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Guest opinion: Council should show compassion for vehicle dwellers

Original post made on Jun 11, 2019

In a guest opinion in the June 7 issue, Mountain View residents Dave Arnone and IdaRose Sylvester outline what they believe a potential parking ordinance on oversized vehicles should do. The council will take up the issue Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 8:55 AM

Comments (8)

31 people like this
Posted by D
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2019 at 2:24 pm

No, I don't think City Council should show compassion for vehicle dwellers. The compassion should come from County/State/Fed. I love our city and we can't possibly support unfair share of the dwellers - PA/LA and other surrounding cities should get the equal share and the Councils should make sure of these - Your job is to protect and manage city, not take care of well being of non-citizens. Sorry, I'm fed up!


29 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 11, 2019 at 2:30 pm

I struggle with this one: "Vehicle dwellers are residents"

My apartment building was demolished last year.
I was homeless for two weeks last year.
I crashed in my car for two weeks last year.
I parked in a different place each night.
I showered at the gym.
I went to work during the day.
I didn't know what I would do.
I didn't know where I would end up.
I didn't know if I could still live here.
I wanted to.

No one has the unalienable right to live beyond their means.

I was homeless.
I didn't have a domicile.
My P.O. Box is here, but I didn't "feel" like a resident.
My stuff was in storage, in a storage place here in MV.
I was homeless. It was a reality.
I felt homeless. It weighed heavily on my heart.
I've lived here since 1993.
I was scared.

I did find a place.
I did dig deep into my pockets and my credit to get into it.
I am once more an MV Renter.

And for that I am once again a resident.

So I'm sorry... I can't quite sort out that vehicle dwellers are residents. And I was a vehicle dweller just less than a year ago.

You're not a resident just because you can feed yourself.
You're not a resident just because you have a place to shower.
You're not a resident just because you have a place to park.

You're a resident because you pay to reside here.
This isn't the Wild West. We don't stake out a claim and circle the wagons and call it our own.
And there's no squatters rights.

I don't think that a vehicle dweller is entitled to the rights of residents.

But I do think a vehicle dweller is a human being. I do think that a vehicle dweller deserves kindness and help as much as anyone else. I do think we need to be understanding, charitable, and compassionate.

But herein lies the point:
- Understanding, helpful, kind, charitable is the responsibility of the Mountain View Resident
- But the receiving of understanding, kindness, and charity is not the right of the vehicle dweller

We residents have the obligation to give understanding, kindness and help.
Non-residents do not have the right to expect it. They have the human right to receive it.

Context is everything.

Everyone has, at some point or another, received a second chance that they didn't deserve. Has received forgiveness that they didn't earn. Has been treated kindly by someone who owes them nothing.

That's what makes it special.

That's what makes it beautiful.

So let's give the vehicle dweller those chances, that forgiveness, that kindness, that compassion, that love and friendship.

But don't demand it.

Or it's not a gift anymore.

It's the only way to break the vicious cycle of entitlement.


16 people like this
Posted by Kudos to the council
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm

I applaud the council for addressing the issue of dealing with people living on our streets in sub standard conditions. Those living on the streets should avail themselves of county services. If they are gainfully employed and living in the streets tey need to find housing. Mountain View shoulders the burden, while surrounding communities turns a blind eye.

To the council. Stay the course, don’t forget our former mayor lost by a landslide due in large part to his mishandling of this issue.


18 people like this
Posted by CleanTheStreets
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Correct, the former mayor lost by a landslide for failing to stop the flood of new homeless people. Mountain View should not shoulder the burden of solving this issue by itself while all our neighbors wash their hands and push the problem to us. We need to be tough otherwise we will be on the losing end of a Prisoner's Dilemma. The only way forward is to first match the policies of the neighboring towns to make the problem evenly distributed and then force them to come together and think of holistic solutions.


7 people like this
Posted by Longview
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Longview is a registered user.

People who live in RVs are making difficult choices. Many have a job or other ties to Mountain View, but cannot afford rent. Does the City want to increase unsheltered homelessness? Compassion for vehicle residents is a better answer.


8 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

The Federal definition of Resident (US Census enumeration) does include people living in temporary housing, or RVs or in little tents under freeway bridges.


13 people like this
Posted by Vehicle Dwellers are Residents
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2019 at 5:23 pm

We have people living in vehicles at unprecedented numbers not because other cities are banning it, but because we are experiencing unprecedented rising housing costs and shortages.

We are in a regional humanitarian crisis and certainly need to address the root cause of it, but what's more critical right now is deciding how we will care for the people who are living on Mountain View streets. And yes, the majority are RESIDENTS because they are living here as their primary residence, not just on weekdays or for a week or two.

People who have lived here for years have been priced out of apartments or even rooms for rent: retired people on fixed incomes, people on disability, people working on minimum wage jobs, children attending local schools, community college students trying to get an education and more.

I'm appalled at how so many other residents are vilifying our most vulnerable neighbors. I bicycle past a string of vehicle homes every morning on my way to work. They're ordinary people just trying to survive. We need real solutions (like building more housing) to help in the long run. But for now, we shouldn't sweep them out of town through ordinances because we don't want to see their struggle.


17 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 6:32 pm

We had a co-worker who proudly announced that he was going to live in the office to beat the cost of rent. At 5 PM, he would proudly take off his shoes and socks, let everyone know that he was going to heat up his dinner in the break room, then look for a conference room to watch TV. Lack of compassion for his co-workers would be a good description.

His employment ended shortly thereafter. This was 1980.

RV dwellers, especially the nicer large travel trailers pulled by large pickup trucks are those co-workers. The 'in-your-face' aggressive parking needs to come to an end.


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