Originally posted by Matsu
[B]I think you all ought to note that the town, NOT Jobs, acted in bad faith (according to the judge.)
You be the judge whether Jobs' too has acted in bad faith.
He called the home "an abomination." This abomination was built by one of the most famous architects ever to have lived in California. If anyone here has been to Santa Barbara--there wouldn't be a S. Barbara as we know it w/o George Washington Smith's gorgeous Spanish colonial revivial style. Other Smith homes in CA. are selling for $17-million & up & the reason for their value is the architectural value in addition to whatever intrinsic value the home has. Jobs knew about this history when he bought the home. Yet he still had the temerity to call it a piece of junk & say if he could tear it down he'd build something far more historically significant. To me, that's bad faith or else egotism.
The question that must be asked becomes whether or not the builing has any significant historical value that a private citizen cannot purchase that building without also purchasing the obligation to become its custodian. This is not uncommon when buildings or areas are deemed to be historically or culturally significant -- the owners enjoy considerable privledges over exclusive use of such properties, but do in fact inherit an obligation to become their custodians.
Jobs, it seems, has not been a good custodian, and the house is falling into disrepair.
Council may have erred in exercising their power, but I doubt that there's no way for either them or the state (through some mechanism) to declare the property not historically significant. Not knowing the state or town laws in this area makes it difficult to speculate, but the community and its legislators will first have to decide whether or not the property fits their current definitions/guidelines for historical preservation.
Town housing guidelines call for preservation of existing housing stock & exhausting every option to maintain a home rather than tear it down. This is one of the problems the judge cited in striking down the demolition permit.
Going back for a second to Jobs' obligations to maintain the building. The town council may have actually hit upon the best solution. Depending upon how enforcable the conditions of ownership are, Jobs may simply be able to let the property rot, something that his money allows him to do, since he doesn't need it as a primary residence. In that case, moving the building, with Jobs sharing the expense seems like the most practical solution for those who care about this building. If, OTOH, curent laws have some teeth, and a standard of upkeep can be enforced, then Jobs might be compelled to maintain and renovate.
Just eyeballing it, the building doesn't look particularly interesting, and I would have to agree with Jobs' taste here. To me it looks like just another one of those generic monstrosities that b/millionaires build for themselves. So, it's big, and it's old, but what's so good about it?
To learn more about this extraordinary home you should visit the Uphold Our Heritage
website which is linked in my blog post (linked in my original post in this thread). It is NOT a typical monstrosity & I think you've misjudged it & not "seen" the beauty conveyed by the images in my blog. In addition, the house has been through nearly 20 years of abject neglect at the hands of Jobs so it doesn't present itself in the finest light.
If Steve Jobs would donate the home to Uphold Our Heritage or some other historic preservation organization then you might actually some day get an opportunity to visit it & see for yourself. UOH is run by a woman who lived in the house in the 1960s & adores it & desperately wants to preserve it (but has nowhere near the fortune of someone like Jobs & so can't single-handedly step in & rescue it).