News

City says RV-dwellers can stay put. Cops ticket anyway

Mixed signals on Crisanto Avenue enforcement lead to $80 parking tickets

For Maria Diaz, losing $80 is a big deal. It could be the difference between whether she eats, takes her medication or heats her home.

Like many others in Mountain View, Diaz lives in a rented vehicle parked on the street. And like some of her neighbors on Crisanto Avenue, she said she was frustrated last week to find an $80 ticket on her trailer for failing to move her vehicle for street cleaning after city officials explicitly assured residents that they wouldn't be cited.

"I won't pay this." Diaz said, speaking through a Spanish translator. "We got notifications saying that we didn't need to move on this day."

The incident began early last week when the city's Public Works department posted letters on Crisanto Avenue informing residents that the regular street cleaning was canceled due to nearby work on a Caltrain fence. No one needed to move their vehicles, the letter said.

But the city's parking enforcement apparently didn't get that memo. On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Diaz and other residents came home to find citations left on their windshields. Each $80 ticket cited the city code violation -- parking along the curb during street-cleaning hours.

A total of eight citations were handed out, according to police officials.

Multiple residents said they went to the Mountain View Police Department to complain about the tickets and police officials told them that they couldn't do anything -- all complaints would have to be taken to the Parking Violations Office in downtown San Jose.

Daniel, a Crisanto resident who asked that his last name not be printed, said he was also ticketed. It felt unfair to have to travel all the way down to San Jose for someone else's mistake, he said.

"I'm upset because this looks like the city did a bad job," he said. "We feel powerless. If we complain, there could be retaliation."

It was his third parking citation, he said. For Diaz, it was her ninth parking citation since 2015.

On a citywide basis, the total number of parking citations written in Mountain View has been dramatically declining, dropping more than 42 percent over the last three years. But neighborhoods with large numbers of car campers may be the exception. Diaz and other residents say parking enforcement has become more frequent and patrols on their streets happen like clockwork.

Police officials could not immediately provide the Voice with the total number of citations written at Crisanto and other Mountain View car encampments.

Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson described the Nov. 7 citations as a communications error. The police traffic unit wasn't informed in time that the street sweeping was called off. She gave assurances that all the citations handed out would be dismissed.

"We have been in the process of attempting to contact everyone to let them know that we will dismiss the citations immediately," she told the Voice via email. Anyone with questions should call Lt. Saul Jaeger at 650-903-6344.

City officials warn that people living along Crisanto Avenue will be asked to relocate later this month for sewer work, which is expected to start on November 27 and run through December 8. That project is expected to require digging and trenching work during daytime hours.

Latham Street restrictions

Recently, police officials have stepped up parking enforcement at another vehicle encampment on Latham Street. Earlier this month, new signs were posted along the street to prohibit vehicles over six 6 feet high from parking there.

In recent city meetings, residents from the nearby apartments complained it was becoming dangerous to pull out onto Latham, saying they couldn't see oncoming traffic because the larger parked trailers and motorhomes were creating a wall that blocked their view.

Technically, the Mountain View municipal code since the late 1980s has prohibited vehicles over 6 feet in height from parking along the curbs, but it's unclear if that rule has ever been rigorously enforced. Along with Latham, warning signs about the height limit are also posted along Oak Lane, Wyandotte Street and along sections of El Camino Real, according to city officials.

Assistant to the City Manager Kimberly Thomas said the city had previously tried restricting parking along Latham Street by painting curbs red near driveways, but nearby residents and businesses owners complained that more needed to be done to stop large vehicle from blocking visibility, she said.

Police officials estimate a dozen vehicles parked on Latham had to relocate due to the new height restrictions. They could not specify how many people were cited for exceeding the height limit.

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Comments

26 people like this
Posted by Edgar
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 16, 2017 at 10:39 am

The ordinance says:
SEC. 19.92.4. - Parking prohibited—Street cleaning.
a. It is unlawful for any person to stop, park or leave any vehicle standing on a street or portion of street during those times reserved for street cleaning purposes.
b. The city traffic engineer shall designate any street or portion thereof where parking is prohibited for street cleaning purposes by appropriate signs giving notice of such prohibition.


I do not remember ever seeing any signs giving notice of such prohibition anywhere in town. I do not think that anybody ever moves their car for street sweeping in my neighborhood.


22 people like this
Posted by it's the LAW
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I believe Edgar and other residents deserve that our city officials and their hired staff obey the LAW as it is written, not as they would like. This whole mess - if it has been done as poorly as the Voice is reporting, smacks of "selective enforcement". Which is I believe legal grounds for the whole slew of tickets/towings to be challenged together.

Council ! Wake up! You will very shortly be hit by a lawsuit, to force you to correct the city staff and managers that REPORT TO YOU! How much will that cost us? Council put this on the agenda or call a special meeting, and get the city manager and the city attorney and the police chief on-the-hot-seat, in public.


74 people like this
Posted by Starting Now
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Enforce the existing 6 foot law city wide!! Good lord, you mean we've had this law on the books all along during this explosion of street campers?!?! We have the tool, it was written into law for public safety DECADES prior to all this mess. Lets simply start enforcing the law regularly city wide.


74 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm

What's the big deal? If they violated a parking ordinance, they're subject to ticketing like the rest of us.

If Ms Diaz is upset about confusing communications received from another City department, then she has a reasonable complaint about that department -- that's all. It doesn't affect her ultimate obligation to follow parking laws, or her responsibility to pay the fine if ticketed. (Nor is it the business of other City departments, City Council, or anyone else to tell police personnel to selectively overlook some of the laws they swore to maintain.)


14 people like this
Posted by hsnpoor
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:07 pm

@Starting Now, that was then and this is now and a hell of a lot has changed in that time span. Would be nice if life were that cut, dry and simple, but it's not. It's messy and liable to get a lot messier if we don't use some "common" sense (which really ain't all that common these days) and some "uncommon" heart (which is even more scarce these days than sense). Don't be such a tin man. An answer involving the brain and no heart is no answer at all.


106 people like this
Posted by Apollo
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:12 pm

there are still rv's parked on Terra Bella and on San Rafael. Shoreline is also lined up wth RV's. Will they just let them stay there? Hello parking control. Do something about it.


87 people like this
Posted by Peter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm

I’ve heard cases of the fire department being called on RVs for incorrect dumping practices; such as dumping their human waste down storm drains. They should know that their waste should be brought to a dump station. They should be asked to show proof that they have done so. A receipt of some sort.


23 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm

There won't be any RVs on your streets if you just build more houses. It's disgusting that people just want to deal with the symptoms of the housing crisis, rather than the root cause, namely that rampant NIMBYism has made our city unaffordable for all but the wealthy and the lucky. When there are enough houses, no one will live in RVs.


173 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Juan is a registered user.

Mountain View has built more housing than neighboring cities, yet we still have tons of RVs violating the law, so I'd say your "build baby build" solution is in fact a lie. If RV owners want to park their vehicle in the City of Mountain View then they need to follow all laws. That means no dumping sewage, adhering to parking laws, adhering to drug laws, adhering to prostitution laws, etc. That's not too much to ask.


15 people like this
Posted by No Logic
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:49 pm

So who are these RV dwellers? Were they born and raised here and then lost their housing? Or did they arrive from somewhere and decided to park here because it is warmer and closer to jobs?


101 people like this
Posted by No logic
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:52 pm

RVs are here not because the housing is expensive and/or scarce, but because the jobs are abundant, the weather is nice, and the city is liberal. Why pay more or commute when you can just live like that.


162 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm

"Shame" repeats a one-note mantra, never grappling with the other factors at play and vital to any real look at the housing crisis (mass hiring of well-paid employees at historically unprecedented rate; foreign buying-up of silicon-valley housing) -- that, per everyone who studies it seriously, will overcome even a radical increase in housing stock. All that's ignored, in favor of chiding people for failing to frantically build to accommodate all the new customers whose role "Shame" never questions or examines. Not to forget the new factor of rent control reducing availability of the least-expensive housing (by slowing tenant turnover, and prompting small owners to sell to redevelopers eager to build far pricier housing exempt, of course, from any rent control). Nor does "Shame" ever show evidence of the perspective that comes from having participating in the local housing market during past ups and downs in prices and vacancies.

It's a case of very selective awareness (assuming "Shame" isn't just one of those automated chatbots pushing its pre-programmed agenda).

You could build all the new housing that "Shame" ever advocated, and the people living in those RVs still wouldn't be able to afford it. The hell of it is, that'd be no surprise to anyone who looks seriously now, and asks the questions "Shame" doesn't want to acknowledge.


20 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:22 pm

People living in vehicles on the streets are “residents”?


18 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Humble observer, let me guess, you bought your house long ago, and are now sitting on a windfall that you did nothing to earn, and are paying far less than your fair share thanks to Prop 13.

These "customers" you're talking about are people who need houses. Full stop. They're living out of their cars and RVs now because we've been criminally underbuilding. Everyone who's studied this says precisely that. For example, read what the LAO has to say.

Finally, in what world does building more of something not decrease the price of it?


10 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:27 pm

John, yes, they are.


10 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:29 pm

No Logic, it's quite telling that you start by asking who the residents of the RVs are, and then in your next post you know exactly why they're here. Perhaps you should actually talk to some of them to understand their situation better?


189 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Juan is a registered user.

Full stop. Mountain View is building more than any other city in the area, probably even overbuilding. You can't guilt shame the people of Mountain View because you aren't telling the truth.


14 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:56 pm

If we're overbuilding, why are people living in their cars and in RVs? Why are rents so high?


29 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 16, 2017 at 8:06 pm

So if drive into town and park my RV on the street I can consider myself a “resident”?
Then when I violate parking regulations and my vehicle gets towed I’m being “evicted”?
Truly an alternate universe


11 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 8:08 pm

If it's the only place you live, it's your primary residence. This isn't a very difficult concept. Do you know what the word "reside" means?


147 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Juan is a registered user.

People live in RVs everywhere for various reasons. The fact that people live in RVs doesn't mean that Mountain View isn't building enough housing. People live in RVs at Yosemite... Yosemite should build more housing.


14 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Are you seriously contending that people in Mountain View live in RVs for recreational purposes? You can ask any of them if you actually care. The vast majority will tell you they live there because the rent is too darned high.


136 people like this
Posted by Wondering
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm

How many of these RV dwellers actually lived in Mountain View before moving into RVs? How many actually work in Mountain View? I'm wondering if many moved RVs here because Mountain View is lax in enforcing the existing laws? You don't see this in Los Altos or Los Gatos, or many other cities.

I feel sorry for the people who worked hard to make enough or save enough to rent or buy near where these RVs are now parked. How is this fair to change the landscape for these people? The RVs damage the property values of surrounding neighborhoods - the very neighborhoods where people worked or saved to live. What is the rationale for doing this to these people?

"Shame" can make all the false statement he wants, but the facts don't fit his argument. It is impossible to simply build to build and think that solves the problem. Anything built now will be out of range of the budgets of RV dwellers, and Mountain View cannot solve everyone's problem. I cannot move to Atherton or San Francisco because I cannot afford rent there. Does that mean I have a right to camp on the street and pour waste into the gutter in those cities? NO. You cannot have something just because you want it - we have to live in a real world.

Now with rent control, we see many affordable buildings will be converted to "for sale" condos, making the available rentals even more scarce. Rent control advocates thought they were getting something for nothing, too, and that is just simply not how the economy works. I do feel sorry for the children who would have to change schools, but the parents should move where they can afford. It is insane to expect a city to destroy it's future, traffic, and atmosphere by overbuilding. Again... these apartments would be out of reach of the RV dwellers. Wishes won't overcome facts.


20 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Shame is a registered user.

Nothing I have said is false, and that you assert that without evidence shows just how weak your argument is.

I'm glad to hear you oppose converting apartments under rent control into ownership housing. On that, we can agree, and I hope you will fight against council when they keep approving such shameful projects.

As you said, though, let's look at economics: when you increase the supply of something, the price goes down. If we built enough housing for everyone, not just the landed gentry and tech millionaires, rent would be affordable.


4 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm

AC is a registered user.

@ Shane:

"Finally, in what world does building more of something not decrease the price of it?"

In *this* world. It's called greed.

I appreciate your conviction sir, but you seem to assert that all problems and their solutions make logical sense given a simple set of factors.

That's not always the case.


11 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 17, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Shame is a registered user.

If you contend that adding more houses will not reduce the price of housing, do you mean to imply that removing housing would cause the price of housing to decrease?

Or do you believe that housing prices are entirely disconnected from the number of houses there are?

Neither of these are supported by any sort of evidence, but I'm just trying to figure out what you believe.


6 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2017 at 5:06 pm

AC is a registered user.

@ Shane

I believe more housing is needed, as you assert. But I do not believe it will drive down the prices.

My suspicion is that increased density will attract residence, therefore increase demand; therefore the best we can hope for is a stabilization of prices, not a reduction.

For evidence, I can only site our 2010 population at 74,066 and 2016 population estimated at 80,447. Increase of supply in the city has resulted in increased population.

My point is that a logical discussion based solely on facts can be (I do not say "is not") fruitless. We're talking about human beings and their habits and preferences and desires. People *want* to live here.

I don't happen to think there are cut and dried solutions. It's not as simple as the facts might spell out.


3 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

Rents are high for the same reason housing prices are out of control, supply and demand, companies need to build more campuses outside of the SF Bay area, youg families will follow. Without a household income of 500K there is no quality of life here anymore. And even you are one of those 'high net worth' individuals, you are still stuck in traffic like everyone else. And now with the GOP tax proposal, buying a house is going to be impossible, and if you can buy a house the prop tax will decimate your budget. It's a fine place to live for the lucky few who hit the IPO jackpot and for those lucky enough to inherit their parent's property tax Web Link


11 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 17, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Shame is a registered user.

MyOpinion, that is precisely my point. It doesn't have to be this way, and everyone can afford to live here. We just need to build enough houses. It's a problem we can solve together, and the solution doesn't involve punishing the less fortunate that are suffering due to our decision as a community to not build enough.


10 people like this
Posted by Sophie Mutter
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 18, 2017 at 6:23 pm

Sophie Mutter is a registered user.

@Shame, yeah, the rent in MV is high for some people, the rent in Los Altos Hills or Atherton is too high for me. Based on your logic, I need to park my RV on the street in Los Altos Hills or Atherton. Thanks


9 people like this
Posted by Sophie Mutter
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 18, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Sophie Mutter is a registered user.

In the article, I have 3 questions. Who authorized the City’s public works department to waiver the parking law in Mountain View? If everyone selectively enforce law, it’s not only conspfusing, but also dangerous.
Why the RV dwellers are called residents? Do they pay city tax, property tax like other residents in Mountain View?
The lady who was ticketed 80$ needed a Spanish translator. Is she a tourist driving RV for recreational purpose?


7 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Shame is a registered user.

Sophie, it's hard to know where to start with your questions. Unless your job is in Atherton or Los Altos Hills, what would you get by parking an RV on the street there? Do you just enjoy views of mansions? Why is that not a choice you've made so far?

Your neighbors living in RVs and their cars are, in fact, residents of Mountain View. What else would they be?

Finally, many of your neighbors do not speak English at all, or speak English as a second language. This does not make them tourists, or in any way less of a member of our community. The quality of the grammar in your posting indicates English may not be your native tongue, are you a tourist?


5 people like this
Posted by Sophie Mutter
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 18, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Sophie Mutter is a registered user.

@ shame, sure, English is not my native language, but to reside in this city, at least I taught myself how to communicate in English. Do you have problem with it?


8 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Shame is a registered user.

Fortunately, there's no requirement to speak English to be a resident of Mountain View. Perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to judge your neighbors in the future.

Now how about the other questions I raised?


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

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