RHC member accused of bias for being a tenant | April 20, 2018 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - April 20, 2018

RHC member accused of bias for being a tenant

City attorney says AvalonBay complaint has "no merit"

by Mark Noack

A Mountain View landlord is seeking the resignation of Rental Housing Committee member Emily Ramos based on concerns that her role as a tenant creates a conflict of interest. City attorneys have dismissed the concerns as unfounded.

This story contains 381 words.

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Email Mark Noack at mnoack@mv-voice.com

Comments

15 people like this
Posted by What Baloney
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 24, 2018 at 11:00 pm

Unbelievable! You don't need to be a lawyer to see this is an intimidation tactic. Poor Emily. My heart is with her. AvalonBay should be ashamed of their dirty tactics.


25 people like this
Posted by It's only Fair
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

This Measure V was a BAD IDEA.


It was paid for and brought to this city from outside groups who are now taking this same initiative to Southern California cities. If anyone doubts this, ask where did the several hundred thousand dollars come from to do the polling, pay the professional signature gathers and all the other costs.


There is no reason to have have this new $2.5 million dollar bureaucracy, divisive government department, in our city.

We would simply need to have a law where the rent increases are capped at 7% and a set of laws that deal with the unlawful evictions, then it should go to court before a local judge and let him decide the case based on the merits.


Long time readers of the Voice online will remember that the poster calling himself "The Business Man", was just 2 years ago posting how wealthy he was by gauging all the tenants in his rental properties and if rent control passes he will make more money selling here and buying elsewhere, all the while posting comments that would be regarded by readers as a pom-pas and arrogant landlord. He did this during the time signatures where needed to get the MEASURE V initiative and then the measure passed by the voters and trying to portray himself as a landlord and all landlords in a bad light.
Once Measure V passed "The Business Man" then turned and showed his true colors and shows that the only business he is in is Communism. He does not own anything and only seeks to take away from others. He says and does anything to promote division.


13 people like this
Posted by I support Emily
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 8:30 am

A rental increase of $1000.00 per month is UNJUST.
Under ANY circumstances.
Every person would agree.
It’s common sense. You don’t have to be the one impacted to see that! It’s obvious.
Such an increase is tantamount to a retaliatory eviction and disallowed by law in CA.
The mere fact these seemingly unscrupulous slumlords are having to make such an egregious rental increase request to the RHC in the first place proves my point.
My guess is they’re too ashamed and too embarrassed to look Emily in the Human face when they come before the committee. As they should be! But to seek her resignation/recusal - that’s pathetic.

Rental housing committee should be comprised of a variety of community members — including renters! That’s why committees are formed. To represent and advocate for the various competing interests.

#iStandwithEmily


25 people like this
Posted by It's only Fair
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 25, 2018 at 9:08 am

Interesting how all of a sudden there is this moral outrage over a RHC member. Not one person here who is defending Emily now, came out and defended Tom Means, another RHC member who has been constantly attacked.

Talk about a double set of standards.


11 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 25, 2018 at 9:22 am

Tom Means took money from the San Mateo County Association of Realtors to fight against rent control. If you can't tell the difference, you're not really trying and just pretending to care.

Are you going to retract your lies about The Business Man?


26 people like this
Posted by It's only Fair
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 25, 2018 at 9:31 am

Tom Means is an economics professor at a local university. He knows the harmful effects of what rent control does, and anyone who wishes to hire him for his expert opinion is free to and is absolutely legal to do so.

Your only objection to him is that he does not support your view on rent control and you want him removed from the board, he did nothing illegal.


13 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 25, 2018 at 9:43 am

My objection is that he was paid by the San Mateo Couny Association of Realtors to oppose rent control while he was a sitting member of the committee. He's engaging in typical Trumpian behavior, get an ideologue appointed to a committee he fundamentally disagrees with in order to kill it; that may be your view of how government should operate, but most people here rightly don't think their public servants should be paid agents of private interests.

Are you going to retract your lies about The Business Man and apologize, or do you lack all character?


6 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 10:13 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to It's only Fair you said:

“This Measure V was a BAD IDEA.”

No it is a GREAT IDEA, You said:

“It was paid for and brought to this city from outside groups who are now taking this same initiative to Southern California cities. If anyone doubts this, ask where did the several hundred thousand dollars come from to do the polling, pay the professional signature gathers and all the other costs.”

No it was a Mountain View Citizens Intitiative, Signed by Mountain View Citizens, Voted for Approval by Mountain View Citizens, and still backed by Mountain View Citizens. You said:

“There is no reason to have have this new $2.5 million dollar bureaucracy, divisive government department, in our city.”

Yes, for more than 2 years, the citizens of Mountain View wanted to get the City Council to do something regarding the exploitation of the City Citizens regarding people raising their rents in as much as 83% in the report presented by the RHC on Monday night. You said:

“We would simply need to have a law where the rent increases are capped at 7% and a set of laws that deal with the unlawful evictions, then it should go to court before a local judge and let him decide the case based on the merits.”

I agree except for there are a lot of details to be worked out, the devil is in the details, you also said:

“Long time readers of the Voice online will remember that the poster calling himself "The Business Man", was just 2 years ago posting how wealthy he was by gauging all the tenants in his rental properties and if rent control passes he will make more money selling here and buying elsewhere, all the while posting comments that would be regarded by readers as a pom-pas and arrogant landlord. He did this during the time signatures where needed to get the initiative and then the measure passed by the voters and trying to portray himself as a landlord and all landlords in a bad light. “

Boy are you not correct. I was always complaining about price gouging regarding rental properties. I have never owned any properties. I have only represented in my history, that the arguments against Measure V were misinformation or worse. I was always a supporter of Measure V. I cannot believe you would claim that I was trying to portray myself as a landlord. You should be much more careful before you make statements that can be proven as being completely wrong so easily. Just look at all of my posts in the last 2 years. You also said:

“Once it passed "The Business Man" then turned and showed his true colors and shows that the only business he is in is Communism. He does not own anything and only seeks to take away from others. He says and does anything to promote division and only people with an IQ lower than their shoe size would believe him or reply to him.”

Again, all I can say is WOW. Also, it just proves the point that you are free to say what you want, but by doing so under anonymity in this context is simply hearsay. If this was presented in any kind of legal proceeding, it would be dismissed and either a judge or the jury would be instructed to remove all of the information you provide to be not considered valid. If your identity was known to the public, and you were a landlord, it would in effect be good basis for NOT renting from you by the public.


7 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 10:21 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

As far as other members of the RHC here is my 2 cents:

Please listen this may be very important? I was at the RHC meeting on 4/23/2018 and the Chair of the Committee (Vanessa Honey) expressed significant bias against the tenant attorneys during the hearing. From what I read from this document:

Web Link

It would appear that her comments made during the meeting would disqualify her regarding any appeals with the RHC based on the following text:

“Avoid the appearance of bias. This is simplistic advice, but if your judgment is fairly questioned, you can save yourself and your agency criticism (and, sometimes, legal fees) simply by abstaining. If the heat will be high, consider whether participation is worth the possible cost. Because the bias rule and the common law doctrine against conflicts of interest are judge-made law, the law develops in court cases after the fact. Thus, it is not possible for your legal counsel to predict with complete accuracy when a judge will or will not view your conduct as unacceptable under these doctrines.”

Also I read:

“C. PUBLIC OPPOSITION AS EVIDENCE

Quasi-judicial decisions must be based on credible evidence of facts relevant to the decision to be made. The relevant facts are defined by the rule or policy to be applied. For example, if issuance of a conditional use permit requires a finding that a proposed structure complies with the zoning ordinance, and the zoning ordinance imposes a 35-foot height limit, " the height of the proposed structure is a relevant fact.

Few rules of decision make the fact of public opposition relevant to the decision. If the rule to be applied states that an application must be denied if the proposed structure is greater than 35 feet, it will not aid a decision to note that affected neighbors would prefer the structure were limited to 30 feet.

Public opposition is always relevant as a political matter, but reliance on it is often an invitation to litigation.

At one time, the existence of public controversy about a project was a basis to conclude that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) required the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR) rather than a negative declaration for a project. 44. The Legislature amended CEQA to reject this rule. 45. Thus, even in this context, the mere fact of public opposition or controversy is not relevant in a quasi-adjudicatory decision. However, the facts and issues identified by public comment can often provide a basis for denying a permit or other decision, especially given the relatively broad discretion conveyed by most zoning standards and other local rules of decision.”

And:

“V. CONCLUSION

When a government decision will affect a protected property or liberty interest due process must be given. This requires only reasonable notice and a reasonable opportunity to be heard before the decision is made. Fundamental fairness is the goal of this requirement and, in most circumstances, acting in a way that appears fundamentally fair to reasonable people will suffice. When a matter involves significant controversy, however, sometimes more is required and in those circumstances, it is wise to consult with legal counsel.”

Please listen to the hearing and you will hear what I heard. She was simply hostile to tenant advocates in her public unprovoked comments. To me, this conduct was a shock.

Didn’t she know that by making such a public statement she was poisoning her ability to hear cases as a whole? To me, this testimony establishes just cause to require recusal of any appeals because of demonstrated bias.

Due process of law requires not only just the performance of non-bias in a legal or quasi-legal hearing, but the appearance that no bias is likely. But in this situation, there is no doubt given the message Vanessa Honey made at the hearing.

What was she thinking?


6 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 10:30 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Insofar as Tom Means is concerned:

His affiliation with a campaign where the FBI arrested and the U.S. Government is prosecuting the people hired by CAA and SAMCAR for the voter signatures says plenty. Found here:

Web Link


I simply cannot accept that they acted alone. Since they were paid to travel to California, provided the documents used for gathering the signatures, and acted on behalf of Tom Means. In effect Tom Means can be considered a part of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization.

If the two arrested turns over evidence that will support that the CAA and SAMCAR were complicit with them, then Tom Means being paid by this group will also open up the possibility of him being investigated.

I am certain that the CAA and SAMCAR are concerned that the ones arrested will become informants.



5 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 4:05 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

The investigation into the practices of the CAA and SAMCAR might have very interesting outcomes because of the RICO act. Which states:(( Web Link)

“The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do OR ASSISTED THEM IN DOING, closing a perceived loophole that allowed a person who instructed someone else to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial BECAUSE THEY DID NOT ACTUALLY COMMIT THE CRIME PERSONALLY.[1]”

Thereby the CAA, SAMCAR, and Tom Means can be investigated for racketeering because of the following information:

“Under RICO, a person who has committed "at least two acts of racketeering activity" drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an "enterprise".[citation needed] Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count.[citation needed] In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."[citation needed]”

So, if Brad and Jentry Jasperson cooperate with federal prosecutors and can indicate at least 2 instances of voter fraud, or they personally are charged with 2 or more counts, and can provide evidence that the CAA, SAMCAR or Tom Means provided any resources and incentives to commit the crimes. They will be subject to investigation. Here is where it gets interesting, assets can be frozen regarding a RICO investigation based on:

“When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, they have the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets. An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.”

Along with:

“In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, in part because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. Despite its harsh provisions, a RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court, as it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.[2]”

Finally, if there is a proven case of RICO then things can get very interesting if you read the following:

“RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]

Both the criminal and civil components allow the recovery of treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).”

Things might get VERY INTERESTING.


13 people like this
Posted by Instead of Rehashing the Measure V Debate...
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 25, 2018 at 6:26 pm

...how about we talk about the way in which a private corporation is intimidating a tenant for assigned duties on a public commission that is supposed to be nonpartisan? That is absurd and injust by itself.

Regardless of your thoughts on Measure V or rent stabilization efforts, it is currently the law. And laws need to be respected. AvalonBay is only showing disrespect, and they're resorting to disturbingly anti-democratic tactics to do so. I guess that's how corporations now think they can act in the age of Trump. We must stand up now and say loudly and clearly: NO!


7 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Apr 25, 2018 at 9:09 pm

This is no longer just a policy debate on the faults of rent control, our civic leaders need to not associate with unscrupulous organizations outside our city that have over the last few months brought Trump style politics to Mountain View:

Landlord associates have:
1) paid for misleading ads under the guise of being local, falsely alleging the commission wanted to get paid
2) began a ballot petition using outside money, paid petition gatherers, and worse, used intentionally misleading ballot language that makes most residents think they are supporting an initiative in favor of rent control
3) resorted to insulting rent control advocates rather than addressing their concerns
4) now calling 60% of Mountain View residents as unqualified to serve on this commission for simply being a renter, all the while, not applying the same standard of ethics to Tom Means, who serves on the commission while being paid to fight rent control in other cities

I welcomed a debate on whether rent control is not working, but I won't vote for any group who is trashing our city's local democracy. And I question the reputation of any city official willing to continue to associate with these tactics.

Lets debate rent control as a local resident matter, rather than be played by powerful outside interest.


21 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 9:38 am

Mr. Chiang has a double set of standards.
Everything he is saying is his opinion and not facts.

Take his comments in (2). Everything he says there is absolutely true about what the people did 2 years ago with Measure V. It was written and paid for, including professional paid signature gathers, by an outside group that is not in our city.

There was not one public meeting from this outside group to discuss the language, it was written behind closed doors and 99 percent of it was never discussed with the public so they would know what is in it. It was written purely from and pro rent control activist position with nothing in it for the consideration for what a business needs to stay in business both in good times and bad times.

We are starting to see the problems now in our community and I agree that we should start over and have a simple set of rules that does not involve this new RHC.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 10:06 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Mark you said:

“Take his comments in (2). Everything he says there is absolutely true about what the people did 2 years ago with Measure V. It was written and paid for, including professional paid signature gathers, by an outside group that is not in our city.”

Before you make a claim regarding “including professional paid signature gathers”, you better have proof of it. Without any proof, you are simply making hearsay claims. As far as “by an outside group that is not in our city.” This may be true but it was done on request of citizens and approval of the citizens of Mountain View. So on 2 issues, you have not been very accurate. You also said:

“There was not one public meeting from this outside group to discuss the language, it was written behind closed doors and 99 percent of it was never discussed with the public so they would know what is in it. It was written purely from and pro rent control activist position with nothing in it for the consideration for what a business needs to stay in business both in good times and bad times.”

That may be true, but the landlords could have negotiated with the tenants for as much as 2 years to compromise on a better public policy. However, the City Attorney, the City Council, the CAA, and the landlords simply said, no deal, and refused to negotiate. The only solution was to use taxpayer money to subsidize the artificially high rents, which directly cost the City of Mountain View. Was that a solution, pass the costs to the homeowners by spending their money for the private landlords? If anyone is to blame for the situation it is equally the responsibility of the landlords. You cannot claim that they did anything to prevent the passage of Measure V except oppose it during the election. You said:

“We are starting to see the problems now in our community and I agree that we should start over and have a simple set of rules that does not involve this new RHC.”

You have the right to this opinion, but you will have to get a new measure passed to do this.


17 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 10:59 am

@The Business Man"

I will make a bet with you. If I provide proof that the Mountain View Tenant Coalition admitted to paying $4 per signature, from professional signature gathers, you will post here that you have been wrong on everything you have been saying and will no longer continue posting.

My proof will be from the MVTC own site that posted that information.

Now, excuse me while I take a shower, I feel uncomfortable even too reply to you, let alone to reading your post.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 11:56 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Mark yous said:

“I will make a bet with you. If I provide proof that the Mountain View Tenant Coalition admitted to paying $4 per signature, from professional signature gathers, you will post here that you have been wrong on everything you have been saying and will no longer continue posting.

My proof will be from the MVTC own site that posted that information.”

As a matter of law, you have to produce a contract and a processed check written by the MVTC to the professional signatures. Other than that you have no proof of your claims. As far as making an argument that if one mistake justifies all other information presented to be dismissed, that might work in a criminal case where evidence was seized under false pretenses, or illegally obtained, called “fruit from a poisonous tree.” However, in a civil case or in this context, one mistake does not disqualify all others. What you are asking is unreasonable, irrational and simply not common sense

And as a footnote the MTVC page stated this:

“Don’t sign the landlord petition! Spread the word about the “sneaky repeal” of rent control with this flyer

Posted on April 21, 2018 by mvtenantscoalition.org

A fraudulent signature gathering operation was witnessed this weekend in Mountain View in an attempt to put a measure on the ballot to repeal all renter protections in MV. Landlord-hired signature gatherers were seen at the Spring parade, local churches and grocery stores trying to dupe people into signing the deceptively titled “Mountain View Homeowner, Renter and Taxpayer Protection Initiative.” Some called it an expansion of rent control, some seemed unaware of the fraud they were perpetrating, others were honest that it was a repeal of Measure V. In a video, one signature gatherer stated that she was being paid. THE GOING RATE IS $6 FOR A SIGNATURE, $8 FOR GETTING IT BY KNOCKING ON DOORS. Given what has gone on in Alameda, Pacifica, Richmond and Santa Rosa, the deception is not surprising. Some of the Pacifica signature gatherers now face criminal charges.”

I think you misread the article.


3 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Apr 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Straight from the Mercury: "7,100 signatures were gathered for Measure V... 100 volunteers gathered the signatures, standing in front of grocery stores and knocking on thousands of doors... Less than 500 signatures were collected by paid signature gatherers, who were paid $4 a signature. The majority of signature gatherers were volunteers, according to the coalition."
Link to the San Jose Mercury:
Web Link

Since the article was written before the final filing, California Fair Political Practices Commission puts it at 650 paid signatures out of 7,300.

To paint the Measure V organizers as the paid outside interest, when Measure V was largely local, as proven above, and in fact, the repeal organizers are more the paid outside interests is intentionally not truthful. 9% of Measure V's signatures were paid, let's see what percent of the repeal initiative will be paid for signatures.

I see the many merits in revising Measure V. But the tactics of the Measure V repeal are abhorrent. MV needs to reject this style of politics. Put a repeal on the ballot with non-deceptive ballot language and real facts.

The merits for revision are strong on their own, no need to encourage outside groups to dirty the issue.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 12:41 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Chris,

Thank you very much, you proved that less than 10% of the signatures collected were done by "professional" collectors. Let's give the benefit that those should not have counted, that would still leave approximately 6,650 signatures collected "pure".

That is still well over 1,000 more then necessary for the initiative to be on the ballot. I will admit, I did not read that article. But it also does not prove the allegation made by Mark, nor substantiate his claim that I am "categorically" wrong in the matter.

So I admit I did not read the article, but at the same time, Mark cannot claim Measure V signatures were collected as a whole by "professional" collectors.

Thanks


11 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

No, your both wrong. You always try to spin things differently than what they are.

The fact is you are discrediting a group for simply using professional signature gathers. You can not argue that one group is in the right simply because they used it less than the other side.

If the citizens of Mountain View decide to sign, and it makes it to the ballot, then the people have spoken and let the election outcome decide what the people want.

That is your problem, you do not want the people to have a say but they should only do what you tell them to do.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 1:05 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Mark,

You are just understanding that it is highly unlikely that the ballot initiative backed by the CAA and Mountain View landlords will not get the signatures required.

Or worse, that more than 100 volunteers worked on the campaign for Measure V, and you cannot get anyone in Mountain view other than the landlords to volunteer. So your only course of action is paying "contractors" to gather the signatures.

Either way, it may be that the current initiative will not get the signatures required. Thus it is all moot.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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