News

Mountain View Vehicle Residents throw party for public

 

It was a dialogue, it was a political rally and it was also a celebration.

A first-ever “meet thy neighbor” barbeque and picnic hosted by the Mountain View Vehicle Residents drew a sizable turnout to Rengstorff Park on Sunday afternoon. About 60 people attended the event, which was intended to foster a dialogue between people living out of vehicles on Mountain View streets and other community members and stakeholders.

The crowd was heavily tilted toward vehicle residents and their advocates, but there were still a few outsiders who dropped in for a visit, including Mountain View City Council members Lucas Ramirez and John McAlister.

“I went there to listen to the RV dwellers and each has a unique story. They wanted to share their stores with people who are decision dwellers -- that’s my takeaway," McAlister said. “I wanted to be fair and I wanted to listen to their side of the story.”

Despite the festivities, local politics were hanging over the event. On June 11, the City Council approved tentative plans for an overnight ban on street parking along for oversized vehicles like RVs, with a variety of other proposed restrictions. These rules were mixed bag for the Vehicle Residents group. While the vehicle ban is still alive, it is now a less harsh plan than they had feared.

“Even though we’re here to celebrate, our job isn’t done,” said Angel Santuario, a Vehicle Residents steering committee member. “We need to continue working together as a village and as a family.”

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Comments

102 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 24, 2019 at 5:15 pm

60 people show up and it's deemed significant? What a joke. Did they make a reservation and take out a permit with the city for this party as the rest of us are required to do? Rather than attending this charade, council members need to come up with a plan to tax these freeloaders for gobbling up city services. This is beyond joke at this point. Coupled with the nightly encampments at the Walmart parking lots, this entire situation has gotten out of control.


26 people like this
Posted by Telling
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 24, 2019 at 6:19 pm

It's telling that our intrepid Mayor Lisa Matichak and Vice-Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga, ready to toss these people out of our city, couldn't even be bothered to meet with them and hear their stories. What compassionate leadership!


70 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 24, 2019 at 6:47 pm

I remember about 3-4 months ago, Lenny Siegel said that if council goes ahead with the RV ban that he will get a ballot measure to overturn it.

I would love to see that, I would also love to see a competing ballot measure that would immediately ban all living in any and all vehicles in Mountain View.

I would bet that Lenny's ballot measure losses big time, just like his re-election bid to city council.

I would also wager that the ballot measure that bans these vehicles would win big time.


28 people like this
Posted by The Rent is Too Damn High!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 24, 2019 at 10:18 pm

The Rent is Too Damn High! is a registered user.

I attended this event and listened to one RV resident about her story. She explained that she and her boyfriend did live in an apartment in Mountain View and then in 2012 their rent was raised from $1500 per month to $2500 and they were priced out so for the last 6 years they have been living in an RV while they still work in Mountain View. She also explained the amount of tickets and harassment by the police and by homeowners she has witnessed and experienced since living in an RV. I do wish the Mayor would have shown up and listened to the stories of the RV residents so she could understand that her framing of people living in RVs as having choices is just pure myth. People are living in RVs because landlords have been taking advantage of the housing crisis by rent gouging and forcing working people out of their homes. The rent is just too damn high and even the CSFRA is just a bandaid solution on the big gaping gentrification wound that is plaguing this city. The Council should NOT make any changes to the CSFRA and they should NOT enact an oversized vehicle ban of any kind!!! The MV City Council needs to start coming up with real solutions to this housing crisis like pausing all demolitions of rent-controlled housing until they enact anti-displacement policies and working on a comprehensive safe parking program.


106 people like this
Posted by Fed up
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 24, 2019 at 11:41 pm

1. If you can't afford to live in a community you need to leave.
2. RV housing is temporary and should only be used as emergency shelter.
3. Human Waste, Crime and Vice brought on by some stragglers of the RV community
are one too many.
4. We can't track who is who and having an open street policy isn't safe for the community.
5. These RV Dwellers don't contribute to the city in property taxes or with rent on a property that provides property taxes.
6. We're wasting precious resources on some hooligans who voluntarily live on the street.
7. RV dwellers who want permanent housing should work towards it by talking with city/county services or get one through their own financial means.


13 people like this
Posted by mel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2019 at 9:07 am

kudos for council members McAlister and Ramirez for showing up to listen

preconceived notions about these residents are expressed at city council meetings and are influenced by selective visits to rv dwellers

the police have done a good job against illegal activity and with hygeine issues

i would have hoped that our council members who are most in favor of a ban (margaret and lisa) would have shown up even just to make political points


17 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 25, 2019 at 9:32 am

To Observer: Yes, the organizing group paid for the permit when they reserved the picnic site, the same as any other group would do. I hope than in the future you would attend a similar gathering and come to realize that there are not freeloaders taking away resources from you, but that they work and pay taxes in MV.
If you review Bay Area and Mountain View violent crimes in the last year, you might look at each incident to see if they were committed by RV dwellers. I have been watching closely and have seen horrible crimes committed, but not one done by a person identified as an RV dweller.
Sometimes we fear people because we don't know or understand them. You might find out that RV dwellers are people struggling to make a living just like many of MV's home and apartment dwellers.


72 people like this
Posted by @Jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 25, 2019 at 11:41 am

@Jane,

Your story is different than what the MV Police Chief told the city council at the city council meeting. He said that year over year, there has been an increase of isues among the RV's. He said he felt that it is getting worse, which is why the council decided to act on the ban.

They are causing problems in the community.


13 people like this
Posted by Thad
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2019 at 12:45 pm

You cannot make it illegal to be poor.

The desire to do so says everything about the quality of person you are.


60 people like this
Posted by What?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2019 at 1:01 pm

To "Thad, a resident of another community:"

The desire to misrepresent other people's comments as "making it illegal to be poor" (and thus, to evade the real substance of what they are saying) says, in turn, everything about the quality of person you are.


22 people like this
Posted by Monroe l
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 25, 2019 at 1:07 pm

As a professional social worker I am appalled by the current focus of many city council members and residents to repopulate the city. The question to all of you is: What kind of residents do you want living in Mountain View ? AND what kind of Americans are you ? Contrary to the current political bias in Washington DC, the success of this country was propelled by diversity and hard work. Have you become so entitled and inhumane as to purge those who do not swim in the same stream of affluence? Your prejudice and hateful comments make me feel sorry and ashamed that one human being would disparage another human being based on something so superficial as economics. RV dwellers and renters alike struggle to make strides for themselves; they too are entitled to the American dream. Shame on you for swallowing the Trump koolaide of exclusion. I don’t know what brand of democracy you are selling, but I am hopeful that your efforts and influence are silenced and acknowledged as a disgrace to what was once touted as a Human Rights community


71 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2019 at 2:31 pm

@Jane

Glad to know they pulled a permit and paid for the BBQ party. I respect people who follow the same laws and procedures. Now if we could just get the RV dwellers to obey the traffic and parking laws. No parking longer than 72 hours in one place. Pretty simple. They shouldn't get to pick and choose what laws they feel they should follow and those the feel they can flaunt. And we all pay taxes. Homeowners pay exorbitant property taxes in addition to local, state and federal taxes of every stripe and color. How much in property taxes are the RV freeloaders paying? Yeah, I thought so too. Let's not try to put lipstick on this pig. And this has nothing to do with diversity and all that other nonsense. And I'm one of those diverse minorities just like most everyone else around here. I just don't wear it like a bumper sticker or a meal card. And there are plenty of diverse and working poor busting their asses every day to live affordably and commute and rent and who don't do it in an illegally parked RV getting one over on every one else. So let's give those folks who find legal, suitable and affordable places to live the real credit for making it work. And lastly, I would love to live in Palo Alto or Los Altos. I can't. I've settled for Mountain View. Sometimes you have to settle on something else and less, even if it means giving up the decrepit illegally parked RV.


14 people like this
Posted by SP Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 25, 2019 at 3:35 pm

SP Phil is a registered user.

@Fedup: "If you can't afford to live in a community you need to leave."

People who perform minimum wage work provide many of the services that make it enjoyable to live in Mountain View.

If all these people left (to where? MV used to be the lower-cost place to rent), then we will have "automats" and drive-throughs instead of restaurants; DIY instead of household help; no one to provide homecare to seniors and invalids--a Japanese-made robot, instead? No bus drivers for Googlers going to work?

We need diversity for many reasons, including the fact that the quality of life for all of us--including those who huge incomes, and those with less--depends on many people who are increasingly pushed out of the local housing market.


11 people like this
Posted by SP Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 25, 2019 at 3:38 pm

SP Phil is a registered user.

@Fedup: Your comment refers to "some hooligans who voluntarily live on the street."

Equating poverty with hooliganism--really??!!


48 people like this
Posted by Proud Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2019 at 9:21 pm

Proud Taxpayer is a registered user.

Did the Mountain View Vehicle Residents offer to take responsibility for anything?
Perhaps pay for their street space? $300/month to the City maybe? $30?, 3? Collecting and paying the city a monthly fee would go a long way towards showing you are good citizens. Was anything like this discussed? Or do they want to declare they don't want any city services? No police, no fire, no water, no trash, etc.

Do you have a citizens patrol for the street? Who watches your RVs while you are at work? at night? Who picks up the litter? Who makes sure all RV campers are up to code and not leaking oil, water, or sewage? Who looks after the campers that need help?

If you are as organized as you claim, certainly you have thought of all these questions and more. You should share your stories about how you are giving back to the city. Maybe if you shared stories about how organized the street campers are, you would get more respect from the others in this city who pay rent and taxes to live here.


21 people like this
Posted by 3rdMAW
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2019 at 6:26 am

3rdMAW is a registered user.

Mountain View had decided to first legitimize RV street parking through non-enforcement as another bizarre feel good (lenny s.) social experiment. The richest state in the country is home to 25% of the homeless population.
Good weather and inept public officials are to blame.

"...Instead of getting to the root of our problems, most of our politicians seem to think that engaging in bizarre social experiments will somehow solve our problems.

For example, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is convinced that we can solve the homeless problem by building tiny housing units in the backyards of private homeowners…"

As part of this mission, the city is pursuing a pilot program, made possible by a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant, that would help homeowners install backyard units on their properties. In exchange for a $10,000 to $30,000 stipend, homeowners would be able to charge a small rent to homeless tenants, who would pay their share through vouchers or their own income. The city also plans to institute a matchmaking process that pairs owners and tenants.

“Our homeless crisis demands that we get creative,” the mayor said. If the backyard pilot works, he added, the idea could be adopted anywhere.

So if you live in Los Angeles, soon you will be able to bring the needles and piles of human feces from Skid Row into your own backyard.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2019 at 8:44 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to 3rdMAW you said:

“Mountain View had decided to first legitimize RV street parking through non-enforcement as another bizarre feel good (lenny s.) social experiment. The richest state in the country is home to 25% of the homeless population.”

If you read the City code, the City is not MANDATED to tow any vehicle from parking on the streets, please read the code:

“SEC. 19.21. - Towing away of vehicles.
Any regularly employed and salaried officer of the police department of the city MAY remove or cause to be removed: “

The key word is MAY, and not SHALL. SHALL would require removal of the vehicle, MAY means it s upt to the City Police Officer, the City Police Department, or the City Council to choose to remove the vehicle. It goes on to say:

“a. Any vehicle that has been parked upon a street, highway or public parking lot for seventy-two (72) or more consecutive hours. “

But that means the vehicle can be moved 10,000 feet during the 72 hours to make it NOT consecutive. The officer would have to have proof the vehicle did not move prior to ordering towing. Even though under SEC. 19.72. - Parking in excess of seventy-two (72) consecutive hours prohibited. Under SEC.19.71 there is a codified exception that states:

“SEC. 19.71. - Parking between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. prohibited; exceptions.


It shall be unlawful for the owner or driver of any vehicle to allow such vehicle to remain standing upon any street or alley in the city for a period of time longer than one hour between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. without a permit therefor, provided, however, that this section shall not apply to vehicles of any regularly licensed physician when actually engaged in making professional calls.

In cases of hardship where the owners of vehicles CANNOT OBTAIN SUITABLE STORAGE OR PARKING FACILITIES, PERMITS FOR PARKING FOR MORE THAN ONE HOUR DURING ALL THE TIME BETWEEN 2:00 A.M. AND 6:00 A.M. MAY BE ISSUED BY THE CHIEF OF POLICE. The application for a permit shall be signed by the applicant, shall state the make, model and license number of the vehicle, AND SHALL CONTAIN A STATEMENT OF THE NECESSITY AND REASONS FOR THE PERMIT. If, upon investigation, it is found that the necessity exists therefor, and that THE APPLICANT HAS NO REASONABLE MEANS FOR NIGHT STORAGE OF THE VEHICLE DURING THE ABOVE STATED HOURS, THE CHIEF OF POLICE SHALL ISSUE THE PERMIT FOR A PERIOD NOT TO EXCEED SIX (6) MONTHS. Before using such permit, the permittee shall pay the chief of police or his representative, A FEE OF ONE DOLLAR ($1) FOR SIX (6) MONTHS. The permit shall not be transferable and shall be displayed on the left side window to the rear of the driver of the vehicle for which it is issued at all times during which the vehicle is parked upon the street between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. The chief of police shall revoke the permit when the necessity under which it was issued and the reasons therefor cease to exist, or may renew such permit if the hardship still exists. No permit shall be granted for commercial vehicles. “

The fact is that the City does not even properly inform these people of this legal right. The Police SHALL issue the permit, not MAY. So this is a good cause to claim that trying to force RVS from the city is UNCONSTITUTIONAL because the RV owner has a legal right to stay where they are as long as they are PROPERLY informed of their legal remedy of the parking control law.

It goes on to say:

“b. Any vehicle obstructing the free flow of traffic on any street or in the traveling lane of any parking lot.”

Thus the officer would have to prove that it is impairing the free flow of traffic, or in in a traveling lane of a parking lot. It goes on to say:

“c. Any vehicle that is parked after signs have been erected giving notice that the parking of vehicles upon such street or portion thereof is prohibited. Such signs shall been erected in the manner required by Vehicle Code Section 22651(l) and 22651(m) and shall either be erected by or authorized to be erected by the city, including pursuant to an excavation or encroachment permit. “

Vehicle Code Section 22651(l) states:

“(l) If a vehicle is illegally parked on a highway in violation of a local ordinance forbidding standing or parking and the use of a highway, or a portion thereof, IS NECESSARY FOR THE CLEANING, REPAIR, OR CONSTRUCTION OF THE HIGHWAY, OR FOR THE INSTALLATION OF UNDERGROUND UTILITIES, AND SIGNS GIVING NOTICE THAT THE VEHICLE MAY BE REMOVED ARE ERECTED OR PLACED AT LEAST 24 HOURS PRIOR TO THE REMOVAL BY A LOCAL AUTHORITY PURSUANT TO THE ORDINANCE.

So that law would not apply in this case and would not work for section C. of the City Code and 22651(m) states:

“(m) If the use of the highway, or a portion of the highway, is authorized by a local authority for a PURPOSE OTHER THAN THE NORMAL FLOW OF TRAFFIC OR FOR THE MOVEMENT OF EQUIPMENT, ARTICLES, OR STRUCTURES OF UNUSUAL SIZE, AND THE PARKING OF A VEHICLE WOULD PROHIBIT OR INTERFERE WITH THAT USE OR MOVEMENT, AND SIGNS GIVING NOTICE THAT THE VEHICLE MAY BE REMOVED ARE ERECTED OR PLACED AT LEAST 24 HOURS PRIOR TO THE REMOVAL BY A LOCAL AUTHORITY PURSUANTTO THE ORDINANCE.”

Again that law does not apply in this case and would not work for section C of the City Code. It goes on to say:

“d. Any vehicle that is parked where prohibited under the city code and signs are posted giving notice of the removal.”

Simply put, those signs do not exist on the streets where the RVs are parked. You also said:

“...Instead of getting to the root of our problems, most of our politicians seem to think that engaging in bizarre social experiments will somehow solve our problems.”

So far my research above indicates no social experimentation. The laws DO ALLOW for RV parking anywhere, especially if there are no parking resources available in the City. So no “bizarre social experiment” here. You said:

“So if you live in Los Angeles, soon you will be able to bring the needles and piles of human feces from Skid Row into your own backyard”

Again, you have no proof that EVERY RV in fact dumps “the needles and piles of human feces from Skid Row into your own backyard” This is just a assumption of facts not in evidence to enrage people from thinking rationally and understanding the real story.


9 people like this
Posted by Sophie Mutter
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 27, 2019 at 11:52 am

Sophie Mutter is a registered user.

The 72 hour parking policy is enforced strictly in most neighborhoods in
Mountain View. In some area, even the home owners have to place a parking permit to avoid being towed. Why is 72hr parking policy not applicable to RV owners? Is Mountain View city council punishing law abiding residents, but rewarding law violating outsiders who don't pay property tax?


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