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Mountain View is expanding its safe parking program as hundreds of vehicle dwellers remain on city streets

RVs parked in the Shoreline Amphitheatre safe parking lot in Mountain View on April 10. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The city of Mountain View is currently home to one-third of all the safe parking spaces in Santa Clara County, designed to support homeless residents living out of cars and RVs with a goal of placing them into permanent housing.

And while city officials tout its 76 spots as significant progress in relocating vehicle dwellers off of city streets and into safe parking sites, they still face a daunting task. As of July, an estimated 265 vehicles are serving as makeshift homes along public roads, suggesting that the city's program -- while outsized for a smaller suburban city -- may have only put a dent in a chronic problem.

Since 2015, Mountain View has explored the idea of safe parking as a new method of dealing with rising homelessness. The city's homeless population ballooned from 139 in 2013 to 606 in 2019, bringing with it a steep rise in people living in cars and RVs clustered along several city streets. The most prominent example, Crisanto Avenue, had 70 inhabited vehicles as of a July 2020 survey.

The topic has since become a wedge political issue that has deeply divided city residents, with some calling for strict enforcement of parking rules to force RV dwellers from city streets. The City Council voted last year to approve an all-day ban on oversized vehicles on streets with bike lanes or that are less than 40 feet wide, but it was successfully challenged by a referendum. The ban will now come before voters in the November election as Measure C.

After numerous studies and difficulty getting the program off the ground, the city finally launched the safe parking program in earnest earlier this year. The city now provides 76 safe parking spaces, compared to the 136 spaces located elsewhere in the county. The City Council voted on Sept. 8 to expand the program, adding 25 more spaces for inhabited passenger vehicles.

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"The journey over the last four years has taken the city from having no options for safe parking ... to being a city that now has the largest safe parking program in the county," said Kimberly Thomas, assistant to the city manager.

The two biggest safe parking sites, located in a former VTA parking lot on E. Evelyn Avenue and "Lot B" of Shoreline Amphitheatre, are nearly at capacity. By the latest count, 62 people are living in 27 vehicles at Shoreline, and 67 people are living in 29 vehicles at Evelyn. Of the people participating in the program, 12 are families with children in Mountain View schools, and 19 are under the age of 19, according to a city staff report.

But for reasons unknown to the city, the launch of the program hasn't come with an equal drop in people living in RVs and passenger vehicles on city streets. The street-by-street count has wobbled between 200 and 300 inhabited vehicles since 2017, and the latest survey in July shows 265 vehicles are still being used as homes on public roads.

The only major difference is that RVs along Shoreline Boulevard have completely cleared out, whereas more vehicles are now clustered on Crisanto Avenue and Pioneer Way.

City staff at the Sept. 8 council meeting theorized several reasons for the lack of movement in the numbers, including a possible increase in homelessness due to the coronavirus pandemic or more vehicle dwellers moving in from cities with fewer services. The city also dropped its parking enforcement rules during the COVID-19 emergency, which could have contributed to an increase, or it's possible these vehicles were simply missed in past counts. City staff did not cite data to back up any of its theories.

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"It gives you some gauge of the realm of possibilities associated with why there is a slight increase in the count," Thomas told council members.

One of the big challenges that emerged since the safe parking program began is where to park commuter vehicle, an issue that caught the city by surprise. Many of the people living in cars and RVs have a second -- or even a third -- vehicle that they use to get to work each day, and the safe parking lots were never equipped to support secondary vehicles. For the Shoreline lot, where parking is limited, some homeless participants have been parking at the Shoreline Dog Park, nearly a half-mile trek from the safe parking site.

At the Evelyn lot, many participants are parking their extra vehicles on Pioneer Way, which is nearby but has caused friction with local business owners frustrated with the loss of spaces available to customers.

"There has been some pushback from the business owners for some of our tenants parking on the streets, which is not very neighborly," said Amber Stime, executive director of the nonprofit Move MV. "I'm not going to go and confront them, but I think we are doing our best to honor their space."

Councilman Lucas Ramirez said it makes sense to formally add commuter parking to the program, recognizing that people live in one vehicle but use another to go to work, go shopping and take kids to school. Failing to accommodate that runs the risk of deterring participation and failing to address the problem of people parking in the street.

"If you have to walk a fair distance to the dog park to get to your commuter vehicle, you may just decide 'Why not stay on Crisanto? Why not stay on Continental Circle? Because I can just park my vehicle right next door,'" Ramirez said.

Where the extra, unanticipated cars present a problem, some see a silver lining. Michael Love, a former pastor and operations manager for Move MV, said the commuter vehicles are a good sign that many of the homeless residents in the program are likely still working.

"The presence of the commuter car is a sign that this is somebody who is really on the cusp of being able to be, as quickly as possible, returned back to permanent housing," Love said.

Despite city staff framing the safe parking program as a success and a major milestone at the Sept. 8 meeting, some public speakers were critical of the council for taking several years to set up a modest program. Monta Loma resident Tim Mackenzie said the council has been dragging its feet, and that there has been a lot of "dehumanization and hostility" from the council towards people who are using the service. Charlotte Quinn, another speaker, said the council has done little to solve the problem while simultaneously attempting to kick RV dwellers out of the city. She hammered the city for resting on its laurels and comparing itself to other cities.

"There is nothing more important for you guys to be doing right now," Quinn said. "I seriously don't understand your function if this is not a priority, that you can possibly speak about not wanting to do more than San Jose as if a bar that's set that low is good enough."

Councilman John McAlister defended the council's record, saying the city had to go through a complicated, painstakingly slow process to get the program off the ground. To come to the city and say it didn't work hard on the problem would be "misinformed," he said.

Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga said she was fine with Mountain View punching above its weight when it comes to safe parking, but vented that the city has had to virtually go it alone and spend money on a problem that should be Santa Clara County's collective responsibility.

"I totally am proud to be a leader, I'm proud to set the example but I just get disappointed when I don't see followers from our neighboring communities," Abe-Koga said. "That's my real frustration here."

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Mountain View is expanding its safe parking program as hundreds of vehicle dwellers remain on city streets

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 11, 2020, 1:43 pm

The city of Mountain View is currently home to one-third of all the safe parking spaces in Santa Clara County, designed to support homeless residents living out of cars and RVs with a goal of placing them into permanent housing.

And while city officials tout its 76 spots as significant progress in relocating vehicle dwellers off of city streets and into safe parking sites, they still face a daunting task. As of July, an estimated 265 vehicles are serving as makeshift homes along public roads, suggesting that the city's program -- while outsized for a smaller suburban city -- may have only put a dent in a chronic problem.

Since 2015, Mountain View has explored the idea of safe parking as a new method of dealing with rising homelessness. The city's homeless population ballooned from 139 in 2013 to 606 in 2019, bringing with it a steep rise in people living in cars and RVs clustered along several city streets. The most prominent example, Crisanto Avenue, had 70 inhabited vehicles as of a July 2020 survey.

The topic has since become a wedge political issue that has deeply divided city residents, with some calling for strict enforcement of parking rules to force RV dwellers from city streets. The City Council voted last year to approve an all-day ban on oversized vehicles on streets with bike lanes or that are less than 40 feet wide, but it was successfully challenged by a referendum. The ban will now come before voters in the November election as Measure C.

After numerous studies and difficulty getting the program off the ground, the city finally launched the safe parking program in earnest earlier this year. The city now provides 76 safe parking spaces, compared to the 136 spaces located elsewhere in the county. The City Council voted on Sept. 8 to expand the program, adding 25 more spaces for inhabited passenger vehicles.

"The journey over the last four years has taken the city from having no options for safe parking ... to being a city that now has the largest safe parking program in the county," said Kimberly Thomas, assistant to the city manager.

The two biggest safe parking sites, located in a former VTA parking lot on E. Evelyn Avenue and "Lot B" of Shoreline Amphitheatre, are nearly at capacity. By the latest count, 62 people are living in 27 vehicles at Shoreline, and 67 people are living in 29 vehicles at Evelyn. Of the people participating in the program, 12 are families with children in Mountain View schools, and 19 are under the age of 19, according to a city staff report.

But for reasons unknown to the city, the launch of the program hasn't come with an equal drop in people living in RVs and passenger vehicles on city streets. The street-by-street count has wobbled between 200 and 300 inhabited vehicles since 2017, and the latest survey in July shows 265 vehicles are still being used as homes on public roads.

The only major difference is that RVs along Shoreline Boulevard have completely cleared out, whereas more vehicles are now clustered on Crisanto Avenue and Pioneer Way.

City staff at the Sept. 8 council meeting theorized several reasons for the lack of movement in the numbers, including a possible increase in homelessness due to the coronavirus pandemic or more vehicle dwellers moving in from cities with fewer services. The city also dropped its parking enforcement rules during the COVID-19 emergency, which could have contributed to an increase, or it's possible these vehicles were simply missed in past counts. City staff did not cite data to back up any of its theories.

"It gives you some gauge of the realm of possibilities associated with why there is a slight increase in the count," Thomas told council members.

One of the big challenges that emerged since the safe parking program began is where to park commuter vehicle, an issue that caught the city by surprise. Many of the people living in cars and RVs have a second -- or even a third -- vehicle that they use to get to work each day, and the safe parking lots were never equipped to support secondary vehicles. For the Shoreline lot, where parking is limited, some homeless participants have been parking at the Shoreline Dog Park, nearly a half-mile trek from the safe parking site.

At the Evelyn lot, many participants are parking their extra vehicles on Pioneer Way, which is nearby but has caused friction with local business owners frustrated with the loss of spaces available to customers.

"There has been some pushback from the business owners for some of our tenants parking on the streets, which is not very neighborly," said Amber Stime, executive director of the nonprofit Move MV. "I'm not going to go and confront them, but I think we are doing our best to honor their space."

Councilman Lucas Ramirez said it makes sense to formally add commuter parking to the program, recognizing that people live in one vehicle but use another to go to work, go shopping and take kids to school. Failing to accommodate that runs the risk of deterring participation and failing to address the problem of people parking in the street.

"If you have to walk a fair distance to the dog park to get to your commuter vehicle, you may just decide 'Why not stay on Crisanto? Why not stay on Continental Circle? Because I can just park my vehicle right next door,'" Ramirez said.

Where the extra, unanticipated cars present a problem, some see a silver lining. Michael Love, a former pastor and operations manager for Move MV, said the commuter vehicles are a good sign that many of the homeless residents in the program are likely still working.

"The presence of the commuter car is a sign that this is somebody who is really on the cusp of being able to be, as quickly as possible, returned back to permanent housing," Love said.

Despite city staff framing the safe parking program as a success and a major milestone at the Sept. 8 meeting, some public speakers were critical of the council for taking several years to set up a modest program. Monta Loma resident Tim Mackenzie said the council has been dragging its feet, and that there has been a lot of "dehumanization and hostility" from the council towards people who are using the service. Charlotte Quinn, another speaker, said the council has done little to solve the problem while simultaneously attempting to kick RV dwellers out of the city. She hammered the city for resting on its laurels and comparing itself to other cities.

"There is nothing more important for you guys to be doing right now," Quinn said. "I seriously don't understand your function if this is not a priority, that you can possibly speak about not wanting to do more than San Jose as if a bar that's set that low is good enough."

Councilman John McAlister defended the council's record, saying the city had to go through a complicated, painstakingly slow process to get the program off the ground. To come to the city and say it didn't work hard on the problem would be "misinformed," he said.

Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga said she was fine with Mountain View punching above its weight when it comes to safe parking, but vented that the city has had to virtually go it alone and spend money on a problem that should be Santa Clara County's collective responsibility.

"I totally am proud to be a leader, I'm proud to set the example but I just get disappointed when I don't see followers from our neighboring communities," Abe-Koga said. "That's my real frustration here."

Comments

SC Parent
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:20 pm
SC Parent, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:20 pm
24 people like this

"City staff at the Sept. 8 council meeting theorized several reasons for the lack of movement in the numbers.... City staff did not cite data to back up any of its theories."

Did they literally just count the number of vehicles without recording any other data? How about writing down the license plate numbers so they can track the inflow/outflow? What if 200 vehicles left MV and 200 new vehicles arrived over the summer?


Local
Registered user
Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:33 pm
Local, Martens-Carmelita
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:33 pm
134 people like this

I think this is a good article, as far as it goes, but one glaring fact is not well addressed: where are a lot of these people actually from? Mountain View taxpayers cannot be responsible for all the people living this way on the street - as at least half of them are from other cities here on the Peninsula. Los Altos, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, etc. prohibit street living, so they send their homeless to Mountain View - some even directed to come here by the other cities' local police. Thus it falls to Mountain View's taxpayers to cover trash and sewage removal, policing, providing water, etc. even though a great number of the RV occupants are from, or work in other cities.
The Safe Parking sites are not full - yet Mountain View is adding more, and providing Community Services assistance, in hopes more will be able to move off the streets into housing. Street living is no way for anyone to live - especially with children.
If all cities did their share and took care of their own, we could help the people be sustainably and safely housed. Yes, I'm very glad Mountain View Council and taxpayers have stepped forward with at least $2.5M to help so far (with another sizable amount just allocated), but Mountain View cannot stand alone here. Where are the other cities? How can they keep shifting their responsibility? Kudos to Mountain View - but let's see articles demanding that the other cities step up!


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:53 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:53 pm
102 people like this

I have kept an eye on the influx of different RV's into our community ( since April). There are a lot of new(really old) ones on Continental Circle. Those RVs that moved into our safe lots were replaced by newcomers. Why are we not determining where they are coming from? Local is right, why are we not putting an end to the stream of vehicles coming from other communities? Mountain View has done their part. Has spent a lot of $. Has the largest safe parking program in the County now. Mountain View has to put an end to opportunistic RV dwelling. We are showing compassion, support the needy, but MV has to stop tolerating the freeloading RV dwellers from out of town.


Concerned
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:55 pm
Concerned, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 2:55 pm
116 people like this

The article conveniently omits that the City Council was told on Tues night that there are less than ten families/individuals on the Safe Parking Lots waitlist. One can only conclude that the remaining vehicle dwellers have little interest in joining a program to be housed and continue to live on the streets. This is compounded by surrounding cities not tolerating RV's and sending vehicle dwellers to Mountain View making it ground zero for RV living. I support a YES vote on Measure C, this is not sustainable!


Peter
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2020 at 3:37 pm
Peter, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 3:37 pm
105 people like this

Please vote yes on Measure C! Enough is enough!


Longview
Registered user
another community
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:14 pm
Longview, another community
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:14 pm
8 people like this

Just as ABAG assigns regional housing construction goals to cities, I think the county should set goals to each city to house and support our homeless population. Then there could be much better informed and more productive conversations than the speculation we are seeing in these comments. Most missing from this conversation is comment on the presence of car and RV dwellers in all the cities of our region.


Longview
Registered user
another community
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:25 pm
Longview, another community
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:25 pm
7 people like this

Choosing the streets where RV's can use street parking? That's fine. Prohibiting effectively all RV parking? Making Mountain View the least tolerant City in the region? Too much! Vote no on C, and vote for a better Council, that will ask the right question - where should Mountain View allow RV parking. Not everywhere - but there are places where allowing RV parking has little impact, and much benefit to service workers who are finding shelter in RVs.


Karen
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:26 pm
Karen, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:26 pm
108 people like this

As much as I have compassion for the residents that previously had housing in our city, or work here, but not all street dwellers that live on our streets
are from Mt View or work here. Mt View has been touted across the country as having the best services for street dwellers. Someone, explain to me why our tax dollars are going for these services, trash removal, waste removal, water (I have spoken to one resident that said she had to put a lock on her water spigot as water was constantly being stolen). Why is it that over 2.5 million dollars of our tax dollars been spent for over 5 years of the city council doing nothing! It’s an outrage. We all want safe and secure housing for the homeless, but why should our neighboring cities ban the street dwelling and not contributing one dollar. Enough is enough! We don’t know where these people are from. What obligation do we, as taxpayers, to support the services the city hands out. One dweller told me, “ I work in San Jose, but I love the parks and schools here”. All without paying a cent in property tax. This has to end. The residents want to be rid of the freeloaders from other cities and states. Take a census. Count the dwellers. Make something happen. This has to be stopped NOW.


Sewage dumping, a huge issue, not enforced, not monitored.
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:34 pm
Sewage dumping, a huge issue, not enforced, not monitored., Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:34 pm
102 people like this

Mountain View taxpayers have been subsidizing programs to assist RV dwellers for years now. It was a real eyeopener to hear that less than 10 RV's are on the safe parking wait list, yet hundreds are still on our city streets. In 2018 the short-lived FREE sewage dumping service, at a cost of 30K to taxpayers, was discontinued because RV dwellers did not use the service. The free waste disposal service was launched as a way to "prevent RV dwellers from illegally dumping their sewage down the storm water drains". YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. Illegal dumping of sewage, ultimately into our creeks.

At launch of that program MVPD said “We have received reports of people pouring waste into park bathroom sinks. A lot of them are leaking sewage into the street. Some are dumping sewage onto grass areas and in gutters. It’s kind of all over the city. We’ve gotten complaints about Cristanto Avenue, and at Cuesta Park. And also at Rengstorff Park and Eagle Park.”

There are hundreds of RV's parked all over the city, where and how often are they dumping their human waste? Clearly many of these RV's could not make it to a dump station as they are inoperable. Does anyone care about public health risk? Environmental impact? This issue is not about dehumanizing people it's about keeping the streets safe and clean for all. Vote YES on Measure C, it's a start.

Feb 2018 Merc News start of free waste dumping program Web Link
May 2018, City ENDS free waste dumping due to low participation, 30K, 3 month failed pilot Web Link


to Longview
Registered user
Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 11, 2020 at 5:11 pm
to Longview, Martens-Carmelita
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 5:11 pm
109 people like this

Are you kidding about "Mountain View being the least tolerant City in the region"? That's the kind of flat out FALSE statement made when someone has no idea of the FACTS. Mountain View is the MOST tolerant and has done more for the street dwellers than any other city on the Peninsula. Name even one Peninsula city that has done more. Your false statements only make the situation worse.
MV has opened Safe Lots with free services, and are opening more - even though there are still spaces available in the first ones. We have spent over $2.5 million on services for them so far, and yes those are TAXPAYER dollars. I truly want to help those who want help, and who move into the Safe Lots, working with Community Services to be housed. However, many are refusing to do that, and prefer street living without taxes. A woman spoke at a City Council meeting on this this Spring - saying her friend was evicted from her apartment in Sunnyvale and the local police gave her information on moving into an RV in Mountain View and getting free services - as street dwelling is not allowed in Sunnyvale. That same scenario goes on in other Peninsula cities. Other cities must stand up and do their share. Vote YES on Measure C to deal with the facts in a compassionate and sensible way - and help those who want to help themselves.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 11, 2020 at 5:28 pm
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 5:28 pm
32 people like this

@Longview; a resident of "Another Community" that says it all right there, if you live in 'another community' why are you telling us how to vote? Clearly you have no solution, you just like hearing yourself pontificate. Please spare us.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2020 at 6:44 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 6:44 pm
8 people like this

Must be a lot of Trump supporters in this comments section, wanting to keep "undesirables" out of sight from their million dollar homes.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 12, 2020 at 9:44 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 12, 2020 at 9:44 am
2 people like this

@Longview, thanks for supporting a compassionate community! I totally agree with your analysis - Measure C will make us one of the Least Tolerant of nearby cities. (not exactly The Least Tolerant). And having compassionate Councilmembers will allow them to fashion a better (I agree with slightly more restrictive On Street, i.e. sewage and 72 hour move) program.

I HAVE LIVED IN THIS COMMUNITY FOR OVER 30 YEARS - so, I'm suggesting how you might "compassionately vote".

Peace and Love


MyOpinion vote blue
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 12, 2020 at 12:47 pm
MyOpinion vote blue, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 12, 2020 at 12:47 pm
54 people like this

@Frank Richards... Trumpers? Give me a break, Lenny has used that pejorative for anyone who disagrees with him; an unsubstantiated cheap shot. Trump is as toxic as the sewage being dumped in Mountain View's storm drains.

Biden Harris 2020


MyOpinion @Steve N
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm
MyOpinion @Steve N, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm
37 people like this

@Steve Nelson - what exactly do you mean by "I agree with slightly more restrictive On Street, i.e. sewage and 72 hour move"

How would you solve the sewage issue and the 72 hour parking rule, both of which are enforced ONLY when a resident calls in a violation. Please define your plan for 'slight' restrictions and how they would be implemented and funded.


who is LONGVIEW
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Sep 12, 2020 at 12:57 pm
who is LONGVIEW, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Sep 12, 2020 at 12:57 pm
15 people like this

"Longview' knows an awful lot about Mountain View politics for someone who is 'from another community', my guess is that 'Longview' is part of the NO on C effort, but too cowardly to say so.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 12, 2020 at 1:56 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 12, 2020 at 1:56 pm
6 people like this

MyOpinion, you might not be self-reflective enough to see the link between your rhetoric and Trump's, but it's abundantly clear to many others. Demonizing others, fear-mongering about crime and waste, claiming that some of our most vulnerable are somehow taking advantage of the rest of us, the kind of stuff you hear at a Trump rally. You can see it in the claims about Mountain View taking people from other cities.

How does this sound to you:
"When [Sunnyvale] sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2020 at 7:54 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2020 at 7:54 am
1 person likes this

How you Might. Since U asked! It is entirely clear that, as more of these tended and monitored public RV spaces are brought on-line, there (IMO) should be tightened enforcement of the on-street RV parking/living situation.

Monitor the 72 hr parking rule PROACTIVELY! Not just wait for complaint. Before that - Monitor the 'vehicle leaking sewage' illegality PROACTIVELY. To me, that means having a Parking Control police employee assigned (maybe hired) full time to monitor this enforcement job. After a month of new spaces - and new enforcement, the Dumping and 72 Hour problems would decrease.

I myself have a smaller, older RV that I use monthly for recreation. I've had it for 10 years - parking on street and my driveway. ONCE I didn't move in time - and got a $80 or so parking ticket. ONCE - then, learned my lesson.

CUPERTINO has on_the_sidewalk tent camping by the homeless. Legal - because Cupertino does not have enough homeless accommodation. How is That Legal? Maybe the Voice/Kevin can write up a story about That Court decision!


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2020 at 8:06 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2020 at 8:06 am
2 people like this

how to: in a Defund the Police mode: Hire the Parking Enforcement person in a social service position (and deputize them?). Have the full-time permanent position have a Master Of Social Work training requirement!

In the current environment for 'community based policing' this might be (IMO) an excellent innovation for our City. An RV enforcement person with a Social Service mindset - who would also work with community housing service groups AS PART OF THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION!


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 13, 2020 at 2:06 pm
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2020 at 2:06 pm
22 people like this

@Steve, you make good points.

Some of your issues were addressed in Safe Parking update at Tuesday's council meeting.It was surprising that only about 10 RV's are on the wait list. So clearly the RVs on the streets have no desire to participate, living on the street is their preferance. There are significant resources allocated to Safe Parking programs. Safe Parking is not solving this issue. It's a conundrum.

Regarding monitoring sewage issues for RV's on the streets. I agree proactive is best, but RV residents are not required to register with the city, nor do they have to engage with community outreach personnel. RV counts fluctuate, they park at various locations around the city. How would it be possible to track maintenance and condition of these black tanks? And as an RV owner you know how important it is to be sure black tank sensors are working, proper chemicals are used. etc. Not a fun task but an essential one.

IMO the first priority is to transition the truly needy into stable housing. CSA and County are working hard to do this. Rents are coming down, vacancy rates are going up. As a taxpayer, I would rather provide rent subsidies than services which keep people in sub-standard RV's; a disservice to those who need help.

Owning an RV is expensive, if someone can afford a newer RV along with a commute car, they seriously need to start looking for an apartment. With COVID travel restrictions RV's are in great demand, it's a good time to sell. Web Link


Local
Registered user
Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 13, 2020 at 9:57 pm
Local, Martens-Carmelita
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2020 at 9:57 pm
60 people like this

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

As for Steve Nelson, his ideas are very poorly thought out and his reasoning is poorly researched. He wants to spend hundreds of thousands MORE of our tax money to support street living, when there is no requirement for anyone on the street to even answer the door of their RV. The City Staff has the hard numbers proving that at least half the street dwellers have never had a connection to Mountain View, and many refuse to even interact with staff or police to interview for assistance. Mr. Nelson has odd dreams that the City can somehow monitor sewage dumping. Unless we have someone there with a flashlight all night by each RV, you won't witness the dumping of raw sewage and trash onto the streets and into the gutters - as it is undoubtedly done when there is no one around. Even the sinks and toilets in our park bathrooms have sewage dumped from RVs, and the only explanation there would be from those without proper disposal available.

The City already has professionals working with those living on the streets to help them move into housing. The problem is that the majority of RV occupants refuse assistance (and cannot be forced to comply). Therefore we have Measure C - which will PROACTIVELY help those unstably housed to move to Safe Lots and not only receive water, trash and sewage dumping - but will get free assistance from professionals to move into actual housing. Nobody deserves to live on the streets - especially the few children currently living this way in MV. Measure C is the way towards compassionate, progressive and FREE help to move forward. Those who would prefer to live free off the taxpayer, pay no property tax themselves, and negatively impact the environment with trash and sewage, can move to another City (perhaps one of those more tolerant cities to which you refer?) Please DO mention the cities which are more tolerant than Mountain View - or is that a subject where you just make up statistics like everything else you've stated?

I think perhaps you mean well, Mr. Nelson, but you have quite obviously not researched this subject. If you do that, I cannot imagine you wouldn't see that Measure C is the most positive way forward for those living on the streets.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 13, 2020 at 11:10 pm
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2020 at 11:10 pm
18 people like this

@Local - Agree; Longview's reference to both ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) and Measure C (which is not yet well known to general public) makes it clear that Longview is someone very close to both this issue and local politics. If not Lenny someone associated with No on C.


JustAWorkingStiff
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2020 at 1:08 am
JustAWorkingStiff, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 1:08 am
52 people like this

The Safe Parking Program seem like a reasonable way to help those down on their luck.
The RVs out on the street should be encouraged to take advantage the Safe Parking program
One advantage of the program is reducing the impact on residents and business in close proximity to the RVs. Such as what is happening on Pioneer Way. It really isn't fair for the city to impose a large group of RVs on a small subset of people. All of MV should share in contributing resources to helping the RVs. The RVs need support services: water, garbage, and sewage disposal. The article states that in 2019 there were over 600 RVs in the city. Does Mountain View have specialized sewage disposal facilities to support such a large number of RVs? The nearest RV campground with specialized sewage disposal facilities is down toward Gilroy. Imagine having to dispose of all the sewage...and imagine 600 + RVs doing that. While I don't condone it, I understand why sewage gets dumped in the into the curbside sewers. But this poses a health hazard, and it why we have buildings ....with building codes for sanitary sewers. Safe Parking is a compassionate way to deliver the necessary services to support these RVs. It looks like they will have about 100 spaces. That is a pretty good amount, and MV is certainly pulling its weight on a countywide basis to help out. I really don't understand why some want to have an unlimited number of RVs who can park anywhere, and impacting the residents/businesses around them. There is the budgetary aspect also. MV has already spent around $2.5 M in about 5 years. Do people want to have unlimited, undefined budget to support RVs? (they really do need support services, it is not free). Other cities on a regional basis need to step up and do their share. MV is certainly doing it share.


Cindy Lane
Registered user
The Crossings
on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:21 am
Cindy Lane, The Crossings
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:21 am
2 people like this

"Local", I doubt Longview is Lenny. Agree or disagree with him, you have to admit he's an honest guy who will tell you what he believes.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Cindy Lane
Registered user
The Crossings
on Sep 14, 2020 at 10:45 am
Cindy Lane, The Crossings
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 10:45 am
4 people like this

Why was the second part of my comment deleted? If it's legitimate for other posters like Local and My opinion to speculate on the identities if other posters, why can't I? Shari Emling is a public figure, has been quoted in this paper and the Mercury News, filmed an ad for the now-revoked Measure V repeal. On top of that, they're a close advisor of former Mayor Matichak on this issue. If Local is anyone well-known, they're almost certainly Shari Emling.


Lenny Siegel
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:20 am
Lenny Siegel, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:20 am
8 people like this

I am skeptical of comments by people, on all sides of a debate, who post under a pseudonym, so I always post under my own name.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:23 am
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:23 am
2 people like this

Cindy - But do you agree 'Longview's' comments would indicate he or she is someone close to the issue? I agree that Lenny has always identified himself on social media, as would be expected of a candidate/former council member.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:25 am
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:25 am
5 people like this

@Lenny I agree that public figures should identify themselves. Kudos to you for doing so.


Lenny Siegel
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:47 am
Lenny Siegel, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:47 am
2 people like this

"Local" wrote that my street "has signage for NO oversized vehicles allowed." That's a pure fabrication. In fact, we did have a motorhome parked on the street recently. And we've had people living in smaller vehicles parked on our street.

"Local" also wrote, "The City Staff has the hard numbers proving that at least half the street dwellers have never had a connection to Mountain View." The only survey I've seen said that 59% of respondents were "from Mountain View."

I understand that Shari has different opinions about how to address our housing crisis, but let's not make up "facts."


Cindy Lane
Registered user
The Crossings
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:54 am
Cindy Lane, The Crossings
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:54 am
1 person likes this

MyOpinion, I'd agree that they're likely well-versed in the issue, whether or not that means they're "close" to it is up to what you mean by that. Local, on the other hand, posts the same talking points from the RV ban proponents, and almost verbatim the same lines of attack that Shari Emling has expressed to newspapers and during council meetings. Surely you agree with that?


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Sep 14, 2020 at 12:58 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 12:58 pm
32 people like this

@Lenny: your street has a 3 ton weight limit. That excludes pretty much all classes of motor homes.Even van conversions are usually over 6000 lbs.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm
1 person likes this

@Cindy - What I mean by 'close' is that at this point, the people well-versed in Measure C are likely those involved, pro or con. I was commenting only on the mysterious Longview from 'another community'. That's all.


Local to Lenny S.
Registered user
Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 14, 2020 at 1:39 pm
Local to Lenny S., Martens-Carmelita
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 1:39 pm
34 people like this

Yes, Lenny, Let's NOT make up "facts". Here's a solid fact that differs from your unidentified "survey" saying 59% of street dwellers are from Mountain View: "As many as 50% of the households living in vehicles are not affiliated with a prior Mountain View address (March 19, 2019 staff report)" You might state facts like this from now on.

So let's spend our sizable amount of funds on people who WANT to be helped and work with the City services to do so. I'm surprised you think street dwelling is good enough for another human. I want to help them move towards housing - but they need to want to help themselves. That's what Measure C does.


Cindy Lane
Registered user
The Crossings
on Sep 14, 2020 at 2:04 pm
Cindy Lane, The Crossings
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 2:04 pm
5 people like this

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
You first said there was "hard proof" that "at least half [...] never had a connection to Mountain View", which means >=50%. The quote you use to support that claim is "as many as 50% [...] not affiliated with a prior address" which means <=50%. Leaving aside the disclaimers the report states about the limitations of that assessment from the MVPD, it contradicts your claim! I have to agree with Lenny, you are not entitled to your own facts, in fact the survey he references is entirely consistent with the staff report you've cited! I'm sorry, but any campaign that needs to resort to lying to make their point tells us enough about its righteousness.

Finally, all Measure C does is criminalize these people's current living situations, it does nothing to support people like you pretend it does. The only outcome if you make it illegal will be for these people to incur more debts when they're already in poverty, lose their current homes, and likely end up in a homeless encampment.


Local
Registered user
Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 14, 2020 at 7:41 pm
Local, Martens-Carmelita
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 7:41 pm
41 people like this

Lenny, You know full well that your signage prohibits any vehicle parked on your street over 3 tons (meaning ALL RVs and most converted vans as well). Saying that you "had a motor home parked on the street recently" is an equally false flag (how long was it there before being towed?) so your word games won't work. I imagine you were the resident who asked for that signage - and it is easily checked.

My statement "as many as 50% of the RVs are not affiliated with MV in any way" is quite true and no amount of manipulation will change that. Keep in mind, it is probably quite a bit more, as many refuse to open their door to be surveyed. There are out of town contractors who dump junk RVs on Mountain View streets and rent them out (paying no property tax) to their laborers who live there during the week and go home out of town for the weekends. There is a small criminal element who, of course, will not interact with police. Most other cities prohibit street living, and therefore MV gets the majority.

I am baffled at the argument that we should just let anyone park their occupied vehicle anywhere in Mountain View and the taxpayers should cover the removal of trash and sewage from the streets that results. Those of you who favor this, should prove that you have personally welcomed this in front of your home. Do you honestly think this is an acceptable way to live for anyone? Don't you think we should have a solid program of assistance and safe parking that will help these people move forward with their lives? MV taxpayers have spent nearly $2.5M so far, and just authorized close to another million to assist them. Let's make this money count and REALLY help our homeless instead of just treating them like this life is "good enough" for them.

If we spent this planned nearly $3.5M on helping them to have a safe lot to stay off the streets, with trash and sewage removal, police protection and working with Community Services Agency to move towards being housed - they will have a better future. MV taxpayers are more than willing to spend this money constructively to help those who accept our help - but few care to continue paying services for those from other cities, the criminal element, and the freeloaders who move here to live free on our streets without any intention of improving their lifestyle.

I think it's short-sighted and very unfortunate that some still think street living is okay and don't care to help these people have a better life. I am baffled by the anger of those who resent the help Measure C will give those on the street - but perhaps you have your reasons? Measure C is the most compassionate, creative and effective way to help our Mountain View people to a better life. Vote yes on C.


Cindy Lane
Registered user
The Crossings
on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Cindy Lane, The Crossings
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:26 pm
9 people like this

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

You said you had "hard numbers proving that at least half the street dwellers have never had a connection to Mountain View" which is simply false. Now you pretend that Measure C has provisions that do anything else but ban these vehicles. The text of the measure is right there for anyone to read! Have you no shame?


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 14, 2020 at 9:54 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 9:54 pm
10 people like this

I posted it before, but I'll post it again because Local just can't resist.

Local: "few care to continue paying services for those from other cities, the criminal element, and the freeloaders who move here to live free on our streets without any intention of improving their lifestyle."

Trump: "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Cut from the same cloth.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 15, 2020 at 11:39 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2020 at 11:39 am
4 people like this

Homeowner privilege is very closely related to White Privilege. And what I like to use in democratic policy discussions, Wealth Privilege.

I have an RV, I drove it to Lenny's house, and parked it on his street. Picked up my Lawn Sign. RV is small / 24" long. It is lighter weight (never measured but I'd guess less than 6,000 pounds, 3 Tons). It is REALLY TOO BIG for that tiny narrow street! But that street is TOO NARROW for two-side parking also. Can't get emergency vehicles BOTH WAYS!

Streets less than 38 ft (or ?) should have restricted parking. Not on Both Sides. But a 7 ft high or a 10-12 foot high (work/utility very light truck/van) vehicle does not need to be prohibited At All Times! My small RV fits the 'restricted size' JUST TOO TALL.

"I am baffled at the argument that we should just let anyone park their occupied vehicle anywhere in Mountain View and the taxpayers should cover the removal of trash and sewage from the streets that results." I do not make that argument! CLEAR AND SIMPLE. Most of the opponents of C don't either. And car parking/camping is not going to be illegal?

Dump Station. There could be a Public One installed very inexpensively out at the PUBLIC WORKS YARD. Once-a-week vouchers could be 'part of the program', along with strict 'leakage' testing. Use your nose, or use a fecal remains test. Close off the sides of streets where "the Public Health Dept" has detected sewage and enforcement/cleaning tests have not mitigated the problem.

I DO NOT WANT A "TENT CAMPING" sidewalk problem in Mountain View, just because we did not provide enough homeless housing to meet the 'law of the land' (Kevin - where is that darn article!)


Cindy Lane
Registered user
The Crossings
on Sep 15, 2020 at 2:54 pm
Cindy Lane, The Crossings
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2020 at 2:54 pm
6 people like this

I cannot believe the Voice deleted the portion of my comments calling out Shari for outright lying here. No wonder the presidency is the way it is: when someone is lying it's the responsibility of all of us to call it out! Shari is using lies to advocate for harming the poor, and somehow my comment is disrespectful?


Resident of MV
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2020 at 9:21 pm
Resident of MV, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2020 at 9:21 pm
27 people like this

From the first sentence of the article:
"The city of Mountain View is currently home to one-third of all the safe parking spaces in Santa Clara County, designed to support homeless residents living out of cars and RVs with a goal of placing them into permanent housing."

According to Wikipedia, Santa Clara County has ~1.8 million population, Mountain View has ~80k population. So Mountain View has ~5% of the county population but has ~33% of all the safe parking spaces?!?!?


JustAWorkingStiff
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
JustAWorkingStiff, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
2 people like this

I am a bit baffled why there is an argument over how many people parking their RVs on the streets
are former MV residents.

Pretty straight forward fix:
1. Anybody parking their RV in Safe Parking should prove that they are a former resident
2. This gives them access to support services provided by the tax payers of MV
3. This is standard process for administering


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 18, 2020 at 12:35 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 12:35 pm
1 person likes this

Stiff,

How do you prove you are a resident? Residence does not require an ID. In fact all you have to do is sit down and you are a resident.

I am still observing the changes occurring in Mountain View due to the COVID19, the California Fires and AB5.

You should look at Zumper price trends in Mountain View found here (Web Link)

A Studio Apartment at its peak in Aug 2019 on average was $2899, now it is $2095 a reduction of 28%. A Single Bedroom Apartment at its peak in Jun 2018 on average went for $3990, now it is $2499, a reduction of 37%. A Double Bedroom Apartment at its peak in Jun 2018 on average went for $5000, now it is $3200, a reduction of 36%. A Triple Bedroom Apartment at its peak in Dec 2018 on average went for $5500, now it is $4300, a reduction of 21%.

And the fact that the "real" economy is still flushing down a toilet might eventually force housing prices here to be affordable to more people. Either that or housing businesses will go bankrupt and tie the units up in court. Either way, the Valley is confronted with a serious crisis like it hasn't EVER seen.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2020 at 2:21 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 2:21 pm
Like this comment

@JustAWorkingStiff, I'd say, those are simple-enough types of qualifications that many could agree with. And The Facts seem to be;
:There are filled up Safe Parking lots (so there is a Waiting List)(only 10)
:There is now a Palo Alto Safe Parking Lot leased to the County, soom to be opening for cars
:There is a problem with 72 hours, 'move along' parking enforcement (clunker vehicles, CA Vehicle Code)
:There is a sewage problem (Public Health issue and CA Vehicle Code) with some street-living RVs
:There is a problem with 'over occupied' streets in some areas. (Local curb-parking restrictions/RED CURBS)

and along with Cindy and some others (IOO). In Our Opinions
:There is some Problem with COMPASSION of some of the most vocal/opinionated residents of Mountain View

Peace and Love


gretchen
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Sep 18, 2020 at 2:40 pm
gretchen, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 2:40 pm
5 people like this

I am a 40 year resident. I do not care about the origins of those in need, any more than I care about the origins of those that use parks, or attend events downtown. (BTW we supply parking and facilities for all of these folks. I get the same benefits in most communities.

Recently, PA for the first time addressed, although in a small way, vehicle parking for the unhoused. This is a global problem and needs coordinated solutions. I am proud to be a member of a community that is at least trying.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2020 at 10:32 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2020 at 10:32 am
Like this comment

@gretchen of ML. I too "am proud to be a member of a community that is at least trying." U are Right! I probably, now that I think on it, went too far in trying to 'be agreeable' with JustAWorkingStiff. Maybe he and others might consider - with some sort of Sign-Up Regulation / attached to BUILDING/CONSTRUCTION permits, a temporary RV living situation for out-of-area-construction workers?

@JustAWorkingStiff I hope realizes, that many construction workers, for decades, have lived out of this area, and weekday lived here to work. Live in Central Valley (affordable for your Family Group) and work construction in Mountain View.

IMO these working people "have a connection to Mountain View" [Local's issue?] I do not think Local is thinking hard about this, any more than the Howard Jarvis group thinks hard about any taxing issue!


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