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Big crowd rallies City Council for housing crisis relief

Original post made on Sep 9, 2015

On Tuesday evening, an estimated 300 people, including a huge turnout from the city's Latino community, rallied at City Hall to press city leaders to take up the issue of housing affordability. It was the most crowded City Council meeting in recent memory, with dozens of parents and children waving placards and re

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 1:36 PM

Comments (45)

Posted by Thank the economy
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Well this is not socialistic Communist state yet, the economy rules the land.

The likes of Google and other high tech companies need housings for their new staff members they import from all over the world.

I use to live in Palo Alto, but couldn't afford it, so I'm here in Mt. view. One goes were one can afford. Simple!!

Posted by Liz
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

November? They won't even talk about it until NOVEMBER? How many of us will be displaced by then. My rent has gone up $600 in the last 3 years. Not as bad as some in this article, but still becoming impossible for me to pay. I've lived in the same place for over 10 years, there were some rent increases but small ones that we could handle. Starting 3 years ago they have given us a 60 day notice that the rent was going up by $200 a month. When we first moved in they were soooo happy to get steady rent-paying tenants, now it seems they could care less. Now it's all about the extra dollars they can get! Capitalism at it's best.

Posted by @Monta Loma
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm

There's always hope for you -- I mean, you could end up in Nowhere, Nevada. Right?

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Crying to the city council about your rent going up makes no sense.

Go find a better paying job and/or move to a cheaper geography.

Posted by Chris Lepe
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:46 pm

The extreme hardship and anguish felt by families living in Mountain View and those already displaced by the wild-west housing market is the result of a perfect policy storm that's been developing for decades: insufficient housing production to keep up with job growth (thanks to policies guided by NIMBY interests); legal challenges to inclusionary housing policies that have tied the hands of local governments to require more affordable units within proposed housing developments; the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency which provided a large source of funding statewide for affordable housing; and inadequate protections for renters throughout much of the Bay Area. I live in a rent controlled unit in San Jose, and although we still face up to an 8% increase every year, at least we have the piece of mind that it won't be an increase of $400/month or more like those faced by tenants in Mountain View. I urge the Mountain View City Council to implement concrete measures ASAP to bring sanity and stability to the housing/rental market and provide protection and relief to residents at the mercy of exploitative landlords.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

In my opinion, while I sympathize with many of the feelings and sentiments of the people concerned about rising rents in Mountain View, I have to say that rent control is not the answer.

To provide a little background, I am a renter. I am by no means rich and I too am in danger of being priced out of the Mountain View market. I have been homeless several times and I have had to move several times because I could not afford rent increases. That being said, I believe that this problem will only be fixed by addressing the underlying issue.

Many people think the problem has been caused by greedy landlords, but if this is so, why did some rents decrease in 2008/2009? The answer is because there was a drop in demand as the bottom fell out of the economy. In other words, it was due to market forces.

So why are rents rising so drastically? It is because there has been an explosion of office development in Mountain View that has led to higher paying jobs and competition for housing in the area. The more office growth the city has permitted, the more competition has increased.

Palo Alto has limited office development and therefore has been able to maintain much of the look and feel of the city, whereas Mountain View appears to be changing at warp speed.

Many proponents have called for an "emergency ordinance" to address this, but good law is NEVER made hastily. Especially any laws that address vitally important and/or complex issues such as this one.

Rent control already exists in many places such as San Francisco, but has had little to no effect. So what is the reason to enact it here? I lived in San Francisco twice and rent control did not make my rent any less or prevent my rent from increasing.

Recently, there have been calls for the city to exercise more and more control over private businesses, individual behaviors, and private contracts. I believe that this is the ultimate goal of these types of requests, the dilution of private property and personal rights.

I have seen this methodology ( Web Link ) used over and over again through the years to push particular agendas. While many people have the best of intentions, using the heavy hand of government to regulate every aspect of life, redistribute resources, and minimize private property rights is a dangerous and slippery slope to start down.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Longview
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm

The right question is what community do we want? A community with no regulations would have no speed limits, no food safety laws, and your neighbor could store nuclear waste on their property – or perhaps more lucrative, build out to every property line leaving neighbors in constant shadow. Regulation improves communities. To those who say “just move”, yes, but don’t you have family and friends? Don’t you have a job you’ve learned well? Do you volunteer at schools or non-profits? Do you know how important a PTA president is? Rent stabilization doesn’t lower rents – it just slows the rate of rent increase – and lets all these important connections remain whole.

Posted by Misplaced Blame
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Why the need to make landlords the villains? Many of them aren't large corporations...they're ordinary people who face rising costs and expenses of their own. In other cases, they're paying off loans which they incurred in making the business investment to become a landlord. And yes, in some cases, they're making a profit. It's allowed. If it weren't, people would not invest in apartments, housing developments, or businesses.

Putting a cap on rents is disruptive to the economic cycle. We must all make choices and decisions on where it's affordable to live. The Bay Area is one of the most desirable housing locations in the world, and unfortunately, that's reflected in prices.

Posted by Kathleen
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 9, 2015 at 3:44 pm

While I agree with many comments, the bottom line is that MV city council F'd up and didn't consider a balance between office and housing. Business space development should only be allowed when adequate and equal housing is developed. It is just that easy.

Posted by Peace out
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm

There are plenty of reasons to consider relocating, cost of living is just one of them. For myself and numerous friends I know, it's not the cost of living that has ultimately led us (individually, and at different times) to decide to purchase property and eventually relocate out of the area, but it's the untenable amount of development and the consequences of this development = rapidly increasing amounts of air pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, sound pollution, that has tipped the scales in favor of relocating. Generally, it's not so peaceful around these parts anymore. I'm sure plenty of people (hundreds of thousands of people++ won't have a problem with living conditions in the's probably just me and a handful of my friends. These folks aren't retiring and they aren't moderate income earners. I am talking about top 5% earners here..leaving.

So, if your moderate income earners cannot afford to stay here and your top income earners no longer desire to stay here...there's a problem.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

As disheartening it is to see anyone displaced from their housing I also agree that rent control is not the answer. As someone else said, many of the rentals are independent "landlords" who face their own cost increases. And as another poster said, I too would love to live in Los Altos Hills. I'd like to drive a new car and have the latest phone too but I don't either because I can't afford it (Los Altos Hills) or I've made a choice to use that money for something more important (my kids education).

It isn't equal for everyone and it never will be. Rather than expecting others to change It for them, people need to make the sacrifices to change it for themselves; perhaps moving to a less expensive area and paying less rent, using the extra $ to get better schooling or training. Maybe that would be a good action instead of expecting others to take a reduction in their business.

Posted by Old Mountain Viewan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

To Mr. Jim Neal, I thank you for the information you provided it was very useful. I still can't believe the rest of you narrow minded and extremely insensitive people who are targeting Latinos this way. Race has nothing to do with it but for some reason you have turned it into that. I have lived in Mountain View all my life, I went to school here and was married in St. Joseph's Church and had three daughters. All of which live in Mountain View and I still rent, I too am not rich but still have to pay rent but that does not mean it is because of race....very insensitive and callous.

It's definitely Mountain View's City Council that has created this mess as well as the greedy landlords. They are definitely greedy, because long term renters are getting evicted due to the GREEDY, I WILL SAY IT AGAIN THE GREEDT landlords who will get more money on rents by doing so! Of course the City Council does nothing about it and everything gets worse. Oh yes, wait they have built a few new complexes, which require at least $4,000 or more a month.

I love Mountain View it use to be a wonderful City but now everything is just insane. Don't worry, I will be moving out of Mountain View as well but not because I am Latino or because I am whining..[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
But you sure know where to go when you need someone to watch your children dirt cheap, or to have your houses cleaned, or your yards cleaned, don't you! Shame on you.

Posted by OldMV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:24 pm

"Rent Stabilization" and "Rent Caps" are just euphemisms for "rent control", just as "progressive" is for "ultra-liberal". There can be no short-term rent control. Once imposed, it is almost impossible to get rid of. Rent control results in slow but steady deterioration in the quality and maintenance of the rental units affected. I would urge MV to be very, very careful of adopting this ruinous practice.

Posted by susan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:29 pm


Posted by Bill
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:29 pm

What's being overlooked, perhaps, is that many of the people who can't afford high rents work in businesses that people with more money enjoy frequenting. I'm thinking of restaurants, bookstores, boutiques, auto repair shops, garden centers, hotels, housekeepers, ... If they leave town, who will work in these businesses? Will the businesses close for lack of being able to hire? That would affect our quality of life. Small businesses make a town interesting and desirable too.

Posted by Longview
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Realtor Lobbies and Apartment Associations always seek to spread disinformation about tenant protections. Their interest is their own profits, not the health of a community. Because of state law, a cap on rents, or literal rent control, is not legal. Rent stabilization is not a euphemism, it is what is allowed under state law. It only sets a limit on rent increases for current tenants. Rents remain high. For new tenants, any rent can be charged. And as to landlords covering expenses – weren’t they making money or breaking even 5 years ago, and with a fixed mortgage? And then they raised the rent. Weren’t they making money last year? And then they doubled the rent. Local landlords must be buying vacation villas – and I don’t blame them. I am appalled by City Councils that allow this rather than pass rent stabilization. Why do elected officials value realtors and landlords so much? Why do elected officials care so little for the working people of their cities? This is the shame. Prop 13 protects property owners. It is time to protect renters too.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm

What bothers me is that these people feel entitled to cheap rents. This is the Silicon Valley. Every other person is a Millionaire. Overstatement I know but almost. It does cost a lot of money to live here, but that is based on having a high tech job. If you don't and don't have a College Degree, or aren't independently wealthy, a Doctor ETC, then you will find it hard to live here. Look around. Most families have both parents working. Where in the Constitution does it say that you are entitled to live wherever you feel even if you can't afford it. Somebody said they would like to live in Los Altos Hills, Me too. I would also Like a Cadillac Escalade fully loaded, but I can't don't make enough money. So I drive a Ford escape and live in Mountain View. I demand the City Council make Safeway lower the cost of food, and Daycare to be cheaper. I also demand that even if I work at McDonalds and did not go to school then I should still be able to live in one of those big houses in LA Hills. You know I always wanted to live in Hawaii, but my profession is not big there, so I would not be able to afford the kind of place I want to live, so I choose to live here. I actually was Born here 52 years ago. Most of my family has moved away to afford a nicer house, you don't hear us crying about it.

Posted by Pick and Choose
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm

I love the way that the Mountain View Voice Censors the posts. They are not protecting the 1st amendment and they are a news org. They should be ashamed of themselves deleting some posts to manipulate the picture to their benefit a special interest group. It's not the Landlords fault, it's not googles fault, it's not the MV City Council's fault it is evolution. Price and demand dictates the market. When there is an oil shortage they raise gas prices. When there is an egg shortage they raise the price on eggs, on and on. When did this change and why is Mountain View Voice afraid to let the chips fall where they might. Shame on Mt. View Voice.

Posted by outta here
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm

been here 15 years packing it up now. Anywhere else is cheeper!!! Landlord putting in a patch of grass and BBQ pit jacking the rent 200.00 Mountain View. Your not that quaint anymore. You sold your soul to Google,apple,and Linkedin. To the City of Mountain View take note.

Posted by We Got This!!!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 9, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Through this process I've made new friends from all nationalities and economic status. I am so taken by those with the courage to come forward and share their lives, their stories. I can't fathom lashing out at children....many of those crying were and are children. As for who is American, let's not forget how and who built the foundation of Mountain View.

Had those commenting attended the session you would have seen the eclectic mix of all Americans.

Mountain View is my home and I'm going to continue using the Democratic process in order to voice my concerns.

Our City Council members are the ones we plead our cause to, we respect them and look to them for hope. As I looked upon them I saw a caring and compassionate people.

Posted by Real Estate Guy
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 9, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Why is Housing any different than any other business? Does the government dictate oil Prices? Does the government decide the price of tires, Cars, Refrigerators, TV's, etc. When you go to the store with 1000 bucks and the TV you want cost 1500 do you still get it for 1000. How dare the priest say that the community owes it to anyone! The only person one owes is him or herself and their family. If you can't afford to live in one place you move to where you can. This is nothing new, in fact it is as old as this Country. I also saw in the article a quote of someone saying that the landlords are requiring 2 and 3 x the rent in income. This is another thing that is not new, been going on for years. They do it because they have the demand. When the demand is down the prices are down and they look the other way on credit. Put yourself in joe Property owner shoes. How much is fair. Should he be allowed any profit if it impacts someone? It's just like the house here in Mt. View that goes for 1 million, goes for 200k in Arkansas. This is the way it is, and has been since 1776.

Posted by Who pays?
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 9, 2015 at 6:45 pm

There is at least one member of the City Council, whose campaign was secretly advanced by local landlords. who will never vote for rent control but would support higher taxes to pay landlords rent subsidies. That way, the councilmember can claim to care about some renters and landlords can get hundreds of millions of dollars in higher rents and have plenty of extra money for more "independent" campaign spending for their favorite politicians.

Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 9, 2015 at 8:25 pm

The solution is simple: build more housing, which will increase supply, which will lower rents. The trick, of course, is to make new developments friendly to pedestrians, bicyclists and public transport, so we don't put too many new cars on the road. Incidentally, that also makes for a nicer cityscape.

Posted by MVWoman
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm

I cannot help but feel compassion for those children who could be moved to other schools and away from their friends, but I cannot control that move. The PARENTS control it and must take full responsibility. In a society, you plan your life - either well or not so well. You plan your education, your profession, perhaps limit the number of children to what you can afford, and live within your means. Nobody is "entitled" to have what they cannot afford. That's just the way the world works. "Real Estate Guy" (3 posts above this one) says it best. I'd like to pay less for gas, for a new TV, for a car, for clothes, but the market is independent and we cannot control it. We all make choices with our lives - and we make the best of the consequences.

Posted by Greedylandlord
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

I guess I'll come forward and raise my hand as being one of the greedy landlords.
I bought my property back in 2000 when interest rates were high and the cost was high. I struggled to pay my mortgage for years when I could have stayed renting for 1/3 of the cost.
When my property became too small for my growing family we moved out of the area because we couldn't afford a larger place in MV. Plus I was stuck with the property because at this point I owed more than it was worth with the downturn of housing prices.
For 8 years I rented it out for less than it cost me to the tune of $875 a month. For 8 years I paid $875 out of pocket for someone else to live in my property without knowing if the value would ever increase and make it worth it.
Last year I finally raised the rent and not even to current market value. My tenants.. they left and chose to pay even more then the price of my increase for a nicer place because well they could afford it!
They left, I remodeled it and it's now rented for more. Finally, it's not costing me money every month. I'm just about at a break even point with the monthly payments and property taxes. Maybe a little in the hole.
Yup, I'm raking in the dough!

Here's the thing. Being a landlord is a huge financial risk. There is no light at the end of the tunnel that I can see where I will be able to say I'm finally ahead and caught up to all the money I've put out to keep this property and not let the bank take it from me. One day my kids might have something valuable out of this.
I wasn't running to city council for help because the rent didn't cover my mortgage. If rent control happens in MV I will sell and that will take one more rental off the market making demand that much higher. I suspect many greddy landlords like myself would do the same and the rents would skyrocket again.

Posted by prs
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 9, 2015 at 11:08 pm

It IS sad that these children may be uprooted, but, as others have said, everybody has to deal with the cost of everything going up. If the market will bear it, the price will go up.

What I can't understand are those people who think that the answer is rent control or over-building. Neither of those things is a solution.

Rent control places the burden for price increases on the landlord, who are entitled to a profit for their investment. It is very short-sighted to think that landlords are "greedy" because they have to raise rents. Those who demonize them tend to forget that the landlords must pay taxes on their property, pay for repairs, pay for any upgrades of the property and absorb the cost when an apartment goes empty or a renter fails to pay their rent. In the later case, they have attorney and court costs to deal with as well. My late father-in-law owned a couple of rental properties in San Jose and he was NOT rolling dough because of it. The "greedy landlord" image is fantasy more often than not.

As for the person who suggest we simply "build more housing to drive the cost down", don't you think we're building fast enough already? We continue to build more, yet our city officials have yet to address how we will get water for those additional units, where the children moving in will attend school, how we will provide police and fire protection for them and many other questions that they SHOULD be asking prior to approving more housing. They seem to be the greedy ones, since they approve buildings without dealing with those issues, yet are happy to waste the new tax dollars generated on things that the current citizens don't want.

In short, if you want to stay in an area, you have to make yourself able to afford to do so. Nobody else owes it to you. You may not like that reality, but that is the truth. Trying to alter it with legislation will ultimately fail.

Posted by bjd
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Start with a non-occupancy tax. It doesn't have as many of the risky side effects of rent control and will help bring up our usable housing stock, and/or bring in revenue the city can use for more affordable housing.

Posted by Better conditions for your kids
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 10, 2015 at 1:27 am

How is living 6 or 8 people in a 2-bedroom apartment good for your kids? Mt View is a great place to live but it's not the only place. There are much more affordable places with better school districts.

Posted by We Got This!!!!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 10, 2015 at 6:30 am

When we are dealing with a human commodity , this is where the issue becomes a human rights concern. You see people are not a disposable commodity as flat screen TVs and objects we purchase.. My girls have computers the school has ever so kindly provided (although maybe you object to this also-well more than 50 percent of my income goes to the "Greedy Landlord"). Therefore I choose to scrape up the rent and ever barely each month. I choose to live here in MV and I don't choose to live in Los Gatos or Atherton because I wouldn't want to live there.

And when you choose to identify yourself as a greedy landlord I wonder how great you must feel and then continue to justify yourself because you have no other option but to be a greedy landlord. "Why isn't it clear to you a human who is a thinking, feeling being -that renters are not "objects." Yes we have choices and so now we choose to speak out and say to the City Ciuncil we have opinions, thoughts, feelings, ideas, concerns, fears, stress, anxiety due to the greedy landlord and would like some help.

We are not whining and complaining and asking for handouts. Isn't it apparent to you who describe yourself as highly educated. We are using the tools in a peaceful manner to describe our concerns. How much more honorable can this be. And How we go about asking for assistance is not incorrect based on how the process for change works here.

And great for you that describe yourself as hard working and educated. I describe myself, my girls, my neighbors as the same.

Posted by Neighbors Helping Neighbors
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2015 at 6:55 am

RE: Help for renters

Dear Neighbors and Friends,
As MVCC and other Peninsula cities gabble with solutions.
There is help available for renters. Our programs & services are free.
No income restrictions. We primarily serve middle income households, some low income.

If you or any one you know need help, basic needs or housing search, please contact us.
Contact Us:

For general info.
650-283-0270 (No Texting, please)
P.O. BOX 113
Palo Alto, CA 94302

Peer Counseling Team
​Phone: 650-283-0270 (No Texting, please)

Phone: 650-283-0270

Home Sharing Program -
Housing Coordinator
Landlord Inquires – Room Rentals/other rentals.

Here's something new! Neighbors Helping Neighbors is taking a greater part in connecting to our renters. And being a messenger and greater resource for their needs plus for their voices.
Fred Radford, a renter and Palo Alto resident has created, Bay Area Forum and three separate surveys for renters.

NHN is kicking off, "Bay Area Renter's Forum' 🌋🎉🎈
Web Link
This is a forum by renters for renters. Check it out. Start a topic. Renters only, please.
Renters from MV and other Peninsula cities will weigh in. Or share their concerns, challenges, blessings or information...
Neighbors Helping Neighbors is compiling the data that will be tabulated from the following surveys to assist Peninsula cities alleviate the "imbalance" in the private rental market.

The survey can be done anonymously. Whether you rent a room, apartment, condo/townhouse, house, mobile home or other dwelling, please share the facts about your rental. Please ONLY renters complete the survey(s)...

~~ Month-to-Month(MTM) Rental vs Lease Agreement in Mt View Click this hyperlink to access his form, you can fill it out in Google Forms. Our goal is 12,000 responses.

~~ Month-to-Month(MTM) Rental vs Lease Agreement in Palo Alto Click this hyperlink to access his form, you can fill it out in Google Forms. Our goal is 12,000 responses.

~~ Month-to-Month(MTM) Rental vs Lease Agreement in San Mateo County Click this hyperlink to access his form, you can fill it out in Google Forms. Our goal is 24,000 responses.

Posted by This owner just filled it out
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

There's really no way to tell if the people filling out the survey are renters or not. I've owned my home for 16 years and filled it out per my personal beliefs.
Without any control to make sure the survey group is only comprised of renters, the results will always be in doubt, easily called into question, and therefore is a waste of everyone's time.
If you want real results put in real controls with the survey. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. I put my test piece of garbage into the survey and it was accepted without question. Others can and will as well.

Posted by Neighbors Helping Neighbors
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2015 at 8:53 am

@Posted by This owner just filled it out - a resident of Blossom Valley

Dear Person,
You are being very insensitive to our renters.
There really is no way for you to have completed any of our 'Survey for Renters' without joining our Bay Area Renters Forum'. Membership to the forum is by approval only. 1. there were no active hyperlinks added to this thread. 2. only access is through approved membership to the forum groups. So, yes, there are controls to try to ensure only renter input.

Yes, it is true surveys are only as good as the truthful information of each participant. We will not be relying solely on the data compiled by the surveys.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) has thousands of renters enrolled in our basic needs programs and thousands more renters enrolled in our Housing Networks.

NHN screens and vets all of our clients. We will use this verifed information when compiling the final results. It will give more true results.

Sincerely, Joanne
NHN Housing Coordinator

Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2015 at 9:30 am

I always wonder why those renters don't want to move to East Palo Alto, Alviso, some part of Menlo Park and Redwood City? There are still large pockets of relatively affordable places in the area.

Posted by Life is tough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 10, 2015 at 10:29 am

I agree with a lot of the comments here. Let me just add that life is tough here for everyone, even those with higher incomes. It takes several millions of dollars in the bank to live here happily, and even most tech workers don't have that.

Rents are high, but low-income people also get a lot of assistance here in Mountain View. They get food stamps and fresh fruits and vegetables from the CSA. Free meals at Hopes kitchen. Their kids qualify for free breakfast and lunch at school, even often during the summer. Free health care at the free clinic on El Camino (this is huge! So much of my families budget goes to health care and we are relatively healthy!) Utilities are often heavily discounted. School supplies are donated through the giving tree as are Christmas presents. Even afterschool childcare is free or substantially discounted. They even get free Chromebooks and free Internet to take home!

Yes, a high % of their income is spent on rent, but they get a lot of other assistance which reduces the overall burden. The rest of us have to pay for all of this ourselves. My kids want Chromebooks, I gotta buy it. My kids need a Dr, I pay for it. I buy school lunch, I pay full price for after school care. I buy school supplies and Christmas presents. No extra help for us anywhere. It all adds up and costs a lot. Suddenly there's nothing left of my "high" salary either.

I'm not complaining, or saying I don't support those services being provided. Just showing the picture is not as grim as some want to suggest.

Add on top my ridiculous monthly mortgage payment and property taxes and we struggle to save anything as well. You may say at least we have stability as we are homeowners, but nothing could be further from the truth! We only have stability as long as we keep our jobs (and high tech companies never have layoffs, right?) One job lose and we are only a few short months away from being homeless ourselves.

But I'm not complaining. This is life if you choose to live here, which for now this is our choice, so we make the best of it.

I struggle to see how rent control would do anything besides distort the market further (but I'm sure all those high income Google, Facebook and LinkedIn employees would love to lock in a low rent and pocket the savings).

Posted by Take control
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

When I was renting in the 90's my rent in MV went way up so much I could not afford it so I moved to a more affordable area and now I enjoy a better quality of life than I would have had if I tried to stay and make it work somehow.

Posted by Neighbors Helping Neighbors
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2015 at 12:08 pm

RE: Questions about options for renters. ..

​ Prospective from a local service provider who serves thousands of middle income households & some low income.​
@m2grs and other,

​Affordable Rent 'Private Market' Housing - does not exist in Peninsula cities for middle to low income households. Even upper middle income people are paying 80% or more of their incomes. Peninsula cities are having an unprecedented 'housing crisis'. This would be more severe than the Dot Com bust in the 1990s.
Of the households who are currently living in dwellings they rent, we have known that a significant nuber have been severely financially overburdened since 2010.​ It is a much smaller number of middle income households who we would consider financially stable. Even though,there maybe "rare finds" of rents alittle less then average market rents in nearby cities, it is not even close to being enough.
​Relocating Out of the Area - those who have relocated out of the area and find themselves financially stable is a 10th of other households who are 'financially overburdened'.​
Answer the question, why don't folks relocate out of the area. There are multiple valid reasons why people need to stay​ here​ from their longtime employment or new jobs ​are​ here, elderly parents need them, they do not have the money or resources to move, etc.
NHN has good data from our clients (2013-2015) who have relocated out of the area and 90 percent, 6 to 12 months later become displaced again because of no jobs or loss of job,​ ​rents out of area have risen dramatically and lack of support from new community, family or friends. Plus, access to inadequate medical and social services.
And for those who relocate and commute here to work, there are added costs of computing from gasoline, auto repairs (most no longer can afford) and time away from children who may need extra attention.
NHN has a large housing network. Recent clients experiences, of the 24000+ enrolled, 12,000 will be displaced in the next week to 30-60 days due to No Cause Notices to Vacate and substantial rents increases. Through, Bay Area Renter's Forum Surveys for MV, PA and San Mateo County (Sunnyvale survey coming soon) we hope to determine what are the rents and how many more residents will be displaced in the coming weeks and months.
NHN works with hundreds of landlords. Not all landlords are the problem. We know some landlords have financial challenges and we help them find solutions so they don't have to raise their rent so high.

Then there are the hundreds of landlords who have told us they do not have a financial need to raise their rents to these unprecedented rates. But they are doing it because other landlords are charging way above what they know their concurrent & new tenants can afford.
The rental market has been severely imbalanced for five years now. It is a fact that a significant number of both middle & low incone rents (renting rooms to 1-2-3 bedrooms) relocate every 6 to 12 months. And Bay Area Renters Forum Surveys for Renter will indicate how many more thousands of MV, PA, Sunnyvale & SMC renters have relocated in last two years. Not just those we​ ​already know of who are enrolled in NHN programs and Housing Networks.

​Question of social service assistance to supplement incomes. No current social service program for low or middle income households can increase support to keep up with the rising rents.

Yes, CSA-MV has benefited the low income community well. They do awesome work. And NHN who serves mostly middle income households fills some of the gaps. But these escalating rents are sabotaging our efforts to help keep these households stable. Even with assistance they remain 'financially overburdened' and at risk of displacement.

Let's all work together to find immediate and long term solutions. It is possible.
Regards, Joanne
NHN Housing Coordinator

P.S. @Jim Neal, "Palo Alto has limited office development and therefore has been able to maintain much of the look and feel of the city, whereas Mountain View appears to be changing at warp speed."

I believe many Palo Alto residents would heartily disagree with you. And their limit on office development has done nothing to slow the displacement of their middle to low income renters. Who equally have been displace in the thousands.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

I'm an owner. I bought here in 2003, even then it was a big stretch for us but I love this area, this particular location, so much we pushed our budget and made it work. We live tight just like "Life is Tough" said, we watch our $, I drive an older car and don't take big vacations. We live month to month but make it happen because we love this area so much. Every day I look at our blue skies, our bright sun, our warm weather. How close we are to beaches, hiking, a large City with culture, even the not-so-far Tahoe; and every day I am thankful for being here.

That said, it's highly doubtful we'll be able to retire here. We're already planning on where we'll have (and I say HAVE because it's the last thing we want to do, makes us sick to think about it)....anyway, planning on where we'll HAVE to move next because it's too expensive, we won't be able to afford to retire here. Our children likely won't be able to buy homes here when they get out of school.

Will we be going to the City Council asking them to make it less expensive so we can stay here? NO. It's not "the City's" responsibility to provide for us. And it isn't their responsibility or frankly their right to tell a property owner what they can or cannot get for rent. As the very first poster stated, so far we're not yet a socialist/communist state. Let's try to keep it that way.

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.

I work 7 days a week, sometimes (and rather frequently) over 20 hours a day.

I was turned down for a house loan. I didn't have the savings nor income.

Turned down for a mobile home loan too - even one that was relatively low cost. (Key word is "relatively".) They said my credit is great, but I don't make enough cash flow.

I looked into affordable housing, and found I made a little too much to qualify.

The lowest local rental situations are on craigslist. I found a shared room on a cheap bunkbed. Then another one was a small tent in someone's back yard. Both wanted over $1,000 / month.

Some that look too good to be true want me to wire money overseas. No thanks. Then there are others that want money AND trade.

My parents and I have been asked to move out by the end of this month.

They couldn't afford this area, so they are moving 90 minutes away.

I asked my landlord if I could stay in the house - because they wanted the house back allegedly so they could live in it. I was given a response letter that was both direct and insulting.

I asked a couple nearby churches if I could sleep in their parking lot, or back sidewalk - either with or without a car. They said no, for insurance reasons.

I have invested a lot of time and energy in my work. I want to stay here.

Since I don't sleep that much anyway (due to the work hours), I've decided I'll try living out of my car. My car has problems, and I'm prioritizing its repairs. It's especially important now because I'll be spending so much time in it. I think I met a really nice repair place staff, so I feel grateful for that.

I'm trying to find places I can park and sleep at night. I'll probably do it in San Jose, because it's less conspicuous there.

Everything happens for a reason. And God will help me.

I wish I could win the lotto. Then I'll make an area where all the families can stay together, continue their life chapters here, and also stay with their pets...

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2015 at 11:30 am

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@really hard worker, there are MANY who commute from East Bay or South Bay where there is much more affordable housing, perhaps you could look there?

Or is the only acceptable alternative for you to stay in an area that is too expensive?

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.

Hi mvresident2003,

Since I last posted, a dear friend has offered a space for me. A couple challenges to that. This month I was hit with several urgent surprise expenditures.

I think she'd still let me stay with her until my finances recover from this month, but I'm trying not to borrow more money (or get in a situation where I owe other companies / agencies / friends more).

I'm being given an opportunity to rent at a very, very reduced rate from her. But I really don't even have the cash for this month. (After the car repair costs yesterday, I'm definitely in the red).

What cities / towns are "southbay / eastbay"? I'm not familiar with those areas. Do you mean East Palo Alto?

The other challenge is that often I'm so tired by the time I finish work, I don't have energy to commute far. She lives pretty far from where I usually work.

(Many people don't understand the exhaustion at the end of the last shift of the last job when someone works 20+ hours a day - and if work starts again the next day at 4am or 4:30am. This is not counting commute between cities).

Yesterday I was at the car repair place. They found some problems with the car. They fixed a couple things while I was there - but for the electrical, tire, and other stuff - they can't even look at it until tomorrow. The existing battery is mostly working, which is awesome. I thought it was done because it was not working for at least a year. (I suspect there are electrical problems that's draining the battery which makes the battery look bad - but it's really the car).

(LOL, is that a Mountain View / Bay Area analogy? Put the displaced batteries in a functioning car and they won't be perceived as lazy or worthless).

This car has had a problem where occasionally I push the gas pedal and nothing happens. It's had that about 4 years. Finally, the new repair place I went to spotted the problem in general. But the person that can make an estimate and know the parts needed isn't there weekends.

I'm not sure I have time in my schedule to go for repairs tomorrow. And... I kind of want to hold off finding anymore problems until my finances stabilize more.

I came to the Bay Area to be close to family. Since we're getting split up, I've been thinking more about moving away.

But I like the people I work with. If I didn't like the people I see at work, I think I would have already given notice at work and just planned to move away with the eviction.

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

People can reasonably disagree on the merits of price controls, but no who owns can fairly criticize renters without being hypocritical. Current homeowner tax subsidies and MV zoning policies reward homeowners. I understand the benefits of strict zoning in preserving a quality of life, but if one wants to have the fruits of such policies, they need to also own its negative effects on those who rent. Those who blame renters 100% for not becoming owners fail to be fully honest that the prices renters must pay to be owners are far from a "free market." Rent would not be so high if there was not government restrictions on supply. Homeowners benefit from the current market distortion, adding renter protections just add another market distortion. A better path would be to allow mass homeowner micro units near transit to be built. Adjusted for inflation, as a percent of average MV salary, it's 4x harder than it was in 1970 to buy a home in MV. So renters pay more in rent all the while having to save more to buy. Everything goes back to supply. Allowing people and markets to find people places to live, place down roots, and build equity is no evil, but the fundamental duty of a developed civic society. Cites serve the well being all people, not just certain kind
of people, and should seek to do so in the most ecological manner.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2015 at 3:20 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@ real worker

meant to add that I wish I could win the lottery too. Just like you, I worry about my family and being split up, they're getting older but there's absolutely no way they can afford to live here. Perhaps I should ask MV City Council to set up a special fund to support the Seniors of Anyone Who Lives In This City. I sure would love to have my parents live close to me and my kids.

You mention wanting to stay here because you like the people you work with. Gee, I like the family I grew up with, would love to have them here too.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2015 at 3:24 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

by the way, I meant to add that I'm truly hopeful you get your personal circumstances worked out. I remember going thru a similar circumstance and it's not easy but doable. I truly wish you only the best

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2015 at 3:35 pm

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.

Hi mvRes, are you a senior or just your parents?

Perhaps a blog should be setup for the displaced Bay Area people.

I'm sometimes unhappy about my circumstances, but I've seen worse.

About 2 years ago, my co-worker's husband died. She was so hard working - she did much more than what her job required. Unbelievably, the day after her husband died, she was working again! (She cried while she worked). The company she worked for (it wasn't the same as mine - but we worked in the same building) made her feel that she couldn't take a day off.

Many people were supportive to her because they'd seen how hard she worked. Some people started to donate money to help her, but the work place sent out an email and forbade us to help her.

I brought money and food to her and her son. I was astounded to see many families living together. They didn't even have a room - they just stayed in the living room and slept on the floor.

When you win the lotto, MVres, don't forget us!!


I do think my situation will improve. It might take a few months or several months to try and raise enough money to stay under a normal roof - but even if I have to sleep in the car, I should be ok as long as I don't get robbed. Or my car is broken into while I work.

Or... maybe I'll find I don't have to work so much. And when I work less hours, I can start to stay at my friends' places - even though they're a little far.

Posted by maryhodder
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:59 am

maryhodder is a registered user.

There are several things to consider:

1. Rent Control for Owners. Landlords and commercial property owners (and homeowners too) have their own version of Rent Control. It's called prop 13. If commercial interests and landlords are smart, they put the property into a corporation for liability reasons, but guess what. When they sell, they don't sell the property (as in re-recording it). They sell the shares of the company. So the new owner gets the old basis.. What do you think all of North Bayshore is right now? A series of corporations owning properties.. and paying extremely low prop 13 taxes. Yet the properties are now worth $60-80 million an acre and paying often 1977 property taxes.

Homeowners also get a terrific break. And I get why.. but still look at the tax assessment numbers in our neighborhood: Buy in 1977 (or before) and pay $400 a year; 1992 pays $4000 / year; 2009 and pay $12,000 a year, 2013 and pay $20,000 a year, 2014 and pay $35,000 and 2015 and pay $45,000. These examples encompass our house, and our immediate neighbors. Yes.. the earlier folks paid for earlier infrastructure and the later folks are now paying that forward.

But then think about a company, like Google, buying a building for $100m, and then paying 1977 taxes on it, because they only bought the company and not the actual building.. meaning the company owner of the property is all that changes hands. That's why Goog pays such low property taxes.. as do other company owners of properties. Only if they build new or remodel are they reassessed.

2. Rent Control for tenants. If you implement it, landlords are de-incentivised to repair and keep up their properties. And the tenants increasingly live in slums. Having lived in Berkeley and seeing what it does.. it's a bad solution. However, greedy landlords push things too far and this is what the CIty Council is faced with.. requests for it. When I moved out of my apartment in Berkeley, my $1,000 rent was reset to $4,700 a month. And the landlord hadn't put anything into the place in 30 years, and was paying a 30y old tax rate. When he raised the rents, he didn't improve it. He didn't pay more property taxes. He just charged more. Perverse incentives.

3. Incentives. If you want to fix this, one way would be to repeal Prop 13 for commercial properties. Then the City could decide what to take, with the county.. and basically tax landlords who charge lower rents, less tax.. and landlords who charge more, or do more rent increases than one per year, and more than say 10%, more taxes. But repealing prop 13 for commercial interests would take 2/3 vote of all Californians.

The is last point might be the way to go, but given we have a Campaign Finance Problem where companies own the system, we're screwed. Prop 13 won't change for commercial properties.

So we are left with perverse incentives.. like rent control for tenants. Because prop 13 hamstrings local governments from making other incentives for commercial properties to keep them from acting too far out.

And lest anyone argue, as someone above did, that we don't tell Safeway what to charge or the gas man.. yes we do. In a way.. we subsidize energy and food (and the water that goes into food) heavily and therefore we control those prices with incentives so those industries don't get out of control. A better example would be to say: we don't control the price of shoes. And that would be correct.. we don't subsidize (much) of shoe production and we don't require the subsidized to control themselves in the markets.

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