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Letters to the editor: Mountain View City Council election, Caltrain measure, climate change

A woman walks through The Americana apartment complex on Aug. 21, 2019. Phoot by Magali Gauthier.

Council election and rent control

Mountain View voters rejected Measure D by a 70-30 margin in March of this year. Measure D had been crafted by largely out-of-city interests to undermine the 2016 legislated rent stabilization measure (the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act or “CSFRA”). Under Measure D, rents this year would have risen 4% to 8% when one includes amounts for liberalized pass-through of costs to renters. Under the CSFRA, rent increases this year were limited to 2.9%. That difference counts, particularly when renters are struggling – along with all of us – with COVID-19.

Of those running for City Council this November, three supported Measure D. They are Margaret Abe-Koga, Lisa Matichak and Jose Gutierrez. Their support is consistent with long-term opposition to rent stabilization. Abe-Koga and Matichak also crafted a competing measure at the time the community voted to accept the CSFRA, and they were supportive of the so-called “sneaky repeal”. The sneaky repeal would have rendered rent stabilization meaningless. That measure was recently withdrawn from the ballot when they and the large apartment ownership interests came to understand that (a) it would be defeated and (b) it would damage the candidacies of those on the council through whom they try to undermine rent stabilization. Those same apartment owner interests have provided material financial support to council members Abe-Koga and Matichak.

We believe deeply in the benefits of rent stabilization under current circumstances. It gives some hope for the continued Mountain View residency of service workers, seniors on fixed incomes and others at the affordability margins. We value what they bring to us here in Mountain View.

We also must say that we tire of the repeated efforts of the property owners and their political advocates to undermine voter-approved rent stabilization legislation. The CSFRA has been successful, limiting increases to 3.5% or so over the four years of its implementation. The administration of the act through its Rental Housing Committee has not cost the city and us as residents one penny. There is no backlog of appeals on either the landlord or tenant side.

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This council election matters. We have so much to do to feed, educate and secure our community. We must work on environmental issues. We have four Council candidates who are experienced, capable and have complementary sets of skills that can move us forward. Most important, they are looking out for all members of our community. We will be voting for Pat Showalter, Alex Nunez, Lenny Siegel, and Sally Lieber. We hope you will, too.

Carol and Keating Rhoads

View Street

MVLA board election

As the leading organizer of MVLA Neighborhood Cares, a 200-plus member organization dedicated to working with the Mountain View-Los Altos School District and schools on a thoroughly considered implementation of field lights and sound systems at LAHS and MVHS this year, I wholeheartedly endorse both Phil Fallaice and Sanjay Dave for reelection to the MVLA Board of Education for the next four years.

During Phil’s presidency of the board in 2019, and Sanjay’s presidency in 2020, both the interests of our neighborhood members and high school stakeholders were included in the balanced outcomes of the lights and sound policies adopted by the board in June 2019. Both Phil and Sanjay engaged to work in countless hours of mutual due diligence discussions to achieve this goal of neighborhood inclusion in this important project.

I joined the Zoom board meetings this year while we all dealt with the extreme decisions needed to educate our children safely, and practicably, during this COVID pandemic. Both Phil and Sanjay understand the challenges our schools’ teachers, students and administrators are faced with, as we all navigate this crisis. At any time, and especially now, I endorse Phil Faillace and Sanjay Dave for reelection to the board in November.

Mac McConnell

Bruckner Circle

Census 2020

The city of Mountain View has one last chance to make sure we all get counted in the 2020 census. With one week left, there is still time.

According to the Santa Clara County Office of the Census as of Sept. 17, the city has a response rate of 74.9%, but we still need your help to encourage responses of our “hard to count” communities. These populations are defined by the census as children under 5, seniors, individuals with disabilities, immigrants, and the unstably housed.

Collaborations have been critical to ensuring the city’s “hard to count” community is engaged. The city partnered with the Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View to provide on-site mobile questionnaire assistance during food and mask distribution with translation services as well as special “pop-up” events with the city’s Multilingual Community Outreach Program. Santa Clara County as well as the city have continued to adapt operations to protect the health and safety of staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “self-reporting” part of the 2020 census began in mid-March, when most households received a letter with instructions on how to provide the necessary information online. The 2020 census follow-up work was set to start April 1, coinciding with Census Day, which I mentioned in my “The Census is here: It’s time to get counted” letter to the Voice. However, the pandemic delayed in-person work until late summer and the count deadline was moved to October 31. Last month, the federal government revised the cutoff date to Sept. 30, a full four weeks earlier. This is why your participation and those of our entire community is so critical in the next week.

Let’s complete our 2020 census today and ensure our fair share of dollars come back into our community.

Ellen Kamei

Mountain View Vice Mayor & Santa Clara County Complete Count Steering Committee Member

Yes on Measure RR

Caltrain service is an indispensable transportation resource for our tri-county area. Measure RR proposes a modest one-eighth cent sales tax in order to continue to provide and improve efficient service, including faster and more frequent trains. It is crucial that consistent, long-term funding be provided to Caltrain as fares cover only 70% of operating costs. Once the electrification of the system is complete, Caltrain will offer a low-carbon alternative to their diesel engines, which is fundamental for our environment and well-being.

Measure RR reduces individual vehicle miles traveled, which is a solution that eases the consequences of climate-related hardships, especially to low and moderate income households. Under the plan to upgrade the train, discounts for low-income passengers would be added. Caltrain preserves the maximum protection of public health and the environment. Please vote yes on Measure RR.

Donna Davies

Alison Avenue

Climate change challenge

Aside from the coronavirus crisis and political upheaval, 2020 is confronting the climate change challenge. These past few weeks, California fires directly caused by humans have been exacerbated by dry forest conditions.

Pictures of blazing orange skies on my friends' social media resembled an apocalypse movie poster. Yet the 3.5 million acres burned by nearly 8,000 wildfires in California are not just another unfortunate event of this year — they're sparks of increasingly common and more severe wildfires in the years ahead.

Moreover, environmental issues are inseparable from social justice and public health; those most harmed by environmental degradation are the most marginalized, such as inmate firefighters and low-income neighborhoods near hazardous waste sites.

Starting college in California last year, I loved the environmental awareness and political advocacy in the atmosphere but hastily evacuated in March. As I sit at home, I wonder when I can ever return to campus and breathe in the fresh air without a mask because of respiratory viruses or wildfire smoke.

Catherine Luo

Stanford

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Letters to the editor: Mountain View City Council election, Caltrain measure, climate change

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 8:32 am

Council election and rent control

Mountain View voters rejected Measure D by a 70-30 margin in March of this year. Measure D had been crafted by largely out-of-city interests to undermine the 2016 legislated rent stabilization measure (the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act or “CSFRA”). Under Measure D, rents this year would have risen 4% to 8% when one includes amounts for liberalized pass-through of costs to renters. Under the CSFRA, rent increases this year were limited to 2.9%. That difference counts, particularly when renters are struggling – along with all of us – with COVID-19.

Of those running for City Council this November, three supported Measure D. They are Margaret Abe-Koga, Lisa Matichak and Jose Gutierrez. Their support is consistent with long-term opposition to rent stabilization. Abe-Koga and Matichak also crafted a competing measure at the time the community voted to accept the CSFRA, and they were supportive of the so-called “sneaky repeal”. The sneaky repeal would have rendered rent stabilization meaningless. That measure was recently withdrawn from the ballot when they and the large apartment ownership interests came to understand that (a) it would be defeated and (b) it would damage the candidacies of those on the council through whom they try to undermine rent stabilization. Those same apartment owner interests have provided material financial support to council members Abe-Koga and Matichak.

We believe deeply in the benefits of rent stabilization under current circumstances. It gives some hope for the continued Mountain View residency of service workers, seniors on fixed incomes and others at the affordability margins. We value what they bring to us here in Mountain View.

We also must say that we tire of the repeated efforts of the property owners and their political advocates to undermine voter-approved rent stabilization legislation. The CSFRA has been successful, limiting increases to 3.5% or so over the four years of its implementation. The administration of the act through its Rental Housing Committee has not cost the city and us as residents one penny. There is no backlog of appeals on either the landlord or tenant side.

This council election matters. We have so much to do to feed, educate and secure our community. We must work on environmental issues. We have four Council candidates who are experienced, capable and have complementary sets of skills that can move us forward. Most important, they are looking out for all members of our community. We will be voting for Pat Showalter, Alex Nunez, Lenny Siegel, and Sally Lieber. We hope you will, too.

Carol and Keating Rhoads

View Street

MVLA board election

As the leading organizer of MVLA Neighborhood Cares, a 200-plus member organization dedicated to working with the Mountain View-Los Altos School District and schools on a thoroughly considered implementation of field lights and sound systems at LAHS and MVHS this year, I wholeheartedly endorse both Phil Fallaice and Sanjay Dave for reelection to the MVLA Board of Education for the next four years.

During Phil’s presidency of the board in 2019, and Sanjay’s presidency in 2020, both the interests of our neighborhood members and high school stakeholders were included in the balanced outcomes of the lights and sound policies adopted by the board in June 2019. Both Phil and Sanjay engaged to work in countless hours of mutual due diligence discussions to achieve this goal of neighborhood inclusion in this important project.

I joined the Zoom board meetings this year while we all dealt with the extreme decisions needed to educate our children safely, and practicably, during this COVID pandemic. Both Phil and Sanjay understand the challenges our schools’ teachers, students and administrators are faced with, as we all navigate this crisis. At any time, and especially now, I endorse Phil Faillace and Sanjay Dave for reelection to the board in November.

Mac McConnell

Bruckner Circle

Census 2020

The city of Mountain View has one last chance to make sure we all get counted in the 2020 census. With one week left, there is still time.

According to the Santa Clara County Office of the Census as of Sept. 17, the city has a response rate of 74.9%, but we still need your help to encourage responses of our “hard to count” communities. These populations are defined by the census as children under 5, seniors, individuals with disabilities, immigrants, and the unstably housed.

Collaborations have been critical to ensuring the city’s “hard to count” community is engaged. The city partnered with the Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View to provide on-site mobile questionnaire assistance during food and mask distribution with translation services as well as special “pop-up” events with the city’s Multilingual Community Outreach Program. Santa Clara County as well as the city have continued to adapt operations to protect the health and safety of staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “self-reporting” part of the 2020 census began in mid-March, when most households received a letter with instructions on how to provide the necessary information online. The 2020 census follow-up work was set to start April 1, coinciding with Census Day, which I mentioned in my “The Census is here: It’s time to get counted” letter to the Voice. However, the pandemic delayed in-person work until late summer and the count deadline was moved to October 31. Last month, the federal government revised the cutoff date to Sept. 30, a full four weeks earlier. This is why your participation and those of our entire community is so critical in the next week.

Let’s complete our 2020 census today and ensure our fair share of dollars come back into our community.

Ellen Kamei

Mountain View Vice Mayor & Santa Clara County Complete Count Steering Committee Member

Yes on Measure RR

Caltrain service is an indispensable transportation resource for our tri-county area. Measure RR proposes a modest one-eighth cent sales tax in order to continue to provide and improve efficient service, including faster and more frequent trains. It is crucial that consistent, long-term funding be provided to Caltrain as fares cover only 70% of operating costs. Once the electrification of the system is complete, Caltrain will offer a low-carbon alternative to their diesel engines, which is fundamental for our environment and well-being.

Measure RR reduces individual vehicle miles traveled, which is a solution that eases the consequences of climate-related hardships, especially to low and moderate income households. Under the plan to upgrade the train, discounts for low-income passengers would be added. Caltrain preserves the maximum protection of public health and the environment. Please vote yes on Measure RR.

Donna Davies

Alison Avenue

Climate change challenge

Aside from the coronavirus crisis and political upheaval, 2020 is confronting the climate change challenge. These past few weeks, California fires directly caused by humans have been exacerbated by dry forest conditions.

Pictures of blazing orange skies on my friends' social media resembled an apocalypse movie poster. Yet the 3.5 million acres burned by nearly 8,000 wildfires in California are not just another unfortunate event of this year — they're sparks of increasingly common and more severe wildfires in the years ahead.

Moreover, environmental issues are inseparable from social justice and public health; those most harmed by environmental degradation are the most marginalized, such as inmate firefighters and low-income neighborhoods near hazardous waste sites.

Starting college in California last year, I loved the environmental awareness and political advocacy in the atmosphere but hastily evacuated in March. As I sit at home, I wonder when I can ever return to campus and breathe in the fresh air without a mask because of respiratory viruses or wildfire smoke.

Catherine Luo

Stanford

Comments

Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 27, 2020 at 1:26 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2020 at 1:26 am
11 people like this

Appreciate the letters. A bit of a correction to the first one about City Council candidates and rent control. It is true that incumbent Margaret Abe-Koga has always opposed rent control. I am not sure about incumbent Lisa Matichat - but she did join Abe-Koga in proposing Measure D placed on the March 2020 ballot. Another supporter of Measure D was City Council candidate Jose Gutierrez - a school board member - although Mr. Gutierrez insists he supported the 2016 rent control initiative (Measure V). Newcomer Paul Roales does not seem to advocate any rent control - except during the pandemic. As to former Councilmember Pat Showalter (2014-2018), she not only opposed Measure V in 2016 but placed a deceptive competing measure (W) on the same ballot in an extra effort to defeat it. Showalter did sign a ballot argument in 2020 against Measure D (on the March ballot) but did so planning to run for Council later in the year. Showalter is not on my list of rent limitation supporters - but it is possible that she has changed her mind. The clear supporters of rent control - extending to mobile home parks - are (1) Sally Lieber, (2) Lenny Siegel, (3) Alex Nunes and (4) John Lashlee. Measure RR is a RIDICULOUS RIPOFF. It would double the money for a train almost no one rides (and no one should ride) to pay, in part, for absurdly high salaries, benefits and pensions. See TRANSPARENT CALIFORNIA.COM


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2020 at 9:54 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2020 at 9:54 am
8 people like this

Gary,

We have had differences, but this is NOT one of them.

Margeret Abe Koga (MAK), put false videos up on the late MeasureVTooCostly.com website which were nothing but deception, the story "Councilwoman draws fire for political ad
" can be found here (Web Link)

What is interesting is someone paid a high price to get all traces of this activity deleted from the web.

THen MAK and Lisa Matichek (LM) proved they cannot be loyal to the democratic party when they promoted the Measure D in the last election against the silicon valley democratic party. Everyone knows that if you join a party, there is an "oath" of loyalty, almost like the "oath" to not represent private interests when being a member of the City Council.

Finally there is Jose Gutierrez (JG), which also made false claims in advertisements to support Measure D.

MAK and LM have been using their position to destroy rent controlled units whenever possible and in effect exile tenants from the city of Mountain view to engineer the voters. So that real estate and apartment businesses can reestablish control over the City of Mountain View. Thus requiring SB330 to put a stop to it.

At least when Measure W was in the election, the City Council then didn't attempt to be deceptive like these ones. And in fact, once Measure V was approved, I give some credit to Pat Showalter and Lenny Seigal because they implemented an eviction protection order immediately to prevent the tenants from being thrown out prior to the effective date of the CSFRA. The landlords threatened to do it during the Measure V campaign.

The reality is that MAK, LM, and JG are paid advocates of the real estate and housing markets here in Mountain View and nothing more. If the oath of the City Council prohibits that action, they are disqualified from being members of the City Council, and thus voters should think about this.


Rodger
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 28, 2020 at 2:59 pm
Rodger, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2020 at 2:59 pm
6 people like this

I would like to read in the Mountain View voice statements from each of city council candidates regarding their position on each measure that impacts the city.
Be sure to include plans and goals for the trailers parked on the city street,
housing/apartment density, and development for downtown
I plan on reading this future article to determine how to vote. By the way candidates posting tacky signs all over the city is a big turn off.


MV neighbor
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2020 at 3:05 pm
MV neighbor, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2020 at 3:05 pm
8 people like this

Please, who can ever trust Pat Showalter on any issue after her flip on rapid bus lanes on El Camino...for those who don’t remember, she campaigned 6 years ago opposing the rapid bus lanes (which would have eliminated two traffic lanes and created permanent gridlock on El Camino) and then voted in favor of them within weeks of taking office. Not one of those, “after months of study and analysis, I have reconsidered my position” kinds of flipflops..


Jeremy Hoffman
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Sep 28, 2020 at 4:14 pm
Jeremy Hoffman, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2020 at 4:14 pm
5 people like this

Bus lanes don't create gridlock. Cars create gridlock. Bus lanes are one tool in the toolbox to reduce the gridlock otherwise created by cars.


Tina
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2020 at 5:23 pm
Tina, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2020 at 5:23 pm
3 people like this

@stevegoldstein

"Everyone knows that if you join a party, there is an "oath" of loyalty, almost like the "oath" to not represent private interests when being a member of the City Council."

I guess if you cannot think for yourself then you should join a party. I did not think this was how the country got started.


MV neighbor
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm
MV neighbor, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm
7 people like this

@Jeremy Hoffman, regardless of how you feel about the VTA rapid bus lanes on El Camino idea, Pat said one thing in campaign and did exactly the opposite within weeks of taking office.. I understand public officials, like ordinary people, can change their minds, but this was a key issue in the 2014 election and the flip was so quick....so take everything she says now with a grain of salt.


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