"It has been an honor to serve as chair of the Rental Housing Committee," Ortiz said in an email. "Helping families build and continue to foster long-lasting connections to their neighborhoods and their communities was the essence of Measure V, and I'm happy to have helped realize this vision after years of hard work."
He has been directly involved in the city's rent control program, as well as its immense challenges. In 2016, as hundreds of frustrated tenants were demanding something be done to stop skyrocketing rents, Ortiz — then a member of the city's Human Relations Commission — helped channel that anger toward legislation. He helped organize the campaign for the rent control initiative known as Measure V, which passed in November 2016.
Ortiz later put himself forward for a seat on the inaugural Rental Housing Committee, and he became one of the most contentious picks among about two dozen candidates. Some City Council members questioned his impartiality, pointing to his advocacy for rent control as a sign he would be biased toward tenants.
Ortiz was initially assigned to be the committee's alternate member, essentially a benchwarmer. Councilman Chris Clark changed his mind at the last minute, swinging the vote, and Ortiz was appointed to a regular seat on the committee. The last 18 months of Rental Housing Committee meetings have been grueling for committee members, with many meetings stretching late into the night. As the five-person committee made a string of policy decisions on rent control, Ortiz and committee member Emily Ramos were often on the minority side in 3-2 split votes.
Ortiz is now the second rental committee member to resign. In August, Tom Means announced he was leaving to move to El Dorado Hills. Following that departure, the City Council appointed the committee's alternate, Julian Pardo de Zela as a replacement. The Rental Housing Committee currently lacks an alternate to replace Ortiz.
Ortiz said he had been told that the City Council would begin the process next month to appoint a replacement. He will still participate in all the remaining meetings for 2018, he said.
Google debuts climate-change tool
In a dire report published last month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change described a cascade of worldwide impacts that are likely imminent, such as worsening floods, wildfires and food scarcity.
Halting these climate-change impacts will require swift measures, including a suite of new technologies to track and then remove greenhouse gases from the air. On at least that first step, Mountain View is showing some signs of progress.
This week, a partnership between the city and Google debuted Environmental Insights Explorer, a new web-based tool that provides a snapshot assessment of the local contributors to climate change. The tool uses Google's vast trove of mapping data to track vehicle trips, building density and solar-power generation. Mountain View is now the fifth city to have the tool.
In total, the environmental explorer estimates that Mountain View produces just over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. About 237,000 tons of emissions are mitigated through solar-power generation in the city.
The full Environmental Insights Explorer tool can be viewed at https://insights.sustainability.google.
Cops and Gobblers
The Mountain View Police Department is seeking donations for its Cops and Gobblers fundraiser, a Thanksgiving food drive that supports needy Mountain View residents.
The event has been providing food for families in the city for more than two decades. Now in its 22nd year, Cops and Gobblers is aiming to to benefit hundreds of families through charitable donations.
Every $50 donated can feed a family of four during this holiday season, according to a press release from the police department.
Anyone interested in donating may visit the Mountain View Public Safety Foundation website at mvpsf.org/donate.php and select "Cops and Gobblers" as the cause. Residents may also mail checks to Mountain View Police Department, Attn: Amber Wilson, 1000 Villa St., Mountain View, CA 94041.
The fundraiser includes an event at the police department on Nov. 18 at 9 a.m., which will be held "rain or shine," according to the department.
Anyone with questions about the fundraiser can contact Amber Wilson at Amber.Wilson@mountainview.gov.
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