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Jobs loses fight to demolish historic landmark home

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
While there are bound to be many fans of STeve Jobs here in this forum (& no doubt there are many good reasons to be one), I'm afraid his behavior in attempting to demolish the landmark Jackling House in Woodside, CA is not one of them.

Yesterday night, after a long legal struggle, Superior Court Judge Marie Weiner rendered her decision that the town council acted in bad faith in awarding Jobs a demolition permit. This decision is only preliminary and may be amended in the coming 10 days before it becomes final. But it appears that Jackling House has been saved.

Now if only Jobs would take my advice & those of other preservationists and ensure that the house is renovated & either used by him or donated so that it might become a museum dedicated to architectural preservation or California architecture.

My expanded post on this is at my blog.

edited by moderators to eliminate link.
Richard
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post #2 of 29
Maybe you missed Jobs' offer to give the house away to anyone who would transport it off the property?
post #3 of 29
I think that Jobs is just being a little stubborn. Its not like other land is not available in woodside:

http://www.interorealestate.com/Sear...ID=11-1-514999

He could sell the historical mansion to some rich preservationist, and build a house somewhere else.
Maybe the furor will raise the selling price, as the
townies will be willing to do anything to save the
poor house.
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post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by PBG4 Dude
Maybe you missed Jobs' offer to give the house away to anyone who would transport it off the property?

oh that's so generous of him to be willing to give away something he was going to demolish. how dare he be criticized.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by progmac
oh that's so generous of him to be willing to give away something he was going to demolish. how dare he be criticized.

He also offered to pay part of the $8 million relocation cost.
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post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by progmac
oh that's so generous of him to be willing to give away something he was going to demolish. how dare he be criticized.

Jobs bought the house and land. He should be able to do whatever he wants since it's his possession. There are plenty of places to criticize Jobs, I just happen to believe that if you own something you should be able to do what you want with your possession.
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by PBG4 Dude
Maybe you missed Jobs' offer to give the house away to anyone who would transport it off the property?

No, I certainly didn't miss that. But the moving process would've cost up to $2-million [just read the earlier post saying the cost was $8-million which is possible & if so I stand corrected], and that's before the cost of a new piece of land to put it on plus any renovations that would have to be done to repair the damage that Job's neglect has done to it. Plus, the fact that a yr. has gone by & although some people did express interest in taking the house, nothing ever came of any of it (of course the decision on who'd get the house was solely at Job's discretion).

Given his wealth, why wouldn't he just move the house himself to another piece of his own property & give it away to the State or sell it to another party (on its new site)?
Richard
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post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by PBG4 Dude
Jobs bought the house and land. He should be able to do whatever he wants since it's his possession. There are plenty of places to criticize Jobs, I just happen to believe that if you own something you should be able to do what you want with your possession.

That's quite libertarian of you. However, there is one small factor in this country which you may find objectionable but I somehow find comforting: there are laws meant to protect the greater public good.

Jobs can't do whatever he wants with this property. He lives in Woodside, CA (well, at least Jackling House in there). The town has zoning & housing guidelines. He needs a demolition permit. Though the town granted him one, the judge found in her decision that the permit violated the town's own rules.

YOu may not like such rules but I'm generally pretty happy they exist & certainly in this case.
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post #9 of 29
Ok, so he cant tear it down, but it says nothing about burying the f-cker. So I propose Steve just goes to Home Depot, rents a tractor and a few Mexicans, digs a huge friggen hole and pushes the house into it. "But your honor the house is still in one piece, granted youll have to dig to see it, oh and if you do please mind the tomatoes plants". Actually I'm still surprised this case has been lingering as long as it has, with all the fires in California you would of thought there was abundance of teenage arsonist for hire.
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When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #10 of 29
I think you all ought to note that the town, NOT Jobs, acted in bad faith (according to the judge.) I'm not sure someone like Jobs buys a property without doing his due dilligence, and so if indications were that the house could be torn down, why would Jobs be expected to offer any more than what he has? Help to share the relocation costs for anyone willing to transport the building sounds reasonable given that this building was never a public building from it's inception, and was never granted to the community as far as I know, but was designed as, and has always remained a private residence.

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.

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?

There's no gurantee, however, that Jobs would do any better...
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post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.

Absolutely right.
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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).
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post #12 of 29
Living here in CA, I am seeing the NIMBY preservationists forcibly declaring homes and even burned out garages as historic strictly to stick it to someone who want's to build something new. It is beyond ridiculous and the criteria they use to declare something historic can be absolutely laughable.

The afore-mentioned garage was cited as a prime example of some architects post adobe construction and absolutely critical to the state's heritage. Too bad the lady who owns the garage had pictures of when here mother had it built by her brothers to match another one in town that was designed by a different architect altogether, about 30 years after the supposed architect was dead. And who could rightly declare a 1 car garage historic, especially after the wood structure inside is all burned out?

Rich dead-guy houses in living rich guy neighborhoods are hardly a civic treasure. They are just houses. Maybe the NIMBY preservationists should spend more effort cleaning up blighted neighborhoods or the trash off the highways where everyone could see positive effects.
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post #13 of 29
who the %$@# really cares? I mean seriously? A judge telling any private property owner what he or she can or cannot do with regards to the disposition of the physical plant is stupid.

If the government is going to exercise it's authority to restrict the use of so-called "historical sites," it should be required to buy said properties and maintain them. It is anti-thetical to the US constitution for a judge to say "sorry , you cannot demolish your house because some group of goons (who don't own or have any real interet in the property) thinks it is significant.

On the flip side, was this just a ploy to drive traffic to your blog? Sorry - that's not allowed.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by PBG4 Dude
There are plenty of places to criticize Jobs, I just happen to believe that if you own something you should be able to do what you want with your possession.

Now if we can only convince Jobs that same principle should apply when you buy DRM-laden digital music, we'd be all set.
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We were once so close to heaven
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Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
who the %$@# really cares? I mean seriously? A judge telling any private property owner what he or she can or cannot do with regards to the disposition of the physical plant is stupid.

If the government is going to exercise it's authority to restrict the use of so-called "historical sites," it should be required to buy said properties and maintain them. It is anti-thetical to the US constitution for a judge to say "sorry , you cannot demolish your house because some group of goons (who don't own or have any real interet in the property) thinks it is significant.

On the flip side, was this just a ploy to drive traffic to your blog? Sorry - that's not allowed.

What does the constitution actually say about property ownership?

That the government cannot seize property without re-compensation.

That however doesn't prevent the government from telling people not to build all sorts of different structures, telling people to keep their properties maintained, and it also has never prevented private groups from dictating what people can and cannot do to their properties (like home owners associations) -- all of these indicate that it is well ingrained in our social structure to make actions like those of this judge perfectly acceptable.
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post #16 of 29
Not being expert in these things, I'm willing to differ to the more informed tastes of the architectural community. However, I have been in enough buildings that take me somewhere, both large public buildings, and small public buildings, and a few private ones, to be able to say that the pictures of this building don't suggest to me that it goes anywhere of interest.

I am free to think to this, perhaps out of ignorance, though I still don't think the house has much to proclaim it besides a rich owner and a famous architect. Those things alone don't make it especially interesting. Though again, that's up to the community to determine -- what constitutes the requisite level of historic and architectural significance (and dare I say, 'virtue').

There is no 'bad faith' in Jobs' not liking it and saying so. It may very well be an abomination, it may even be an abomination worthy of protection; it may even be a great building that should not be afforded any legal protection whatsoever. We're talking about variations in overlapping themes.

Be delicate. The building was not conceived with the public in mind, not cited in such a way as to interact with a public view, it is not really civic in any way that I can tell. And so, as property designed and paid for by a private individual, and then sold to other private individuals, I think a compelling argument exists for any current individual owner to dispatch it as he/she sees fit. That could make for a great artistic loss... I don't know. But Jobs may not be the only selfish party here.

When the city/state/nation deems it neccessary to protect certain private property in the public interest, it must have good clear reasons for doing so.

I wouldn't argue that private property is private property and that's the end of it, at least not in the case of real estate, where the permanence of landforms and buildings is acknowledged through basic land-use planning laws. When we buy property (real estate) we are buying the right to continue in the current use of that land, period. Any and all development outside that current use is subject to the "permission" of the greater or immediate community (or both) or any agents or officers granted the authority to manage development on the community's behalf. This is what you're doing when you buy a building 'permit' or make a zoning 'application'. It's more than a blind bureaucratic interaction, you are asking for the community's 'permission' or 'appealing' to it to allow a use of land which will have some real degree of permanance.

It's carefull work. You can't save everything old just for the sake of it's age, you have to allow for change and renewal as well as preservation, and it means some people are bound to be disapointed when one building is saved and another is torn down...
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post #17 of 29
Other than the said architect, if anyone can give me another significant reason why this house should be saved? (example: famous or notable persons resided there, site of an important event in history)

It takes more than aesthetics and age to engender support for preservation of a building. I'm all for historical preservation, but the building has to prove to be worth saving. We can't save them all, folks.
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post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Mac_Doll
Other than the said architect, if anyone can give me another significant reason why this house should be saved? (example: famous or notable persons resided there, site of an important event in history)

It takes more than aesthetics and age to engender support for preservation of a building. I'm all for historical preservation, but the building has to prove to be worth saving. We can't save them all, folks.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation filed a brief in this case supporting Uphold Our Heritage's position that the house should not be demolished because it was an architectural treasure (I should've written, given the neglect it suffered, that "it once was an architectural treasure & could be again"). THere is an article on the home in the National Trust magazine (page 3 of this pdf file). The National Trust is the nation's most important organization devoted to historical preservation. It does not take up these cases lightly as there are so many houses to save (as you rightly say) & so little time & funding to do so.
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post #19 of 29
All I have to say is that the house is not my cup of tea and I could see wanting to get rid of it to build something,,,anything...different...even a glass cube.
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post #20 of 29
I also said that we can't save them all. Architectural brilliance isn't enough. Plenty of architectural marvels have been demolished throughout the ages. But there were some that held more of a historical and/or cultural significance than this house. That's my stance on this: they need a better reason than that.
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post #21 of 29
Sometimes these irrational historical preservationists can be manipulated in your favor. My mother in law is using the sheds behind her house (which are historical stables) as a tool to prevent the town from widening a road and taking some of her land.
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post #22 of 29
They can also be demolished in one's favor; this house could be replaced by something for public needs, perhaps a youth center, or school for music? I think it'd be mighty cool of Steve to replace it with something beneficial.
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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
Sometimes these irrational historical preservationists can be manipulated in your favor. My mother in law is using the sheds behind her house (which are historical stables) as a tool to prevent the town from widening a road and taking some of her land.

That's a good use! I say good because the owner is advocating the designation instead of it being forced down their throat.
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post #24 of 29
What if an "accedent" befauls the home? say, lightning starts a fire...or an earthquake loosens the only joist not already "loosend" and thehouse falls...

And what is the fine for saying F*** YOU and renting a dozer for the weekend...surly it is less than the $8Mn relocation cost
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
What if an "accedent" befauls the home? say, lightning starts a fire...or an earthquake loosens the only joist not already "loosend" and thehouse falls...

And what is the fine for saying F*** YOU and hrenting a dozer for the weekend...surly it is less than the $8Mn relocation cost

You don't want the local building inspector mad at you - they would make it hell to re-build on that spot after you pulled something like this.

I have been through the shreader already after they caught me doing un-permitted additions to my house.
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post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
You don't want the local building inspector mad at you - they would make it hell to re-build on that spot after you pulled something like this.

I have been through the shreader already after they caught me doing un-permitted additions to my house.

I have a fealing that the inspector can be bought for far far less than $8Mn, Everyone knows, when local governments stand in the way of development, it is likly because the right wheel has yet to be greased if you know what I mean.
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #27 of 29
Many jars of termites.
Some patience.

Better make sure that they're native termites.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
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"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
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post #28 of 29
I like the irony involved with the DRM argument above.

The local authority should tell Steve he only had three chances to renovate his homestead and he's already used them.

Sorry, rich boy.
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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by audiopollution
Many jars of termites.
Some patience.

Better make sure that they're native termites.

LMAO

Native ones...
Resident Furry, Animation student, and Steve Jobs fan.
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