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Woodside: disparate views on historic house

Original post made on May 7, 2009

Steve Jobs' bid to tear down a historic mansion in Woodside generated a whole lot of testimony at the April 28 Woodside Town Council meeting. Preservationists and representatives of Mr. Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., painted very different pictures of the Jackling house, an imposing 17,250-square-foot Spanish colonial-style home built in 1925.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 7, 2009, 12:20 PM

Comments (21)

Posted by Woodsider
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm

The Jackling house cannot be seen from the street. How does this impact the community? No one can see it! Is Steve Jobs going to be required to make his property available to the public? I would understand if it were visable from a scenic corridor.

Posted by Heather Ripley
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on May 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm

It does not matter if it can be scene from the street; some preservationists have been working to have the house removed so it can be saved. Besides, it's still historically and architecturally significant, and it would be a shame if it was destroyed just because of his neglect. If anyone could set a good example of how to preserve and respect buildings for future use, here is Steve Jobs' chance to set a good example. There may come a time when all Apple products are gone and no one has preserved them for future generations, how would he feel then?

Heather Ripley, Vice President
Art Deco Society of California

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on May 8, 2009 at 9:40 am

Any house that Steve Jobs builds will be far more historic than the Jackling house. If the preservationists can find someone who is willing to relocate this white elephant and restore it, they are welcome to it.

Perhaps you can't allow Steve Jobs to demolish it, but you can't make him restore it either.

Posted by Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm

What ever happened to private property rights? If the preservationists want to save it, let them find a lot and move it there. Why saddle the property owner with this responsibility? Jobs should be able to do what he wants with his own property.

Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Almost no person writing about this ideal and wonderful area, which has become that way through money starting with logging and where today it is known for the nesting place for Silicon Valley billionaires and is one of the richest areas and also 90% caucasian.
It could quite easily have the balance changed by an invasion of Mid Eastern billionaires.
I think Jobs deserves his way of building his home and the idea of classifying a home built in 1925 as an "historical" building almost laughable when its location would not prompt a great deal of tourists since the one thing the people of Woodside like is privacy and no tour buses.
Finally, IF the house is saved from demolition, the most obvious mistake would be to spend all that money just to have the entire thing toppled when the big earthquake hits being that Woodside sits directly on top of our St. Andreas Fault line. NOT good planning.

Posted by WHAT?
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 8, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Mr./Ms. Gordon, WHAT on earth are you trying to say? Not only is your first sentence entirely structurally flawed and nonsensical, it has the sewagey whiff of racism. What could you possibly have meant to suggest by the "also 90% caucasian" reference? What does that have to do with anything germane to this issue? Explain yourself, please.

Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 9, 2009 at 7:44 am

The liberal statists want to vacate our property rights. Our founding fathers thought so much of individual property rights that they memorialized the right in the 5th amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Bill of Rights). It states

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The place is a dump and Jobs should do with it as he pleases. He has tried to be reasonable; but there is no way you can placate these strident and irrational leftists.

Our country is making a not so gradual shift to socialism. It is pervasive at the city, county, state and federal levels. Until rational people become involved in Government the leftists will accelerate that shift. What made our country great was that Americans were individualists. Now the rights of the individual are subordinated to the Rights of the State. And who is running the State? People who believe that Socialism is the answer. Howard Dean, the former head of the Democratic National Committee recently said "we have had enough of Capitalism". Need I say more.

Everyone needs to get involved and vote out anyone in office who does not respect the rights of the individual.

Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm

See what I mean folks? Look at the post above and count the number of nasty insults.

Liberals are doing this to us. The place is a dump. Socialism is upon us.

What I will say is this, how many times do we need to see another Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, Sergei Brin, et al take huge liberties with local properties in their attempt to transform communities into another tacky Florida estate?

If he follows the rules we all have to follow, then fine.

If not, then reject him.

Easy as that. And not a thing to do with socialism or Howard Dean or Karl Marx...

Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm


Why don't you crack open Das Kapital, calm down, have a nice read, and settle into your comfort zone.

Posted by vladimir ulyanov
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Truth, maybe you can help Hank understand some of the important words and concepts. Word to Hank: it's not 1950 any more and Joe McCarthy is dead!

Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2009 at 9:24 am

R.GORDON is a registered user.

"Sewagy"......and your correctiny MY sentence structure while I make too many points about that entire area being too racist as long as you bring it up
How many black residents do you have living or wanting to share space with a buncho of noveau riche billionaires that consider the world off limits in its basic thinking, who if you were to scratch the veneer a little would find a bunch of gilded whores? Common as the next new money and thinking they are "society" and the even the realtors drive around in $80,000 Jags and with Hermes scarves tied around their necks. You are all basking in the dim glow of snobbism while Mr. Jobs is going to buy his way out of this and he knows it. All he has to do do is give the City Council a ball park, a pool and a donation to the already too rich hiding places for TV producers and their movie star wives who should, like you, be spending money on the homeless on your streets. You are too arrogant and where the hell is Portola Valley.Being a fifth generation San Franciscan, it is difficult to remember the suburbs except when the rich mobsters lived there.......and some still do.

Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2009 at 9:25 am

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Ignore the spelling mistakes. My education is probably far better than your's and I never had to type.

Posted by WHY??
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on May 12, 2009 at 9:41 am

WHY are you people so concerned about the wealth of others?? Is it killing you to see others more successful with riches? I don't understand all of the negative, biting remarks? Why don't you live and let live. Steve Jobs isn't killing anyone, don't begrudge his wealth, he deserves it, he lives in a democracy that USED to believe in capitalism. I think that's what ol' Hank talks about, when he talks about Socialism. If you'd spend less time blogging negativity and less time talking about "taking liberties with local properties.......", perhaps you could put some of that time back into creating wealth for yourselves. Truth, we're really sorry that you don't own property, but I think that's a choice YOU made, no one on this blog, or Steve Jobs, had anything to do with that choice. Don't belittle others, for your failings!

Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 12, 2009 at 11:10 am

"It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word." Andrew Jackson

This is a quote from a NYT blog on grammar. I'm adding it here to remind people that imagination and invention can make language interesting. The best stories can come from people who don't know the rules.

As Mark Twain reportedly said (and even if he didn't, this is a great sentiment)if someone knocked on his door and when he asked who was there, the response was "It is I," Twain said he wouldn't open the door.

Posted by Kay Sarah
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm

There's a difference between innovation/creativity and ignorance. Sort of like the line between civilization and savagery. Do you shower and change your clothes when invited out for dinner or do you arrive at your hosts' house reeking and unkempt? Wearing day glo orange with purple socks might be creative; wearing week-old underwear is not. Similarly, you should respect the language. It's how we communicate, and without adequate means of communication, we're all doomed.

Back to the issue. It's not whether or not it's evil to be rich. Hey, it's great to be rich! It's whether having loads of money should allow a person to flout the rules. Those of us who are not among the overprivileged would probably agree that the same rules should apply to rich and not rich. (The recent issue of a covered hockey rink comes to mind.)

In this case, it seems that Steve has been singled out for attention because of his money and success, and that is wrong. If he were an anonymous Woodside billionaire, the house would have been a demo many years ago.

This situation reminds me of the time that a Menlo Park council member who wanted to remodel a home was challenged by people who lived many miles away and were opposed for political rather than aesthetic reasons. In both the Jobs case and that case, the opposition was motivated by pettiness and a desire to sling mud.

Let him tear it down already and build something else, presumably something that conforms to zoning standards.

Posted by Paul Goeld
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on May 13, 2009 at 11:10 am

Kay Sarah - perfectly said and I couldn't agree with you more.

It's also ironic that the person who is fighting Mr. Jobs the most is a person who used to own this home. You can't sell something and still control it.

Any home that Mr. Jobs builds will be far more historic than the Jackling estate.

Posted by KC
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Right on, Hank.. couldn't have been said better by anyone. Steve has tried to accomodate those who want this [portion removed; see terms of use] preserved, they've had their chance to try to find another location to move the house to, but have failed. Jobs has every right, moral and legal, to tear that old house down and build his own. Glad to see that the city council has finally seen the light and has righted this wrong.

Posted by Natasha
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 13, 2009 at 4:25 pm

The town council "saw the light" in 2004 and handed over a demolition permit. Whatever you want to accuse the council of, it isn't that they've been trying desperately to save the Jackling house.

Posted by Citizen A
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Sanity prevails!

A sign of hope for reestablishment of what made this country great.

Posted by Citizen A
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 13, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Hank - right on!

Heather Ripley - please, give me a break. My family is from Greece where real artifacts are thousands of years old.

Remember that change is universal. Maintaining a belief that a housing structure should be "permanent" is as foolish as believing that there is permanence in the universe.

Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm

The deed is done and the correct decision made for a change.

While most of the affluent---billionaires and multimillionaires---of the area think it is more civilized to keep quiet and not mind when "philanthropists" is added before their names in print, not ONE of them is a Brooke Astor when it comes to doing exhorbitant giving to the "people".I don't see any cultural additions to the area or ideas to reach the masses coming from Woodside or neighbors. Ms.Astor, in her time, did not even have billions like today's self proclaimed (not in the Blue Book) upper crust and "social leaders" who actually believe they are real....garbage.
The best result out of this incident is that the San Mateo County looks as if it is finally going to have to stop paying attention to the privileged few who manage to get enormous liberties when they decide to build and pass inspections, get permits, and are actually starting to be turned down, now that a lot of them are down but not entirely out of it.
I have witnessed open corruption and 'favors' granted to people on a major scale and the devious ways on how these venture capitalists have manipulated the County which is being forced to "go straight" like they should. It took Mr. Jobs' persistence to help get it done and I doubt if he has any interests in knowing any of the people who are going to look down their noses at him.

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