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 That measure was recently withdrawn from the ballot when they and the large apartment ownership interests came to understand that (a) it would be defeated and (b) it would damage the candidacies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
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.
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.
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.
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.