A small group has used the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to make a "we" out of Woodside's many individuals.
` The Jackling House is not a life-and-death issue, yet it has muddied the rights of the individual terribly. A Floridian who lived in the Jackling House many years ago and a few Woodside residents who are members of the town's History Committee feel that their will must prevail. They feel the rights of a landowner must submit to their will. Why? Because, it's their wish.
Why the Jackling House? It's by an unimaginative architect, who parodied the old Spanish style. This building is not adobe, it has hollow walls, and it is an expansive sloppy work. The architect's better work, if you can call it that, is in Santa Barbara, where it should remain. Forcing a landowner to preserve a building because Nixon once used the toilet, or because it is considered distinct in an area outside of Santa Barbara, or that a silver baron built it, is an arbitrary designation.
The whole process has been an abuse of the CEQA act, and has been a waste of time and money for Woodside, the court and the landowner. In short, the Jackling House represents the arbitrary use of a law to force the landowner to do the bidding of authoritarians who think they have a right to force their will on others. It is shameful.
I don't know or work for the landowner. I don't have investments in the landowner's company, but I know when the law is being misused. I disagree strongly with the Almanac's editorial, the Woodside Historical Committee and that lady from Florida. Since I think, rather than feel, it seems obvious that no landowner should be forced to the whims of a few, who have no compunction in stretching the law to fit their arbitrary agenda.
I hope the readers of the Almanac and the editorial staff will reconsider their opinions in light of these considerations.
Christina A. Romano Puckett
Rocky Way, Woodside