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ACLU, Law Foundation, Disability Rights Advocates announce lawsuit to stop Mountain View's RV parking ban

Attorneys contend that city's narrow streets ordinance aims to oust the homeless, not improve traffic safety

Nadia Aziz, the directing attorney of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, speaks to media at a press conference outside City Hall in Mountain View on July 14, 2021. A group of legal advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the city of Mountain View to block an ordinance that bans RVs and oversized vehicles from parking on 83% city streets.

A coalition of legal advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Mountain View to block an ordinance that bans RVs and trailers from being parked on most city streets, calling it an attempt to oust homeless people living in vehicles.

The legal challenge, spearheaded by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California and Disability Rights Advocates, comes right as Mountain View was slated to begin enforcement of the so-called "narrow streets" ordinance. Under the law, oversized vehicles like RVs would be prohibited from parking on streets that are 40 feet wide or less -- about 83% of all streets in the city.

While the ordinance is written as a traffic safety measure, the coalition argues that the real intent behind the law is to prohibit homeless people from living in their vehicles on public roadways. Surveys have shown upward of 250 vehicles in Mountain View are inhabited, and that many people rely on cars and RVs for shelter. Once the "no parking" signs are installed, those living in oversized vehicles will be required to move or face having their vehicle towed.

"This ban punishes people for being too poor to afford permanent housing and attempts to expel them from the city of Mountain View," said Sam Diamant, an attorney with the firm King & Spalding, at a Wednesday press conference. "The city of Mountain View's attempt to banish RV residents is both unconstitutional and morally wrong."

Among those at risk of displacement are Celerina Navarro, a 19-year Mountain View resident currently living in an RV. A plaintiff in the case, Navarro said an unaffordable rent increase pushed her onto the streets six years ago, forcing her to instead live in a vehicle. Every day she lives in fear that her RV will be towed, and that she and her school-age children will be ousted from the city.

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"Mountain View is my city too, I have a community here, my children go to school here and I receive medical care in the area," Navarro said through a translator. "Instead of kicking us out because we're poor, I want the city to provide permanent affordable housing options for myself and all Mountain View residents."

Celerina Navarro, a resident of Mountain View for the last 19 years and a plaintiff in the case, explains that six years ago rent increases forced her and her family to move into an RV, at a press conference outside City Hall in Mountain View on July 14, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The City Council approved the narrow streets ordinance in 2019, but it was swiftly subject to a voter referendum. The ordinance appeared on the November 2020 ballot as Measure C, where it passed with nearly 57% of the vote. In the lead-up to the measure, it was clear that people on both sides of the issue acknowledged the RV ban was really about homelessness -- not traffic safety.

Attempts to overtly ban living in vehicles, including a similar 2013 effort by the city of Palo Alto, have been subject to legal challenge. A 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit struck down a law in Los Angeles that tried to prevent the use of vehicles as living quarters, which was found to be unconstitutional and invited discriminatory enforcement against the homeless.

Legal advocates said Mountain View's law is particularly tough on those with disabilities, and that many of these people live in RVs to stay close to family, local resources and health care. Many are living in RVs because they lost access to affordable housing and cannot afford the high cost of living in the area.

Janet Stevens, a 63-year-old Mountain View resident and plaintiff in the case, has chronic fatigue syndrome, high blood pressure and is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, according to the suit. Her treatment requires her to go to Sutter Health's Mountain View Center, where she goes for support for her chronic fatigue and for emergency care when her blood pressure becomes irregular.

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"As a result of her numerous disabilities, Stevens is unable to work and receives Social Security Disability Income," according to the suit. "Because she cannot afford market-rate housing and temporary housing shelters near the medical center do not exist, her only option is to live in an RV near the facility."

Civil rights attorneys have previously warned that they would take legal action against the city for parking prohibitions aimed at ousting homeless people from city streets. The suit filed Wednesday repeats many of the same arguments against unlawful targeting of the homeless.

Protesters hold signs in support of RV parking behind Michael Trujillo, an attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, during a press conference in front of City Hall in Mountain View on July 14, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The lawsuit, which can be viewed here, seeks to wipe out both the narrow streets ordinance as well as a similar ordinance banning large vehicles from being parked on streets with bike lanes. It alleges that the parking prohibitions sought to target vulnerable residents who have been forced to seek shelter in RVs in order to remain in the high-cost city, violating their inalienable rights and burdening them with excessive fines and fees.

It also alleges that the pair of laws amount to unlawful seizure of property by towing and a violation of Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of movement, along with a violation of right to privacy under the California Constitution.

Michael Trujillo, a staff attorney with the Law Foundation, urged the city not to ticket or tow any inhabited RV parked in a way that does not create an immediate safety concern. He said the law is both unconstitutional and inhumane, and that the nearly $1 million slated for rolling out the parking ban should be reinvested in affordable housing instead of chasing people out of the city.

"Everyone should have the opportunity to live and feel safe in their community regardless of income level," he said. "RVs provide stability and shelter for people and families who otherwise would be homeless or displaced from the community."

Mountain View city officials say they are still evaluating the lawsuit, and said in a statement that oversized vehicles on narrow roadways can encroach on traffic lanes. This can increase the risk of a collision for both cars and bicyclists, and can hinder emergency vehicles navigating traffic.

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ACLU, Law Foundation, Disability Rights Advocates announce lawsuit to stop Mountain View's RV parking ban

Attorneys contend that city's narrow streets ordinance aims to oust the homeless, not improve traffic safety

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 3:08 pm
Updated: Wed, Jul 14, 2021, 12:32 pm

A coalition of legal advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Mountain View to block an ordinance that bans RVs and trailers from being parked on most city streets, calling it an attempt to oust homeless people living in vehicles.

The legal challenge, spearheaded by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California and Disability Rights Advocates, comes right as Mountain View was slated to begin enforcement of the so-called "narrow streets" ordinance. Under the law, oversized vehicles like RVs would be prohibited from parking on streets that are 40 feet wide or less -- about 83% of all streets in the city.

While the ordinance is written as a traffic safety measure, the coalition argues that the real intent behind the law is to prohibit homeless people from living in their vehicles on public roadways. Surveys have shown upward of 250 vehicles in Mountain View are inhabited, and that many people rely on cars and RVs for shelter. Once the "no parking" signs are installed, those living in oversized vehicles will be required to move or face having their vehicle towed.

"This ban punishes people for being too poor to afford permanent housing and attempts to expel them from the city of Mountain View," said Sam Diamant, an attorney with the firm King & Spalding, at a Wednesday press conference. "The city of Mountain View's attempt to banish RV residents is both unconstitutional and morally wrong."

Among those at risk of displacement are Celerina Navarro, a 19-year Mountain View resident currently living in an RV. A plaintiff in the case, Navarro said an unaffordable rent increase pushed her onto the streets six years ago, forcing her to instead live in a vehicle. Every day she lives in fear that her RV will be towed, and that she and her school-age children will be ousted from the city.

"Mountain View is my city too, I have a community here, my children go to school here and I receive medical care in the area," Navarro said through a translator. "Instead of kicking us out because we're poor, I want the city to provide permanent affordable housing options for myself and all Mountain View residents."

The City Council approved the narrow streets ordinance in 2019, but it was swiftly subject to a voter referendum. The ordinance appeared on the November 2020 ballot as Measure C, where it passed with nearly 57% of the vote. In the lead-up to the measure, it was clear that people on both sides of the issue acknowledged the RV ban was really about homelessness -- not traffic safety.

Attempts to overtly ban living in vehicles, including a similar 2013 effort by the city of Palo Alto, have been subject to legal challenge. A 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit struck down a law in Los Angeles that tried to prevent the use of vehicles as living quarters, which was found to be unconstitutional and invited discriminatory enforcement against the homeless.

Legal advocates said Mountain View's law is particularly tough on those with disabilities, and that many of these people live in RVs to stay close to family, local resources and health care. Many are living in RVs because they lost access to affordable housing and cannot afford the high cost of living in the area.

Janet Stevens, a 63-year-old Mountain View resident and plaintiff in the case, has chronic fatigue syndrome, high blood pressure and is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, according to the suit. Her treatment requires her to go to Sutter Health's Mountain View Center, where she goes for support for her chronic fatigue and for emergency care when her blood pressure becomes irregular.

"As a result of her numerous disabilities, Stevens is unable to work and receives Social Security Disability Income," according to the suit. "Because she cannot afford market-rate housing and temporary housing shelters near the medical center do not exist, her only option is to live in an RV near the facility."

Civil rights attorneys have previously warned that they would take legal action against the city for parking prohibitions aimed at ousting homeless people from city streets. The suit filed Wednesday repeats many of the same arguments against unlawful targeting of the homeless.

The lawsuit, which can be viewed here, seeks to wipe out both the narrow streets ordinance as well as a similar ordinance banning large vehicles from being parked on streets with bike lanes. It alleges that the parking prohibitions sought to target vulnerable residents who have been forced to seek shelter in RVs in order to remain in the high-cost city, violating their inalienable rights and burdening them with excessive fines and fees.

It also alleges that the pair of laws amount to unlawful seizure of property by towing and a violation of Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of movement, along with a violation of right to privacy under the California Constitution.

Michael Trujillo, a staff attorney with the Law Foundation, urged the city not to ticket or tow any inhabited RV parked in a way that does not create an immediate safety concern. He said the law is both unconstitutional and inhumane, and that the nearly $1 million slated for rolling out the parking ban should be reinvested in affordable housing instead of chasing people out of the city.

"Everyone should have the opportunity to live and feel safe in their community regardless of income level," he said. "RVs provide stability and shelter for people and families who otherwise would be homeless or displaced from the community."

Mountain View city officials say they are still evaluating the lawsuit, and said in a statement that oversized vehicles on narrow roadways can encroach on traffic lanes. This can increase the risk of a collision for both cars and bicyclists, and can hinder emergency vehicles navigating traffic.

Comments

Alan
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2021 at 3:14 pm
Alan, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 13, 2021 at 3:14 pm

This RV and camper issue is a total nuisance not to mention unsafe for families with children. It is ridiculous that I am paying $5300 in rent each month yet, I have to look out my window To see Dreadful rundown Campers and RVs. Dispite what some believe in this article they ARE A Safety hazard. They park on both sides of the street which limits a two-lane street to one lane In certain areas. The people living in these RVs and campers have stolen all of the fruit from my trees, put up houses to my water faucets and one even attempted to run a power cord through my fence to an outside outlet of my home! My last water bill for one month was $390!! there is zero reasons for these campers to be allowed in any city for any reason. If The members of the groups that are fighting to save these campers and make Public streets look like a junkyard, why isn’t the ACLU and other “pro-Rv” shelling out their own money and funds to help support these people if They’re so concerned? I bet the majority of these people supporting or suing the city to help keep these campers on the streets of Mountain View, probably don’t live anywhere near the horrid eyesores that my family and I have to witness each day all-the-while paying a fortune in Rent and utilities. I urge anyone who is having problems with these trailers and RVs and in some cases boats wanting to have them removed from our streets, please come to the city Council meeting tomorrow. These campers and RVs are not only unsafe Our children, not to mention road safety. this problematic issue has been going on far too long and needs to be fixed immediately. Just like any other vehicle that is blocking public streets they should be removed.


Longview
Registered user
Slater
on Jul 13, 2021 at 3:52 pm
Longview, Slater
Registered user
on Jul 13, 2021 at 3:52 pm

I wish the City had made the effort to identify streets where RVs could park away from homes. Then RV dwellers would have a way to stay in their community, with less impact, and the City would probably not be facing a lawsuit.


Xbr976
Registered user
another community
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:17 pm
Xbr976 , another community
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:17 pm

They are definitely a traffic hazard if you commute by bicycle in Mtn. View as I did for many years. Navigation around motor homes was always something worrying and that I was relieved to get past.


jordydog1
Registered user
Slater
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:42 pm
jordydog1, Slater
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:42 pm

Mountain View is the only town in the area with a city-sponsored RV safe parking program. Why is the ACLU suing Mountain View and not the towns that don’t permit ANY oversized vehicle parking?


MV neighbor
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:50 pm
MV neighbor, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:50 pm

It is interesting that the lawsuit challenges the restriction on parking oversized vehicles on streets with bike lanes. That wasn’t challenged in the referendum...wonder why now?


Lenny Siegel2
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:59 pm
Lenny Siegel2, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:59 pm

@jordydog1

East Palo Alto established a safe parking program before Mountain View. In fact, some Mountain View vehicle residents moved there. Palo Alto established one this year. Motorhomes are parked on the streets in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

But Mountain View only has about 70 slots of off-street, safe parking, for nearly 300 oversized-vehicle households. If you're bothered by seeing them on our streets, then join me in advocating for more safe parking spots, with appropriate services. It's the right thing to do, no matter what other cities do.


Lenny Siegel2
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:03 pm
Lenny Siegel2, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:03 pm

@Xbr976
I bike all over Mountain View, and I often find my way blocked by delivery trucks, construction vehicles, and other obstacles. But motorhomes are rarely a problem. Mountain View no longer has motorhomes in bike lanes. In fact, in the past, they were limited to a short stretch on Shoreline Blvd. Where do you assert that there is a problem?


Peter
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:26 pm
Peter, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Mountain View has done so much good by opening several safe parking lots. The RV owners think they have some "right" to decide that they can park their RV anywhere they want? I bet that if you ask the lawyers from the article above to open up their driveways to an RV, I think it's a safe bet that they would decline. And that goes for Lenny S., who failed to reply to me request that he open up his driveway to an RV. The hypocrisy is staggering. We voted for this ban. It's time to close pandoras box. I'd love top live in Atherton or woodside, but I can't afford it. I think the RV owners need to take ownership of their life and move somewhere where they can afford to raise their family.


Peter
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:41 pm
Peter, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:41 pm

BTW, what do they RV owners want? A permanent spot on the streets for the rest of the lives? And if that is true, and as was the case in the past, Mountain View will be a destination for RV's from all over. I mean, come on! Enough is Enough! Give an inch, take a mile. Nowhere in this article is it mentioned the good that Mountain View has done.


M Hughes
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:42 pm
M Hughes, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:42 pm

@Lenny. Why isn’t ACLU suing Los Altos which has zero tolerance for RV dwellers, , more open space and no safe parking?


MV neighbor
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:44 pm
MV neighbor, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:44 pm

LennySiegel2...re your statement that MV no longer allows oversized vehicles in bike lanes..but the lawsuit would strike down that ordinance as well as narrow streets. Please explain why?


M Hughes
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:56 pm
M Hughes, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:56 pm

An RV with no access to septic system for human waste, electrical and fresh water is UNSAFE and ILLEGAL. . If these units were houses they would be red tagged as inhabitable. Enabling the poor to live in slums on wheels (often owned by disreputable ‘landlords’) is the real crime here. Meanwhile the gainfully employed RV dwellers living in newer rigs need to stop freeloading off of the Mountain View taxpayers.


Concerned
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:57 pm
Concerned, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:57 pm

It's time to honor the will of the voters. Many of these RV's are not roadworthy and are a blight with junk all around their RV's. Also, where is their human waste going??? It's time to ticket the RV's that are not roadworthy, littering, leaking and dumping raw sewage in the drain's or on the streets. These are a public health hazard and a road safety violation. It's time for other cities to step up as Mountain View has been too accommodating and been taken advantage of.


M Hughes
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm
M Hughes, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm

@Peter of Cuesta Park - well said but minor correction. You said “Mountain View Will BE a destination for RV's from all over”; Mountain View IS a destination for RV's from all over, and has been for years now.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jul 14, 2021 at 4:06 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 4:06 pm

If the stakes weren't so high for the poor people being targeted by the RV Ban, it would be humorous how quickly the posters here give away the game. The City's entire pretext for the ban was road safety, but Council and the commenters here just can't resist talking about how much they just want to get rid of these people.

Discovery in this case will certainly be enlightening!


Peter
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:07 pm
Peter, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Reply to Randy:
Let democracy work. The voters have spoken.
Don’t try and demonize us just because we want our laws to be enforced! I’ve seen firsthand how poorly an RV owner mistreated the area surrounding their RV.
I suspect that you don’t have a driveway that you would let an RV park?


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:21 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:21 pm

Who am I demonizing? The City and Councilmembers have repeatedly said that the ban was solely about traffic safety. Every time the city was asked, they were shocked and appalled that anyone could even suggest that the goal was to roust the vehicle dwellers.

That the supporters of the ban and the council members discussing it *still* can't keep their messaging consistent is what I find darkly humorous, and why I expect discovery during this lawsuit will be revealing.


Activist Socialist
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:38 pm
Activist Socialist, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Well thank god for that. Nice to see there are groups looking out of the vulnerable in our community.


Alison
Registered user
Bailey Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 6:31 pm
Alison, Bailey Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 6:31 pm

Every town is facing this issue - big and small - SF to SJ and East Bay Oakland to Peninsula - this is bc we do not have a low- to very-low and even moderate level. Alan above says he’s paying 5k+ and we need $600 and $1300 and 2k housing! We need HOMES!! Redwood City has “safe lot” but only for working RVs that are driveable and registered to the person and insured. The most vulnerable lose everything, people with fifth wheel can’t drive in. This is safety net housing and our miedeval (literally “landLORD” and “serf tenant” model is outdated. We need public land trust and tiny homes, safe camps and safe lots, people living on boats and we need affordable HOMES not luxury apartments!


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:46 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:46 pm

@Alison: we have a “tiny” home village, safe parking lots and a hotel project for transitional housing in the works. We all know who is behind this lawsuit. Funny, his street is off limits for any RV. Convenient, isn’t it.


TheReasonableMan
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:51 pm
TheReasonableMan, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:51 pm

The ACLU, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and lawyers from King & Spalding have filed a lawsuit seeking to enshrine in the constitution a right to housing. (Spoiler alert -there is no constitutional right to housing or to have your rent paid for that matter.) In this case the house in question has wheels - and according to this “complaint” there is in fact a constitutional right to park RV’s on the streets of Mountain View. Think of it as a curbside life estate - Blackacre on wheels. Michael Trujillo - a lawyer from the LFSV - who doesn’t live in Silicon Valley - let alone California - thinks that people have the right to live and feel safe in their communities. Fair enough. But where does he find that right - I’d like to know! I’d like to live in Pacific Heights and have dinner nightly at La Folie but I can’t afford it - but according to these “lawyers” I can taste la dolce vita and park an RV on Divisidero and Broadway - I bet you 5 bucks Larry Ellison says no. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
Nomadland was an insipid depressing movie and watching Francis McDormand relieve herself in a bucket was not only not entertainment It was vomit inducing. I wouldn’t want those folks - or Frances McDormand for that matter - on my street. I bet Ms.Brunner wouldn’t either. I also bet she wouldn’t admit it. Let the people vote on this issue and stop cramming your values down our throats thru the courts. Are your afraid the people don’t agree with you?


[email protected]
Registered user
Castro City
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:14 am
[email protected], Castro City
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:14 am

[Post removed due to trolling]


FamilyMan
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:26 am
FamilyMan, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:26 am

[Post removed due to trolling]


Jennifer
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:34 pm
Jennifer, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Shame on you Mountain View Voice! Aren't news articles supposed to be bi-partisan? This article reads VERY one-sided to me. How about describing how Mountain View residents have had to deal with this issue OVER and OVER and have spoken, several times now. We have VOTED. How about quoting people whose lives have been affected NEGATIVELY from the RVs, like stories from these comments. Notice those stories are missing from the article?

The people in Mountain View DO NOT WANT RV's parked permanently on our city streets. We've said it OVER and OVER again. This doesn't mean we don't want RV's in Mountain View. We just want them in safe, DESIGNATED locations that have running water, electricity, and proper ways for them to dispose of their waste. STOP VILLIANIZING us for this. It's our RIGHT, as homeowners (that pay extremely high property taxes by the way) to have bike paths and narrow streets clear.

Why does Mountain View continue to be targeted? Why not go after other neighboring cities that haven't done as much as Mountain View or spent time/money on these issues? Is it bc we don't have enough ultra-wealthy ppl to fight this? LEAVE US ALONE!

Can you imagine what the city of Mountain View will become if RV's are allowed to park anywhere they want, permanently? Homeowners will leave and move on, houses will lose their value, and it will become a full RV city. Taxpayers and businesses will move on.

I'm getting so tired of Mountian View being bullied with this issue over and over. Why do we vote if our votes don't count??? What is the point?

MOUNTAIN VIEW CITY COUNCIL, please hold up the ordinances that your citizens WANT and VOTED FOR and FIGHT THIS with all of your might. Don't be responsible for turning our beautiful city into the RV Ranch of the USA. The citizens have elected YOU to represent US and it's your job to hire the best lawyers and FIGHT this with all your might.

If you agree, please leave your comments below.



Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:43 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:43 pm

Jennifer, thank you for getting to the point and making it clear to what the RV ban is about! To you, it's not about traffic safety, as the City has claimed, but it's about ensuring that your property values don't go down and that those who can't afford rent get out.


Jennifer
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:42 pm
Jennifer, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:42 pm

Dear Randy,

Please stop spreading lies. If you actually read my post, you would see that I DO NOT want RVs out, I just want them to park in designated areas that are SAFE and that provide help in terms of fresh water, electricity, and proper disposal of waste. Why is this so hard to understand? Please don't imply that you know me or who I am as a person. You would be amazed by the amount of time, money, and effort I spend on charity work including helping homeless people, foster children, and battered women - three areas are close to my heart. How much charity work do you actually do?

I'm so tired of people bullying us and villainizing us for having an opinion that they don't share. We have a right to our opinion just as you do. And clearly, the MAJORITY of Mountain View citizens feel the same about the RV issue - we have voted over and over now and this issue continues to pass. Do our votes even count anymore?

I strongly encourage anyone who is frustrated with this issue to do everything they can. Write your city council members, write your board of director members, demand action. Otherwise, I'm afraid we will once again lose and Mountain View will soon not look like Mountain View anymore.

Again, I am NOT against RVs, homeless people, poor people, etc. I actually have deep empathy for anyone who is struggling. I just don't want RV's to have the right to park all over our narrow city streets and I don't apologize for my opinion.


xbr976
Registered user
another community
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:53 pm
xbr976 , another community
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:53 pm

No Randy, It can be about traffic safety—esp in my view if you bicycle (who likes to be unnecessarily forced further into a traffic lane while going past gross looking motor homes!) or having to make a turn in a car from a driveway can be difficult when your vision is impacted by a giant vehicle that seems to be permanently in the same place. These are not trivial concerns.

More to the point, I understand fully why people are fed up with this. It is horrible visual blight and makes housed residents feel less pride of place.

I remember a couple years ago reading in NYT about a young woman from Atlanta who landed what she thought was a well paying security job at Google and upon arriving in Mtn. View being stunned by how expensive it was (who knew that the nation’s most expensive housing was expensive?). Article said she and BF opted to live in motor home on city streets. My understanding is that this sort of situation isn’t uncommon.

Mtn. View shouldn’t be a dumping ground. Residents shouldn’t be expected to just accept this as a new normal.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:55 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:55 pm

You don't have to apologize for your opinion, but no matter how many people vote for it, the City does not have the right to roust poor people. In fact, it's refreshing that you're so up front about the motivations, rather than the pretext about traffic safety. As Council said in the run up to implementing the ban, they wanted to enact some "tough love" on the homeless in the city AND wanted it to cover all streets in the interest of "fairness."

They provided too few spots for these people to live, and then tried to make their current living situation illegal.


gretchen
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jul 15, 2021 at 2:44 pm
gretchen, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 2:44 pm

I see lots of comments about traffic, unsafe housing, lowering property values and voters speaking. I also see, we do enough, so let "them" go elsewhere. Let us talk about the "them". We all know "them". They serve us at local restaurants, they lay our carpets or put in our solar systems. Many of "them" have homes 100 or more miles away where they can afford to live but there is no work. So they come here for 5 nights a week to serve "us" and then go home for the weekend. Some of "them" ran from their own countries with fear for their lives, were raped, injured or lost family members. Many of us are here because the same happened to our families, if not in this generation then in generations past. All they want is safety for themselves and their families. Many of "them" are day laborers, clean our houses, or keep our gardens tidy. How do I know, I ask.

I do not see much data that "them" are the cause of crime or safety issues out of proportion to their numbers. In fact, I am almost sure it is the opposite. So what is the real concern? We do not like looking at "them". We fear "them". We do not want to be reminded that our pristine wealth created ghetto is built on the backs and sometimes the explorations of "them". Maybe we do not want to be reminded of our own family history.

We and "them" have a problem. The solution is not criminalizing "them" or making "them" truly homeless while at the same time depriving us of the labor we all need. I do not know the solution but I do know that at least part of it is working with "them".


Everly
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2021 at 8:15 pm
Everly, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 8:15 pm

I am extremely disappointed that the citizens voted twice to limit on street parking, for SAFETY reasons. If you read the ACLU demands, bike lanes will not be treated any differently than a non-bike lane. RVs and Oversized Vehicles had places to dump their waste, but no one took advantage of this program. This is about one thing, the unsafe living conditions, no hygienic place to shower and other daily needs. I personally know of a person who had human waste left in a bucket on her yard. Unbelievable! The voters had voted this issue in with a large majority, but Lenny Siegel with his Housing Coalition has stopped us before. We must stop this lawsuit and let the city council follow the voters referendum. I agree with many on this thread, stealing water (had to put water licks outside), bike lanes which would be included in ACLU’s lawsuit, and why is it that many surrounding cities have no programs to help house the poorer residents who work or live there. As was mentioned above, Los Altos should be one of the cities that should be looked with no affordable housing
Read where Mt View was considered to be on the excellent category with the housing of workers or people who were displaced. The cities around us should follow not only our excellent programs, but put the programs in their cities.
We have lived with filth, human waste, water stealing etc. Why? We voted on this and it needs to be enforced. Lenny Siegel has an agenda for people to live wherever they choose. Just remember, Lenny’s street doesn’t allow any vehicles over 3 tons. How convenient. So hypercritical
I urge everyone to either attend the council meeting and write to the entire city council and show them where the majority stand. Let’s take back our beautiful city!


bluesjr
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jul 15, 2021 at 8:34 pm
bluesjr, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 8:34 pm

I keep hearing that they serve us, clean for us, teach our children, etc., but I'd like to see real numbers. How many where MV residents when they started living on the street? How many are out of town workers who avoid our rents by parking on the streets mon-fri? How many were attracted here by our leniency?

The SJ Merc did an article on this lawsuit in Sunday's paper, and in the very first paragraph they highlighted a guy who couldn't afford San Mateo tents so he moves into a RV in MV. In another (pro-RV) online group someone posted a short documentary of a few vehicle dwellers that clearly revealed that one of them moved from up the Peninsula to PA due to their welcoming policy.

So, regardless of whether you support the RV dwellers or not, I think it is disingenuous to ignore that our (previously) lax policies made us a magnet and encouraged some to take advantage of our generosity.

If somebody's got numbers, please post them here for everyone's benefit.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:00 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:00 pm

So how many legit on street parking spaces for RV dwellers remain unaffected by the ordinance? I know one very wide street that used to have the edges of the road covered in actual camp sites. It seems like RV parking might still be allowed there, under the ordinance. Seems like there might be some others too. It's not an outright ban. Pretty complicated though.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:32 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:32 pm

Everly, isn't it freeing to not have to pretend that the city passed the ban in the interests of "traffic safety?" Honesty is truly the best policy.


bluesjr
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:00 am
bluesjr, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:00 am

Randy, you've made the same point three times. We get it.

Regardless of how it was pitched, voters surely knew what they were voting for - to ban RV's from (most of) our streets. I doubt many people cared about bicycle safety.


gretchen
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:08 am
gretchen, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:08 am

Bluesjr--I doubt that most people in Mt. view that moved into any type of residence here in the past two or three years did so from another residence in Mt. View. I have been here for many years but even I came from somewhere else.


Privilege
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 16, 2021 at 12:19 pm
Privilege, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 12:19 pm

It is amusing to me that the Law Foundation board - some of whom I know - live in Los Altos and other places that permit no RV parking at all. Pure hypocrisy.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:43 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:43 pm

I hope the lawyers for the plaintifs (all poor people?) are after an injunction to prevent the City from continuing to post the "SIGNS". Let them sit in Storage for a few years UNTIL there are actually working "safe RV spaces" enough for the unhoused population of MV to use.

"Planned" is not the same as existing. and - Rule of Law is already via the State Supremes that habitable RV housing is CA Constitutional if there is not sufficent permanent housing avaliable for the poor.

It does not mater one bit (*hit) what the Vote was. Come on people - Jim Crow laws and state constitutions in the Southern States (the states of The Rebellion) were enacted entirely by 'majority votes'. The Rule of Law is majority vote (especially local majority votes) do not and never have taken legal precedence over California State Constitutional 'rights' as interpreted by the Courts (the CA Supremes as finalists if the CA Con. does not violate the US Con. /via the US Supremes)

Thank you Randy. You are Not alone!


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 19, 2021 at 4:13 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 4:13 pm

FYI. in the City of Palo Alto instance, as linked by reporter Kevin and reported by a different reporter 7 years ago:
"quick to support Councilman Marc Berman's motion to repeal the ban."

In case you were 'unaware' or 'politically asleep-at-the-wheel" Marc Berman was elected to represent this district in the legislature of the State of California. Marc Berman, former Palo Alto City Councilman is the current State Assembly Member from the 24th Assembly District.

https://a24.asmdc.org


sonnyt650
Registered user
Castro City
on Jul 21, 2021 at 6:56 am
sonnyt650, Castro City
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 6:56 am

To insist that this law has solely ever been about safety is naïve (not in a good way), as is the expectation that local government is required to provide an alternative for everyone burdening the paying residents' good will. Let me put it this way: is it the federal government's obligation to provide alternatives for anyone that wants to enter the U.S.? The problem of unwelcome RVs squatting on public roads draining local resources is not unique to Mountain View, so I hope that our city government would reach out to others to request for a mutual legal defense.


Resident of MV
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jul 21, 2021 at 8:38 pm
Resident of MV, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 8:38 pm

Before the pandemic, I swim at Eagle Park once a week. Several times, while driving on Shoreline to Eagle Park, bikes have to pull out in front of me because the bike lane is blocked by RVs. That is dangerous.

For a while, a street near me had 2 RVs parking across from each other which essentially reduced the street to a single lane for two way traffic and reduced visibility from driveways and corners. That is dangerous.

Housing is expensive in the bay area and is a complicated issue. Having many RVs permanently parked on streets is definitely a traffic safety issue. Although I agree that there can be many other reasons why city council and voters passed ordinance to regulate large vehicle parking.


JustAWorkingStiff
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2021 at 10:16 pm
JustAWorkingStiff, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 10:16 pm

The City Voted on this fair and square
Lenny opposed having a city wide vote
It seems like Lenny thinks he knows better than the voters, and now is seeking to
over turn the vote.
Don't vote for Lenny or any of his supporters
They are a special interest group with their own agenda


Lenny Siegel2
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2021 at 10:33 am
Lenny Siegel2, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 10:33 am

I'm one of the people who collected signatures to put the "Narrow Streets" ordinance on the ballot. Many of those who voted for Measure C may be surprised if enforcement forces oversized vehicles onto "wide" residential streets.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2021 at 4:25 pm
MyOpinion, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 4:25 pm

@Lenny - we know that you led the signature campaign and we know that your signature gatherers positioned this as a homeless issue. I wonder if your stance would change if you lived in an area with RV's parked in front of your house 24/7? Conveniently you live on a narrow affluent residential street that has never dealt with this issue and never will. No doubt the ACLU attorneys also live in affluent areas with zero tolerance for street dwellers. You do know that housing is required to have electric power, clean water, and sewage/septic for human waste. Or are poor people undeserving of those 'amenities'?


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jul 22, 2021 at 6:20 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 6:20 pm

No, MyOpinion, you need to remember: the ban was passed for traffic safety! It has nothing to do with rich people not wanting to see the negative outcomes of their skyrocketing property values.

However, I will indulge you for a moment. You lament the situation that desperate people in Mountain View have to resort to for housing. Why is your preferred solution fining these people, seizing their property, and towing their homes?


MyOpinion
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2021 at 8:25 am
MyOpinion, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 23, 2021 at 8:25 am

@Randy - I heard the pitch at the farmers market, the plea was that the homeless were being victimized, the pitch was 'we don't need safe streets' Now you can indulge me... if a landlord puts their property in section 8 they are subjected to all sorts of inspections, yet if a shady 'landlord' of one of the RV's (and there are many that are rented) puts a decrepit RV on a Mountain View street he can rent it out with no penalties at all, no power, no sewage hookup, no water. Do you think THAT is OK?


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jul 23, 2021 at 12:16 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jul 23, 2021 at 12:16 pm

MyOpinion, can you clarify your stance? The vehicle ban does not distinguish between rentals or owner-occupied vehicles, nor does distinguish based on the condition of the vehicle. Your rhetoric is akin to ranting about how some homeowners are hoarders and live in bad conditions, so we should demolish all single-family homes. The conclusion does not follow from the premise.

Once again, I'll thank all the angry commenters for making it clear that the ban had absolutely nothing to do with "traffic safety."


Alan
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2021 at 3:01 pm
Alan, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 27, 2021 at 3:01 pm

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again there is absolutely no excuse that residence of Mountain View have to put up with these horrific trailers and campers that are broken down along the side of the road. I don’t care what people claim about street safety or anything else. The main issue is they do not belong in Mountain View and should not be able to park on public streets that my taxpayer dollars hey the city of Mountain View. As I explained in my very first message my Monthly mortgage payment is over $5k why should I have to look out my door or windows and see campers blocking the view? Not only does it make our neighborhood trashy, they also steal fruit from our trees and at one point I found them hooking up water to our outside faucet for Their personal use! if Los Altos has a city ban on trailers and RVs why can’t Mountain View? The whole issue of this has already been hashed out with the city of Mountain Dew and it past the van trailers and RVs, so why now is the ACLU suing? If they’re so concerned why don’t they pay for the people living in those campers and have them moved to a designated area not near children Or near neighborhoods? it’s always easy for other people to claim that they’re really not a problem and the trailer should be allowed to park anywhere they want, it is those people who don’t have to deal with it on a daily basis the whole notion of protecting these eyesores is absurd!


Alan
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2021 at 3:01 pm
Alan, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 27, 2021 at 3:01 pm

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it there is no excuse that residence of Mountain View has to put up with these horrific trailers and campers that are broken down along the side of the road. I don’t care what people claim about street safety or anything else. The main issue is they do not belong in Mountain View and should not be able to park on public streets that my taxpayer dollars hey the city of Mountain View. As I explained in my very first message my Monthly mortgage payment is over $5k why should I have to look out my door or windows and see campers blocking the view? Not only does it make our neighborhood trashy, they also steal fruit from our trees and at one point I found them hooking up water to our outside faucet for Their personal use! if Los Altos has a city ban on trailers and RVs why can’t Mountain View? The whole issue of this has already been hashed out with the city of Mountain Dew and it past the van trailers and RVs, so why now is the ACLU suing? If they’re so concerned why don’t they pay for the people living in those campers and have them moved to a designated area not near children Or near neighborhoods? it’s always easy for other people to claim that they’re really not a problem and the trailer should be allowed to park anywhere they want, it is those people who don’t have to deal with it on a daily basis the whole notion of protecting these eyesores is absurd!


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