The chair of Mountain View's Rental Housing Committee, Evan Ortiz announced he will be stepping down from his position at the end of the year. He plans to move to Texas to be with his aging parents, he told the Voice.
"It has been an honor to serve as chair of the Rental Housing Committee," Ortiz said in an email. "Helping families build and continue to foster long-lasting connections to their neighborhoods and their communities was the essence of Measure V, and I’m happy to have helped realize this vision after years of hard work."
Ortiz has been directly involved in the city's rent control program, as well as its immense challenges. In 2016, as hundreds of frustrated tenants were demanding something be done to stop skyrocketing rents, Ortiz -- then a member of the city's Human Relations Commission -- helped channel that anger toward legislation. He helped organize the campaign for the rent control initiative known as Measure V, which passed in November 2016.
Ortiz later put himself forward for a seat on the inaugural Rental Housing Committee, and he became one of the most contentious picks among about two dozen candidates. Some City Council members questioned his impartiality, pointing to his advocacy for rent control as a sign he would be biased toward tenants.
Ortiz was initially assigned to be the committee's alternate member, essentially a bench-warmer. Councilman Chris Clark changed his mind at the last minute, swing the vote, and Ortiz was appointed to a regular seat on the committee.
The last 18 months of Rental Housing Committee meetings have been grueling for committee members, with many meetings stretching late into the night. As the five-person committee made a string of policy decisions on rent control, Ortiz and committee member Emily Ramos were often on the minority side in 3-2 split votes.
Ortiz is now the second rental committee member to resign. In August, Tom Means announced he was leaving to move to El Dorado Hills. Following that departure, the City Council appointed the committee's alternate, Julian Pardo de Zela as a replacement. The Rental Housing Committee currently lacks another alternate to replace Ortiz.
Ortiz said he had been told that the City Council would begin the process next month to appoint a replacement. He will still participate in all the remaining meetings for 2018, he said.