June 2010 Court-Appointed Mediator could get agreement on moving house nearby
UOH is hoping a Court-appointed Mediator will soon step in to try to work out a final agreement on the Jackling House. In February we signed an agreement with Magalli and Jason Yoho which was endorsed by the National Trust, and their proposal was then submitted to Jobs’ attorney. Jobs’ accepting that they relocate the House to their land 1.8 miles away would end all litigation and result in emptying his property in a timely manner without destroying a valuable historic resource. The couple has invested time and consultant fees on plans for moving it in 18 pieces, sparing trees along the route. They addressed a shifting set of concerns raised by Jobs’ attorney, earning cooperation from Town Staff but not yet from the Owner. The Owner's remaining concerns, perhaps over a reasonable amount not for demolishing but toward relocating, would be reviewed by the Mediator. We believe Jobs' attorney's claims of "financial infeasibility" excluding everything except demolition would not hold up in Appeal. With an excellent relocation solution clearly feasible and within sight, why not let a Mediator work out remaining obstacles?
April 2010: Question to Jobs and to Town : why destroy, when you can let this couple quickly remove and then preserve the House?
-National Trust urges let couple save the House
National Trust Letter
- Why dump tons of historic house rubble into landfill when it's as easy to let someone save it?
Open Letter to Al Gore
Congratulations to Timothy LeCain, Ph.D, an advocate for saving the Jackling House, whose book "Mass Destruction" (Rutgers, 2009) has won the top environmental history prize.
In a recent email he reported the good news. "Mass Destruction won a very prestigious academic prize last month, the George Perkins Marsh Best Book Prize, awarded by the American Society for Environmental History." And he added, "Hopefully that means more people will read the book, which might offer a little more help in saving the house."
The book opens with a photo of the house and then brilliantly reveals the irony of Jobs' quest to destroy Daniel Jackling's mansion -- Jackling being the man who made America's electrical wiring for recharging your iPhones and electrical gadgets possible.
For architectural, historical, civic, and environmental reasons, choosing to dump this building in to landfill is foolish. A viable alternative is on the table.
** The book opens with a photo of the house and then brilliantly reveals the irony of Jobs' quest to destroy Daniel Jackling's mansion -- Jackling being the man who made America's electrical wiring for recharging your iPhones and electrical gadgets possible.
Uphold Our Heritage and the National Trust have been working closely with Woodside homeowners on a relocation proposal on the table in which Steve Jobs gets the Jackling house off his land and a young couple pay to restore and live in it.
Relocation was Mr. Jobs' idea to begin with. Under this proposal, instead of bulldozing and trucking mountains of rubble to landfill somewhere, the house is taken in pieces to a property within the town.
The couple's proposal was submitted to Jobs' attorney late February, without the Judge knowing of it, as her decision was recorded around the same time.
Bad news, March 8: UOH and supporters, after winning successive court victories (see chronology, below) were handed a very disappointing and perplexing ruling. Order Overruling
UOH has 60 days to decide whether to appeal. For the time being we're appealing to common sense!
GOOD news: The Yohos' relocation offer is clearly a feasible alternative to demolition.
The young Woodside couple have diligently researched how to move the Jackling House to their 5 acre site only miles away. Again, unlike the earlier ''deal'' with no preservation outcome (July 14 National Trust letter to Town regarding Jobs'/ Smythe deal) this couple has committed to the highest standards of preservation.
Highlights of the Yohos' Proposal:
''- Rehabilitation will be headed by our nationally recognized and award winning General Contractor and will follow the Secretary of the Interior ‘s Standards for Rehabilitation for the exterior and interior...
''- Upon receiving a Certificate of Habitability the Yohos will prepare a nomination to list the house on either the California Registry of Historic Resources...
''- The Yohos commit to... implementing the Judd Report (method of dismantling the Jackling House, transporting with minimum impact on tree canopy, and rehabilitation)
''- To use of a Historic Preservation Architect...this person will meet the Secretary of the Interior's Historic Preservation Profession Qualification Standards
''- Performance Bond. The Yohos will establish a performance bond in the amount of (confidential) millions...
''- ... online blog to document and photograph progress of moving and restoring the Jackling House.
''- commit to opening the house to the public ... once a year, ...to include the Woodside History Committee in planning and organization…etc''
Details of their proposal were vetted by the National Trust. The Trust filed an amicus brief against demolition along with our lawsuit in 2005, and the Trust’s Western Regional Office has been in fervent support of preserving the Jackling House for years, a fact often overlooked in the press (!).
Before issuing any demolition permit the Town will hold a public hearing. The couple’s proposal clearly cannot be ignored or dismissed.
In July 2009
the Woodside Town Council OK'd a preposterously hollow "deal" (again, see July 14 NTHP letter critical of Smythe deal ) comprising No commitments and NO land, which is why UOH asked the Judge review the Council's acquiescence with such a farcical "deal."
May 12, Council moved toward vote on tear-down.
We and allies from the National Trust, and new supporters such as the Art Deco Society of California, attended and were dumbfounded when a Council member expressed his opinion that the House would not be suitable for 21st century living. Had he slept through earlier testimony from architect Andrew Skurman showing precisely the opposite? The irony is that Skurman was hired by Jobs' team!
Skurman's plans and drawings showed the Jackling House is restorable, is retrofittable, and would be a highly glamorous and valuable residence. Skurman's testimony also contradicted Jobs' claim that the House is an "abomination" beyond repair.
See MarketWatch article overview, and architect plans for restoring the House.
Another Council member asked why the National Trust never made an offer to buy the Jackling house(!) Was she unaware that all communication from Jobs' attorney over the past eight years was that his client had NO interest in selling?
More articles & letters:
Arguments made at April 28 meeting | Apple CEO Steve Jobs stays home; attorney makes case for demolishing Woodside home | Group Fights Steve Jobs to Save Historic California Mansion | Letter to Mayor Mason, Town Council members, and Madam Town Manager from Clotilde Luce (Word Doc) | Paul A. Berger October 19, 2006 | Paul A. Berger April 17, 2009 | Steve Juniper Letter | Read historian's fascinating letter showing Jobs' debt to Jackling | Woodside Colludes With Jobs to Destroy Jackling House
April 28 Town Council meeting
Brian Turner for the National Trust, author Kathryn Masson from Washington DC, UOH President Clotilde Luce, and several residents submitted written and spoken testimony on the inadequacy of Jobs' "new evidence." We noted that the only piece of independent evidence the Town had was the Judd Report showing that relocation/restoration IS feasible. We were dismayed that Council members had never learned of successive proposals made to Jobs' attorney by Paul Berger, fully in possession of a site, offering even a profit to Jobs, and whose family's 50 year old firm had restored the Civic Center in San Francisco, the Huntington Library, and worked on the Getty Museum. Council members were clearly misinformed about Berger proposals going back to early 2005, yet never disclosed.(The Judge's first ruling was scathing about the lack of transparency of handling good faith offers to save the house) At this meeting several Council members balked at "new evidence" showing Job's future house being built at almost Home Depot per sq foot prices, to make alternatives to demolition comparatively "financially infeasible". We recommended negotiations on shared costs with qualified interested parties be carried out with a Mediator. The Town of Woodside Current Issues & Events
The Town of Woodside Current Issues & Events
November 2008 Appeals Court affirms fees to our attorneys
Sample from 12 page Court ruling, again validating our case:
• "The Court found that the action [Uphold our Heritage’s lawsuit] conferred a significant benefit on the general public... The Court awarded Heritage a total of $403,548 in fees… more than 75 percent of the fees were incurred in the appellate proceedings…
• "The future of the historic home is still undecided, but there are several potential scenarios under which the historic value of the property will be permanently preserved
• "In addition, We agree with the trial court that the action "raised issues of law, specifically regarding the issue of ‘economic infeasibility’ … as to which the Court of Appeal … found that refusal of an applicant to proceed with alternatives is not a "legal infeasibility " under CEQA. (page 5 of full decision, see PDF below)
The Court’s 12 page decision (see PDF, below) amplifies an earlier Court’s ruling which Jobs appealed. NB : our group will get no monetary award, all money raised or awarded goes to "legal".
• PDF Court Decision
• Apple's Jobs Must Pay Opponents' Legal Bill in Mansion Fight
• Woodside group wins fee award in Steve Jobs case by Andrea Gemmet News - Wednesday, November 19, 2008
• Legal Pad: Jobs Loses Fees Ruling, Checks Sofa Cushions
May 2008: History of Pixar features Jackling House case
"THE PIXAR TOUCH" (Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2008) by business writer David Price, delves into unpublicized episodes in the history of Apple, Pixar, and Disney. The book ends with a critical interpretation on Jobs’ handling of the Woodside house.
* And Timothy LeCain, Ph.D, who has written extensively on technology and the environment, is publishing a book about Daniel Jackling's contribution to modern America. LeCain had no prior relations with UOH when he contacted us."I believe the evidence shows that Jackling was in many ways just as significant to the creation of modern America as Henry Ford .... Would Jobs have proposed tearing down Henry Ford's historic home? The irony is all the greater since Jobs has made his own fortune through machines that depend on electricity supplied, by and large, via wires made of copper. ... so in a very real sense Jobs' entire career has depended on Jackling's innovations. That Jobs repays this historic debt by attempting to tear down Jackling's house strikes me as a particularly egregious case of historical amnesia."
* Diane Keaton's book "CALIFORNIA ROMANTICA" (Rizzoli, 2007) offers the most artistic photos of George Washington Smith's Southern California homes to appear anywhere.
August 2007 Read article "Chutzpah of Preservationists vs. Hubris of CEO"
Article provides more background on the Jackling case and rebuts common misconceptions about preservationists. Home Miami Article
May 2007: UOH goes to Hollywood
Note Oscar statue! (Oscar is not yet a member of UOH) We were honored to speak at a very lively California Preservation Foundation event held in Hollywood's Kodak Theater. It was a pleasure to finally thank leaders from the CPF and the National Trust, who stood with us in Court. The next day UOH members got to visit the Casa del Herrero and other Smith-designed buildings in Santa Barbara, with author and UOH member Pat Gebhard.
April 2007: State Supreme Court rebuffs further appeal
The high Court denied Jobs and Town’s request to reconsider the Appeals Court January 2007 decisions in our favor. See: Decision PDF
Sample of press coverage: http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=614
January 2007: A year after first win, we win in Appeal
Appeals Court unanimously upheld our January 2006 win in Trial Court. The New York Times called UOH's Appeals win "a major legal victory." Uphold our Heritage members in California, Washington, Florida, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, France, and Portugal, among them several architects and authors on architecture, are vindicated. The feasibility of preserving this historic resource is evidenced by the fact that serious proposals have been made to relocate and rebuild it, and that the Town's own consultants have shown that relocation and preservation are feasible.
Press Points to Exit Strategy
We are a group of preservationists from around the country who went to court and won -- stopping Steve Jobs from tearing down the architecturally significant and historic Jackling House in Woodside, California.
The Jackling House was purchased in 1984 by Mr Jobs, who lived there for about ten years and posed in front of the House for Newsweek (see PHOTO GALLERY) but in recent years he has called it an "abomination" and sought to demolish it.
By applying for demolition Mr Jobs set in motion several MANDATORY procedures to be carried out by the Town under California law.
The Town was obliged to follow procedures under the California Environmental Quality Act, first to determine whether the threatened building is "historic", and then to determine what impacts its loss would have on California heritage. The resulting Environmental Impact Report concluded the Jackling House IS "historic" and that demolishing it could NOT be mitigated ( i.e that salvaging some vestiges would NOT compensate for its loss.)
Sadly, the Woodside Town Council ignored the advice of the Town's own lawyers who recommended denying demolition. Even worse, one Council member prefaced his remarks by making fun of this very law before voting for demolition. The Council set one "condition" -- that Jobs TRY to find someone to relocate the house off-site. This requirement was hollow, as the Judge later noted.
Because the Town's decision clearly flouted California law we formed a non-profit group Uphold our Heritage for the purpose of preserving the House and upholding California preservation law. We retained a respected Santa Monica-based law firm, Chatten-Brown & Carstens, specializing in environmental and preservation cases. (see http://www.cbcearthlaw.com)
On September 23rd, 2005 our case was heard before the Superior Court of the State of California in San Mateo County. The Judge asked Jobs' lawyer why baseline evidence was lacking to justify destruction of heritage. She asked if his client was basically unwilling to spend even $1 to mitigate for this loss to State heritage. Judge Weiner reiterated the need for evidence, noted that doors had been removed, and that the Town CAN penalize demolition by neglect.
In January 2006 we won the case. Judge Weiner issued a 21-page drubbing to the Town for not holding Jobs to the legal standard. "Such findings simply demonstrate the Town Council's exaggerated efforts to find a means to the end that Jobs seeks" the Judge concluded.
The Judge reiterates that if alternatives to demolition exist such as relocation, or selling a parcel of the property at a huge profit, or donating it as a philanthropic tax write-off, those alternatives must be exhausted before demolition can be considered. The ruling is also highly critical of the lack of transparency and fairness under which Jobs has been allowed to reject offers to relocate the House.
The ruling was upheld unanimously in Appeal Court, one year later. The ruling is so well argued that the following year the State Supreme Court refused to rehear the case. Court rulings can be read, below.
The Jackling House is currently boarded up. As recently as July 2007 good faith offers to relocate the House were proffered.
ACTION TO SAVE THIS HOUSE AND HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
HELP WITH A DONATION TOWARDS OUR LEGAL COSTS
ABOUT THE ARCHITECT AND THIS HOUSE
PRESS ON THE JACKLING HOUSE
PHOTO GALLERY: THE HOUSE THEN & NOW
MORE ON THE JACKLING HOUSE
ACROSS THE COUNTRY PEOPLE THINK IT MATTERS TO SAVE THIS HOUSE
FROM THE PUBLIC RECORD: LETTERS OF SUPPORT
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