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Council faces tough decisions on rent control requests

Original post made on Sep 18, 2015

Pressure is mounting to address Mountain View's rising rents, with city officials facing a delicate balancing act as they search for an effective solution.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 18, 2015, 5:55 PM

Comments (70)

Posted by Lucas Ramirez
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm

When was the last time hundreds of people turned out in consecutive Council meetings to speak on non-agendized items? I'm glad the Council and the City Manager are scheduling a special study session, though I'm not anticipating any new or innovative ideas to come out of it.

We know what the various solutions to the problem are, and none are easy, quick, or politically palatable to everyone. Hopefully we'll at least be able to have a civil discussion about how best to address the housing affordability crisis.

Posted by Good Idea
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 18, 2015 at 6:44 pm

"We're begging you to lower our rents, otherwise we'll have to go to Mexico,"

What a wonderful idea. One needs to go where they can afford, not beg govt. to lower the rent.

Go back and make it as great as America. We need more room for high tech engineers.

Posted by Fed Up With Evictions
a resident of Slater
on Sep 18, 2015 at 6:56 pm

The human pain and suffering I've seen in Mountain View is egregious. Families are being evicted en masse. Children are being pulled out of school in the middle of the semester. Families can barely afford to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. Landlords are withholding 100% of security deposits and skirting around Mountain View's Tenant Relocation Assistance ordinance. And all the while comments on the MV Voice say "go find a better paying job" - really? Tell that to our public school teachers and civil servants. This crisis is affecting everyone - not just the working class but also the middle class.

The Council's lack of leadership and long-term vision has put us here - with a dearth of housing and an excess of office space.

I'm disappointed that after years of outrageous rental increases and evictions that the CA Apartment Association is only now encouraging landlords to exercise caution and "sensitivity." Sensitivity won't save our neighborhoods from being gutted. We need strong renter protections just like nearly every other community in the Bay Area has already adopted.

The Council must strengthen renters' rights through the passing of a just cause eviction ordinance, a temporary rent moratorium, and rent stabilization to help neighborhoods stay whole and children in school.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 18, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

Although I have been a renter since coming to California over 26 years ago, I am firmly against any type of rent control or "rent stabilization" measures because they are always counter productive.

From the article, one could conclude that only the "special interest" California Apartment Association spoke out against this, but I was there and spoke out against it as well.

I did a lot of research on the topic and provided the Council with a list of the top 20 most expensive cities to rent in, in the US. I spoke about how the list shows that 5 of the top 6 most expensive cities all have rent control (including San Francisco at #1, and San Jose) and that it would be 6 out of 6 if one of the cities has not repealed the rent control ordinance a year or two ago. The list that I gave the Council also provided all the links upon which my facts are based.

Like many people here, I am also struggling to remain here close to my friends, but that will not be possible in the long run. I will be retiring (if I am fortunate enough to keep my job) in about 13 years and at that point I am fairly certain that I will no longer be able to afford to live here so my wife and I are already making plans to move elsewhere at that time (no applause please) :)

With that being the case, why you ask would I of all people be against rent stabilization? The answer is that I have lived in San Francisco twice and neither time did rent control or rent stabilization lower or help with the rents there. When these measures are implemented, what usually happens is that rents spike immediately as the property owners try to compensate for the future revenues that they anticipate losing once the new mandated pricing structure takes effect. This is not out of greed (normally), this is to make sure that they can continue to pay for repairs, upgrades (some of which WILL be mandated by local, state, or federal regulations), unoccupied units and property taxes. They also derive an income that pays for their retirement or perhaps their children's education, medical expenses, etc.

In listening to some of the comments and stories, many of the people seemed to be under the mistaken impression that the City sets or lowers rent prices, or would be able to prevent evictions. A new ordinance might make evictions more difficult and prevent a few, but any owner that is losing money on a property will either sell it, or file for bankruptcy in which case the tenants are likely to be evicted anyway by whomever the new owner is.

Rent control or rent stabilization also locks people into the home or apartment they are currently renting, so if you have say a family of 10 living in a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment, they will never be able to move somewhere else because if they do, they will then pay a market rent which is much higher than the market rent would be without rent control. The reason for this is that rent controlled/stabilized areas have even less available units than before, and therefore competition is increased thereby driving up demand and prices.

Rent control/stabilization would also create increased costs to the city as a new bureaucracy would need to be put in place to handle landlord and tenant complaints or issues related to the new ordinance.

I do not want to be forced out of Mountain View, and if rent control/stabilization was the answer, I would be the first one in line to advocate for it. We are already sharing an rental with two people and so far we have been lucky to be able to remain, but if this policy is implemented, the resulting rent increase might be too much even for our combined incomes.

I suggested 3 possible solutions to the issue at the meeting:

1) Education. This is a high tech/med tech area and people need to pursue higher education in order to increase their earning potential and obtain jobs that allow them to pay the rents in this market

2) More and/or streamlined assistance programs for low and middle income renters that reduce the burden while people are obtaining the necessary education to survive in this area

3) Provide incentives for companies with higher paying jobs to hire unemployed/underemployed local residents.

Market based solutions always work better than command economy solutions. There once was a U.S. President that attempted to set wage and price controls .... his name was Richard Nixon. Is that really the model that we want to emulate?

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 18, 2015 at 8:02 pm

@ Jim Neal,

One of the few times I may agree with you...

However, your 3 solutions don't do anything to stop what is happening right now. Are you suggesting that it is ok that some folks are being evicted or displaced? If so, please explain why that is ok.

I think you said when you were running for Council that having the socio-economic differences in MV make it a better place for everybody to live. So what happens when we lose this segment of our population?

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 18, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Rent control doesn't make sense as long as there's the state Ellis Act that allows rental unit owners to evict and sell, which could reduce rental supply further.

Nor is it fully intellectually honest to make free market justification for the current state of extreme rental profits. Free market allows for supply to freely respond to increases in demand. Our city artificially restrict supply. One can legitimately defend restricting supply with the goal of preserving a way of life, but they should also then be honest and accept that this restriction in supply is also tantamount to a "taking" of renters' economic power, in the form of being placed in a political created market distortion that favors property owners.

I find rent that rises far faster than costs to be blindly opportunistic in the best situations and willfully immoral in the worst. A healthy free market should also include a free exchange of good information that empowers consumers to make the most rationale decisions. I urge the city to require all residential real estate entities to report to the city the percentages of their annual rent increases, and then urge online apartment search sites and this paper to publish those percentages over time (but the same way the Daily Post publishes civic servant salaries). A company like Prometheus, which owns several Mountain View properties, has the right to exorbitantly increase rent, but it should also have to live with the possible future impact on its reputation with future renters and the community at large. Properly informing consumers of who they are dealing with ensures a free market as much as unregulated prices, and rewards landowners who are just.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 18, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

As I am one of the people that could face displacement/eviction I don't think that it is OK; however, this problem took a long time to be created and so cannot be fixed overnight. I wish there was a quick fix or a magic bullet to remedy the problem. This was one of the things that I warned about with over-development of office space for such a small fixed area. I believe that it has been the warp speed addition of office space that has driven the spike in demand, not a lack of supply. As long as office expansions and new office spaces continue to be approved at breakneck speed, housing here will never catch up.

It is the reason I wanted to scrap the plans to add 3+ million more square feet of Office development in the North Bayshore, and look at instead replacing some or all of it with housing and leave the rest as open space, but the voters made their will known. Now I am continuing the fight as a private citizen and doing what I can to speak up when I can, and continue to try to suggest real solutions that preserve everyone's rights and the balance of culture that we greatly value in Mountain View.

As for what happens when we lose the socio-economic differences in M.V., you will find that I will be counted among those in the segment which has been lost.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 18, 2015 at 10:16 pm

I used to be sympathetic, now I'm just tired. I think the city council should do a poll. Call residents and ask if they would like to see rent control (or rent "stabilization") happen. I bet the majority will say no. The city council should not be bullied into legislation supported by a vocal minority. Of course people will show up to a city meeting if they think it might help them financially.

On the flip side, those of us who are not in favor are not able to go to the city meetings and speak because we will be vilified and labeled as insensitive or even racist.

Chris - I'm sorry, but your suggestion is just crazy. Maybe for a large corporation with many units it could work, but many landlords are people who own only 1 or 2 units. The income from their 1-2 units quite possible supports them in retirement. They are likely not wealthy. Why should a private owner of one property have to bother with all your silly reporting? What a hassle and what an unfair burden to place on someone.

You say: "Rent control doesn't make sense as long as there's the state Ellis Act that allows rental unit owners to evict and sell, which could reduce rental supply further."

Are you saying the Ellis Act is bad? Why? If I own the property, why should I not have the right to remove tenants and sell if that's what works for me financially? The tenants don't own the place, I do! I let them live there, I agree to maintain the property and keep it safe and habitable for them and in exchange they pay me money. They are free to leave when they choose, I am free to ask them to leave (with fair notice) when I want to. Why should tenants have the right to occupy a property indefinitely as if they were the homeowner?

I am a homeowner (not landlord) in Mountain View. One of these days I would like to retire and spend some years traveling around the world. I would plan to rent my house out for that time since I won't be needing it, but then I WOULD LIKE IT BACK when I'm ready to move back in.

This rent control debate happens in waves in Mountain View. Tech Industry heats up, rents rise, people start screaming for the city to "do something". Then tech crashes, rents go back to normal, even housing prices dip. It's a cycle people. I rented for most of my adult life before I purchased so been there done that. If you don't like it there are many wonderful places to live in America, (or Mexico, if that's your desire) that don't have a cyclical economy like the bay area. There's a good chance we're headed for a crash soon, so all of you peeps screaming for lower rents my get your wish.

Voice - All your writers and editors must be renters. You seem to use every opportunity to bring this topic up. Do you do the same in your Palo Alto and Menlo Park papers, or is Mountain View just the lucky ones?

Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm

@ Fed up with evictions

You say:
"We need strong renter protections just like nearly every other community in the Bay Area has already adopted."

What are you referring to? Very few cities in the bay area have rent control. Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and East Palo Alto. I think that's it. So what does "nearly every other community in the Bay Area" have that Mountain View doesn't?

Posted by tired too
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 18, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Just do it already. A 2% cap on rent increase even with evictions or remodeling, for 3 Years. Then revisit. Hope for recession before then.

Posted by Scott
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 19, 2015 at 12:16 am

These property owners benefit from Prop 13. Many are paying property tax rates that are 1/4 the market rate. Yet they get to charge market rate rents? Absolutely not. Pass rent controls ASAP. Vote out any council member who refuses.

Posted by NoRentControl
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2015 at 12:25 am

We need to solve our housing crisis overnight. Since rent control will take years to have a positive impact, we should not do it.

The comments above about possible negative impacts are also very worrying. Unless we can come up with a solution that will:

1) Completely solve all of our affordable housing problems overnight.
2) Have absolutely no negative effects to anybody on the planet.

We should just do nothing. Or, build up a whole bunch of housing next to the environmentally sensitive wildlife area on E. Bayshore. That's a great idea!

Also, I'm very worried for the greedy landlords who would have to leech less off their tenants. They might be forced to be less wealthy. No to rent control!

Posted by Free Rider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2015 at 1:08 am

Since renters are asking landlords to give up economic utility of their buildings, what exactly are the renters offering in return? Are the renters going to take care of the lawns, or cook a daily meal for the landlord? Will the city exempt building owners from paying new school taxes?

How about during economic down times? Is the city prepared to offer a guaranteed minimum rent and occupancy rate to the landlords? The closing of Moffet Field, the recession in 1992, and the first dot com bubble were very very bad times to be a landlord. Other years landlords make 3 to 5 percent return on their investment - this is not a greedy ROI. And when the next bubble pops, and believe me it will, are the renters guaranteeing to pay their rent? Or will they go begging again for another handout?

If the city is going to put a cap on the upside for landlords, then they should support a floor as well. Otherwise this is just buying low income votes, and Mountain View will turn into East Palo Alto. Rent control has done wonders for EPA, right?

Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 19, 2015 at 6:43 am

@ Scott

Unfortunately, many of us recently bought and are paying market rate property taxes. We are likely paying more due to prop 13 as we are now subsidizing people who purchased many years ago. So the only people really benefiting from all of this are old-time Mountain View residents who purchased many years ago.

There are many unintended consequences to laws like these. I don't like prop 13 either. I think it has really hurt our public schools. I suspect they would be much better and certainly better funded if we had no prop 13. If you don't like prop 13 I don't see how you can justify rent control as it's more of the same.

If we do pass rent control, we will likely sell our home and become renters as that's actually cheaper. Hey, I could even move to the Huff neighborhood and send my kids to that school for less than my mortgage on the other side of town. If others do the same, the city could see an even greater split between the have and have nots with rents rising even more South of El Camino. There are all sorts of unintended consequences.

I'm all for helping low income residents, and I personally do my share, but rent control is a blunt instrument. The Google employee earning $150K a year will benefit as much as the low income family living 6 in one room. I don't understand the logic. Might as well stand on the street and give money to anyone walking by, whether they needed it or not.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 19, 2015 at 11:08 am

All 7 members of the Mountain View City Council are homeowners who are profiting handsomely from the housing crunch. Six of the 7 were screened and endorsed by landlord groups including the "Housing Council." New City Councilmembers Showalter and Rosenberg were also the beneficiaries of a $100,000 secret campaign by landlords to secure their election. The state law cited prohibits local rent control for single family homes, condos and units built since 1995; however, the law permits rent control for most apartments in Mountain View. Los Gatos has had rent control for many years. Campbell has a non-binding but high-profile residential rent mediation program. Landlords must include a notice of the right to mediation in rent increase notices. Take a look.

Posted by Concerned about MV
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 19, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Yes, this is a complicated issue to solve but the council has spent the last couple of years looking at this issue from angles other than as a housing problem and so hasn't given it's full attention to trying to find a viable solution. Also, in fairness, MV is going through growing pains and developing city problems that probably require the time commitment and skills of a full-time, council with urban planning expertise. For those who say that the complaints are whiny or bullying, I would say they are courageous and desperate. Let's say you don't care if MV is diverse, and you don't think that anyone should get government handouts and you don't even really care about removing students from their school year or having people live in cars. At the very least, can you acknowledge that your daily life in MV requires the help of at least several minimum wage employees a day (getting coffee, getting a car wash, hiring a nanny, hiring a home care nurse, having a gardener, a maid, ordering a smoothie, shopping at Target)? It's not an issue of preferring only educated residents who work at elite jobs. The economy depends on having lower wage workers nearby. Should these people have to drive over an hour for the privilege of serving us coffee or trimming our toe nails?

Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 19, 2015 at 7:51 pm

@ Concerned about MV

So build up more subsidized housing units. Give priority to people working in Mountain View, especially civil servants, teachers, etc. Or improve public transportation so the commute is easier. This will help people of all incomes including my family who might prefer to live in a smaller town if we could still get to work easily.

Encourage other cities like Palo Alto, Los Altos, Menlo Park to also build subsidized housing units for low-income employees in their cities. Those cities don't have rent control and I don't hear them having an issue with their economy. Why does Mountain View have to do it all?

Posted by I'm tired too
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2015 at 9:57 am

I'm tired of the attitude that housing is merely another commodity and should be treated as pork bellies or gold on the exchange. Many of the arguments from the side trying to promote the landlords include arguments like:

1) I should automatically get a positive return at the rate of my choice
2) I should be able to charge whatever I want for a scarce living necessity

Housing has many rules around it protecting both sides. If you don't like having an investment that is in an environment with rules like these that evolve over time and that may take into account other community needs above your own, maybe it's time for you to invest in something else less regulated.

Different investment products take different approaches and mindsets. Stop acting like investing is the same across all products, especially with regard to real estate. The whining of naive, unprepared, and selfish investors needs to stop. There are plenty of places to put your money other than real estate.

Posted by Economy rules
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 21, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Big developers have a right to charge whatever they think is reasonable for there units, because our system is based on the economy. All these poor people complaining about children being taken out of their schools, well my family moved many a times during school season, and guess what, where we moved to also had a school. Yes, there was some getting use to, but it works out in the end.

If a small minority is trying to bully the counsel, i suggest having the police show up and restore order.

Down with socialistic Communism and it's deranged outdated philosophy of controlling the market and people.

Thank God for Prop 13 otherwise yes, the older generation that brought a long time ago, who live on fixed income could not stay in their homes.

Posted by @Monta Loma
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Obviously, you have never read Adam Smith, chuckles.

Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:22 pm

In free market economy transparency is the best policy to assist price discovery.

How about each landlord must publish rent and contract duration for each unit? The city makes this information available to everyone.

This will help potential renters to find the right place and right price for available units. Price gouging will become extremely difficult.

It would be like a stock market. Total number of shares outstanding, history of stock prices, etc., are all publicly available. The market becomes fair and balanced.

Rent control is not the answer. Rent control destroys the community.

Posted by rainbow38
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm

I was a renter for more than 40 years and also an apartment manager. Rent increases were regular and usually not related to apartment improvements. At one location in Sunnyvale, our apartment had three different carpets (remnants), two of which were torn and filthy when I moved in. It took three cleanings done by me to learn what color the carpets were. I asked for the torn carpeting to be replaced (I had sewn some of the tears so we wouldn't trip) but the owner declined and said it would be replaced when I moved. We lived there 15 1/2 years - the building was sold three months before we moved out. This was just one of the issues we dealt with while we lived there.

Rent stabilization tied to the consumer price index and just cause evictions would be starting points to help the housing situation.

Posted by MtView Neighbor
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:25 pm

There's a really great solution to this problem- get rid of Google. That opens up tons of housing, reduces traffic and noise. Its a winner all the way around.

Posted by Kathy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Not a fan of rent control but on the other hand not a fan of price gouging. When complexes like misnamed 'Carmel Village' on San Antonio Rd literally change their rental rates over night, that is price gouging IMO. Their explanation... "Our pricing changes on a daily bases based on what is taking place in the market but that is not the only influencing factor. When marketing the apartments, we put a starting price based on what the lowest price available to lease is at any given moment. If that lower price apartment rents today, tomorrow's starting price could potentially jump significantly due to the location and type of apartments that would now be available." I am not suggesting that this is illegal, it is just greedy, after is business right? Web Link

Posted by Snark Snarkenstine
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:51 pm

There's a really great solution for those allergic to bee stings: get rid of all the bees.
Now back to reality.

Posted by Rent Control
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Housing around here is not a free market economy, so please stop calling it that.

If it were, then property owners would be able to build anything on their lots. Go up 8 stories? No problem. Put in 100 sqft studios with no parking? No problem.

So, what happens? Companies like Google cause a surge in demand to live here and because of restrictive zoning laws, there is no way to meet that demand. Not even close. Price skyrockets and people are displaced from their community.

The problem with this displacement is that pretty much the only people that can live here are the ones that are working a high paying job. Those jobs are tech.

Who can't afford to here? Teachers, artists, writers, gardeners, policemen, firemen, nurses and the list goes on and on. Do we really think a healthy community can be had when the only members of it are tech workers? I sure don't.

So, we have two choices:

1) Remove the cap on zoning rules for housing and allow property owners to build whatever they want. This would cause a massive surge in the building of housing and demand would be met. The problem is that this would turn into a horrible place to live. Traffic would be gridlocked. High density brings in massive traffic, air quality issues, noise problems, crime and the like. And, when the economy cycles, those masses of small studios that were built up would go empty and into disrepair. Horrible place to live AND there are no jobs. Think slum.


2) Recognizing that the zoning laws preserve a quality way of life AND we need people of all walks of life living here, we figure out a way to make that happen. There are really only two choices.
2a) Government subsidies: Government owned or controlled housing where residents of certain vocations can live at a subsidized price. This could be very expensive.
2b) Given the artificial nature of zoning laws that we have introduced, we must also inject laws to stabilize prices. That is called balance. If we do something to artificially restrict supply, then we must do something to artificially restrict price. To do anything else is unfair to the residents who don't already own property. (Property owners of course benefit from restricted supply.) So, that is "rent stabilization" or "rent control."

There you go. Which option to take?

Posted by @rent control
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm

I wouldn't take either one of your selections!!

Did you not read the article? Rent control will make the city dwellings a slum.

"rent-control policies have been blamed for reducing the quality and quantity of housing stock in an area. "

Is that what you really want? So both of your solutions fail!

Posted by LoveYourDNA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm

A lack of humanity is why this is happening, pure and simple. Go ahead you greedy people. Charge what you like. I wish I could be at the Pearly Gates when you all arrive!

Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm

@Rent Control, you misunderstand what is free market and what is limited resources.

Free Market does not mean Unlimited Resources.

Most resources are limited. Water, Oil, and Land. Even sunshine is a limited resource. It does not matter if the limits are set by nature, or artificially by governments.

If a resource is unlimited its price should go to zero! Everyone would be happy, right?

Housing in Mountain View is mostly a free market. You can argue there are ways to increase the availability of such a resource. But please learn Econ 101.

Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2015 at 5:11 pm

For those who like Rent Control how about the idea of Reverse Rent Control?

It goes like this: When a lease is about to expire the landlord has the right to force year-over-year extension of the same lease onto the tenant, forever, unless the tenant has a "Just Cause"?

When economy is good of course renters won't complain. But when economy is bad, which will happen, renters will be badly screwed.

Great idea? Of course not. Neither is rent control.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm

Once again people feeling that they are owed something for nothing. Just because you rent in Mountain View does not mean that you are entitled to live here. Just because you have rented for five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years doesn't mean you are entitled to live here. Just because you might 'have to go back to Mexico' doesn't mean you are entitled to live here

If a landlord can ask for x dollars and the market supports that price then so be it. If there wasn't demand, then they wouldn't be able to get the price that they are asking. All the more power to them.

By forcing a landlord to keep their rent at a particular price point, you are denying them the right to maximize their investment, as well you are denying a tenant who is prepared to pay the asking price. That is discrimination against two parties in order to subsidize another party.

I moved to Mountain View almost 20 years ago as a renter and later homeowner, and I can say without doubt that it is a much more vibrant and desirable place to live exactly because of companies like Google, LinkedIn, and the people who have the discretionary income to frequent the wonderful restaurants and other businesses we have in town. It is because of such a community that our downtown (and city as a whole) is flourishing. More businesses want to be here because there is a clientele that is willing to frequent them.

Posted by Former Resident
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 22, 2015 at 9:39 pm

"Old Mountain View" is gone, sadly, but realistically one cannot fight progress. I recently moved out of state from "Old Mountain View" as the quality of life was deteriorating rapidly (for me) and I could no longer afford to live here (I am small business owner) After 16 years of home ownership in MV I finally gave up the fight with much regret and sadness - you see I have roots here, family and friends - history - as I imagine a lot of folks do. But...apparently this is too sentimental for the folks thriving in the "new" Mountain View - no I fear MV has at last been officially absorbed into the sterile, self-focused, Silicon Valley suburban tech sprawl, devoid of the charm and character that once made it a very unique and special place to live, but is now sadly governed by tech companies, greed, exclusivity and short-sighted leadership.

Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2015 at 7:38 am

@Former Resident, 16 years ago there were people who felt sad about the Old Mountain View comparing to 50 years ago.

Long long time ago Mayfield (now California Street in Palo Alto) was lined with Bars and Saloons and posts to tie horse harness. Surely some cowboys would have felt really bad when that "charm and character" went away.

Posted by MV
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 23, 2015 at 10:07 am

Anyone ever heard of Google commenting on what they've cost our community.
Loss of schools, business, property, traffic, housing. I'd love to hear a response from google.

Posted by Honor Spitz
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2015 at 1:54 pm

No matter what, the high cost of housing, whether it be rental or personally owned, is going to be a big problem for all of us. When the service force, the teachers, and first responders can no longer afford to live here, we'll be doomed. It won't matter how much money a resident may have. There won't be any services to buy. If the waitstaff at their favorite restaurant is gone, if the nice folks who used to clean their homes live too far away, if the car mechanic is repairing cars in Fresno because he can't live anywhere else, if the number of first responders dwindles, etc. then what?!

I wish that I had one pat answer. I don't. This is a multi faceted issue, one that needs immediate attention. Finger pointing won't get us anywhere. Its going to be a bitter pill to swallow so all of us had better put our collective heads and best ideas together and hop to it.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 23, 2015 at 3:18 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

That's no legitimate argument. If it were true then how do people in Los Altos Hills have timely first responders? How does Los Altos Hills have fabulous teachers?

Simple. The people who work there don't necessarily live there. For YEARS I commuted over an hour to and from work each day because I couldn't afford to live in the area I worked. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that they should make things more affordable for ME. Instead I realized I needed to work and save harder if I wanted to get there. And I never did make it to the place I really wanted but I got as close as I could and am thankful for it.

I also want to speak to the landlord side of this issue. I bought my first place, lived in it two years before moving for a job to another city. I couldn't sell it, I was upside down on the mortgage because the housing market took a dive so I had to rent it out at a loss. For TEN YEARS I carried a negative on that condo, I almost filed bankruptcy because I had to cover the negative on that place and still pay rent on my new place. But I sucked it up and just recently has it begun to cover it's own costs. The person living there probably thinks the rent is exorbitant but I can guarantee you I haven't even begun to recoup the costs I put out over the years. It's renting at fair market value and frankly I hope that amount continues to rise.

Posted by M GEFFROY
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm


Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 23, 2015 at 5:59 pm

@ M Geffroy

Excellent. If and when I am a landlord for a few years, I will do the same. However, I really resent the idea of being forced to charge a certain price because the government requires it. Even worse, the "just cause" for evictions. Why should I have to ask permission to remove a tenant from my house? Maybe I want to move back in. Maybe I want a friend to live there. Maybe my tenant has not taken great care of the place, or maybe they are just difficult to work with. Why should I have to "prove" that I have a good reason to remove them. It's my house.

I can sort of see the argument for restrictions on corporate landlords or people who own a large number of units, but for private individuals who own 1-2 units, likely one or both they once lived in, it's ridiculous to think they need permission from the government to manage their property. Why should a private individual be made to subsidize another private individual's living expenses?

Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 23, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Good heavens ... the doom and gloomers hiding behind unsubstantiated economic paranoia-inspired data vs rent controls are certainly in full voice on this blog.

So I will use their "because I say so" process to say this. Rent controls operate just fine in many communities without the disaster outcomes predicted here.
I'm surprised and appalled by the NIMN mindset of these voices with their "entitlement" arrogance. "I've got mine and you can go to blazes" is the mark of a petty mind and a dead soul.

I live in MV and I own my home but I support rent controls. So there.

Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 23, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Maher, I certainly hope you're not implying I have an entitlement attitude. I worked hard to get what I have, I didn't inherit it, I worked for and earned it. You have no right, nor personal knowledge, for which to judge me and how DARE you imply entitlement for something I earned. But apparently you feel you have the right to decide how much of MINE I get to keep and how much YOU think I should give away.

How about we take a look at your personal finances and decide what to do with them? I sure there are others with mich less than you who would be glad to have the help that you so generously offer on the behalf of others. Or does this only apply to that which isn't yours?

Posted by t.jackson
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

We really need some type of rent control in Mountain View because this is ridiculous.

I am a single parent of two kids with one income, and half of my monthly salary goes just to rent. If I receive another rent increase I'm going to have to move out of the city.
I relocated Mountain VIew for a job in 2012; I had not family or friends in the area, we made friends in Mountain View and now it's been our home for 3-years now. Our landlord wants to keep up with "market rate", which means rental increases. My girls hate the thought of having to move out of the area and so do I.

Because of big name company's like (Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc) everyone is raise the rent because most people want to be closer to work so they can spend time with their family, but pretty soon its going to be so high there will be no one able to afford to live here.
Mountain View is suppose to be about community and family, not about short-term contractors and short term renters.

If this bubble grows any bigger it will pop soon, and who will pay "market rate" then?
Someone should fix this problem before it gets worse.

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.

I have been rushing to move out. So have my parents.

I lost an important key. I looked everywhere and can't find it.

I lost my name badge for work. I can probably find it at home. I'm not home a lot cuz I'm working all the time.

I think the stress is causing me to forget things. I miss major exits for work. I get weird and intense dreams at night.

The gas pedal problem with my car turned out to be this:

The wire connected to the gas pedal to the transmission was loose. They said if I don't fix it, it'll ruin the transmission. The transmission will shift hard because it doesn't know when to shift.

I've spent over $1,500.00 on recent repairs.

Today or yesterday I found the trunk can't close. It opens while I drive.

I just use tape to close it, but it makes it hard to move stuff out of the house.

A couple nights ago, I saw a moth flying around our kitchen table. Usually we get rid of it (otherwise they propagate) or feed it to our turtle.

I found I didn't care about the moth.

I realized on the next thought that I didn't care about the moth because soon there won't be anything in the house.


Last night at one of my jobs, a man went behind a container. I asked him not to urinate there because it's where we work - we don't want it to smell.

He approached me - sort of lunged at me. He said he wasn't there to pee. He had been living there.

I emailed my manager about it, but I don't think my manager cares.

When the homeless guy talked to me last night, I could smell alcohol and something else. (I feel another drug).

I texted him that I could probably give him a place to shower.

This morning he texted me back. I thought he writes pretty well. So maybe the alcohol wore off over the night.


A kind person (you know who you are) gave me a number to call for housing. I've left a couple messages, but we haven't connected yet.

It's ok. We'll talk and figure things out sooner or later.


Sometimes, I feel work is interfering with the time I need to move out of the house and tie up loose ends.

You'd never think that someone would be busy preparing to be homeless.

Again, I'm not really homeless. My friend said I can stay with her. But she lives pretty far, and with all my jobs, I can't commute safely.

Back to being tied up with work: then other times, I'm glad I have too much work, because it distracts me from the fear I have of sleeping outside.

I think the first few nights will be scary. I don't want a citation. I don't want to be robbed. (But my car looks so old, I think no one will bother it - lol).

Then a week will pass. Then a couple weeks.

I predict that within a couple weeks, sleeping in the car will feel normal.

One aspect of not having a house anymore is that I feel I'll never have any friends. It's such an amazing resource when someone can say, "Hey, come hang out at my house. My mom has a swimming pool, etc."

Even when I did have a house, I didn't have time to work out or make myself look nicer... I was already feeling sort of left out then. But now it'll probably be worse.


If I think about these sad things, I risk getting depressed. If I get depressed, I won't be able to "wind down" out of housing the right way.

I need to find solutions for my mail, laundry, and eventually fixing all my car problems.

The jobs I have will detect some changes. I'll be charging my things more at work. I might be "more scruffy" than I already am. Maybe I'll seem distracted.

I predict I can keep my jobs. There could be 2 reasons:
1) I feel there is a trend that the Bay Area is having a harder time hiring people like me because a lot of us can't make enough money to afford living here, so we move away. Therefore, the companies will have more tolerance for the puzzling changes I may exhibit until I get used to living without a house.
2) I do a good job, actually. So even with my personal hardships, I'll do well enough to keep my jobs.

But I also think that if I lose one of my jobs and I decide to just leave - maybe I can go somewhere else.


As I was writing this, Camille said, "What did you think of the sunset?"

For a second I was like, "What sunset?"

I looked out and it was really beautiful: Pink, purple, grey...

No matter where we live, or how poor we are - we still have God's sunsets. Not even Mark Zuckerberg can pull that off... yet. lol

Posted by Poet didn't know it
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 23, 2015 at 9:07 pm

For a"nearly homeless" person you sure have time for Internet and texting. Aaaaand let the debate begin.........

Honestly. If it's that bad why are you still here? Have you checked out rents in the East Bay? Many many others manage to commute from there, it's a viable option. Or are you pulling the "poor me" card to get sympathy? Sorry, hard to sympathize with repetitive poor choices.

And yes, there are beautiful many places, not just here, maybe it's worth a try looking elsewhere if you can't make it here.

Posted by So sad
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Why are some people so mean? As a debate: "To Rent Control or Not to Rent Control" has many good arguments on both sides of the issue. But why do people on TownSquare, who are firmly in the corner of "Not to Rent Control" feel compelled to denigrate the human beings who are our neighbors who are being directly impacted by the economic conditions that they did not create?

I get it: you've worked hard. You've made the hard choices to get educated, get employed, live within your means, work your way up, etc etc etc. You do understand that not everybody on this planet shares the same privileges as you, right? Just being white (and I'm not assuming everybody who is on the "Not to Rent Control" side is in point, Jim Neal is decidedly not white) gives you an automatic advantage. Being raised with English and an ability to read English gives you an advantage. Given parental care and attention gives you an advantage. Given a college education gives you an advantage. Owning a home gives you an advantage. If you ever faced hardships before ... and overcame them, then good for you! Kicking people out of their homes will essentially condemn others to a life of toil and despair.

I want those people who say things like, "You need to work harder" or "You need an education" or "Get a car" or "Move somewhere else" to say it to the face of someone who's life is being uprooted because THEIR landlord decided that after 15 years, it would be a superior investment decision to double the rent on their tenants...because they could. Say it to the face of the father who works 3 jobs to protect his children...just the way YOU would if your kids were hungry or you couldn't pay the rent without that 3rd job. But he has to work for just over minimum wage because that is all he is qualified to do (not everybody comes with advantages and privileges). So a rental increase of a few hundred dollars per month translates to a few extra days of work per month. Days that father doesn't have because he's already working 3 jobs. He doesn't sleep. Family connections are stressed or ruptured. Or better yet, tell it to his daughter, "Sorry sweetie, you're dad is working his butt off, but it's sadly not enough. That prom you were hoping to go to with your lifelong friends will be cancelled for you this year. Good luck in Tucson!"

I think we all know what contributes to a healthy society. What is happening to our fellow citizens is nauseating. And you, with the callous comments, "Go back to Mexico!" are just mean. Where is your humanity? We keep hearing how we like the diversity of Mountain View. Then fight to protect it!

I suppose you don't really care. You just want to get from your house to the freeway on a magically traffic free El Camino Real with 3 unimpeded lanes, with your head and eyes down, so you don't have to see what is happening around you.

You know, the Pope is in town (so to speak). He is preaching humanity and love and respect. Do you not hear his message? Do you "get" that when you say things like, "you don't work hard enough" to one of our displaced residents that the Pope is speaking directly to you?

I have no idea which policy idea should win out in the end. Rent control seems like a policy with too many side effects. Doing nothing "feels" like the wrong approach because the already strained fabric of our community will most certainly rip apart. I don't envy the council for having to decide. Seems like a lose-lose no matter how you slice it. But I for one am sad at the the documented mean spirited attitude displayed on this forum. I shouldn't be, because the internet is filled with it.

How did we get so callous and hurtful?

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2015 at 3:18 pm

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.


Where is the East Bay. Is it an area? If so, what are the 3 largest cities there?

I didn't post on here to use a "poor me" card.

First, in a few days, "sympathy" is not going to keep me warm at night.

Second, in the post you responded to, I wrote about Ray who was sleeping outside. He and a lot of other people are much worse off than me. If I was trying to get sympathy, the last thing I'd do is write about people that are suffering more.

This is a true story. Maybe not with the most "poor me" credit, but valuable in offering a narrative of a person that works 7 days a week and still cannot afford housing.

These posts should be valued for their perspective and honesty - not ridiculed. If you think I deserve to lose the house, then skip my posts.

It is also an opportunity to have insight into the psychological trauma that occurs when a person loses their home.

I also think that because I don't use drugs or drink. And that I do work hard - it is evidence that something is going steadily amiss in Silicon Valley.

I don't think much about the rent control debate.

I just know in a few days, or less, I'll be sleeping outside.

And it'll be people like "So sad" that will help me know that I'm not alone.

Posted by Poet
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2015 at 4:23 pm

I'm not ridiculing anyone. I'm simply making a point that if one is unable to afford to live here there are many other alternatives. Yes, it's hard to leave a home you've loved for years but life is not always easy. To So Sad, how did we become such a "soft society" where everyone s deserving of what they want? Harsh perhaps but honestly, this just isn't life, ANYWHERE. I come from the inner city, from a lower class background, I certainly would not say I'm privileged. We didn't have the things many around us did but my parents scrimped and saved and made choices to go without so that we could get ahead. And I was raised with that same mindset so perhaps that's why I was able to ahead myself. I fought for what I have, I didn't go out partying when all my friends did and studied instead. I was the last one to leave the office and the first one in. I did well with my job, I earned it and I am proud of it.

I give thru my church and community. I volunteer a multitude of ways to give back. I have humanity, love and respect but perhaps mine is more of the tough kind. It's what made our country great and I fear for the future with the entitlement attitude that is rampant (I want to live here even though I can't afford it so someone else should have to make that happen for me). No, I have no respect for that. Sorry.

Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 24, 2015 at 6:54 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Sigh. Just to let you know, this scenario is happening ALL OVER THE COUNTRY WHEREVER THERE IS A BIG CITY! Only the rates are different. Not as hyperactive as $2400/month but you get the picture. I've heard $650/month close to Denver. Skyscraper Housing and conversions of old business warehouses ( LoDo ) are popular with Yuppies. Yes, even Denver has slum areas like parts of Aurora that had the Theater Killer make the National Headlines.
The SFBA has run out of land ( invest in land because land is a fixed commodity!) and as a result, the VALUE of that land is going up! Now you have a toxic plume underground, ancient pipelines carrying explosives and the threat of earthquakes. BUT THAT DOES NOT CHANGE THE VALUE OF THAT LAND!

Now if Google just builds another GOOGLEPLEX in the Denver Tech Center, the VALUE of the surrounding land would triple overnight. Housing would be built faster, prices at food and entertainment venues would go up too.

We used to have a very old-fashioned word to describe this phenomenon: PROSPERITY!

The shortage of land in both the Silicon Valley and the SFBA has distorted this kousing shortage problem. Moving out to the Central Valley areas doesn't cure this distortion. It cannot. So some of the smart people pack up a U-Haul, hitch up their car and head EAST 1100 miles on I-80 and SOUTH on I-25. Loveland has several HP centers. Longmont, just south of Loveland, has the Seagate buildings when the bought out Maxtor. Boulder Division of IBM has a big campus, Boulder Industries will be along as long as people commit crimes!
So maybe business and employees have seen this distorted VALUE in Real Estate and have been crying " ENOUGH! " for some time now. Or worse, taking the company ( and jobs ) out of our country.

So, what makes living in these conditions in the SFBA so special....or more importantly, HAVE YOU HAVE HAD TIME TO VISIT?

The Ocean? Chatfield Reservoir or Lake Grandby ( the headwaters of the Colorado River. Just think who gets to taste when you pee in it>8-) )

Skiing? 2 hours out of Denver. Not 4 hours to Heavenly Valley/ Lake Tahoe. Even the Amtrak trains stop there. But people prefer the Ski Train out of Union Station. RTD buses and Light Rail stop there too. Soon Light Rail will run out to DIA instead of the buses.
Oh, Daly City type housing: $180k to own. Highlands Ranch has Light Rail to downtown & DTC.

The point is : What do YOU VALUE MOST? Your TIME is also a diminishing quantity. You only have so much of it. How do you want to spend it?

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.

Poet, Thanks for opening up about your background. You're not what I expected.

Punnisher brings up a good point about time.

I expect my finances to be pretty stable for the next 30 days or so - unless the car repairs cost even more. The trunk opening by itself while I drive is really annoying, but I don't even have time to get it repaired. In fact, the mechanic found they overcharged me and wants to credit a little money back to my card - but mostly because I've been so busy working and moving, I haven't had time to coordinate when the manager will be there so I can get some money back. (The employee couldn't credit it without that specific manager there).

Back to "time"... I find that usually it's not a money problem, it's more that I don't have time. I don't have time to move out in an organized fashion, I don't have time to fix all the car problems, I don't have time to commute far for a place to sleep between my multiple jobs. No time to take care of the growing number of loose ends.

But then again, I suppose I could have more time if I didn't have to work so many jobs and 7 days a week.

I've never said in any of my posts that anyone should give me affordable housing. However, I am pointing out that without normal access to a bathroom, laundry, refrigerated food, heat at night, a secure place to sleep, etc - it can be very uncomfortable.

I feel I'm being asked a lot, "Then why do you stay?"

I don't have a good answer. I don't think I even understand it that much myself.

Maybe I'm just used to it here.

Maybe I like the people at work.

Maybe the 7 day work week and multiple jobs trained me into a regimen.

I don't know.

I'm here tonight. I'm here tonight.

Posted by So Sad
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 24, 2015 at 11:09 pm


"We didn't have the things many around us did but my parents scrimped and saved and made choices to go without so that we could get ahead"

I think the key word in that sentence is "ahead."

What if someone worked every waking moment they could and they still could never "get ahead?" What are we supposed to do with people among us who are like that? They are not lazy. They are not "takers." They work, they work hard. Presumably, harder than you because their jobs ARE hard.

I haven't read one comment here suggesting that we (the collective societal "we") should be giving people a free ride. AThe folks coming to the City Council meetings and asking for the Council's help are saying, "We are a valuable asset to your community. This isn't are fault. Help us stay. We don't want your money. We want our rents to stop going up so fast and the unjustified evictions to stop." It's not a situation where bad luck has fallen on a family. It's an entire subset of the citizens of Mountain View. When these folks move on, they're being replaced with people who have already had the education and received the high paying job. We are evolving into a completely different Mountain View! Have you noticed the number of "Help Wanted" ads around town on the restaurant windows? Where have all the people gone who had those jobs? Why are there SO MANY job openings for these minimum wage paying jobs? My theory: they're leaving in droves (forced to leave or decided to leave, it's a difference without a distinction). So for the restaurant to continue to thrive, they'll need bodies. If the bodies no longer live here, they'll need to commute in. More traffic, green house gases, and likely, they'll demand a higher wage because of the extra costs involved in getting to work. You'll pay more for a dinner or another service. Your disdain of "the takers" will effect you, even if you refuse to see it.

I do believe this is happening all over the country. It's happening because it's not an easy problem to solve. And one that takes years, not days or weeks. Instead of casting aspersions, what are your ideas to help solve the problem? To anybody reading this, what ideas do you have?! Or is it simply, "let them leave!"??

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2015 at 12:03 am

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.

@ So Sad

"Aspersion" is a cool word! I'd never seen it before - or I forgot.

I like "accismus." I wish it could come back to usage.

Back to topic, I agree there are so many "help wanted" ads. The local businesses are having such a hard time finding employees, I've even worked at a place that will give you $100.00 if you find someone they hire. (And they pretty much hire anyone wiling to commute here).

In San Jose, one of my co-workers commutes 100 minutes or more each way. That's where I got the hope or idea that I could still stay with my parents. But I tried the commute and I knew instinctively that it wasn't going to work.

Perhaps when the self-driving cars become more affordable and also safer, I can take more trips home.


I'm looking around and the room looks so empty. That makes me feel weird. But I'm thinking it's a good sign because we're on schedule to clear out, so the landlord doesn't get nervous.

Posted by Former Resident
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 10:06 am

Dear #m2grs,

Thank you for the "thoughtful and intelligent" response to my comment. This "cowboy" rests their case MV. Wishing you the best of luck and perspective in 16 years.

Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2015 at 11:16 am

"the unjustified evictions".

I'm still not clear what this term means. How can an eviction be unjustified and who's job is it to determine under what circumstances a private property owner can ask tenants to leave? The tenant does not own the property, so should not expect to be living there indefinitely. Units need to be upgraded and refurbished probably every 20 years or so. Most landlords don't want to be slumlords. A landlord may want to use the property for something else. Or the tenants may be difficult to work with (I've seen this myself with neighbor tenants when I was renting). I myself have been asked to leave so a structural part of the apartment building could be fixed. Yes, it was frustrating, but we did it without complaining.

Unless a landlord is trying to remove a tenant during their lease period, or without giving fair notice (and thus time to find a new place) I don't see how evictions can be unjustified. If you can't find a new place within your budget, that's not your landlord's problem. I rented for most of my adult life and never expected that I had the right to stay in any particular building or unit unless the situation worked for my landlord (the rightful owner of the property!) as well.

Posted by Patriot
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm

A lot of investments/commodities are regulated. Hosing investments are no different. To say that housing investments deserve a pass with no regulations is foolish and asinine.To also imply that the "successful" are subsidizing the "unsuccessful" is also foolish. Prop 13 and mortgage interest deduction write offs are subsidized by everyone else who dose not enjoy them. In fact, we could pay off national debt in a little over a year if these deductions were rescinded!

A lot of you self-righteous folks need to get off your high horses and realize that housing is a humanitarian issue and a basic function of life (shelter, food, water, and sunshine). Just because you find yourself in a fortunate position today dose not guarantee you will be in that place forever. Right now the odds are stacked against those who don't have/own property but as more and more join those ranks the odds may change and the monopolistic aspects reigned in.

The problem is that even the well-off forget that "eventually you run out of other peoples money" applies to them as well in an economy like ours. Flowing streams that are reduced to trickles eventually dry up and everything feels it.

Posted by Poet
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm

This is going to sound harsh but I say it was all due respect to ReallyHardWorker. You mention that time is your issue so why do you spend so much of it parsing about problems in an anonymous not message board. You also mention not being able to handle a 100 minute commute, there are MANY who do. Not optimal, but they do. I get back to; it's about our choices.

And to Patriot regrading housing being humanitarian, agreed but that doesn't mean you get to have it wherever you want. If something were to happen to my husband I absolutely would not be able to stay here, I know without a doubt I'd have to leave this area and find somewhere less expensive to live. I don't expect someone else to come to my aid and subsidize me, I just know that I'd have to leave. It would bee ak my heart but there would be no other choice.

Look, there's a much bigger issue at hand here, there need to be more mid-income jobs, minimum wage should not be "long term" wages, we need to grow our middle class opportunities. But rent control is not the answer, it's a short term bandaid on a much bigger issue and causes damages not always immediately felt.

Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

I still struggle to see this "housing is a humanitarian issue and a basic function of life (shelter, food, water, and sunshine)" = rent control. So food is a basic human right, and thus the government (through taxpayers) provides food for those who are unable to do so for themselves. They don't create a law that forces those with food in the fridge to give some of it over everyday to those who don't. They tax us on income and various assets and then decide how to distribute those funds where they can do the most good.

Shouldn't housing be the same way? Homeowners pay a crazy amount in property taxes in this state. If an investor owns a rental unit, they get taxed on any income made after associated expenses are paid. The government is free to redistribute that tax income how they see fit - public schools, social security, medicare, medicaid, CalFresh, etc. Subsidized housing can also be on that list.

Rent control is like taxing landlords twice.

I can understand if the argument is for more subsidized housing units in Mountain View, especially for workers currently working in Mountain View businesses. I struggle to see how rent control is fair. If you want to enact rent control, then don't tax landlords on any profit they make (if any as profits often dip in a bad economy).

Posted by Patriot
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2015 at 1:22 pm

^^^^ My point is that this new "caste" system sucks. Min wage is a different beast altogether and is woefully inadequate when you factor in inflation adjustments that should have been made long ago (should be about $22 currently). That needs a real conversation because a society functions better economically when money is flowing in a cyclical nature vs. a funnel or vacuum straight back to the top like we have now.

That said, the issue here is the caste system mentality that some (which is a newer phenomenon for this area/state/country) believe they are entitled subjugate others by economic depression and pretend that all is well ("free market bs") and fair while at the same time benefiting from those same people on both the front end (prop 13/interest rate deductions) and the back end (services/low wages/rental expenses) while acting like they are practicing capitalism and doing everyone a favor at the same time.

Treating people undignified and without compassion is a moral shortcoming.

The self-righteous may feel good today but one day enough people will have had enough and it will all come crashing down. Even the well-to-do will eventually run out of other peoples money and only the very-very wealthy will be able to insulate themselves from the outcome. That is if they can find someone to sell them a $100,000 loaf of bread or a bread maker who's not burned to the ground.

The USA is different than other countries. Our armed huddled masses won't just peacefully stave to death while the well-to-do carry on like all is well. I behooves people to remember that from time to time. We are all in this together whether we like it or not.

Posted by ReallyHardWorker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2015 at 8:31 pm

ReallyHardWorker is a registered user.


With a 7 day work schedule and sometimes 21 hr shifts (through back to back jobS), spending a few minutes posting isn't going to change the outcome of losing the house.

(I like the word "parsing." Another emerging reason I delight coming here is to increase my vocabulary).

If I'm only sleeping 1 - 6 hours a night, because work can go to 1030pm, or to 1am... then have to show up to open the businesses around 345am, or 440am (and that's after a commute) -- a 100 minute commute is not viable.

If ANY ONE of my jobs paid much higher, then yes - I would have the resources to commute farther. I could sleep. I could go visit my grandparents. (Actually, this reminds me I should try calling them within the next 8 days).

Time is one resource I lack. Energy is another.

Yesterday, I laid (did I spell that right?) down on the bed and I had to force myself up. It was only a few seconds I laid down, but I knew the longer I stayed there, the more chance I would fall asleep.

I forced myself up and kept clearing out the house until I had to sleep. (And then I went to work late this morning. I got too tired).

Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 26, 2015 at 6:36 pm

We have one rental house, in the last few years the repair and upkeep cost have more than doubled, we must be able to rise rent unless all our costs are controlled. None if this will happen, I would like to live in an upscale city but I can't pay the rent or costs so I guess I should have the owners forced to reduce their rent.

If you can't pay the rent you will have to move, look at the trends and make a plan of action, getting something below cost is not a plan of action it's a dream.

Posted by Lets vote!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2015 at 12:06 am

OK then. Let's be democratic about it and put it to a vote.

Since most residents of Mountain View are RENTERS and not OWNERS, you can guess what the outcome would be. Rent stabilization!

Of course, we won't feel the positive effects until the markets cycle again, but that's what they said 10 years ago and now look where we are. Can you imagine if we had it in place 10-15 years ago? Property was expensive then, but it was not astronomically high. Do it now and a decade later we won't have a mass exodus.

I dislike when property owners (of which I am one) complain that it is their property and they should do what they like. Sorry, but by renting you are having a BUSINESS in your residence and the community should certainly have a say into how you conduct it. Many rental situations today in MV are from owners paying very little property taxes (thx a lot prop 13), have moved away and are renting their place out at market rate. So, we have a transient population since the fluctuating rents causes a lot of displacement. The lower tax rates on their property means that all the expensive infrastructure that needs to be maintained and improved is not being paid by them, but rather the "newbies".

Is this really the town that we want? I think people that own businesses like it, but what about residents that want to spend decades here raising a family, enjoying the arts and putting down roots?

Posted by Tired of this debate
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 27, 2015 at 9:03 am

Yes, let's vote. I think that's a great idea. The majority in Mountain View are renters, but polls indicate the majority still doesn't support rent control. This is probably because people who truly understand how rent control works can see that is does more harm to more people than good. I only recently converted to a homeowner and all those years renting before I would not have supported rent control because I have studied it and it's effects at length in school. Many will simply vote for what they believe helps their current and immediate situation, but anyone who has spent time studying this issue knows that the benefits will be unevenly distributed across the city helping some and hurting others.

Berkeley and San Francisco have rent control and the population there is still transient. Palo Alto does not have rent control, and I don't think the population there is more transient than Berkeley or San Francisco.

Also, Palo Alto has lots of culture and people putting down roots, probably even more so than Mountain View and they can achieve that all with no rent control.

Your arguments make great soundbites and certainly make people feel like supporting rent control in Mountain View will right all the wrongs, but the reality is it will not. It will help a small group of people, but harm many others (many of these reasons have been mentioned in previous posts above, so I won't rehash here.)

One thing you touched on that I do agree with - the majority of people in Mountain View are renters, in large part because most new housing built in Mountain View is designed to be rental units. In my opinion, this is the single largest failure of our city council with regards to this issue. To really help Mountain View residents, all new housing in Mountain View should be built to be owner occupied housing from the beginning. No more rentals. No more Prometheus and other companies building 500+ units of only rentals. If all these units were built for sale, their cost would be more affordable and we'd be able to welcome 500 new families to MV and offer them some level of stability without distorting our housing market further.

This should be discussed, as well as additional low income housing. Or requiring Prometheus to set aside a certain number of their units as below market rate housing is another option. Those factors combined would do more towards supporting your goals than simply passing a rent control ordinance.

Posted by Jen
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Rent control? What a nightmare for renters and owners! The tenants are locked into low rents while the owners continue to pay all the new taxes and fees to fund everything the city counsel passes onto homeowners along with the cost of maintenance and repairs. (plumbers, electricians, cost of updating to codes, insurance, painters, replacing appliances, carpet, roofing, water, utilities, trash removal) I haven't seen these cost go down. So tenants have lived over 35 years comfortably and lulled into a sense of entitlement and security in our apartment. They have missed the opportunity and incentive to own and purchase in San Francisco. If they have purchased 35 years ago they would be economically ahead. Their 1% or 2% yearly allowable rent increases does not cover the increase cost of maintenance and repairs. Last month the locksmith came out $500 and the plumber's emergency service bill was $850.
Owners get so fed up with the continuing battle over rent control and tenants rights that they leave units empty and don't rent them out. I counted the units left unrented in the city from the few friends who own property in the city, I was shocked.
No RENT CONTROL - property owners will lose even further.

Posted by Kyle
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm

It's funny how the paper will cover this topic but not the increasing number of broken-down RV motor homes lining Latham Avenue by Target and along the tracks in front of the Rengstorff pool. There are other areas throughout town. Some sort of control is needed there were "landlords" exploit those desperate for shelter in this community. There's a story there if any one wants to look for it.

Posted by Donna
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

It is actually simple, the rising rents are pure landlord greed and lack of housing! You've got all these local tech companies bringing in mass employees yet not doing their part. (Google should build housing for their employees.). Housing needs to stay affordable so that teachers, police and firefighters can live here also!!! Ridiculous that only highly educated or techies deserve to live here.

The CAA is full of lies:
When you impose rent control it only limits greed-landlords don't fix or repair things even when rent is exploitively high. There are places that are run down costing $4000-$5000 absurd.

The key for making it work so that rents don't rise is to impose for new tenants as well as old tenants and lower rent on existing tenants-cap the amount of income on rentals! It still provides them with plenty of money!!!

Posted by Bubble Pop
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2015 at 9:13 pm

The solution is near. The Bubble will pop. All will be put asunder before a slow return to sanity. One sign is this article: Web Link

Posted by No Bubble
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 16, 2015 at 11:29 am

People have been wrongly predicting the fall of area home prices since the 60's. Get in line with the rest of the incorrect people who have been beating this drum for decades. The lending crisis affected many, but the area has recovered nicely since that. Other than that, it's just been the slow continual ramp up of value pocked with the rare downturn every decade or 2. The change now is the international buyers have been added to the mix of people who want in. As long as there is extreme demand to get into this area, prices of the supply will adjust.

Posted by Not a Fall but a leveling
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Land and home values HAVE declined multiple times over the last 40 years. The steep increase over the past 3 years though has been unprecedented. That's due to the bubble. Home prices can still be higher than they were in 2005, and yet fall quite a bit from where they are now. Home ownership is for the long term. Rents follow home values as they stem from the same factors. Rental increases have been especially sharp in the past year.
Average home price Mountain View, July 2012 $850K
Average home price Mountain View, July 2015 $1.3 M
Average home price Mountain View, Oct 2005 $800K

7 years FLAT (with small ups and downs) and then in 3 years an increase of over 50%.

Effects of the bubble, pure and simple. Slingshot loaded by the recession of 2007-2008

Posted by TT
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 17, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Hey Donna,

Are you willing to give others a say in the maximum income from YOUR labor & investments?

Posted by For what it's eorth
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 17, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Mountain View was home to Lockhead, Fairchild, HP, GTE, and a thriving military, cannery and many more company's, to many to list. Never did anyone control the this town like Google. Moving out homes, business and families. Clogging our streets. Taking over schools the cause of small business have to close. This town looks more and more like a College campus. How can the city planner show face and every other city and school official look any one in the eye. Sad days ahead.
Mountain View will probably endorse Sanders for president.

Posted by John
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 18, 2015 at 12:37 am

Does anyone commenting here know which cities in Santa Clara County have rent control? Anyone? You could guess. Or you could look it up more carefully than did the City staff that knows this city council will never betray the landlords that helped get them elected and can help someone else get elected next time. Most renters do not even vote. End of story.

Posted by Small Property Owner
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 19, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Property owner is not the cause of the problem, and people need to know the other side of the story.

In 2010, my Mountain View property 3/2 unit (with in-house laundry, new carpet, laminated floor, newer appliance, garage, cover carport and roughly 3,000 feet yard space) asked for $1600, and it had no taker. Many renters asked for discount, free 1st month rent and many ridicule free upgrade…. etc . That unit stayed vacant for a while. I had to use my limited funding to stay afloat before the bank foreclosed it. The winter was cold, and summer was hot. We wasted nothing. My wife and I lived frugally with two little ones, and manage to survive the tough time.

Being a small property owner had lots of liability, and lots of work. We don’t raise rent like what the media says. I am hoping people can see the subject without bias. Please do not jump into conclusion that property owner was cause. You are not qualified to common if you have little experience of being one small property owner.

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