Last login: Thursday, September 13, 2012
This story is more involved than can typically fit into a 5-minute soundbite. It's easy to say that the residents knew the lease would end one day. But the case is not about trying to stay. The case is about finding a place for residents to go and helping them overcome the hardship of losing their homes. These homes cannot be moved, so residents are losing their homes and the equity in their homes. They have to re-enter the housing market at a time in their lives when most of them are not able to gain full time employment again. But more important to the story is that which is seldom reported. The City began reviewing development plans for a mammoth resort in the early 70s and continued to do so for decades. (You are kidding yourself if you think this land will become picnic benches and fire pits---it is far too valuable.) So the City began planning for park closure years ago, figured out what they would make in future development funds, figured out the cost of relocating all 500+ households, raised park rents to cover those projected relocation costs, and then spent on other things the money earmarked for relocation. The City then passed a local ordinance, attempting to exempt the City from having to comply with State law that governs the closure of mobilehome parks and applies to every other charter city in the state. Think about that for a moment---the City, as lawmaker, tried to give itself a free pass from having to comply, as park-owner, with the very law that applies to every other park-owner. No private park-owner would have been able to do that. The significance of the trial court's ruling 5-years-ago was not that the lease had expired, but that the City had violated state law by trying to evict residents from their homes without providing for their relocation. That's what the case is about: affordable housing, fair treatment, and playing by the rules. Go to courthouse and pull the file. Go to the attorneys' website and read the briefs and court rulings. The media focuses on the residents still being there, but they wouldn't still be there if the City had followed the law instead of misappropriating the funds. And 10 years of expensive litigation would have been avoided.
September 13, 2012 at 9:33 p.m.
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