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.”