Steve Jobs lost a State Superior Court ruling last year which prevented him from demolishing the historic Jackling House in Woodside, CA. In the interim, the preservationists opposing Jobs have presented to him a serious proposal from Gordon Smythe, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, that would involve moving the house to a new location and preserving it. Uphold Our Heritage has been generally supportive of Smythe’s proposal. After the group ironed out most of its issues with the potential buyer, Jobs refused to conclude a deal with him.
Jobs prefers appealing the ruling to State Court of Appeals in a desperate hope that what he didn’t win in Superior Court, he might win in a higher court. The hearing was held on December 20th. While no one knows which way the three judges will rule, UOH’s attorney was heartened by the fact that the one justice who asked questions framed them in much the same terms (Superior Court) Judge Weiner did in her original ruling.
Other factors have encouraged those battling to save Jackling House. Preservationists have discovered other offers to Jobs in the past year which he and his representatives never acknowledged to them. In addition, the Town of Woodside commissioned a study of the relocation options for the house and their independent expert found there were many viable options. All of which weakens Jobs’ contention in his claim that there are no ‘feasible’ preservation options for the home. Since none of these offers had been made before the Superior Court decision nor had the Town study been conducted, we believe Jobs’ case has further eroded in the interim.
What I find passing strange is that given the hot water which both he and Apple find themselves in regarding backdating of stock options, you’d think he’d want to negotiate his way out of peripheral matters such as this one in order not to have any legal distractions facing him. But apparently Steve Jobs is one of those Bill Gates-Steve Ballmer types who brook no opposition or compromise when it comes to realizing their perceived personal or business interests. It’s one thing to be so pig-headed when you’re a master of the universe. But after so many other CEOs have been felled by similar backdating imbroglios, Jobs is no longer a king. And if the SEC decides to launch a full investigation, Jobs and Apple will come under a microscope. I can’t imagine that having the Jackling House hanging over his head will be conducive to presenting him before the public as a fully sympathetic individual nor as one fully willing to respect the law as it pertains to him.
The Amazon link above to Spanish Revival Architecture features Jackling House prominently as a sterling example of this vintage architectural style.