News


Letters to the editor: April 13, 2018

Letters about Measure V rent control, teacher housing and taxes

Measure V not too costly

Measure V is bringing in "too much revenue." That is the reality. Hard to believe, but reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

The budget for Measure V, for fiscal year July 2017 to June 2018, is $2.59 million. However, revenue is coming in faster than predicted. Per Patty Kong, the director of finance and administrative services for the city of Mountain View, "the revenues received as of February 28, 2018 are $2,112,927." If $2.1 million is the revenue for eight months, then projected annual revenue would be $3.2 million, a revenue surplus of $1.1 million by June 30, 2018.

Recently there are some who claim that "Measure V is too costly" but that is completely invalid by definition. Revenue is the opposite of costly. The opposite of costly is currently what is happening. The claim that Measure V is too costly is completely false and ridiculous, now that the revenue surplus is highly likely.

However, they could go with "Measure V bringing in too much revenue." True statements are always a better choice.

Steve Chandler

Sierra Vista Avenue

Measure V good for community

Measure V was passed on November 8, 2016, to stabilize rents in Mountain View so that renters would be secure in the knowledge that their rents would not be continually raised to exorbitantly high rates. It has been successful. Working families, retired citizens and service workers have been able to continue to live here because they know their rents will only be raised at a reasonable rate.

The start-up and administrative expenses were paid by fees paid by the landlords at the rate of $13 a month per unit. This cost should be significantly lower from now on. The city loaned the money to the Rental Housing Committee until the fees were collected, which they have been. The city has been paid back at no cost to taxpayers. The city of Mountain View and its citizens are not financing Measure V, and it has not taken away from any present or future programs. Landlords may petition the Rental Housing Committee if they feel the rate of return is not fair to them.

Do not believe those who imply otherwise. The changes suggested by a petition now being circulated to update Measure V will undermine Measure V and cripple it.

Measure V is a positive step toward making affordable housing available in Mountain View. As citizens, council members and Rental Housing Committee members, let us embrace Measure V and make it work.

Dorothy Schafer

West Dana Street

Proposal to scale back rent control

As the Voice reported ("Rent control foes launch initiative campaign," April 6), landlord representatives on March 30 presented to the city of Mountain View a proposed set of changes to the rent control law just adopted by voters in November 2016 (Measure V). The proponents have asked the city (attorney) to provide a "title and summary" for their proposal to be included in their initiative petition. If the petition is signed by at least 15% of the city's 35,000 registered voters, the proposed law (city charter amendment) would appear on November's ballot.

Although billed as a proposed "reform" of rent control, it is more accurately described as a virtual repeal of the restrictions on rent increases. The proposal contains various tricks to ensure that residential rents would not be limited including that every landlord may seek and obtain rent increases based on the opportunity "cost" of being subject to rent control.

In the 2016 election, I did not personally take a position on Measure V. But I did write the ballot arguments against the deceptive competing measure (W) placed on the same ballot by the landlord-screened and endorsed (as candidates) City Council majority. Even though two members of the council could not seek re-election in 2016 (under the city's two successive term limit), the two candidates who replaced them also oppose any real rent control. Overall, six of seven council members remain beholden to the landlords.

Consequently, even if the landlords' proposal does not gain the 5,500 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, the City Council (majority) could and likely would nonetheless place their proposal (or some other repeal of Measure V) on November's ballot. And this time around, landlords would spare no expense in campaigning to end rent control. Just in Mountain View, with 15,000 affected apartments, rent control is costing landlords the lost opportunity to make hundreds of millions of more dollars in much higher rents from new employees of Silicon Valley corporations.

Gary Wesley

Continental Circle

Solutions for teacher housing

Teachers report housing as their greatest compensation concern second to salary. MVWSD does not have the funds to pay more, but it does have underutilized land. Fixing housing may be an even more valuable tool in retention than salary.

No single solution will fix the housing issue, but a concert of solutions address teachers across the income range:

1) Upper Range: participation on the "Landed" program being supported by Zuckerberg's foundation to help teachers with down payments.

2) Middle Range: Identify underutilized district parcels to build or swap with the city to build (budget neutral, but moderately affordable) teacher housing.

3) Lower Range: Where space exists, allow for tiny home communities on school property. These teacher-bought tiny homes allow for teachers to build equity to go up the housing ladder. All the while they don't lock down district land, nor do they cost the district anything, and can be set up as attractive and cute pocket communities on campuses.

MVWSD has land, unlike MVLA, LASD, or other city workers. Solving the teacher housing crisis for MVWSD will improve retention and teacher recruitment, thereby adding great value to both children and home prices.

Housing may seem out of place for a school district, but when land is its most significant underutilized resource, and housing your teachers' greatest complaint, then it makes sense.

Christopher Chiang

Space Park Way

Trump tax increase

My CPA just gave me my 2017 tax return and did the math to show what impact the Donald J. Trump Tax Increase of 2018 would be if applied to my 2017 taxes. The lies and deception of this so-called tax cut are now in stark relief: an 8.3% tax increase. This large tax increase is second only to the enormous hit I took under President Reagan when his "tax reform" taxed graduate student stipends for the first time.

Incumbent politicians deserve to pay dearly for allowing the Trump Tax Increase of 2018 to double tax Californians and other hard-working Americans. These politicians deserve to pay double-dearly for letting this happen while increasing the budget deficit by over $1 trillion. It is a priority now more than ever for responsible Americans to take back Congress and the White House to establish tax laws that are fair to us and to future generations, without double taxation.

Dave Fork

San Rafael Avenue

Send letters to the editor to letters@mv-voice.com.

Comments

29 people like this
Posted by Howard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Howard is a registered user.

Measure V not to costly?? For who??The taxpayer?

What about the landlords who are not only subsidising rental housing with their private investments now but also overpaying fees to this abominable law!

Oh I forgot, their class doesn't count anymore in Mountain View because it's other people's money.

Do you know what it's called when you single out a certain class and treat them different than the rest of society?

It's called discrimination whether its race, age, gender, religion or whatever and in this case type of business and investment one has chosen.

Why don't we make a law that all dentists in Mountain View need to work for $20 per hour and charge all their customers that amount. I'm not a dentist so that's all right for me. What about the dry cleaners? Should they be ordered to drop their prices because everyone deserves ironed shirts?

This is a disgrace when liberals claim their tolerant and a giving people but feel entitled to steal someone else's hard earned money. You have no morals except the ones that serve you best. Disgusting!!


7 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 6:41 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Howard you said:

“Do you know what it's called when you single out a certain class and treat them different than the rest of society?

It's called discrimination whether its race, age, gender, religion or whatever and in this case type of business and investment one has chosen.”

Howard, unless you can cite any law that defines that there is such thing as business or investment discrimination and in fact it is illegal, I think you are making a false argument. It does not appear to exist in the U.S. or in California.

You also said:

“This is a disgrace when liberals claim their tolerant and a giving people but feel entitled to steal someone else's hard earned money. You have no morals except the ones that serve you best. Disgusting!!”

I am no liberal, but I am a “moderate” and when a minority of non-citizens take advantage of another community, I will do what I can to control it. That is what has happened in Mountain View. Please demonstrate how many of the current apartment owners of buildings in Mountain View are owned by those living here. Owning property doesn’t make you a citizen of Mountain View, only residing in the City does.

I am curious. My landlord is losing a non-CSFRA unit because it was rented after passage. However he has had 4 visitors and all have decided not to sign in. I think I know why. First he is expecting $2100/month on the rent, given my building and amenities it is way too high. But more importantly, when they Google the landlord and Mountain View, when I did it last, it showed in the 3rd entry a very negative news report from the Mountain View Voice.

I wonder if this is also occurring with all the other landlords cited for making comments during City Council or RHC meetings. When they express no consideration regarding their tenants or “customers”. It would appear that these individuals are poisoning themselves by demonstrating no appreciation regarding their customers.

I think most prospective tenants do research regarding the property owners, and if they discover behaviors that demonstrate poor conduct, lack of respect for tenants, or flat out hostility, they will choose not to do business with them.

It may be that there are tenants leaving these apartments, and these landlords are now not getting anyone to replace them. This should have been anticipated by the landlords because they caused this problem themselves.

Of course, it will require them to make significant discounts on rental expectations in order to get anyone to live in their units. But that was not caused by the CSFRA, it was caused by their own conduct in public where they should have known that a record of their speech was being made.


10 people like this
Posted by Howard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Howard is a registered user.

Business man,
Don't look now but your seeing the market forces in action. These vacancies around you are being caused by a market that cannot sustain the cost of living in the bay area. I see this in our market in San Mateo County.

Unfortunately, you have weakened the housing providers with your lust of power in Mountain View and your lack of understanding and you will see a correction in the market that will likely take many investors out of the business of providing affordable housing in your region.

I was one of them with many units that sold out to developers for redevelopment of 1.6 million dollar row houses and I reinvested in Contra Costa million + dollar units.
You can't play God unless your willing to pay to be God.
Good luck on your adventure for how ever long it lasts??


2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 9:49 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Howard you said:

“Don't look now but your seeing the market forces in action. These vacancies around you are being caused by a market that cannot sustain the cost of living in the bay area. I see this in our market in San Mateo County.”

What evidence do you have to make that determination? It looks more like the customers have better choices rather than be convinced to overpay for poor services. That is why people CHOOSE not to do business with these individuals. You said:

“Unfortunately, you have weakened the housing providers with your lust of power in Mountain View and your lack of understanding and you will see a correction in the market that will likely take many investors out of the business of providing affordable housing in your region.”

Why should housing providers dominate the market? The market relationship should be one where the customer and providers are equals. That is REAL business. Your concept is that you want the old feudalistic model of housing where property owners in effect “own” the renters. That simply doesn’t make sense. You said:

“I was one of them with many units that sold out to developers for redevelopment of 1.6 million dollar row houses and I reinvested in Contra Costa million + dollar units.”

That is your choice, I do not claim that anyone is forced to do business where they do not want to. You also said:

“You can't play God unless your willing to pay to be God.”

Who is trying to play God, Why should anyone feel entitled to be able to buy the rights to be a God? In this country, no one can be a God, we are all equal citizens. This doesn’t seem to be realistic. You also said:

“Good luck on your adventure for how ever long it lasts??”

It is not an adventure, this is LIFE.


6 people like this
Posted by Howard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 16, 2018 at 9:15 am

Howard is a registered user.

You said,

"Why should housing providers dominate the market? The market relationship should be one where the customer and providers are equals. That is REAL business. Your concept is that you want the old feudalistic model of housing where property owners in effect “own” the renters. That simply doesn’t make sense."

First of all, REAL business is governed by the market, not the government!!

Your concept of what "Real business is" is what satisfies you as a renter and takes advantage of the property owners. It doesn't follow your analogy that the customers and providers are equals?

Secondly, Do you truly believe that price controls are real business?
What happens when rents increase outside of your little rent control bubble at a faster pace? Answer: Investment $$ go there and leave your bubble, deteriorating the housing stock. 95% of the investment $$ is from private investors that want returns that are consistent with the rest of the region.

Your idea of REAL business is a terrible investment business model and your kingdom will fail in time.


6 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2018 at 11:24 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Howard you said:

“First of all, REAL business is governed by the market, not the government!!”

This has been a false idea that never seems to be corrected. REAL business or markets are controlled by 2 forces, “voluntary” market regulations, which are practiced where the free market must comply to be competitive or profitable. There is “governmental” or “involuntary” market regulations that are required to provide that either unsafe products or services are not being sold, that market manipulation like monopolies and oligopolies are prevented in the U.S., as well as corrective actions due to exploitation of the market. The fact is in the U.S. market, both have existed and will never be separated until the “voluntary” market regulations are strong enough to make it unnecessary for the “involuntary” market regulations. In an ideal world, where the market seeks to treat both suppliers and consumers have equal influence, that might be possible. But as of now, that is unrealistic. You said:

“Your concept of what "Real business is" is what satisfies you as a renter and takes advantage of the property owners. It doesn't follow your analogy that the customers and providers are equals?”

The CSFRA was a means of attempting to negotiate a fair deal. It was the Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove. The fact was the industry in Mountain View sought no negotiations regarding a more amicable solution. During the campaign and in fact all of the time, if the landlords practiced disciplined business practices, transparency, and had realistic expectations of what the market would bear, the CSFRA would not have happened. The fact is, the industry in Mountain View simply still refuses to work out any solutions, only make use of money to manipulate the City Council. You said:

“Secondly, Do you truly believe that price controls are real business?”

Under these extreme curcumstances where such a crisis has arisen, it was required. If the suppliers had not in effect collaborated to increase living costs in Mountain View, you could have a good point. But there is ampe evidence that the “free market” disenfranchises the needs of the average needs in preference for premium apartments. So, it simply was a last resort that was necessitated by the circumstances. You also said:

“What happens when rents increase outside of your little rent control bubble at a faster pace? Answer: Investment $$ go there and leave your bubble, deteriorating the housing stock. 95% of the investment $$ is from private investors that want returns that are consistent with the rest of the region.”

I cannot claim that you are wrong here, but if Costa Hawkins is repealed, then it is very likely that rent control will go critical mass in California. The landlords are now in a position that they may need to revise their expectations regarding their return on investments in California. You also said:

“Your idea of REAL business is a terrible investment business model and your kingdom will fail in time.”

I am not royalty of any kind, just a citizen. In reality landlords expected to be treated as royalty simply for the fact that bought a building. Does that sound realistic in a republic like the U.S> and California.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Palo Alto's Vin Vino Wine sold to new owners
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 3,108 views

Migraine World Summit: FREE & ONLINE APRIL 18–26, 2018
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,419 views

Food Party! 420
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 753 views

Expanding the taxation of online sales
By Steve Levy | 3 comments | 705 views

Reader Guest Post: Life's Map
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 631 views

 

2018 guide to summer camps

Looking for something for the kids to do this summer, learn something new and have fun? The 2018 Summer Camp Guide features local camps for all ages and interests.

Find Camps Here