Letters to the editor: Rent control, test scores, El Camino improvements


Test scores

The problem with believing that the standardized test scores tell us something about the effectiveness of specific schools ("Mountain View school test scores rise, but some students fall behind," Oct. 18) where the data are collected is that this ignores the students. But we get to blame the schools; how cool is that?

Things we might want to know about this year's cohort of students are: Has the population shifted a little by market renters priced out while subsidized renters remained? Has the average birth order increased a little (only children do better than the first of two, first of two bests second, second of three bests third and so on)? Is the average ambition of this cohort a bit less than that of the previous cohort? Are the parents of this cohort less available due to working more jobs? Did more of the mothers of this cohort overdose on alcohol, drugs or fluoride?

If we have collected no data to compare the student cohorts, we know that we know nothing.

Raymond R. White

Whitney Drive

Understanding Measure V

With five of seven members of the City Council having opposed local rent control Measure V (adopted by voters in November 2016), the effort to undermine or repeal the measure continues. At its Oct. 14 meeting, a three-member subcommittee of the City Council received suggested "draft" changes to the law, which the City Council may place on the March 2020 ballot ("Council punts on rent control limit," Oct. 18). Included is proposed city charter section 1717(a), which would empower the City Council to enact an ordinance allowing evictions with payment of "relocation amounts" to be established by the ordinance.

Here's the trick: under a 1995 state law, local rent control cannot limit the initial (base) rent for new tenants. This is sometimes called "vacancy de-control." Under this rule, landlords profit more from resident turnover. The current City Council has not responded to calls for calculating the return on investment from turnover. It is far more than the annual inflation adjustments for all units allowed by Measure V.

In any event, if the local law is changed to authorize evictions for payment of relocation assistance, evictions will ensue. Most of the renters in Mountain View could be ousted in short order. Already, one "sneaky repeal" of Measure V is headed for the March ballot: the landlords' initiative charter amendment. It well appears that some members of the City Council are working on proposing a second "sneaky repeal."

And there is now another variable in the mix. The governor just signed a state bill (AB 1482) that could limit "rent gouging" in some rental housing not better covered by local rent control. The state law does not apply to space rents in mobile home parks. And it could be repealed whenever the landlords make enough campaign contributions and promises of future support or get some new state legislators in office.

Gary Wesley

Continental Circle

El Camino improvements

I was recently in Germany and was reminded of their great bicycle lane system. Instead of having the bicycle lane in the roadway, they widen the sidewalk and have designated bike and pedestrian lanes differentiated by separate sidewalk material that is easy to distinguish. Works great.

Glenis Koehne


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11 people like this
Posted by Ok
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 10, 2019 at 8:45 am

I agree with Glenis. Our sidewalks are tiny and in some places there are light poles in the middle of the sidewalk (who came up with this stupid idea?). Bicyclists and scooter riders are using the sidewalks anyway, so let’s make them wider.

6 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:59 am

Gary is a registered user.

The proposed changes to Measure V being presented to the City Council at its November 12 session no longer include language that would authorize a pro-landlord City Council to permit evictions for small relocation payments. But there are other issues, and the City Council might adopt any changes as its proposed set of amendments for the March ballot.

8 people like this
Posted by Mobile home rents NOT
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm

As to mobile home park rents, the city council will propose Tuesday night that they be declared (by amendment) NOT COVERED by Measure V. Mobile home park renters can then hold their breaths waiting for the city council to enact rent control for mobile home parks. It will never happen.

2 people like this
Posted by mobile homes
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:17 am

Council cannot amend Measure V, so this is merely a declaration. its clear that measure V did not include Mobile Homes when it defined units as structures on property. The CA and RHC staff ignored this part of definition and came up with a convoluted way of defining units as land property . It may be possible to impose rent control on those units l that are rented, but clearly the rental part on land is excluded.

2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 11, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Measure V is unclear about whether it extends to mobile home space rents. The Rental Housing Committee determined that it does NOT. As I recall, a judge agreed that the Committee was right to interpret Measure V and not wrong about its interpretation. The lawyers who brought the lawsuit appealed. But, as it stands, Measure V does not restrict rent increases for mobile home park spaces.

Instead of proposing to amend Measure V to cover such spaces, the pro-landlord City Council is proposing to put to bed any claim that Measure V extends to the spaces.

If the City Council includes the proposed language for inclusion in its set of amendments for the March ballot Tuesday night and voters approve the set of amendments, the appeal will be rendered MOOT and there will no such restrictions on rent increases for mobile home park spaces unless and until a city council (or other ballot measure or state legislation) adopts restrictions.

6 people like this
Posted by Judi
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 12, 2019 at 8:16 am

I live close to El Camino and would love to walk to Smart and Finals, Nob Hill, etc. for exercise. But it just isn't very pleasant especially over 85 with fast cars entering and exiting. Was just in Spain and loved walking from place to place and stopping at a cafe once in awhile. Presently, some pavements on El Camino are uneven, I fell one time because I wasn't lookng at the ground. Once in awhile, you may run into a homeless or some suspicious looking person.

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