handed out, 1 to a person – a good indicator of attendance on the Plaza.

It was a stunning outpouring of support for a solution that keeps residents here, the children in our schools, affordable housing preserved, and pays the owner for his land. We have much work yet to do, but the momentum is going in the right direction.

Thanks to everyone who participated. It was critical that Council members know we support them in setting aside $8 million of affordable housing funds for Buena Vista.”

Volunteers from the Media Center”s Zoom In Collaborative covered the Rally at Palo Alto City Hall March 9, 2015 where supporters rallied on behalf of the residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Park, home to fifty families and 300 people, one of the last bastions of affordable housing in Palo Alto.