After months of evaluating candidates, the Mountain View City Council on Tuesday formally appointed members to its Rental Housing Committee, a largely independent panel that will take on the complex job of administering citywide rent control.
Selecting committee members has been a divisive issue for council members, and the April 18 meeting was no different. The appointments squeezed through by a thin 4-3 margin after the council majority made a last-minute change to their committee picks made at a previous meeting.
Councilman Chris Clark said he was open to changing the five committee members, and one extra alternate, to provide more balance.
"I still have some reservations with the makeup and balance, and I just want to register that," he said. "I appreciate the process we went through, but the mix is not ideal."
Specifically, the rental committee was lacking in renters, he said. Coming into the meeting, the council's choices were Tech Museum coordinator Emily Ramos, a renter; attorney Julian Pardo de Zela and former City Council member Tom Means, both homeowners; LinkedIn manager Matthew Grunewald, an apartment owner; and Vanessa Honey, a property manager for MPM Corporation.
Evan Ortiz, a Google account manager who helped lead the successful campaign for the Measure V rent control law, was the committee's alternate member.
At the Tuesday meeting, Clark suggested promoting Ortiz to the full committee and bumping another member. Other council members soon proposed making Pardo de Zela the new alternate.
The late change drew an angry reaction from a trio of council members who opposed Ortiz joining the committee.
"We spent an incredible amount of time going over this ... to change this now on the dais really troubles me," said Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga.
But a thin majority on the council threw their support behind the late change. In a series of 4-3 votes, the council appointed Ramos, Means, Grunewald, Honey and Ortiz to four-year terms on the committee, with Pardo de Zela as the alternate. Means and Ortiz were selected to serve the shorter, two-year terms.
The Rental Housing Committee is expected to convene its first meeting in May, when it will appoint committee officers and begin establishing rules for enforcing the Measure V rent control program.