About Mary Pope-Handy
Bigotry is ugly.
Hate crimes are intolerable.
The fact that it happened in Los Gatos is unthinkable, but it did.
Today the much beloved Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos was the target of a bomb threat. This kind of hateful aggression has been unleashed throughout the country ever since the presidential election. (I usually avoid political talk, but we cannot ignore the fact that there is a movement of this kind of thing over just the last few months.) What gives nasty people the idea that it’s OK to desecrate religious centers or cemeteries or houses of worship, whether Jewish, Muslim, or anything else?
I’m grateful that no one was physically harmed in today’s threat. But I cannot say that the JCC members or members of the greater Los Gatos community are “fine”. There’s nothing fine about what happened today here in Silicon Valley – or where it has been happening anywhere in the U.S., for that matter.
I want to support the JCC, my Jewish friends, clients, co-workers, and fellow community members. I want to scream “this is not acceptable” and “this is not who we are as a community“. I want to hug JCC members and tell them that what happened does not represent this multi-faith, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Los Gatos – San Jose – Silicon Valley community. I want to apologize to those targeted and I want to affirm that we value each and every life here.
Somewhere, there’s a coward gloating that he or she created chaos and havoc, forced an evacuation, and relished in acting as a sick puppeteer, making others scramble. I hope that the police track that person down and that justice will be served in this case and in every case around the country.
Bomb threats are not funny. It’s personal to me. My family endured one when I was about 13 or 14 years old. We had the state police guarding us, and I remember them walking the property (an acre in Saratoga that backed up to a horse ranch on one side and an orchard on another). They taught my parents a few tricks to see if their cars had been tampered with. We hid out in hotels for two or three nights until the risk passed. My grandmother Pope was visiting from the east coast, and I remember walking past her room as she was privately praying on her knees for our safety and peace. No family, and no community, should have to endure that abuse.
I’m a Roman Catholic (with a name like mine, what would you expect?) and I have studied religions and theology. Hate is not a part of any healthy religious expression. The threats, the nastiness are the result of a sickness of mind and soul. I will pray for conversion and healing on the part of these evil doers. And I pray that they are caught and brought to justice. I will pray for healing in our community and in our country.
I am not sure what I can do, as a lone individual, to combat what happened here today or has happened elsewhere recently. But I can express my outrage here. I plan to send a donation to the JCC as a symbol that my family and I stand with them. I am shaken and feel like I am in a bit of shock and mourning. This is not my America, my Bay Area, my Los Gatos. This will not define who we are.
JCC, we stand with you. Know that you and your members are treasured by the Los Gatos community.
Do you only sell Los Gatos homes? That’s a question I hear a lot as a Los Gatos Realtor and resident. Typically, there are perhaps 35 closed sales a month of houses in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, and maybe 15 per month more of condos and townhomes. Just now I ran the closed sales of single family homes, townhouses and condominiums for the last 365 days in this area and it was a mere 453 units sold & closed. Most of the time there are two agents involved, one for the buyer and another for the seller, so that means 906 total “transaction sides” at most. There are more than 906 Realtors in town – the last time I counted, it was around 1,000. For that reason, I think it’s fair to say that all of us sell outside of Los Gatos as well as within in. (If you look at all the Los Gatos Realtor ads in the local news paper alone, you do get the sense that you cannot throw a stone 5′ without hitting a real estate licensee – this area is saturated with Realtors.)
My own sales are mostly people-centric in that I really do focus on working with “nice people” rather than those with a certain budget or strict geographical boundary. Normally I limit myself to Santa Clara County generally and focus on the west side, primarily Los Gatos, the Cambrian area of San Jose, the Almaden area of San Jose and other nearby communities such as Saratoga (where I grew up), Campbell, Cupertino, etc. But I have sold in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Los Altos, San Jose (many areas, including downtown, Japantown, Blossom Valley, Silver Creek, etc.), Milpitas…. A few times I have gone much further at my clients’ request (going the extra mile that’s not my target): Scotts Valley, Redwood Shores, Livermore, Morgan Hill and a few other more remote areas.
What should you expect to find with a Los Gatos Realtor? Here are a few things:
- Hopefully, it’s clear that Realtors in Los Gatos are working areas broader than just our town
- An agent who is paying attention to the housing market in town and has a sense of what areas and price points are moving and which are market challenged or sluggish
- A real estate professional who understands what kinds of offers are being presented on homes for sale and what pricing and terms are winning the bids – for example, are there overbids? if so, what kind of amount or percentage over? Are buyers able to have any contingencies? Do sellers need to stage and underprice to get top dollar? What worked a year or two ago may not work now – a good Los Gatos Realtor will keep a pulse on the market and be able to relay what’s happening now
- A realty sales person in Los Gatos should know what kind of challenges are creeping up in the escrows: are homes not appraising to the contract price? Are there issues from the drought, from floods, from past damage to the property? If the home is vacant, have their been squatters (sometimes happens in the mountains)? Are buyers having trouble due to a recent stock market correction? Or is there difficulty getting money to Silicon Valley from another country? The better versed your agent is in the hurdles of the sale process, the better prepared you can be, whether buying or selling.
- Networking within one’s own office and with the local companies is very common for both Realtors working with sellers and those working with home buyers. Friendship and word of mouth can both open doors and make either selling or buying go more smoothly (and often profitably).
If you want to buy a home in Los Gatos, it does help to have a Realtor who is working in a Los Gatos office because he or she is going to hear more about what is happening with the market and the inventory by virtue of that affiliation, especially if that person attends office meetings when everyone shares their “wants and needs”. Recently I was able to get some home buyers into a beautiful Charter Oaks Townhouse by the Los Gatos Creek Trail by networking within my office. This would be far less likely for someone not so connected.
All that said, I’ve mapped out some of my sales to offer a sense of where I work and have worked with Los Gatos real estate sales and sales in nearby areas (not comprehensive – a sampling). Of course, my real estate experience goes far beyond the closed sales and includes previewing properties for sale, talking with potential seller clients, showing my buyers homes, bidding with my buyers on homes they didn’t actually get (due to multiple offers), touring office listings, attending the real estate board tour’s open house for agents, etc. – if every home I’d ever seen were on this map, you’d be unable to read any street names at all!
If you are looking for a Realtor who both lives and works in Los Gatos, hangs her license in a Los Gatos office, is highly experienced (20+++ years), sells in this town, and loves this town, I may be a good fit for you. Please read through the articles on this Live in Los Gatos Blog site, check out my neighborhood descriptions, photos and videos, and check my web presence for Los Gatos real estate market statistics and other information. Please drop me a line by email or give me a call (please don’t text as a first means of saying hello) and we can set a time to chat and see if we might be able to work together.