Apple 2.0

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Lawyer: Steve Jobs too weak to attend long town meeting

April 29, 2009: 9:12 AM ET

Steve Jobs in June 2008, no captionThe Woodside, Calif., town council met Tuesday night to hear Steve Jobs explain why he should be permitted to demolish a 30-room mansion he bought in 1984 -- but Apple's (AAPL) CEO didn't show up.

"I don't think he would be strong enough if we were here until 1 a.m., and I think there's a strong possibility of that," the lawyer representing Jobs told the council, according to the Palo Alto Daily News.

Jobs, who has been struggling with health issues following surgery for pancreatic cancer, is two-thirds of the way through a six-month medical leave and is said to be working on company business from home. Although Apple's official line -- repeated at last week's quarterly earnings call -- is that it looks forward to his return at the end of June, Jobs seems to be husbanding his strength.

Photo: Jonathan Haeber

Photo: Jonathan Haeber

As it turns out, his lawyer -- Howard Ellman -- was right that the meeting might run late. The session that started at 7:30 p.m. was still going strong three hours later, when the Daily News reporter filed his story.

Local residents were defending Jobs' right to tear down a building he doesn't like and replace it with a new house more to his taste.

Preservationists who had traveled from as far away as Florida and Virginia argued that Jobs hadn't tried hard enough find someone willing to restore or relocate the 84-year-old Santa Barbara-style Spanish colonial that they describe as an architectural treasure.

The meeting finally broke up shortly before midnight, according to Susan George, the Woodside town manager. The council will reconvene in two weeks -- on May 12 -- at which time it hopes to issue a tentative decision on whether to approve demolition.

"To me it didn't sound good," says Thalia Lubin, a local architect who hoped to see the building preserved.

See also:

Architectural photo posted courtesy of Jonathan Haeber

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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