News

Rent control opponents collect $520K to fight measures

Mountain View Chamber of Commerce blasts tenant-backed Measure V, stays neutral on Measure W

With just three weeks remaining before mail-in ballots go out for the November election, the political battle is intensifying over Mountain View's proposed rent-control measures.

In recent days, landlord and business groups have mounted an aggressive campaign against Measure V, the citizen-backed measure being spearheaded by the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. In contrast, these groups are showing a lukewarm response to Measure W, the council's milder rent-stabilization alternative.

The chief opposition group, the California Apartment Association, in recent days disclosed in campaign filings it had collected more than $520,000 from various landlords and interest groups across to state to help oppose Measure V, as well as similar Bay Area rent-control proposals in Alameda, Burlingame, Richmond and San Mateo.

In the same filings, CAA officials reported they would spend $95,000 on polling, television advertising and mailers in Mountain View to help defeat Measure V. Large donors helping the CAA in its campaign include Prometheus Real Estate Group and development firms scattered across the state. The campaign also received $40,000 from the Mountain View Housing Council, a local political action committee that dates back to at least 2008, according to city records.

The apartment association did not report any expenditures or fund-raising directed toward opposing Measure W.

Mountain View voters will have a choice between two ballot measures designed to curb rising apartment rents. Measure V, put forward by the Mountain View Tenants Coalition, would amend the city charter to prohibit no-cause evictions and tie rent increases to the rise in the regional Consumer Price Index. When Measure V supporters gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot, the City Council drafted Measure W as an alternative. Measure W would create a binding-arbitration system to settle disputes between landlords and tenants, as well as create a package of financial disincentives to discourage evictions.

In recent days, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce has come out strongly against Measure V. In a newsletter sent out earlier this week, the business association strongly urged its members to vote against the Tenants Coalition's measure, describing it as an "ineffective" policy that would ultimately reduce the rental housing stock in Mountain View.

The Chamber's board of directors had met repeatedly over recent weeks to deliberate over which local election issues to support, including the rent-control proposals, said Chamber CEO Tony Siress. The response to the Measure V charter amendment was unequivocal -- all 17 board members voted to oppose it. Meanwhile, the Chamber's reaction to the city's Measure W was basically a tie, meaning the group won't take any position on it, Siress said.

Summing up his group's stance, Siress said Measure V would make rent-control a permanent policy of Mountain View even though the current housing crisis is a temporary situation. As a policy, rent-control would effectively encourage property owners to forgo maintenance and exit the Mountain View market, he warned.

"A charter amendment to enforce rent control defies the basic core of economics," he said. "The goal of rent control is never resolved and in time the problem gets worse and bigger."

The Tenants Coalition doesn't agree with that assessment of its ballot measure. When shown the Chamber's newsletter by the ==I Voice, the group's spokesman Daniel DeBolt described the wording as misleading, verging on "fear-mongering".

"The Chamber's opposition to Measure V is unfortunate because extreme rent increases are making it hard for local businesses to hire and retain experienced employees," he said "Experienced employees, nurses, paramedics, caregivers, teachers and hard working families can't afford skyrocketing rents."

Email Mark Noack at mnoack@mv-voice.com

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Comments

14 people like this
Posted by They lie
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:00 am

The current ad on cable TV from the California Apt Ass. pretends that Measure V did not receive "legal or public review" beforehand and could take big money from the "general fund." Not true, of course. But truth is not what the landlords and their representatives are using to attack Measure V. And we ain't seen nothing yet. Expect an avalanche of mailers.


12 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:29 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

If we needed proof that Mountain View is no longer a small town, this is it. In the last election, special interest groups spent over $200,000 to influence the outcome of the election. This time we see over half a million dollars and tv ads by more special interest groups to defeat a grass-roots effort for direct democracy.

I have made clear that I am against rent-control for various reasons, but I also greatly resent interference in our city politics by outside special interests. I believe that the future of Mountain View should be determined by the residents, not by outsiders who will take the "burden" of making decisions out of our hands.

I hope that all the residents of Mountain View will ignore the glitzy and packaged hype and make your decision based on the facts and what you truly believe is best for our city. It may take more time and research, but in the end you will be sure that you made the right decision, whichever way you decide to vote on this issue.


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


156 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:32 am

I'm doing my best as a social studies teacher. The notice of intent of the San Jose Property Rights Initiative has been presented to the government. On the internet: The catastrophe in Capitola and the great Santa Cruz property swindle, etc. Rent control has been a disaster in California costing the state billions of dollars s year in damages. If only people would remember their high school economics a required course. George Drysdale


44 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:44 am

It has not received any type of public review. The Voice is an outside group, who none of the editorial board lives in Mtn. View, has not done one story that outlines everything in this measure yet it does everything it can to discredit the small Mom and Pop family's that run these businesses. The apartment association represents them, not the corporate company's like Prometheus who have in house attorney's.

The super majority of the council does not support measure V, it is harmful to the city. Should this pass it will not be over. This new 5 panel unelected rent board will have power to make new law that council can not change.

This is only the start as the new rent board will go after landlords and make new rules that will deny repair pass thru, increased expenses pass thru, just like San Jose does.

This will guarantee that all these older apartment buildings will deteriorate and only those trouble makers will be the only ones living in those areas as landlords will no longer have the right to evict trouble makers. The rent board always denies these applications from landlords in these other rent control cities.

We do not need to turn Mtn.View into East Palo Alto, Oakland, San Leandro, East San Jose, Hayward, etc. There is a reason why most people do not want to live there.

If you support rent control vote

No on V
and
Yes on w


12 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:58 pm

I finally understand why some people are opposed to rent control. If apartments are able to charge astronomically high price, then only the people with the most money will be able to live there! That's fine for the wealthy, but what about everybody else? You don't care, right? You want them to live hours away, right?

What the anti-rent-control zealots fail to grasp is that there still will be plenty of non-rent controlled options in MV that will be rented out at sky-high prices. Thanks to that horrible state law, local communities cannot democratically set the rules that are right for them. Also, the proposed MV ordinances carves out exceptions!
Cannot rent control:
Anything built after 1995.
Single family homes.
Duplexes.
Triplexes.

So, don't worry.... The wealthy will always find a place to stay. The only difference is that hard working families won't have their rent raised dramatically, so they are forced out. There is a community benefit to having long term residents of all socioeconomic levels. That's something I learned in "social studies".


4 people like this
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 27, 2016 at 4:23 pm

I think a good rule of thumb is any group that is able to quickly raise *half a million dollars* for their cause is NOT on the side of the citizens. That's a lot of cash to suppress direct democracy...and this is just the tip of a very huge iceberg.

Of course, I wouldn't expect the MV Voice to do any actual, you know, journalism to find out the source of the money, or even to dig into the background of the "California Apartment Association." Just bias masquerading as objectivity. They know where their bread is buttered and now, in case we had any doubts, so do we.


8 people like this
Posted by Mr. Big
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2016 at 12:38 am

V for Vendetta!

The Revolution has started one-percenters! You've been getting FILTHY rich off of the 99 percent for decades. The 99 percent can't even afford to eat because you have take so much from them.

It's wealth re-distribution time. You have no one to blame but your greed.

Be very afraid... We are the 99 percent... We are legion!


55 people like this
Posted by New Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 28, 2016 at 1:31 am

An unintended consequence of rent control -- Turning MV into a slum.

Property owners are the ones that will live the consequence.





96 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2016 at 9:15 am

"Reality Check" very clearly does NOT "finally understand why some people are opposed to rent control" any more than Daniel DeBolt does. Some of us renters had already personally experienced the dark sides of rent control in California before Mr. DeBolt was born. You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think. . .

Of COURSE "extreme rent increases are making it hard for local businesses to hire and retain experienced employees." Everyone here knows that; it's not in question, and it doesn't bear on what's wrong with rent-control laws. Rent control does not just relieve people suffering under high rents, it does many other things too and some of them make the underlying problem worse. It is like treating a diseased patient with only anesthetics, to ease the symptoms. Yes, the patient feels better -- for a while.

What we have here are some renters like Mr. DeBolt so desperate about high rents that they can't think beyond that. Their initiative may wreck the city's housing stock in the long run, it may make already scarce vacancies nonexistent (as people in nearby towns rush to join those already seeking local rentals), it will certainly lead to non-needy, highly-paid employees squatting on rent-controlled spaces (so those local retail businesses will STILL have a hard time finding local employees) -- but the people pushing it don't care, and don't want to know.


3 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

Read all about it. Google (and others) have not already arrived but on Google and the other search engines almost a hundred pages of why rent controls are almost pure evil. George Drysdale


25 people like this
Posted by @Reader
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 28, 2016 at 12:15 pm

You are absolutely right. Let's see if voters can see through the spin. I think we all recognize the cost of housing is a problem here, and this is true whether you rent or buy, since buyer (excluding those who bought many years ago) also face ridiculous monthly mortgage payments and property tax bills, but rent control is not the solution.

I would love to see more targeted and regional solutions like the low-income housing bill for Santa Clara county that we can vote on in this upcoming election. A solution like that targets the need to those who really need extra help (rent-control is a subsidy for people sometime making over $300,000 a year who are in no need of subsidized living, this is especially true in Mountain View with so many high tech workers) and passing rent control in one city makes no sense and even becomes a liability for Mountain View. Solutions need to cover the entire bay area, not isolated cities.

I plan to vote no on both rent control measures, but I will be happy to support funding more affordable housing projects throughout Santa Clara County which will provide greater help and stability to those who really need it for generations to come.


8 people like this
Posted by Here's a deal
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Pass rent smoothing rules now (allowing rent increases of up to 5% per year,
and saving them up for later use if a given year uses less than what is allowed.) Don't apply it to newly constructed apartments.

Then, do this simple thing of greatly increasing housing stop.

Then, when there's no point to the rent smoothing any more, adopt another revision
to the city charter and take it out.

This thing should pass because it's a good idea under the circumstances, helps the problem, and we shouldn't let the difficult and unattainable perfect be the enemy of improvements.

That's what I hope voters see in the way of disregarding misleading claims that rent control helps and lower income taxes on high incomes are good for those with low incomes.


11 people like this
Posted by Rent control realities
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm

There is no question that rent control will help thousands of residents of MV. The arguments against rent control keep painting these pictures of rich tech workers taking advantage of rent control to stay in cheap rent controlled apartments.

First, rich tech workers won't want to stay in the older style apartments. Most will prefer to live in larger condos, townhouses or single family homes. Saving a few hundred or even a thousand a month is nothing to them compared to the lifestyle sacrifice they would need to make.

Sure the ordinance will not only help out the poor, but also help out the wealthy. Is that so bad? Trickle down economics is wonderful, so says our conservative friends. These tech workers will take the money they save in rent and re-invest it into the economy through purchases and investment. Economic stimulation! Isn't that how it works? Or is the conservative vision of trickle-down wrong? Oh, it only applies to giving them tax breaks? Hmmm....

Oh, and I LOVE the dark and dreary pictures being painted about how rent control will create vast tracts of slums. Either these people are lying to make their point, or they simply do not understand the proposed ordinances and how they will work in California given the limitations from the Costa-Hawkins state law. Posting links to article on how rent control destroyed New York is completely ignoring the fact on how differently rent control would work. Apples and oranges come from different trees and have contrasting taste and textures. Yes, they are fruit, but to call an Apple an Orange is what our conservative anti-rent control lobbyists want.


5 people like this
Posted by Rent Relief
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Some of the worst arguments are the ones saying that this will only help current tenants like that's bad.
I hope all the homeowners realize that many of their friends are current tenants. Without rent rules, their
friends will be bumped out by rich undeserving Tech employees. No one else could AFFORD the huge raises in rents that the recent history has seen, if they were to be allowed to continue.

Now this is generalization, but it's a reasonable characterization of the situation.

So look at it this way, rent stabilization and limits to 5% per year on 20 year or more old buildings is not going to inhibit added apartments. Far from it. So if it won't HURT the housing supply, why not do something that immediately adds a bit of relief to the current tenants.

I just wish there were some way to roll back these past increases and bring back people already bounced out by costs.

You wouldn't see quite so many poor people in campers sleeping on the streets if this rent increase limitation had been in affect 2 years ago. Sure, the real problem is too much office space and tech workers being added to the city, but this at least will certainly help the current tenants.


3 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Mountain View Citizen is a registered user.

Please attend the Free Public Information Forum on Rent Regulation Measures V and W, September 29, 2016, 6:30 P.M. - 8:00 P.M, Mountain View Senior Center, 266 Escuela Ave, Mountain View, CA 94040. Experts on each Measure will answer questions and you can do a side-by-side comparison. There will be an expert on hand to talk about current City Ordinances and State Law. PLEASE DO YOUR BEST TO ATTEND.


5 people like this
Posted by I_Got_mine
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 28, 2016 at 3:26 pm

How about streaming this meeting through a Public Access Channel that would also be live broadcasted on the internet? That should be easy to do.


16 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

experts on each measure will be presenting tonight....will an expert on the other side be resp resented as well? I'm assuming not so for those reading, here are more facts to be aware of, facts from tremendous amounts of research and economic feasibility, not just thoughts based in heartstrings emotions. I copied this from a previous post:

**For anyone interested in doing some research on the subject of rent control, The Urban Institute published an interesting article about the subject in 2013 is worth reading. The article also contains links to reference/source articles which are also interesting. Link here Web Link

In summary the Urban Institute article says, "The conclusion seems to be that rent stabilization doesn’t do a good job of protecting its intended beneficiaries—poor or vulnerable renters—because the targeting of the benefits is very haphazard. A study of rent stabilization in Cambridge, for example, concluded that “the poor, the elderly, and families—the three major groups targeted for benefits of rent control—were no more likely to be found in controlled than uncontrolled units.” And, as noted earlier, those in uncontrolled units tend to pay higher rents, so they are actually hurt by rent control.

Given the current research, there seems to be little one can say in favor of rent control. What, then, should be done to help renters obtain affordable, decent housing? A better approach may be adopting policies that encourage the production of more diverse types of housing (different densities, tenure types, unit sizes, etc.), implementing strong regulations and practices to ensure housing quality and to protect tenants from abuses; and providing targeted, direct subsidies to people who need help paying their rents."


21 people like this
Posted by The Donald
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

The rents are coming down now as we speak because the market has added new housing and job growth has slowed. This is how a market is suppose to work folks whether your selling tomatoes, clothes or rental units.
You don't need to control the market and run investment money out of Mountain View to get your vendetta against business owners. That's stupid and will damage the housing stock for years to come. You need healthy competition in this market not control.
Encourage construction not regulation. I knew I lived in a state with socialists but I didn't know how stupid they could be. Just a thought!

Vote NO on both V and W


9 people like this
Posted by Duncan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I was a landlord. I recently sold my rental property, and the renters living there just got chucked out. That's one less rental property on the market.

I'm sad that I had to do this, but since this property was my nest egg, I simply had to protect my investment in the face of uncertainty and a higher risk environment. I can't help but think that others will be following in my footsteps.


3 people like this
Posted by @Duncan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 3, 2016 at 7:51 pm

That's fine. Hopefully it will be a condo conversion. Majority of residents are renters. We need space for owners too!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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