Rent control foes launch initiative campaign | April 6, 2018 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - April 6, 2018

Rent control foes launch initiative campaign

Changes include bigger rent increases, annual income eligibility requirements

by Mark Noack

Major changes to Mountain View's rent control law could go before voters this fall.

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Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 6, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Gary is a registered user.

The article explains that the landlords' initiative will repeal all rent control under the guise of reforming it. I will be making the comparison myself. But keep in mind that even if the landlords do not get the 5,500 valid voter signatures to qualify their proposed city charter amendment for the November ballot, 6 of 7 City Councilmembers are against remt control and the City Council may place the proposed repeal of rent control on the ballot on its own motion (by August).


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2018 at 6:11 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Gary,

This is going to be long, but it may be enlightening. Please understand that I need to get some clarification?

I found this document called the “Foundational Aspect of Charter Cities” It has a section involving amending city charters and it reads, ”How to Amend/Repeal a Charter” it states

If a citizens group, OR THE CITY'S GOVERNING BODY, wishes to amend or repeal a portion of the city's charter, the steps remain largely the same as they are for drafting a charter. There are, however, two notable exceptions. FIRST, THE PETITION CALLING FOR THE REPEAL OR AMENDMENT NEEDS ONLY TEN PERCENT OF THE ELECTORATE'S SIGNATURES, INSTEAD OF THE PREVIOUS FIFTEEN PERCENT. SEE CAL. ELEC. CODE SECTIONS 9215 AND 9255. The other notable difference has to do with the charter itself. A city charter may establish different rules for the municipal elections process than those laid out by the state legislature in the Elections Code. If this is the case, the city's charter will govern the elections process used to appeal or amend the city's charter, instead of the general laws laid out in the Elections Code

This text indicates the following question does the City Charter establish that the City Council is allowed to propose and place on the ballot unilaterally a City Charter Amendment because of the following phrase:

“A CITY CHARTER MAY ESTABLISH DIFFERENT RULES FOR THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS PROCESS THAN THOSE LAID OUT BY THE STATE LEGISLATURE IN THE ELECTIONS CODE. If this is the case, THE CITY'S CHARTER WILL GOVERN THE ELECTIONS PROCESS USED TO APPEAL OR AMEND THE CITY'S CHARTER, instead of the general laws laid out in the Elections Code”

I looked at the City Charter on the City Website and it does not contain any power of the City Council to unilaterally place on the ballot a City Charter Amendment measure because the City Council is restricted by the following:

“Section 513. - Council action.: Legislative action shall be taken by the council only by means of an ordinance, resolution or minute action duly recorded in the official minutes of the city council. (As amended November 3, 1998.)”

Thus the City Council is prohibited from altering the City Charter explicitly. It is restricted to an ordinance, resolution or minute action. It goes on to say:

“Section 514. - Adoption of ordinances and resolutions.: With the sole exception of ordinances which take effect upon adoption referred to in this article, no ordinance shall be adopted by the council on the day of its introduction, nor within five days thereafter nor at any time other than at a regular or adjourned regular meeting nor until such ordinance shall have been published as required in this Charter. At the time of introduction or adoption of an ordinance or resolution it shall be read in full, unless after the reading of the title thereof, the further reading thereof is waived by unanimous consent of the councilmembers present. In the event that any ordinance is altered after its introduction, the same shall not be finally adopted except at a regular or adjourned regular meeting, held not less than five days after the date upon which such ordinance was so altered. The correction of typographical or clerical errors shall not constitute the making of an alteration within the meaning of the foregoing sentence. No order for the payment of money shall be adopted or made at any other than a regular or adjourned regular meeting. Any ordinance declared by the council to be necessary as an emergency measure for preserving the public peace, health or safety, and containing a statement of the reasons for its urgency, may be introduced and adopted at one and the same meeting if passed by at least five affirmative votes.(As amended June 3, 1980.)”

This means that the City Council is restricted to only legislating City Ordinances or Resolutions NOT CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS. It goes on to say:

“Section 517. - Acts to be by ordinance; enacting clause.: In addition to such acts of the council as are required by other provisions of this Charter to be by ordinance, every act of the council establishing a fine or other penalty or granting a franchise, shall be by ordinance. The enacting clause of all ordinances adopted by the council shall be substantially as follows: "The city council of the City of Mountain View does ordain as follows:"”

Again, this City Charter section restricts the City Council to act on only Ordinances, the City Charter goes on to say:

“Section 518. - Signing and attesting ordinances.: All ordinances shall be signed by the mayor and attested by the city clerk.”

Again the City Council is restricted to act on ordinances and resolutions, NOT CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS. It goes on to say:

“Section 519. - Effective date of ordinances.: No ordinance adopted by the council shall become effective until thirty days from and after the date of its adoption, except the following, which shall take effect upon adoption:
(a) An ordinance calling or otherwise relating to an election.
(b) An improvement proceeding ordinance adopted under some law or procedural ordinance.
(c) An ordinance declaring the amount of money necessary to be raised by taxation, or fixing the rate of taxation, or levying the annual tax upon property.
(d) An emergency ordinance adopted in the manner provided for in this article.
(e) An ordinance annexing areas to the city.
(f) An ordinance providing for a tax levy or appropriation for the usual current expenses of the city.”

Again, this section states the City Council can only act on City Ordinances and NOT CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS

It would appear that without a City Charter Amendment permission written into the City Charter so that the City Council can propose a City Charter Amendment, it simply cannot act unilaterally, it must still acquire the signatures. It would appear that the City Attorney did not do their homework in 2014 regarding the Measure A ballot question, it should have never been on the ballot if it did not have signatures registered with the County Registry of Voters. The simple truth is that without the City Charter having any explicit permission for the City Council to propose a City Charter Amendment, they simply did not have the power to do so.

I intend to go to the Santa Clara Law Library on Saturday to look at if the courts ever reviewed or decided that a City Council can place a ballot question on the ballot WITHOUT signatures.


6 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 7, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Gary is a registered user.

@Business Man. Elsewhere I cited the law that empowers governing bodies - as well as voters through the initiative process - to qualify proposed charter amendments for the ballot. We just had an initiative charter amendment in 2016 (Measure V) and a city charter amendment in 2014 (raising City Council salaries) placed on the ballot by the City Council. Repeating your confusion is not going to save rent control in Mountain View.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2018 at 9:15 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Gary,

Please look at this California Elections Code 9255 that states:

“9255. (a) A charter or charter amendment proposed by a charter commission, whether elected or appointed by a governing body, for a city or city and county shall be submitted to the voters at an established statewide general election pursuant to Section 1200, provided there are at least 95 days before the election. A charter commission may also submit a charter pursuant to Section 34455 of the Government Code.

(2) A RECODIFICATION OF THE CHARTER PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNING BODY ON ITS OWN MOTION, PROVIDED THAT THE RECODIFICATION DOES NOT, IN ANY MANNER, SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGE THE PROVISIONS OF THE CHARTER.”

Please understand that any significant change to the City Charter as it stands today given this provision of the election code, is prohibited until signatures are collected.. This is required under California Elections Code 9255 Section C Part 2 that states:

(2) AN AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF A CITY AND COUNTY CHARTER PROPOSED BY A PETITION SIGNED BY 10 PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS OF THE CITY AND COUNTY.”

So if any Charter Amendment Alters the Existing CSFRA significantly will be void regarding any action from the City Council.

This explains how the increased compensation was allowed in 2014. IIT WAS NOT A SIGNIFICANT ALTERATION OF A CITIZENS RIGHTS UNDER THE CITY CHARTER. However, this situation would radically alter what are current citizens’ rights in the City of Mountain View. This change of the law was signed August 28, 2013. Unless you can claim that any attempt to change the City Charter regarding CSFRA will not alter a citizens’ rights significantly, it looks like you did not understand the text of the law.

This explains how “We just had an initiative charter amendment in 2016 (Measure V) and a city charter amendment in 2014 (raising City Council salaries) placed on the ballot by the City Council. Repeating your confusion is not going to save rent control in Mountain View.”

You are trying to make “oranges” into “apples”. These situations are so very different, that you cannot reasonably expect the people to think that they are the same. So in order to make such a dramatic essential change of citizens rights you must comply with California Elections Code 9255 section c which states:

(c) The following city or city and county charter proposals shall be submitted to the voters at an established statewide general, statewide primary, or regularly scheduled municipal election pursuant to Section 1200, 1201, or 1301 occurring not less than 88 days after the date of the order of election:

(1) AN AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF A CITY CHARTER PROPOSED BY A PETITION SIGNED BY 15 PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS OF THE CITY.

(2) AN AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF A CITY AND COUNTY CHARTER PROPOSED BY A PETITION SIGNED BY 10 PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS OF THE CITY AND COUNTY.

And California elections Code 9255 section (e)

(e) THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS OF THE CITY OR CITY AND COUNTY SHALL BE DETERMINED ACCORDING TO THE COUNTY ELECTIONS OFFICIAL’S LAST OFFICIAL REPORT OF REGISTRATION TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT WAS EFFECTIVE AT THE TIME THE NOTICE REQUIRED PURSUANT TO SECTION 9256 WAS GIVEN.

Please understand that the law is very clear here, the City Council cannot unilaterally change a citizens rights under the City Charter in this way.


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 8, 2018 at 9:31 am

Gary is a registered user.

@Business Man. How about this: make your next post ALL of Elections Code Section 9255 without your editorial comments. It explains that in a city (or "city and county" (which refers only to San Francisco) a proposed charter amendment may quality for the ballot by initiative petition OR action of the governing body. The California Constitution provides that the state sets the rules for charter amendments. Charters cannot and do not set their own rules for charter amendments. But start by posting 9255 and reading it..


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2018 at 10:46 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Gary,

You said:

“It explains that in a city (or "city and county" (which refers only to San Francisco) a proposed charter amendment may qualify for the ballot by initiative petition OR action of the governing body.”

Please understand that if the City Council proposes a ballot measure question that alters a citizen’s rights under the City Charter, it would be construed as arbitrary and capricious action in violation of existing Fundamental City Charter rights and invoke a U.S. 14th Amendment court challenge requiring a Strict Scrutiny analysis. Why, because the Santa Clara Court already declared in the denial of the preliminary injunction that the Mountain View Citizens have a Fundamental City Charter right to the CSFRA.

Strict Scrutiny involves the following:

Strict scrutiny

Strict scrutiny is a form of judicial review that courts use to determine the constitutionality of certain laws. To pass strict scrutiny, THE LEGISLATURE MUST HAVE PASSED THE LAW TO FURTHER A "COMPELLING GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST," AND MUST HAVE NARROWLY TAILORED THE LAW TO ACHIEVE THAT INTEREST. A famous quip asserts that strict scrutiny is "strict in name, but fatal in practice." Accordingly, there exists a concern that an exceedingly rigid application of strict scrutiny will categorically invalidate legislation, while allowing courts to forego a true evaluation of a given laws purpose and value.

For a court to apply strict scrutiny, THE LEGISLATURE MUST EITHER HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY ABRIDGED A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT WITH THE LAW'S ENACTMENT OR HAVE PASSED A LAW THAT INVOLVES A SUSPECT CLASSIFICATION. Suspect classifications have come to include race, national origin, religion, alienage, and poverty. The Supreme Court provided a seminal exposition on suspect classifications in Carolene Products when it discussed, in one of the Court's most famous footnotes, "discrete and insular minorities." As suggested by this case, strict scrutiny represents an approach in which a presumption of constitutionality is shed in favor more exacting judicial review.”( Web Link)

Since the Santa Clara Court already declared that the provisions of the CSFRA are a fundamental right. Thus any action by the City Council that can be established to adversely impact people in the City of Mountain View by “race, national origin, religion, alienage, and poverty”, would be a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That is why the California Elections Code 9255 (b) (2) states:

“(2) A RECODIFICATION OF THE CHARTER PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNING BODY ON ITS OWN MOTION, PROVIDED THAT THE RECODIFICATION DOES NOT, IN ANY MANNER, SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGE THE PROVISIONS OF THE CHARTER.”

The CEC 9255(b)(2) was designed to prevent the problems as described above. It also makes sure that even though the State Constitution might in theory agree with your interpretation, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution would override the California Constitution. The simple truth is if the City Council on its own places a ballot question that infringes on a fundamental existing right under the City Charter, it would simply be in violation of the Elections Code and the U.S. Federal Constitution under the 14th Amendment.

Why can’t you understand that there are controls in CEC 9255(b)(2) that simply doesn’t agree with you?


7 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 9, 2018 at 1:04 am

Gary is a registered user.

I suggested you post section 9255 without editorializing and then re-read it. But you did not.instead, you have gone off on another tangent.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2018 at 11:20 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Gary,

For your Information in the case of

DAVID HERNANDEZ et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES et al., Defendants and Respondents.(167 Cal.App.4th 12)

No. B203097.

Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Eight.

September 25, 2008.

*15 Eric Grant; Sterling E. Norris; Law Office of Anthony T. Caso and Anthony T. Caso for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

Rockard J. Delgadillo, City Attorney, Valerie L. Flores and Harit U. Trivedi, Deputy City Attorneys, for Defendant and Respondent City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City Council.

Raymond G. Fortner, Jr., County Counsel, and Judy W. Whitehurst, Deputy County Counsel, for Defendant and Respondent County of Los Angeles.

Kaufman Downing, Stephen J. Kaufman and Steven J. Reyes for the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce as Amici Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents.

OPINION

FLIER, J.

Appellants, electors of the City of Los Angeles, asserted a postelection challenge to MEASURE R, A BALLOT MEASURE APPROVED BY LOS ANGELES VOTERS AT THE NOVEMBER 7, 2006 CONSOLIDATED GENERAL ELECTION. The measure (1) amends the city charter to change the number of terms a city council member can serve from two 4-year terms to three 4-year terms; (2) amends the city charter to prohibit lobbyists from being appointed as city commissioners and to prohibit campaign contributions from lobbyists and lobbying firms to officials and candidates; and (3) makes several revisions to the city's ethics laws by ordinance.”

Thus it was a voter initiative. It gathered signatures and was approved by the voters. But there was an interesting section involving the City Council, the history stated:

FACTS

Measure R originated in a proposal conceived by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles (League). In July 2006, the Chamber and the League in a letter to the city council presented a comprehensive reform measure, entitled "City Government Responsibility, Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act." The Chamber and League asked the city council to place the measure on the November 7, 2006 Los Angeles City ballot. The stated purpose of the proposal was "to create greater efficiency, accountability and transparency within Los Angeles City government." The Chamber and League urged that "we need to create an *17 environment which encourages elected officials to focus on their current job, long as well as short term issues, and not on their next position."

The Chamber and League asked the city council to place their proposal on the November 2006 election ballot as a city-council-sponsored ballot measure.

THE CITY COUNCIL AGREED TO DO SO AND ADOPTED A MOTION DIRECTING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO DRAFT AN APPROPRIATE ORDINANCE AND RESOLUTIONS TO PLACE THE PROPOSAL ON THE NOVEMBER 2006 BALLOT. Pursuant to this directive, the city attorney prepared ordinances and associated resolutions to substantially reflect the language presented by the Chamber and League. In doing so, the city attorney revised the language of the proposal to conform to City standards and made other substantive revisions. In a report to the city council, the city attorney observed there was an alternative way to present the measure to the voters. He nevertheless approved as to form and legality the city council's election to place all of the provisions suggested in the Chamber and League proposal on the November 2006 ballot.

Los Angeles voters approved Measure R at the November 7, 2006 statewide general election, by a margin of 59.53 percent to 40.47 percent (375,433 "yes" votes to 255,242 "no" votes).”

Measure R was approved yes, but it was NOT a City Council Ballot Initiative. It was proposed and signatures were collected for the general election. The City Council proposed a parallel city ordinance on the ballot. Notice it was an ordinance NOT A CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT. As per the history saying :” THE CITY COUNCIL AGREED TO DO SO AND ADOPTED A MOTION DIRECTING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO DRAFT AN APPROPRIATE ORDINANCE AND RESOLUTIONS TO PLACE THE PROPOSAL ON THE NOVEMBER 2006 BALLOT”

Thus this case in effect proves that a City Council cannot on its own without signatures propose a City Charter Amendment. The Measure R itself passed, but there is no mention of the City Council ordinance proposal. It would appear that the City of Los Angeles knew they cannot propose a City Charter Amendment independently. At least to what was recorded in the case text in 167 AclApp.4th pages 12 to 24.

Thus we are back to the current situation in Mountain View, the new measure is required to have the corresponding signatures in order to amend the City Charter. The City Council simply can only propose ordinances and resolutions, but NOT City Charter Amendments.

Unless you can present case law to support your opinion, we simply will accept that this is your opinion and nothing more. There is no history to support your point of view, but I respect your point of view, and do assert you have the right to express it.


5 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 10, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Gary is a registered user.

You remain lost in space. The City Council may place its own proposed charter amendment(s) on the November ballot.You cite no case which holds or suggests otherwise. None exists.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2018 at 11:18 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

This may be a moot situation. Why?

First reason, the Costa Hawkins Repeal initiative looks like it is on target to be on the November 2018 ballot. If it is on the ballot, all renters in Mountain View will be provided the new protections under CSFRA including the rent roll-back. So those in apartments will finally be united in voting in Mountain View and will likely repeal Costa Hawkins.

Second reason, given above there will be no benefit of any voter either homeowner or tenant to support any changes to the CSFRA. So even if it gets on the ballot, where there are many questions before it will, it will likely be rejected by the voters in the end. All apartment tenants will finally be united as a voting unit because all tenants will be treated the same.

At least, this is the elephant in the room that could simply derail any attempt to modify the CSFRA by anyone.


4 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2018 at 7:43 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Let' do a review of the videos of on the Measure V Too Costly:

Mike Kasperzak criticizes Measure V for not addressing homeless in Mountain View, it was not voted on to provide homes to the homeless. It was a rent stabilization policy, and it is working great. What are you doing Mr. Kasperzak for the homeless?

Margareta Abe-Koga makes numerous errors and false claims regarding the City General Fund. Claiming that the RHC budget is funded by the City Taxpayers, IT IS NOT. It is funded by fees paid by the landlords. So why should the electorate take her word?

Bryan Danforth makes the argument that the CSFRA caused problems between tenants and their landlords. Those problems existed for as much as two years before the voters took control of the situation because the City did nothing to create any improvements. This video simply doesn’t make sense.

Shari’s video simply is completely false because no homeowner that dollars are used in the CSFRA, even the loaned money paid to start it has been returned. So this video simply is not true.

Dr. Ken Rosen simply makes conclusions where there is no economics research performed that has proven it is performed without a conflict of interest. The recent updated Conflict of Interest disclosure requirements found here (Web Link), are being ignored by these “researchers” because disclosure would invalidate their findings as a whole.

John Inks makes the claim that CSFRA is removing money from the city. What proof does he have of this? His major criticism is that the City Council has no control over it. That was done because the City Council refused to get involved to establish a resolution to the problem. They have no right to control any solution proposed by the voters.

Heather Sirk makes a false statement, CSFRA does not control the tenants screening process. It is not impossible to remove a “Problem Tenant”. Of course what is the “definition” of a problem tenant in her eyes is the most important question.

Todd Rothbard makes the argument that CSFRA will not allow landlords to remove dangerous, or offensive tenants. There is nothing in the CSFRA that does this. The fact is this video is designed to inspire fear and anger by those viewing it that is all.

Jim Claus complains that he cannot maintain or improve his property under CSFRA. That is simply untrue, except if you as a property owner depend on your tenants to make up for poor management skills. There has been ample studies that prove that rent control improves property management efficiency and as a result provides adequate returns on investments.

It would appear that these videos are simply making any argument possible to punish the citizens of Mountain View for taking the appropriate measures to correct for a serious crisis. That’s all it is.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

I love this,

My apartment has a tenant moving out, they were not rent controlled.

The landlord has had 4 visitors and no one is moving in.

I think it is because if you google his name and Mountain View, the 3rd all list shows him behaving very poorly in an RHC session from a Mountain View Voice news story.

I wonder if this is happening in many of the apartments in Mountain View, landlords public speeches in effect poisoning their ability to do business with new customers.

My landlord is about to have an empty unit with no revenue. He is trying to claim it is worth $2100/month. But NO TAKERS.

Could it be that it is not worth that much?


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