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Rent committee punts on tough questions

Public comment overwhelms meeting on rent-limit exceptions

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In their most difficult meeting to date, members of Mountain View's Rental Housing Committee were clearly overwhelmed as they tried to draft special rules to ensure that landlords earn a fair profit despite the city's new rent-control law.

Tenants and landlords in roughly equal number attended the July 10 committee meeting; the groups saw little room for compromise, with both sides warning of grave consequences if the committee acted carelessly.

By the end of the night, the committee had made little headway on the issue. It was 11:40 p.m. by the time public comment had finally wrapped up, and committee members agreed they were too exhausted to go on.

The committee's goal that night was to set a "fair rate of return standard" that could open the door for landlords to raise rents at a higher level than what is allowed under the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act passed by voters last November.

Under the act, apartment landlords must, under most circumstances, limit their annual rent increases to the regional Consumer Price Index (CPI). For the upcoming year, that amount has been set at 3.4 percent.

However, the law also contains a significant exception. The fair rate of return standard would allow landlords to notch their apartment rents higher if they could prove that the city's rent limit was eating too much into their revenues. To do this, landlords would have to petition the city with an itemized list of their expenses to show they were making less than past years.

For everyone involved, the devil was in the details. For example, what expenses could landlords include? Mountain View's rent-control law specifies that landlords can add to the list of expenses property taxes, ongoing maintenance costs and certain improvements to the property.

But the law gives the Rental Housing Committee wide discretion in deciding what other expenses could be factored in.

At the Monday meeting city staff presented a long list of other expenses they believed should be considered, such as management costs, a capital reserve fund, insurance, relevant attorney fees and even some debt financing.

"We have a concern that landlords will not be able to maintain their property," said City Attorney Jannie Quinn. "Staff is trying to be creative in providing you with options that we felt complied with the (rent-control law)."

Pushing back, tenant advocates stressed that the committee could end up creating a giant loophole in the law if it allowed too many costs to be placed back on renters. They warned that a petition process meant for special cases would instead be exploited by every landlord in the city to circumvent the new law.

In that scenario, the committee would have undermined the essence of the voter-approved law, said Daniel Saver, a senior attorney with the Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto.

“If you're creating a separate system that allows every landlord to get an adjustment beyond what's allowed, then you're undoing the core component of the measure itself,” he said. “That's completely out of line and you can't reasonably say you're honoring the spirit or word of the measure.”

Committee member Tom Means bristled at that argument, and he challenged the rent-control measure's proponents to explain how landlords could pay mounting costs if their revenues were capped.

“If the expenses rise faster than CPI, then you can't keep the same numbers. Something has to give,” he said. “That's inherent instability.”

Adding more pressure, some landlords warned there would be a mass exodus of property owners leaving Mountain View if the rules were too draconian. Elizabeth Lindsay, owner of more than 300 apartments in the city, said she was mulling selling off her property so it could be transformed into condominiums that would be immune from the rent-control law.

It remains unclear whether apartment owners would be allowed to redevelop as a way to circumvent the new law. Tenant advocates say that would be a political decision that would go before the City Council.

The tension that night was high, and at one point a landlord and tenant erupted in a shouting match out in foyer. Some property owners scolded the committee for acting like a "communist" regime while tenants claimed the same committee was caving to the rich.

Through it all, the committee had a difficult time sorting through the confusion and doomsday scenarios to focus on the matter at hand.

The expense formula was just one facet of nearly a dozen controversial details the committee was being asked to decide on. They also had to determine what version of the CPI to use and how much economic inflation should factor into landlords' revenues.

Also, they had to decide what base year landlords would use to compare their future revenues. City staff suggested using 2014 or 2015, either of which would lock in a high-market year as the base to measure future earnings.

The tough questions didn't end there. How should deterioration of buildings be accounted for? What building code should the city use for determining necessary improvements? Would the city need translation services for Spanish, Mandarin and other languages?

Committee members didn't make their job much easier, asking questions for a variety of unique scenarios, like how coin-operated laundry machines would be factored in.

After hours of public comment, the committee members decided just short of midnight they couldn't continue. Committee Chairwoman Vanessa Honey said they were simply too fatigued to go on because a full decision would take them well into the next morning.

Committee member Evan Ortiz initially resisted pushing off the decision, saying it was imperative to get some kind of system in place that could be improved later on.

"I don't want this discussion to be relitigated and relitigated," he said. "We've heard a lot of comments and a lot of them aren't adding new information, and I'm eager to get something in place so that we're able to move forward with implementing this."

But the committee decided to table the item until its next meeting on July 24.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


26 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2017 at 5:54 am

The city council should be ashamed for appointing Tom Means to the Rental Housing Committee. He clearly has no desire to uphold the law as passed by the people of Mountain View, and council certainly knew this when appointing him.

Recall McAlister, Abe-Koga, and Matichak!

54 people like this
Posted by Repeal?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2017 at 6:12 am

Measure V passed with a pretty small margin. Is there anything in the law that prevents a future ballot measure from repealing it?

20 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2017 at 6:26 am

Measure V won by a margin of +7 points. That's not a small margin by any measure, but feel free to waste money gathering signatures on a ballot measure that will fail. CAA already wasted your money on the lawsuit against Mountain View that failed.

You're far better off simply advocating for building more housing in Mountain View so that rent stabilization becomes unnecessary.

Recall McAlister, Matichak, and Abe-Koga!

118 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2017 at 6:57 am

To be clear, the rent committee is indirectly responsible for resetting the market value of every rent-controlled property in the city, as that value is a function of rental income minus expenses. (Technically it's also a function of the value of comparable properties, but since all of them are in the same boat, and that boat is now unmoored from the broader, primarily demand-driven real estate market, that factor is less significant.)

Anyone wanting to exclude a property-rights advocate like Tom Means from the committee deciding how much properties are worth has a strange definition of the word "fair."

21 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2017 at 7:14 am

Tom Means vocally opposes the entire existence of the Rental Housing Committee. Appointing him is having the fox guard the hen house, and City Council knew this when they appointed him. His behavior on the committee has shown he has no commitment to upholding the law as passed by the people of Mountain View.

64 people like this
Posted by Shame on you
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Tom Means is a voice of logic and reason!!!!!!

This whole thing is a farce on peoples property rights. A hand full of people should not be deciding the economy for landlords.

And I'm not a landlord.

16 people like this
Posted by Bill Michel
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm

It would be interesting to see how the "sanctioned expense", and "reasonable
profit" questions have been handled by other rent-control regimes... I know
it's Silicon Valley, but do we *have* to re-invent the wheel? ;-)

18 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Bill, city staff prepared information about what other cities have done for all of these topics when it comes to rent stabilization. The only reason the committee hasn't just approved the recommendations from staff and implemented reasonable procedures is because Tom Means, among others on the committee, have no desire to see Measure V effectively implemented. It's sad, and you can see the above posters who believe the committee should be sabotaging Measure V.

Recall McAlister, Abe-Koga, and Matichak!

55 people like this
Posted by steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm

In hindsight I must say that rent control is the best thing that has happened to Mountain View.

It will result in more apartments being redeveloped into for sale properties which will drive down the percentage of renters in the city and increase the percentage of homeowners. In addition, the cost of the newly developed homes will provide more property tax income.

Homeowners will care for their homes more so than landlords do for their rental properties and renters do for their landlords properties. In addition, a homeowner will typically have a more vested interested in their neighborhoods and city.

It's all goodness

8 people like this
Posted by Allie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Steve, your comments are very discriminatory and elitist. Drive the renters out? Renters don't have as much of a vested interest in their neighborhood and community? In the housing climate of today, in this area, renting is not the interim choice that it used to be. The plan of renting just until you can afford to buy, is not that typical anymore. For some who want to live in this community, and support it and serve it as much as their home-owning countetpart, the place they rent is where they are raising their family, and hope to stay long term. They know they cannot afford to buy into this ridiculous housing market. Forget someone else's financial gain from them for a second...they add value to the community as much or more than you do, and they want to be able to take pride in their home. That is where rent control and a Housing Committee should be coming into level this outrageously uneven playing field. There ARE other things to consider besides how much fatter your wallet can get. So disheartening to see my community getting blinded by dollar signs, and letting decency, morals, and values fall by the wayside.

20 people like this
Posted by Morals Falling by the Wayside
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2017 at 10:55 pm

By any standard, is it moral to take the private property rights away from one specific minority group and transfer them to another? The ends don't justify the means here. This is why the citizens of Mountain View are fortunate the City leaders selected a rental housing committee that is carefully considering both sides of the fence, which is the way it should be. Keep in mind, the crafters of the CSFRA attempted to simultaneously "give to the poor by taking from the rich" while allowing for a "fair rate of return." That approach is pure politics to get the measure passed, but poorly written, nearly impossible policy to execute. Any delay in anticipated "benefits" to renters is the fault of the poorly written CSFRA. The main winners here are the bureaucrats that are hired to do basically nothing to administer this. Perhaps once these apartments are converted to town homes and the balance tilts toward homeowners and those that appreciate the concept of a free economy (we all can't be winners by definition), this mess can be repealed.

15 people like this
Posted by Measure v was supported by businesses
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 13, 2017 at 12:28 am

Measure v was supported by businesses.

Many businesses had signs in their windows supporting measure v.

Their reasons were varied but the most common reasons i found were:

1. The high rent made it difficult to keep good workers. They would hire a good worker at the highest affordable wage only to have their workers rent rise and that worker move. (Just like the pro landlord people say the workers should)

2. Many personal friends were being forced to leave

3. Many long term customers were being forced out. New tenants would not necessarily buy from the business.

the "pro business " people on this forum should tell the rest of us their plan for enabling downtown businesses to stay afloat without workers.

There were no anti measure v signs out in downtown because the small businesses were being murdered by the landlords destroying the low wage workers ability to live in mv.

the pro landlord advocates Should be honest about their pro private property stance. They need to clearly advocate for allowing downtown businesses to be replaced by 20 story office buildings. After all if Avas and the milk pail can't compete with Google then Ava's and milk pail should just move out.... Along with each and every restaurant.

13 people like this
Posted by @morals falling by wayside
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 13, 2017 at 12:52 am

I am curious here.

Is there any limit to private property owners?

Please, Understand that following examples are real and illustrative.

If anyone supports unlimited private property rights, then they must support all these examples.

Overseas i have seen some interesting examples of private property owners able to use their property how they want.

In Bangkok, there are many tall apartment buildings with poor road access, next to smaller older homes.

In greece, i saw a broken down gasoline tanker truck by the side of the road abandoned for so long that trees are growing around it.

In Malaysia, i regularly see rubbish fires burning.

This should be ok. Private property is private property.

In West, Texas there was a chemical plant that exploded next to a senior citizen home.

In mountain view, we have at least 6 epa superfund clean up sites because fairchild semiconductor, Intel, and other chip manufacturer dumped toxic waste. Moffet airfield has a big chemical problem. Hanger one was stripped of its siding because of contamination.

All these are examples of private property owners exercising full control of their property in the way advocated by your message.

I personally am not comfortable living next to a superfund site

7 people like this
Posted by @steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 13, 2017 at 1:02 am

How many of these new homeowners will work at small businesses and restaurants in downtown?

Still curious how local retail businesses and restaurants will survive once there are no workers available to work at $20 /hour.

Tech office buildings replacing local businesses is certainly an answer. Please confirm that you agree.

14 people like this
Posted by Allie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2017 at 1:29 am

Morals Falling By the sounds like you equate renters with being poor, and success with owning a home. Do you know any of the highly educated, community-involved, renters in Mountain View? Any friends or family renting here? Are you saying they should all be displaced because the don't meet your limited and ignorant definition of successful??
I have never heard the argument that landlords shouldn't make a profit. But a reasonable profit is a far cry from the greedy practice of OVER-charging rent without making any improvements, just because they can. There are your wayside morals.

21 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Rent control is, always and everywhere, a terrible idea.

20 people like this
Posted by A Few Points
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm

@Shame - 1-2 members of the committee were heavily involved in passage of measure V...much moreso than Mean was opposed. Means has more business and economic sense and experience than anyone else on the committee (I read the least the portions made public).

@Allie - Historically, MV was about 40% ownership; 60% rental...a higher rental percentage than most neighboring communities. The new stock has been pushing 90% rental. Time to swing back the other way. In many cases, the monthly rental payments aren't much different than a mortgage...the challenge is the down payment. I sincerely cringe when I hear of folks who've rented for 20 years. $20K, $30K, $40K per year...for nothing. No equity. It's a shame. Sincerely. I really, really wish people would accept a less expensive community (I did initially), and find something to own. It will feel like it's totally yours, and you will participate in the longstanding growth of real estate values...and have a tangible asset to pass on. And I wish our City Council would encourage and support that ambition by providing a larger mix of ownership housing. It's almost a crime not to. Focus more energy on devising programs to help people with down payments.

10 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm

@Joseph E. Davis, a much more effective way to solve the problems of harm to local businesses and the many other problems we're all suffering from is to restore some balance. Every single one of the issues we lament can be traced to tech growth being favored above everything else. The solution is to restore balance by ending the out-of-control tech growth in this full-to-capacity region, giving us a chance to get back some of our lost local businesses and our communities.

16 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Yes, it's perfectly appropriate to have people on the committee who believe in it's existence and have worked to enact it. What's inappropriate is having someone who disagrees with the fundamental existence and job of the committee, which is Tom Means. We need public servants who will work to uphold the charter of our city, and Tom Means has demonstrated he is not that person.

Recall McAlister, Matichak, and Abe-Koga!

16 people like this
Posted by A Few Points
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

@Shame - The Measure lists specific guidelines for populating the committee. Unfortunately, your personal opinion does not match the guidelines. But, you'll be fine...the committee make-up likely leans 3-2 in favor of renters. Most of the 5 are just in over their heads right now.

Who knew this stuff could be so complicated...

16 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Sure, and Trump appointing climate change denier to the EPA is legal as well. Appointing people to bodies who are opposed to the existence and purpose of those bodies is shameful public policy. Tom Means has shown himself to be one such person.

Recall McAlister, Abe-Koga, and Matichak!

9 people like this
Posted by Morals Falling By The Wayside
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Wow, check out the noble organizer of the tenants coalition seeking monetary compensation for his efforts. The same individual who dropped F bombs in a Council meeting discussing just cause ordinance that was passed, and refused to apologize.

That is the definition of hypocrisy and I quote "He never asked to be paid until now."

The idea that there was an expectation and now an obligation to pay someone for that is really morally falling by the wayside.

Evan Ortiz who is on the rental housing committee and worked harder and more effectively on V, did so while working full time at Google and he has always been a pro, tip of the hat to him.

Good luck trying to repeal Costa Hawkins.

Web Link

12 people like this
Posted by Question
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm

For Shame
I believe all of the council members approved Tom Means for this committee so why are you pointing out only three counsel members?
Tom Means has the economic sense needed to understand the full picture. Mountain View needed a diverse group to handle this difficult issue.

8 people like this
Posted by Allie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2017 at 6:47 pm

While I appreciate the point that buying over renting may be a more financially savvy decision, owning a home is not my only criteria for choosing a community. Quality schools, safety, proximity to cultural activities and the arts, and family in the community, are all reasons that go into my decision (not to mention I was born here). Why are you anymore entitled to these things than I am? A community has to be made up of people from a variety of careers and jobs, otherwise, the infrastructure will collapse. High-tech is one of the few fields now that pays high enough salaries to "afford" people the good fortune of being able to purchase propert in this area. Fortunately, for many people in the community, I have a Master's degree and work in the mental health and early childhood fields, but my salary is not high enough to buy here. This is the same for many teachers, general medicine doctors, and first responders. THAT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!! If renters and rentals are so objectionable, why is there no consideration and brainstorming around making home ownership a possibility for a wider range of incomes? Yay, we can brag about all those self-driving cars on our roads. I just hope the companies on that type of project don't have employees who have kids to be educated, struggle with depression, have a home invasion or house fire, or even want a nice meal downtown. Greed is trumping goodness around here, and it's really making me a little sick to my stomach. It doesn't have to be this way.

12 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Tom Means only has as much economic sense as Ron Paul. As can be seen from his behavior so far, he has no desire to fulfill the charter of the city of Mountain View, and he is only there to further his ideology.

3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

The Committee is confronted with incomplete information during the meeting that night. The City Attorneys presentation did not explain that the “FAIR RETURN STANDARD” in the rent adjustment process described as the VEGA adjustment, requires a lot of evidence. Most specifically, that any “BASE RATE” adjustment must be based on “COMPARABLE” properties. Thus the fact that one 1 bedroom apartment is renting for $2500./month does not establish that all 1 bedroom apartments should be renting at that rate. The simple truth is if that apartment has amenities that are not present on another apartment would disqualify such a base rent for a specific apartment. This situation has been exploited by those who are trying to claim they are unfairly being treated. Here is the court decision:

“III. Conclusion

We recognize that courts have specifically upheld the use of a fair return standard such as maintenance of a net operating income formula similar to [223 Cal. App. 3d 1352] the one used in the City's Ordinance and have also rejected attacks on the propriety of an essentially investment-based standard. (See Fisher v. City of Berkeley (1984) 37 Cal. 3d 644, 680- 683 [209 Cal. Rptr. 682, 693 P.2d 261]; Baker v. City of Santa Monica (1986) 181 Cal. App. 3d 972, 988 [226 Cal. Rptr. 755]; Cotati Alliance for Better Housing v. City of Cotati (1983) 148 Cal. App. 3d 280, 286-290 [195 Cal. Rptr. 825].) The City's Ordinance properly seeks to maintain "the same rate of return, with adjustments for inflation, that [property owners] experienced prior to the enactment of rent control." (Palos Verdes Shores Mobile Estates, Ltd. v. City of Los Angeles (1983) 142 Cal. App. 3d 362, 371 [190 Cal. Rptr. 866].) NONETHELESS, A PROPERTY OWNER MUST BE PERMITTED, PURSUANT TO THE PRINCIPLES DISCUSSED IN BIRKENFELD V. CITY OF BERKELEY, SUPRA, 17 CAL. 3D 129, TO START RENT CALCULATIONS WITH A BASE DATE RENT SIMILAR TO OTHER COMPARABLE PROPERTIES.

[2] As to the rent calculations to be determined in the present case, a court "may compel [an] agency to act, but it may not substitute its discretion for the discretion properly vested in the administrative agency ... 'Courts should let administrative boards and officers work out their problems with as little judicial interference as possible ....' " (Lindell Co. v. Board of Permit Appeals (1943) 23 Cal. 2d 303, 315 [144 P.2d 4]; see Faulkner v. Cal. Toll Bridge Authority (1953) 40 Cal. 2d 317, 326 [253 P.2d 659]; Carlton Santee Corp. v. Padre Dam Mun. Water Dist. (1981) 120 Cal. App. 3d 14, 28 [174 Cal. Rptr. 413].) [1b] HERE, HOWEVER, THE COMMISSION HAS ALREADY EXERCISED ITS DISCRETION AS TO THE DETERMINATION WE DEEM DISPOSITIVE.”

The Commission determined, in pertinent part, that the evidence presented by the landlord's appraiser reflected "comparable rents" which "were presumed to be fair and reasonable." The appraiser's documentation was unimpeached and, indeed, deemed impressive by several members of the Commission. The landlord also supplied the Commission with all the information required by the Ordinance to adjust rents under the rent adjustment formula. ACCORDINGLY, THE COMMISSION'S DISCRETION WOULD NOT BE INAPPROPRIATELY LIMITED BY OUR DIRECTIVE THAT IT SET THE LANDLORD'S BASE DATE RENTS CONSISTENT WITH THE APPRAISER'S EVIDENCE OF RENTS FOR COMPARABLE UNITS AND THEN APPLY THE ORDINANCE'S MAINTENANCE OF NET OPERATING INCOME FORMULA TO ESTABLISH THE CURRENT MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE RENTS.FN. 8(Web Link

It appears to me that this decision was not actually negative regarding the current rules regarding rent control in the CSFRA. In fact, it sets up a very difficult problem for landlords in Mountain View because they have so much luxury apartments in the city, and very little basic ones. Thus, there will be very little evidence to support the “comparable” rate standards for Mountain View. The landlords will find it very difficult to succeed in getting any VEGA rent adjustments based in this situation.

It appears that the RHC is being given incomplete or misleading information by the City Attorney and the law firm hired by the city to provide this report. Unfortunately, until an INDEPENDENT legal team provides an INDEPENDENT analysis, the RHC must reject this information with regards to the establishment of a “FAIR RATE OF RETURN” policy.

37 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2017 at 4:41 pm

@Allie: You lost me at 'discriminatory and elitist'. I'm surprised that you didn't throw in 'bigoted', 'hateful', and 'racist' given those are de rigeur labels these days.

If you would take a moment to scan the comments, you will notice an overwhelming number of likes for commenters against rent control. I would postulate the reason is that simple logic tells us that punishing two parties to benefit a third, is blatantly unfair and immoral.

The first two parties of which I speak are: Property owners who are leveraging their investments and rightly maximizing their profits in an economically beneficial environment, and secondly renters who are willing and able to pay the rents being demanded. The third party are existing renters who somehow believe that they have a right to below market rent after the term of their lease is up by the mere fact that they have seniority and are living here.

More directly, in scanning your comments I must come to the conclusion that you feel that because you were born here and because you wish access to quality schools, safety, proximity to cultural activities and the arts, and family in the community provision should somehow be made - either by rent or home prices - to allow you to live here ultimately at the expense of others.

You say 'Why are you anymore entitled to these things than I am? '. I say why should you be subsidized by others? Why should the fruits of their hard work, their savings, their sacrifices, and their sound financial decisions be used for you?

Who has the sense of entitlement?

40 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 14, 2017 at 5:09 pm


I hate to break it to you, but the "likes" on the Voice are extremely easy to game. Most people don't bother, since who cares about how many likes their comment on a local newspaper comments section got. It's only really the thin-skinned Trump supporters and landlords that care enough and have the free time to do it. The rest of us have jobs.

12 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2017 at 6:03 pm


"I say why should you be subsidized by others? Why should the fruits of their hard work, their savings, their sacrifices, and their sound financial decisions be used for you? "

Give up Prop 13, Steve. Walk the walk if you want to talk the talk.

8 people like this
Posted by Allie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2017 at 7:18 pm

@Steve, It doesn't sound like you understood my points. I'm going to assume you work in a different field than I do, and that you probably make a six figure salary. Please correct me if that's not the case. I'm also wondering if you are raising a family here (cuts into the old salary), and if so, have you volunteered to coach your kid's sports team, volunteered in the classroom, are an active member of the PTA, been a part of a city beautification project, eaten at the annual fire station pancake breakfast (all things that benefit one's kids and the community, but takes time away from that which could be used to make more money)? If you are doing those things on one income, and bought a home here in this crazy market, good for you! (no sarcasm). I do all of those things, except own the home. Oh, and I have worked hard, saved and sacrificed, and made sound financial decisions, just like you. Yet, it still sounds like you would put me in the category of an undesirable. I will say it again...if the main criteria for admittance is wealth, this community will become a much different, but not better, place.

24 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 15, 2017 at 7:03 am

Folks need to read 'who moved my cheese' If the choices you made in life do not afford a life here make your choice to change cities. Plenty of other cities in the world just as nice and a lot cheaper. The cold reality is you are not competiting with your landlord, you are competiting with the world. Silicon Valley is a global city, so the economy here is a different scale. If your life choices make so you cannot afford property, smartest thing to do would be move and not blame any individual. Blame the world, but it is not going to change no matter what this one cities does. If you have financial difficulties now they're only gonna get worse as time progresses especially if you don't own property. And no amount of the rent control, heck even rent free if you're only making it by paycheck to paycheck Will forward you the ability to buy property here. Rent control is a terrible idea but thinking it will solve your problems is an even bigger mistake .

5 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 15, 2017 at 9:46 am

"if the main criteria for admittance is wealth, this community will become a much different, but not better, place."

@Allie, if you get right down to it, maybe we need to revisit our definition of community. You have to admit, @Member has a point when s/he says people who don't satisfy the wealth criteria should leave. On an individual basis, that's really the only smart move, right? Forget about your community, just look out for yourself and get out of here while you can. The current trend is heading towards a Bay Area consisting of giant sprawling tech campuses (have you noticed the pissing contest for the largest and/or most-newsworthy campus among the major players?) and 30-40 story housing silos for tech workers. Everything else will be pushed out - shops, restaurants, hair salons, gyms, theaters, non-profits and all the other local enterprises that are part of a vibrant community. But maybe that's exactly what the techies want. They sure are saying so in these threads.

7 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm


The blame is clear though. There's an entrenched cadre of homeowners who have been pushing against expansion and density for decades, resulting in an under-supply of housing while their property values (which they don't pay taxes on the real value of) have skyrocketed. This isn't about having not made the correct life choices to live in the area. You have engineers making six figures paying $1500 a month to rent a bedroom in houses where every spare nook and cranny is rented out, because that's the only way you can afford to live in the area now.

You do not have a monopoly on being able to live in Mountain View. This is not your private gated community. All you're doing is strangling the next generation in order to enrich yourself, and that's going to be how history remembers your generation.

15 people like this
Posted by Steves
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm

@Allie you sound like a caring, loving, and giving person (I mean that genuinely); however, that does not entitle you to live in, or have your housing subsidised at the expense of others so that you may live in a particular city or town.

I simply believe that if someone has invested their money into a property, then they have the right to charge whatever rent they wish. If there are renters that will pay the asked for rate, then there is a meeting of buyers and sellers. If not then the property owner would have to lower their rent in order to attract prospective renters. Similarly, when the term of a contract (i.e. rental lease agreement) is up, then the landlord and renter have concluded their obligations to each other and should both be free to go on their merry ways. Right now we are in an economic boom and landlords are taking advantage of a climate that is in their favour, as are homeowners who are selling their properties. Another example is tech employees who are in demand and who are shopping their skills around to the highest bidder.

More broadly, I do believe that home owner have a more vested interest in their neighbourhoods rather than renters. It only makes sense as they have more 'skin in the game'. That has been my experience. Does this apply to all renters and all home owners? Of course not.

As far as salaries go, I do not make a six figure salary by any means.

5 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2017 at 3:32 pm

@YIMBY: I would gladly give up Prop 13. I think it is absolutely terrible and an outstanding example of why direct democracy is a bad idea.

@Shame: What has Trump got to do with rent control in Mountain View. And to be 100% clear I am not a Trump supporter. Never have been. Never will be.

6 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Steve, that's simply an observation about who has enough free time to waste faking likes on comments. It's basically any right-wing comments here, hence Trump supporters and landlords. Like I said, the rest of us have real jobs ;-)

3 people like this
Posted by @steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 17, 2017 at 4:46 pm

"I simply believe that if someone has invested their money into a property, then they have the right to charge whatever rent they wish. "

A majority of mountain view voters decided that with the property rights came the property DUTY of not raising rents on tenants at a higher than CPI rate.

Your beliefs about what should be does not change this current situation.

In this case, my beliefs align with the current law- yours do not.

Before November, my beliefs did NOT align with the law. I worked to change the law.

You can do the same.

Mountain view tried uncontrolled rent increases for decades. These rent increases caused damage to the community, that caused many To vote in favor of measure V.

Let's try controlled rent increases for a while.

11 people like this
Posted by NIMBY
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Yes, let's try it. Bacause it's worked so well everywhere else. Sigh.

4 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2017 at 10:18 pm


You get Prop 13, renters get rent control. No reason why we should have one but not the other.

6 people like this
Posted by Ron Haley
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm

If the voters are so gung ho on reducing monthly rentals, pass a tax on all Mountain View residents and use it to subsidize rents. No! Why not! Because that might impact the voter. It's amazing how voters are so happy to burden others to satisfy their moral outrage!

4 people like this
Posted by @ron haley
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 18, 2017 at 6:13 pm

If you want to spend the effort making the tax happen- then it is worth taking about.

Otherwise, this comment is about a hypothetical future. Science fiction.

8 people like this
Posted by Ben Around
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm

I have been a landlord in and around MV for over 50 years. I remember the decades when there were for rent signs on every building. Free months rent ,$25 cleaning deposit ,free laundry. The area was over built .and it was tough. The market slowly corrected and then turned to the other side. Now we have rent control. We have messed with the market. We have harmed the little landlord who kept his rents low and reasonable. Rewarded the landlord who caused the problem in the first place, Doomed the repair and replacement of much of MV housing stock and pretty much increased the rent for anybody attempting to inter the market or change rental location .Not to mention the cost to the city and the rancor between the citizens .Now there will be ,for economic reason, a move to get rid of rentals and build for sale housing in its place. If you think rent control brings cheap rent ,look at San Francisco. "A fine mess you got me in to Olley"

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