News

Initiative filed to scale back city's rent control

Bigger rent increases, annual income eligibility requirements among changes proposed

Major changes to Mountain View's rent control law could go before Mountain View voters this fall.

The political action group Measure V Too Costly filed paperwork on Friday, March 30, for a November ballot initiative that would heavily modify Mountain View's rent control program. The proposal, dubbed the "Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Initiative," seeks to curtail most limits on rent increases and create income eligibility requirements for tenants.

Among the proposed changes is a provision that under most circumstances would bring a halt to using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the baseline for determining citywide rent increases on eligible apartments. Using CPI, affected apartment owners last year were restricted to no more than a 3.4 percent increase in the rents they charged.

Under the proposed initiative, this CPI cap on rent increases would be lifted if more than 3 percent of the approximately 15,000 apartments in the city are vacant. In that scenario, the Rental Housing Committee would be obligated to suspend the CPI rent cap as well as the just-cause eviction protections written into the rent control law. These tenant protections could later be reinstated if the vacancy rate dips back below 3 percent for six consecutive months.

The city's vacancy rate on apartments has not dipped below 3 percent since at least 2009, according to CoStar data. About 4.3 percent of apartments in Mountain View are currently vacant.

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For period when the vacancy rate is above 3 percent, the new initiative would set no limit on rent increases, although landlords would still be restricted to imposing only one increase per year. Any rent increases that exceed 7 percent would be subject to a three-step mediation program that could culminate in arbitration, which would not be binding. Under this system, landlords would have to demonstrate their rent increases are "reasonable" due to a variety of factors, such as maintenance and operation costs. The going market rate for similar apartment units in Mountain View could also be used to justify rent increases.

The higher rent threshold and arbitration program bear strong similarities to Measure W, a milder version of rent control that the Mountain View City Council put on the 2016 ballot as an alternative to Measure V, which was favored by tenant advocates and won approval. Measure W fell short of passage, receiving support from only 48.6 percent of voters.

Other big changes are proposed in the new initiative. Tenants would be eligible for the rental protections only if they earn less than the median income for Santa Clara County, which was $90,650 for a two-person household last year. Only tenants earning less than the median income would be eligible for relocation assistance if they were displaced due to redevelopment of the property or other reasons. Currently, under a program approved by the City Council, relocation benefits are available to most displaced tenants earning at least 120 percent of the median income.

The proposed initiative would require any tenants who seek rent-control protections to take the extra step of filing an annual application with the city, stating that they are earning less than the median income under penalty of perjury.

These changes reflect a common refrain among landlords that Mountain View's rental protections are primarily benefiting tech employees earning high salaries, not low-income families.

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The Measure V Too Costly organization has made rent control's expense to taxpayers its central argument for changing Mountain View's rent control law. On its website and promotional materials, the group has highlighted the Rental Housing Committee's $2.59 million budget and its need to borrow start-up money from the city government.

"We filed the initiative to fix the inherent flaws within Measure V," former mayor John Inks said in a press release for the group. "Measure V was proving to be too costly for Mountain View taxpayers and was jeopardizing general fund dollars, which are critical to Mountain View's public safety and infrastructure budgets."

Mountain View housing staffers recently reported that the rental committee had paid back the city in full for the borrowed start-up funding. They announced they were expecting the rent control program to show a surplus and said it would likely operate on smaller budgets in coming years.

Landlords are required to fund rent control's costs through an annual fee on nearly every apartment unit in the city. For this year, the fee was set at $155, and apartment owners are prohibited from passing through those costs onto their tenants.

The proposed initiative would change that rule by explicitly limiting the fee to $100 per unit for 2019. Fees can be raised in future years, but these increases must be restricted to the CPI, according to the text of the initiative.

The initiative would amend Measure V with provisions that would bar the Rental Housing Committee from taking money from the city of Mountain View, unless approved by a City Council majority. The Rental Housing Committee members, who are unpaid, would be explicitly prohibited from receiving any compensation.

The proposed initiative is not guaranteed a spot on the November ballot. The city attorney has 15 days to review it and write up a summary. After that, supporters can begin the process of gathering signatures to put it on the ballot. Signatures will need to be collected from 15 percent of the registered voters in Mountain View, which is estimated to be about 5,500 people.

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Initiative filed to scale back city's rent control

Bigger rent increases, annual income eligibility requirements among changes proposed

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Apr 2, 2018, 1:58 pm

Major changes to Mountain View's rent control law could go before Mountain View voters this fall.

The political action group Measure V Too Costly filed paperwork on Friday, March 30, for a November ballot initiative that would heavily modify Mountain View's rent control program. The proposal, dubbed the "Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Initiative," seeks to curtail most limits on rent increases and create income eligibility requirements for tenants.

Among the proposed changes is a provision that under most circumstances would bring a halt to using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the baseline for determining citywide rent increases on eligible apartments. Using CPI, affected apartment owners last year were restricted to no more than a 3.4 percent increase in the rents they charged.

Under the proposed initiative, this CPI cap on rent increases would be lifted if more than 3 percent of the approximately 15,000 apartments in the city are vacant. In that scenario, the Rental Housing Committee would be obligated to suspend the CPI rent cap as well as the just-cause eviction protections written into the rent control law. These tenant protections could later be reinstated if the vacancy rate dips back below 3 percent for six consecutive months.

The city's vacancy rate on apartments has not dipped below 3 percent since at least 2009, according to CoStar data. About 4.3 percent of apartments in Mountain View are currently vacant.

For period when the vacancy rate is above 3 percent, the new initiative would set no limit on rent increases, although landlords would still be restricted to imposing only one increase per year. Any rent increases that exceed 7 percent would be subject to a three-step mediation program that could culminate in arbitration, which would not be binding. Under this system, landlords would have to demonstrate their rent increases are "reasonable" due to a variety of factors, such as maintenance and operation costs. The going market rate for similar apartment units in Mountain View could also be used to justify rent increases.

The higher rent threshold and arbitration program bear strong similarities to Measure W, a milder version of rent control that the Mountain View City Council put on the 2016 ballot as an alternative to Measure V, which was favored by tenant advocates and won approval. Measure W fell short of passage, receiving support from only 48.6 percent of voters.

Other big changes are proposed in the new initiative. Tenants would be eligible for the rental protections only if they earn less than the median income for Santa Clara County, which was $90,650 for a two-person household last year. Only tenants earning less than the median income would be eligible for relocation assistance if they were displaced due to redevelopment of the property or other reasons. Currently, under a program approved by the City Council, relocation benefits are available to most displaced tenants earning at least 120 percent of the median income.

The proposed initiative would require any tenants who seek rent-control protections to take the extra step of filing an annual application with the city, stating that they are earning less than the median income under penalty of perjury.

These changes reflect a common refrain among landlords that Mountain View's rental protections are primarily benefiting tech employees earning high salaries, not low-income families.

The Measure V Too Costly organization has made rent control's expense to taxpayers its central argument for changing Mountain View's rent control law. On its website and promotional materials, the group has highlighted the Rental Housing Committee's $2.59 million budget and its need to borrow start-up money from the city government.

"We filed the initiative to fix the inherent flaws within Measure V," former mayor John Inks said in a press release for the group. "Measure V was proving to be too costly for Mountain View taxpayers and was jeopardizing general fund dollars, which are critical to Mountain View's public safety and infrastructure budgets."

Mountain View housing staffers recently reported that the rental committee had paid back the city in full for the borrowed start-up funding. They announced they were expecting the rent control program to show a surplus and said it would likely operate on smaller budgets in coming years.

Landlords are required to fund rent control's costs through an annual fee on nearly every apartment unit in the city. For this year, the fee was set at $155, and apartment owners are prohibited from passing through those costs onto their tenants.

The proposed initiative would change that rule by explicitly limiting the fee to $100 per unit for 2019. Fees can be raised in future years, but these increases must be restricted to the CPI, according to the text of the initiative.

The initiative would amend Measure V with provisions that would bar the Rental Housing Committee from taking money from the city of Mountain View, unless approved by a City Council majority. The Rental Housing Committee members, who are unpaid, would be explicitly prohibited from receiving any compensation.

The proposed initiative is not guaranteed a spot on the November ballot. The city attorney has 15 days to review it and write up a summary. After that, supporters can begin the process of gathering signatures to put it on the ballot. Signatures will need to be collected from 15 percent of the registered voters in Mountain View, which is estimated to be about 5,500 people.

Comments

Common sense
Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:33 pm
Common sense, Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:33 pm
62 people like this

Democracy in action. What elections give, they can also take away.


Let's play Fair
Rex Manor
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm
Let's play Fair, Rex Manor
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm
52 people like this

This is a great development. While the idea of controlling sky rocketing rents is good, making housing providers subsidize tech employees (and others) who are making 6 and 7 digit incomes is wrong and is driving a wedge between landlords and tenants. This does a lot in fixing some unintended consequences and providing relief to those who actually need it. Repealing Measure V completely might have some tough consequences but this "fix" seems fair and would provide the benefits that were intended.


Lets Repeal Prop 13 too
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:43 pm
Lets Repeal Prop 13 too, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:43 pm
32 people like this

We should also apply the same to Prop 13. Base it on person's level of affordability instead of how long they have owned house.

Why do I have a feeling these same landlords would not agree to this....


Common sense
Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:48 pm
Common sense, Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:48 pm
52 people like this

In fact, the income eligibility requirement is a huge win for rent-control *advocates* if they truly are concerned about low-income renters. This is a litmus test for true motivations; they should have included the requirement in Measure V. I've rented under rent control elsewhere in California: with the intense competition for the smaller volume of vacancies that occur under rent control, higher-income tenants can elbow others out of competition, and also, more of them are attracted to such a town who otherwise would have lived elsewhere. They too benefit from the controlled rents, though they could afford to pay more (unlike lower-income renters). They even have incentives to corrupt the process by bribing their way in, because they can afford to, and will easily recover that expense by pocketing the long-term rent savings compared to living in another town paying full market-rate rents.


Rodger
Sylvan Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Rodger , Sylvan Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm
48 people like this

I would prefer a complete repeal but butter this measure is better than nothing.


Barry Burr
Rex Manor
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm
Barry Burr, Rex Manor
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm
29 people like this

The math here is corrupt to high hell. Landlord's remain free to impose arbitrary income standards to approve tenant applications. This will lead to landlords only renting to people above the income threshold, so that they can then raise the rents as much as they want again.
This is total crap. Same greedy exploitative 'write your own paycheck' business model that drove even a former 20 year member of Mountain View's middle class renter population out of town from runaway rents combined with landlord harassment so they can make excuses to impose runaway rents to the next renters of the last two houses I rented.
Long live Measure V, and the tighter restrictions against runaway rents that MUST follow it, and all the pure greed and exploitation behind this next attempt to destroy any rent regulation at all can and must be takes straight to hell, lest all the middle class renter population still managing to afford these runaway rents be driven into RV's on the side streets.


William Hitchens
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:15 pm
William Hitchens, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:15 pm
51 people like this

Dear MV Voice:

Please let us know when petitions are circulated and when and where we can sign them.


Will never pass
Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm
Will never pass, Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm
7 people like this

This city is dominated by Democrats and not the very small-minded Republicans that elected a TV personality to the White House.


Mt. View Neighbor
North Whisman
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:46 pm
Mt. View Neighbor, North Whisman
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:46 pm
16 people like this

Better than the disaster of measure V, I suppose.

Unfortunately nothing said about just cause eviction. Seriously? I’m now living next door to a drug dealer. Residents are too afraid to call the cops because it’ll take years to get this creep arrested, and he’s crazy.

The only poetic justice is that as the landlords have done what they can to discourage this “alleged” drug dealer from operating out of the unit, he now carries out his business in front of the neighbor’s home... the neighbor who was very openly pro measure V. Hilarious.

Other neighbors are carrying out blatant lease violations as well. Landlords find it too costly to do anything.


Christopher Chiang
Registered user
North Bayshore
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm
25 people like this

The "landlord" ballot is just a bureaucratic mess of a different stripe. Realistically most renters won't pursue arbitration, so if this is functionally a repeal, I wish they would be truthful and just call the measure a rent control repeal. A repeal may have merits, but any effort to mislead voters is repugnant.

If Mountain View wants a real free market alternative, require every rental unit (old, new, and mobile home) to file with the city their annual rent percent change. Open information is essential for free markets to operate efficiently (see all the historical data home buyers have that renters don’t, so much is done to prevent home buyers from getting a bait and switch, why not renters). Rental websites/news sources would eagerly report such historical data to allow renters to reward reasonable landlords and stay away from greedy landlords. It’s alarming that we continue to make policy without real data on the supposed problem. Landlords say they are being reasonable, renters say they are being fleeced, let the data speak for itself.


Jim
Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Jim, Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm
26 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Richard
Monta Loma
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm
Richard , Monta Loma
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm
25 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


LOL
Castro City
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm
LOL, Castro City
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm
15 people like this

Here come the astroturfed comments again. Look at the guy above me who's never posted here before. Last article had these all cleaned up with "user posting under multiple names." This campaign Abe-Koga is supporting is up to some dirty tactics.


LOL
Castro City
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm
LOL, Castro City
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm
11 people like this

Amazing, another one snuck in while I was typing that. Astroturf away!


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2018 at 6:23 pm
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2018 at 6:23 pm
10 people like this

Yes the initiative has been filed. But in order for it to be on the ballot the history shows that the City of Mountain View required signatures to be submitted for a City Charter Amendment to be on the ballot

The history showed that Measure V was required to have 5,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot.

Thus any different treatment by the Registrar of Voters and the City would certainly cause problems. The fact is that the same rules must apply to this new Ballot Initiative

That is 5,000/35,399 voters according to the Santa Clara Registrar of Voters or a total of 14% of the voters in Mountain View to support their initiative.

This sounds like a significant challenge just to get it on the ballot.

The irony is that the Costa Hawkins appeal will most certainly be in the election as well. Will all apartment renters in Mountain View finally unite and say YES to repeal Costa Hawkins and NO to this new ballot initiative in the election.

It looks like this is going to be a very interesting situation to watch.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:31 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:31 pm
21 people like this

It appears from the description that this initiative, if passed, would end rent control and promote mass eviction. If the landlords do not manage to get the signatures needed, they will direct their 6 city councilmembers to put the proposed law on the ballot anyway. So, at least people can see what is coming.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2018 at 6:47 am
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 6:47 am
11 people like this

Oh by the way

Make sure that the signatures are not illegal.

The Pacifica CAA and SAMCAR Campaign is under prosecution for illegal signatures. Just Google SAMCAR and felony charges.

The Pacifica campaign are charged with using illegal signatures in getting their ballot measure on the ballot.


Howard
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:29 am
Howard, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:29 am
27 people like this

I think it's time for Measure V to be cleaned up so it does what was intended by the voters without these unintended consequences.

First of all, most renters in Mountain View have 6 figure household incomes and great credit. I know, I was a landlord there for 25 years and qualified hundreds of applicants over the past few years alone. These high income tenants are making more money per year then many of their landlords that got slammed by measure V.

Is this what measure V was about, taking money from the pockets of older mom and pops that were struggling for retirement to give away their incomes to the 20-30 year old millennial high tech employees?

Please tell me this was an unintended consequence when we protect younger, higher income by taking income from our older more established citizens that chose to invest in our community to try to retire comfortably.
Many of these millennials have stock portfolios that match or exceed their landlords equities in the very property they reside in.

This needs to be fixed and follow the intentions of the voters.
If this group Measure V, too costly can't get the signatures in time, please city council, put it on the ballot for them!


Truth and Liberty
Cuesta Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:57 am
Truth and Liberty, Cuesta Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:57 am
28 people like this

Rent control is theft of property and property rights. It relegates older buildings to junk heaps because it removes the opportunity of an owner to profit from improvements. It robs tenants of upgrades. It profits lawyers and bureaucrats. Why should anyone tell anyone what they can an cant charge for their property? What's next, telling McDonalds what they can charge for a burger? Maybe we should tell the City what they can charge for water and garbage or this newspaper what they can and can't charge for advertising? Perhaps next we should limit the amount of interest or gains you can earn on an investment-- for instance limiting your IRA to no more than 4% per year. Only a fool or a 3rd party profiteer supports rent control.


Brian
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Apr 3, 2018 at 4:46 pm
Brian, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 4:46 pm
11 people like this

The 3% vacancy threshold to suspend the protections is to low and prone to manipulation. A single landlord with a few hundred units could simply list vacant units with rent far above the market rate until the 3% threshold was reached.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2018 at 5:50 pm
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 5:50 pm
10 people like this

In response to Truth and Liberty you said:
“Rent control is theft of property and property rights.”

The courts do not agree with that claim, you said:

“It relegates older buildings to junk heaps because it removes the opportunity of an owner to profit from improvements.”

No it doesn’t, but many owners choose not to do improvements. You said:

“It robs tenants of upgrades.”

No it doesn’t because owners simply choose not to. You said:

“It profits lawyers and bureaucrats.”

When landlords try to cheat others, it forces tenants to fight for their rights, and landlords attornies also make money in the process. You said:

“Why should anyone tell anyone what they can an cant charge for their property? What's next, telling McDonalds what they can charge for a burger?”

If a full study is done, you would find that the government does dictate prices based on taxation, incentives, and direct price controls in the U.S. You said:

“Maybe we should tell the City what they can charge for water and garbage or this newspaper what they can and can't charge for advertising?”

In fact you do control these issues. You simply need to inform the City that it will not be acceptable for the rates of water and garbage, and one can choose to not pay for the advertising of the newspaper. You said:

“Perhaps next we should limit the amount of interest or gains you can earn on an investment-- for instance limiting your IRA to no more than 4% per year.”

In fact the government does control IRA returns based on multiple controls in multiple businesses if you were to dig deep enough. Most simply do not understand that this occurs. You said:

“Only a fool or a 3rd party profiteer supports rent control.”

That is your opinion. But my experience and current news reports are demonstrating that the majority of the electorate are in support of rent control in California.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2018 at 5:56 pm
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 5:56 pm
9 people like this

In response to Gary you said:

“If the landlords do not manage to get the signatures needed, they will direct their 6 city councilmembers to put the proposed law on the ballot anyway. So, at least people can see what is coming.”

And Howard said:

“If this group Measure V, too costly can't get the signatures in time, please city council, put it on the ballot for them!”

That is not allowed because of the following reasons:

The City Council cannot place a Charter Amendment ballot question on the ballot. They are limited by the Charter by the following:

“Section 506. - Powers vested in the council.

All powers of the city, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS CHARTER, shall be vested in the council, and said council may establish the method by which any of such powers may be exercised.”

Thus if powers are preempted by the City Charter, as the CSFRA has done, the council is prohibited from interfering with the City Charter as a Whole. The public should be aware of this.

Insofar as the limitations on the city council regarding a ballot measure please refer to section 513:

“Section 513. - Council action.

Legislative action shall be taken by the council ONLY BY MEANS OF AN ORDINANCE, RESOLUTION OR MINUTE ACTION DULY RECORDED IN THE OFFICIAL MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL. (As amended November 3, 1998.)”

It would seem the only way to place a ballot question for a City Charter amendment is to gather the signatures as was done by the Mountain View Tenants Coalition did for Measure V. If this is not done, the November Ballot for this year or any other year cannot contain a Ballot Measure for City Charter Amendment based on the City Council because they are restricted to ordinances and resolutions.

Why doesn’t the public know this?


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:20 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:20 pm
4 people like this

See Article 11, section (3)(b) of the supreme law of California: the State Constitution. It allows the governing body and the voters by initiative to propose a city charter amendment.


Howard
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Apr 3, 2018 at 10:29 pm
Howard, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 10:29 pm
5 people like this

This city is going to be covered in lawsuits by both sides of this issue for years to come.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 3, 2018 at 10:42 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 10:42 pm
6 people like this

Well, if a measure is clear, there usually is little room for litigation (except on ambitious grounds such as the landlord group advanced in a lawsuit and then abandoned). Let's see if the landlord's proposed law is clear or sneaky. The description by the reporter is that it would repeal rent control and just-cause eviction completely. But I will read it mself.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:00 pm
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:00 pm
7 people like this

In response to Gary you said:

“See Article 11, section (3)(b) of the supreme law of California: the State Constitution. It allows the governing body and the voters by initiative to propose a city charter amendment.”

Please look at that code, I believe you do not seem to understand it, it states:

(b) The governing body or charter commission of a county or city may propose a charter or revision. Amendment or repeal may be proposed by initiative or by the governing body.

The key language in the text is to propose a city charter amendment. But that does not in fact place it on the ballot. If you read the following link (Web Link) There are specific processes that are required.

“A. GENERAL

1. Difference between Initiative and Referendum.

“The initiative is the power of the electors to propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution and to adopt or reject them. (Cal. Const. art. II, sec. 8(a).) “THE REFERENDUM IS THE POWER OF THE ELECTORS TO APPROVE OR REJECT STATUTES OR PARTS OF STATUTES EXCEPT URGENCY STATUTES, STATUTES CALLING ELECTIONS, AND STATUTES PROVIDING FOR TAX LEVIES OR APPROPRIATIONS FOR USUAL CURRENT EXPENSES OF THE STATE.” (Cal. Const. art. II, sec. 9(a).)

In general, an initiative is a proposal by the people, a legislative act placed on the ballot by voters to be decided by voters. IN CONTRAST, A REFERENDUM IS GENERALLY A POLITICAL CHALLENGE BY VOTERS TO AN ENACTMENT ALREADY MADE BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY. Both types of measures qualify for the ballot through submission of a petition signed by a designated percentage of the electorate.””

So under these rules, the City Council cannot propose an INITIATIVE, but a REFERENDA regarding this document. The governing rules apply for a referenda:

“2. Referenda.

While most of rules regarding circulation of an initiative petition will also apply to a referendum petition, there are four major exceptions to the above:

FIRST, PROPONENTS HAVE ONLY 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE THE ORDINANCE IS ADOPTED TO CIRCULATE THE PETITION.

SECOND, THERE IS NO TITLE AND SUMMARY OR PUBLICATION REQUIREMENT. PROPONENTS MAY COMMENCE CIRCULATING THE PETITION AS SOON AS THE ORDINANCE IS ADOPTED.

THIRD, THE REFERENDUM MUST CONTAIN THE FULL TEXT OF THE ORDINANCE OR LEGISLATIVE ACT THE PROPONENTS ARE CHALLENGING.

FOURTH, THE NUMBER OF SIGNATURES REQUIRED TO QUALIFY A REFERENDUM PETITION IS EQUAL TO NOT LESS THAN 10% OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS OF THE CITY ACCORDING TO THE LAST REPORT OF REGISTRATION ISSUED BY THE COUNTY, OR IN A CITY WITH 1,000 OR LESS REGISTERED VOTERS, BY 25% OF VOTERS OR 100 VOTERS, WHICHEVER IS LESS.

For a more complete list of rules and procedures affecting referenda, see Elections Code sections 9235-9247”

In the case of Measure V, the City Charter Amendment was NOT and ordinance, NOR a legislative act. This would disqualify your interpretation of the text you quoted also The California Elections law states:

“California Code, Elections Code - ELEC § 9238

(a) Across the top of each page of the referendum petition there shall be printed the following:

“REFERENDUM AGAINST AN ORDINANCE PASSED BY THE CITY COUNCIL”

(b) Each section of the referendum petition shall contain (1) the identifying number or title, and (2) the text of the ordinance or the portion of the ordinance that is the subject of the referendum.

The petition sections shall be designed in the same form as specified in Section 9020 .

(c) Each section shall have attached thereto the declaration of the person soliciting the signatures.  This declaration shall be substantially in the same form as set forth in Section 9022 .””

Fascinating, this section simply states that the Referendum can be against and ordinance passed by the City Council, NOT THE CITY CHARTER.

Along with:

“California Code, Elections Code - ELEC § 9237

If a petition protesting the adoption of an ordinance, and circulated by a person who meets the requirements of Section 102, is submitted to the elections official of the legislative body of the city in his or her office during normal office hours, as posted, within 30 days of the date the adopted ordinance is attested by the city clerk or secretary to the legislative body, and is signed by not less than 10 percent of the voters of the city according to the county elections official's last official report of registration to the Secretary of State, or, in a city with 1,000 or less registered voters, is signed by not less than 25 percent of the voters or 100 voters of the city, whichever is the lesser, the effective date of the ordinance shall be suspended and the legislative body shall reconsider the ordinance.””

Thus even if the City Council wants to place a referenda on the ballot it would need at least 10% of 35,399 voters to have it on the ballot. It cannot simply order the referenda to be on the ballot without signatures. Thus there will need to be 3,540 signatures still to be collected. But as it stands now the current initiative requires 5,500 signatures.

It would appear that you did not fully research the laws and regulations in this case. Realize that the State Constitution's language with regards to these matters can be misinterpreted by those who want to use the language to server their purpose. Especially if they do not take time to see the laws that were legislated to ensure that provision is acted on in accordance with its intent.

Please be very careful before making assumptions regarding the wording of that statement. It is in effect very vague. The Elections Code specifically defines how that language is to be carried out. Unless you want to challenge the constitutionality of the California Elections Law. Please do so in court?


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:13 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:13 am
3 people like this

The City Charter may only be amended by a vote of city voters. Proposing an amendment by initiative or action of the governing body (the city council) involves putting the proposed amendment on the ballot. The last proposed city charter amendment the Mountain View City Council proposed (put on the ballot) was to increase City Council salaries in November 2014. It passed. If the landlords do not get enough signatures on their initiative petition, the next proposed amendment to the city charter the city council will place on the ballot will be to repeal or replace the rent control provisions of the city chsrter adopted by voters in November 2016.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:23 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:23 am
9 people like this

@Businessman And by the way, an initiative proposing a city charter amendment (unlike a proposed ordinance) requires 15% - not the 10% you cite. But if the landlords want to take your incorrect legal advice and turn in their petition with only 10%, we xan all have a good laugh.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:38 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:38 am
8 people like this

@Businessman See CA Elections Code 9255.


The Business Man
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Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2018 at 7:45 pm
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
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on Apr 5, 2018 at 7:45 pm
7 people like this

Gary,

I stand corrected. THank you very much.

We all are wanting to find the truth, you did an awesome job.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:15 pm
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:15 pm
5 people like this

Gary thank you. For those who want to see what you discovered, here it is:

“9255 (a) A charter or charter amendment proposed by A CHARTER COMMISSION, whether elected or appointed by a governing body, FOR A CITY OR CITY AND COUNTY SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS AT AN ESTABLISHED STATEWIDE GENERAL ELECTION PURSUANT TO SECTION 1200, provided there are at least 95 days before the election. A charter commission may also submit a charter pursuant to Section 34455 of the Government Code.”

California Government Code 34455 defines that the city must have “Charter Commissioners”. But if you look at the directory of the City of Mountain View, there is no such group. Thus, it would make any unilateral action without said Charter Commission be a violation of California Elections Code. The CGC 34455 states:

“The charter commissioners shall propose a charter and may propose amendments to a charter, for the government of the city or city and county.  The charter so prepared shall be signed by a majority of the charter commissioners and shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the governing body of the city or city and county.”

CEC 9255 goes on to say:

“(1) A proposal to adopt a charter, or an amendment or repeal of a charter, proposed by the governing body of a city or a city and county on its own motion.”

That means that yes the City Council can propose a change in the City Charter. But that does not mean it can place the ballot question unilaterally as long as the law continues to require signatures, which CEC 9255 does with the following:

“(c) The following city or city and county charter proposals shall be submitted to the voters at an established statewide general, statewide primary, or regularly scheduled municipal election pursuant to Section 1200, 1201, or 1301 occurring not less than 88 days after the date of the order of election:

(1) AN AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF A CITY CHARTER PROPOSED BY A PETITION SIGNED BY 15 PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS OF THE CITY.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 184, Sec. 2. (SB 311) Effective January 1, 2014.)”

What it appears to me is that even with the City Council can PROPOSE a Charter Amendment, but it is still required to get signatures of 15% of the voters, which would come to 5,310 signatures.

If the “MeasureVTooCostly” group fails to get the signatures on their initiative, the same amount of signatures would be required for another one proposed by the City Council.

Would changing the authors of the initiative change the results? I don’t know. But it looks like the City Council must act quickly because they will still need to get signatures to move forward for their Initiative.





Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:57 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
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on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:57 pm
8 people like this

To Business Man. A proposed change to the city charter may qualify for the ballot by EITHER initiative or action of the governing body (the city council). If the landlords do not get the needed signatures (or do get them), the city council may put on the November ballot any proposed charter amendments it fancies. The law on charter amendments is crystal clear and has been use many times in Mountain View - including in 2014 (as I already explained).


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2018 at 6:50 am
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
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on Apr 6, 2018 at 6:50 am
3 people like this

Gary:

The documents I received seems to open up some questions. I feel it may require me to check with the Santa Clara Law Library on a few issues.

If I find cases where the courts in fact state that signatures are STILL required for a City Charter Amendment to be put on the ballot by a City Council, then one could make a case that the 2014 ballot measure was illegal and must be reversed.

I just like to dot my "I"'s and cross my "T"s.

It would be a surprise if my theory is supported by some court.

It will not take long to check.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Apr 9, 2018 at 1:08 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2018 at 1:08 am
5 people like this

Sure. Look it up at the law library and post the citation for any case you think supports your theory or hope.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2018 at 6:20 am
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
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on Apr 9, 2018 at 6:20 am
3 people like this

Gary,

You said:

“It explains that in a city (or "city and county" (which refers only to San Francisco) a proposed charter amendment may qualify for the ballot by initiative petition OR action of the governing body.”

Please understand that if the City Council proposes a ballot measure question that alters a citizen’s rights under the City Charter, it would be construed as arbitrary and capricious action in violation of existing Fundamental City Charter rights and invoke a U.S. 14th Amendment court challenge requiring a Strict Scrutiny analysis. Why, because the Santa Clara Court already declared in the denial of the preliminary injunction that the Mountain View Citizens have a City Charter right to the CSFRA.

Strict Scrutiny involves the following:

Strict scrutiny

Strict scrutiny is a form of judicial review that courts use to determine the constitutionality of certain laws. To pass strict scrutiny, THE LEGISLATURE MUST HAVE PASSED THE LAW TO FURTHER A "COMPELLING GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST," AND MUST HAVE NARROWLY TAILORED THE LAW TO ACHIEVE THAT INTEREST. A famous quip asserts that strict scrutiny is "strict in name, but fatal in practice." Accordingly, there exists a concern that an exceedingly rigid application of strict scrutiny will categorically invalidate legislation, while allowing courts to forego a true evaluation of a given laws purpose and value.

For a court to apply strict scrutiny, THE LEGISLATURE MUST EITHER HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY ABRIDGED A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT WITH THE LAW'S ENACTMENT OR HAVE PASSED A LAW THAT INVOLVES A SUSPECT CLASSIFICATION. Suspect classifications have come to include race, national origin, religion, alienage, and poverty. The Supreme Court provided a seminal exposition on suspect classifications in Carolene Products when it discussed, in one of the Court's most famous footnotes, "discrete and insular minorities." As suggested by this case, strict scrutiny represents an approach in which a presumption of constitutionality is shed in favor more exacting judicial review.”( Web Link)

Since the Santa Clara Court already declared that the provisions of the CSFRA are a fundamental right, thus any action by the City Council that can be established to adversely impact people in the City of Mountain View by “race, national origin, religion, alienage, and poverty”, would be a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S> Constitution. That is why the California Elections Code 9255 (b) (2) states:

“(2) A RECODIFICATION OF THE CHARTER PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNING BODY ON ITS OWN MOTION, PROVIDED THAT THE RECODIFICATION DOES NOT, IN ANY MANNER, SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGE THE PROVISIONS OF THE CHARTER.”

The CEC 9255(b)(2) was designed to prevent the problems as described above. It also makes sure that even though the State Constitution might in theory agree with your interpretation, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution would override the California Constitution. The simple truth is if the City Council on its own places a ballot question that infringes on a fundamental existing right under the City Charter, it would simply be in violation of the Elections Code and the U.S. Federal Constitution under the 14th Amendment.

Why can’t you understand that there are controls in CEC 9255(b)(2) that simply doesn’t agree with you?


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2018 at 11:19 am
The Business Man , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2018 at 11:19 am
3 people like this

Gary,

For your Information in the case of

DAVID HERNANDEZ et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES et al., Defendants and Respondents.(167 Cal.App.4th 12)

No. B203097.

Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Eight.

September 25, 2008.

*15 Eric Grant; Sterling E. Norris; Law Office of Anthony T. Caso and Anthony T. Caso for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

Rockard J. Delgadillo, City Attorney, Valerie L. Flores and Harit U. Trivedi, Deputy City Attorneys, for Defendant and Respondent City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City Council.

Raymond G. Fortner, Jr., County Counsel, and Judy W. Whitehurst, Deputy County Counsel, for Defendant and Respondent County of Los Angeles.

Kaufman Downing, Stephen J. Kaufman and Steven J. Reyes for the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce as Amici Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents.

OPINION

FLIER, J.

Appellants, electors of the City of Los Angeles, asserted a postelection challenge to MEASURE R, A BALLOT MEASURE APPROVED BY LOS ANGELES VOTERS AT THE NOVEMBER 7, 2006 CONSOLIDATED GENERAL ELECTION. The measure (1) amends the city charter to change the number of terms a city council member can serve from two 4-year terms to three 4-year terms; (2) amends the city charter to prohibit lobbyists from being appointed as city commissioners and to prohibit campaign contributions from lobbyists and lobbying firms to officials and candidates; and (3) makes several revisions to the city's ethics laws by ordinance.”

Thus it was a voter initiative. It gathered signatures and was approved by the voters. But there was an interesting section involving the City Council, the history stated:

FACTS

Measure R originated in a proposal conceived by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles (League). In July 2006, the Chamber and the League in a letter to the city council presented a comprehensive reform measure, entitled "City Government Responsibility, Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act." The Chamber and League asked the city council to place the measure on the November 7, 2006 Los Angeles City ballot. The stated purpose of the proposal was "to create greater efficiency, accountability and transparency within Los Angeles City government." The Chamber and League urged that "we need to create an *17 environment which encourages elected officials to focus on their current job, long as well as short term issues, and not on their next position."

The Chamber and League asked the city council to place their proposal on the November 2006 election ballot as a city-council-sponsored ballot measure.

THE CITY COUNCIL AGREED TO DO SO AND ADOPTED A MOTION DIRECTING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO DRAFT AN APPROPRIATE ORDINANCE AND RESOLUTIONS TO PLACE THE PROPOSAL ON THE NOVEMBER 2006 BALLOT. Pursuant to this directive, the city attorney prepared ordinances and associated resolutions to substantially reflect the language presented by the Chamber and League. In doing so, the city attorney revised the language of the proposal to conform to City standards and made other substantive revisions. In a report to the city council, the city attorney observed there was an alternative way to present the measure to the voters. He nevertheless approved as to form and legality the city council's election to place all of the provisions suggested in the Chamber and League proposal on the November 2006 ballot.

Los Angeles voters approved Measure R at the November 7, 2006 statewide general election, by a margin of 59.53 percent to 40.47 percent (375,433 "yes" votes to 255,242 "no" votes).”

Measure R was approved yes, but it was NOT a City Council Ballot Initiative. It was proposed and signatures were collected for the general election. The City Council proposed a parallel city ordinance on the ballot. Notice it was an ordinance NOT A CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT. As per the history saying :” THE CITY COUNCIL AGREED TO DO SO AND ADOPTED A MOTION DIRECTING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO DRAFT AN APPROPRIATE ORDINANCE AND RESOLUTIONS TO PLACE THE PROPOSAL ON THE NOVEMBER 2006 BALLOT”

Thus this case in effect proves that a City Council cannot on its own without signatures propose a City Charter Amendment. The Measure R itself passed, but there is no mention of the City Council ordinance proposal. It would appear that the City of Los Angeles knew they cannot propose a City Charter Amendment independently. At least to what was recorded in the case text in 167 AclApp.4th pages 12 to 24.

Thus we are back to the current situation in Mountain View, the new measure is required to have the corresponding signatures in order to amend the City Charter. The City Council simply can only propose ordinances and resolutions, but NOT City Charter Amendments.

Unless you can present case law to support your opinion, we simply will accept that this is your opinion and nothing more. There is no history to support your point of view, but I respect your point of view, and do assert you have the right to express it.


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