For for the better part of this decade, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been battling preservationists and local officials in the small affluent community of Woodside, California over a historic home he owns there but wants to demolish and replace with a more modern home.
The matter was on the agenda for last night's town council meeting - where folks lined up to address the council, some defending Jobs' rights as a property owner and others calling for the preservation of the mansion, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News. (Techmeme) The session went on for hours.
Steve Jobs sent his attorney to speak on his behalf.
Normally, that wouldn't so much as cause an eyebrow to be raised. A guy like Steve Jobs probably sends an attorney to a lot of meetings. And, given all the morbid curiosity out there when it comes to his physical appearance, who could blame him from wanting to stay out of the public spotlight, even if it's just a town hall meeting? Camera phones are everywhere, you know.
But that's not why Jobs stayed away from the meeting. From the Merc story:
"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," Howard Ellman told the council, referring to the health issues that have forced his client to take a leave of absence from his job as Apple CEO.
On Apple's most recent earnings call, an analyst asked about any updates regarding Steve Jobs return from his leave. The short answer: the company was looking forward to his return at the end of June. Since Jobs announced his leave in January, he's reportedly been doing some work - more along the creative lines - from home while COO Tim Cook has been running the day-to-day operations at Cupertino HQ.
I know he's not due back on the job until June - and like everyone else, I'm also hoping that the leave has helped him to fight his ailments and that he'll come back a stronger person. And maybe I'm reading too much into a passing comment made by an attorney at a town hall meeting. I know that many people believe that his health should be treated as a private matter - and I mostly agree. Still, I have to be honest when I say that even the passing comment makes me pause for a moment and wonder, once again, how Steve Jobs is really doing.
Previous coverage: Jobs' medical leave: right to privacy vs right to know