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Housing advocates deliver signatures to overturn Mountain View's RV ban

Original post made on Nov 22, 2019

Housing advocates delivered a referendum petition with thousands of voter signatures to Mountain View City Hall late Friday afternoon in an effort to overturn a sweeping RV ban that they see as an attack on the homeless.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 22, 2019, 6:10 PM

Comments (26)

29 people like this
Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 22, 2019 at 6:58 pm

Wonderful news that the people of the city care much more than their elected representatives about the less fortunate here.

It's going to be an interesting election cycle, with Lisa Matichak and Margaret Abe-Koga as the faces of Measure V repeal and an RV Ban. Guess they've had a tough time "thwarting" the people of Mountain View.


8 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 22, 2019 at 9:37 pm

Can they rescind the law to make the petition go away and then a month later just enact a similar law?


8 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 22, 2019 at 11:17 pm

Gary is a registered user.

California Elections Code section 9241. (incorporated into our city charter) provides that the ordinance, if withdrawn by the City Council or overturned by voters, may not be again enacted for one year (from that action). Maybe a very similar law might count as the same one. There probably is some case law. But there is no bar to enacting a "similar law." That is why a referendum is no substitute for an initiative or for holding seats on the legislative body.


10 people like this
Posted by Consider the implications
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 23, 2019 at 4:29 am

Consider the implications is a registered user.

The city should provide rent subsidies rather the allow people take over shared resources like streets and parks.

Giving up shared resources is flawed in the following ways:

•It is thoughtless and cruel to have people live in this way. We would never dream of doing away with building codes because we know that they are necessary for the health and safety of the individuals and the community. Yet, in essence that is what we are doing when we have people living on the streets.

•There are no limits and no incentive to create limits in this paradigm. Today there are 200 to 300 people that must be supported. Why wouldn't this number grow?

•The virtuous feeling of helping the needy is likely fleeting for most people. The campers are concentrated in the poor parts of town. Wealthier people who want to help will come to realize that they did not really give of themselves but simply bullied poorer people to be generous.

•It does not encourage the city to find the best solutions to problems.


What if instead we provided housing vouchers to help people pay for rent. Say the city gave each person a $1000 per month to subsidize their rent. This would cost the city 24 to 36 million dollars a year and have the following benefits:

•People would be given reasonable housing.

•The city would have an incentive to identify and screen people who truly need help and are not just gaming the system. For example a person who moved here simply to take advantage of the program or someone who could afford rent but chooses not to would be excluded from the program.

•Everyone in the city would bear the financial burden and thus feel the reward of truly giving.

•We would be encouraged to come up with better solutions. For example, one reason that I have heard for providing housing in Mountain View is that our school system has extra resources and we want to share this excess capacity. We would help a lot more students by sending help to a poor district directly rather then enrolling extra students.

The city council should work-out a plan where people are given rent subsidies and asked not to use streets, parks and other shared resources.


66 people like this
Posted by Permit-less Development
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2019 at 6:33 am

If a developer were to build thin mobile units with no sewage hookups and lined some streets with them, promoting them as low cost alternatives to housing, they would be quickly removed and the developer likely fined.
Why is it any different if it's done one at a time with RVs?


11 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 23, 2019 at 6:49 am

Gary is a registered user.

The last poster suggests that the city government hand out rent vouchers of $1,000 per month. To anyone who enters the City? For which rental units? There aren't any here except for more like $4,000 per month. Is the suggestion the city should provide "rent subsidies" for people who agree to stay out of Mountain View? California is adding 2 million people every year. If they can get a $1,000 per month housing voucher at Mountain View City Hall, who would not stop by? $12,000 per year for say a million newcomers would be $12 billion each year from city government. It could jeopardize all of the overtime and retirement benefits owed by the city? Do you have a PLAN B?


6 people like this
Posted by Consider the implications
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 23, 2019 at 8:46 am

Consider the implications is a registered user.

Hey Gary thanks for commenting. Maybe a $1000 per month is not enough. I assumed that people would be able to contribute signifiantly to their rent because my understanding is that they are recently displaced renters who could not afford to live. If it costs $4000 per month for a reasonable accommodation then we should bare this cost. The beautify of this solution is that it would encourage the building of more units.

Simply warehousing people in roads, parks and libraries will not encourage new construction. It might feel like we are getting something for free today but we will eventually have to pay the piper. My guess is that in as little as 5 years we could regret this "kick the can down road" policy.

I am not saying that we pay everyone who asks a rent subsidy. I am saying that when we talk about this issue I often hear a story where a long time Mountain View resident with deep ties to the area is forced to live on the street. I want to address this obligation that Mountain View has. We should know who we are helping and why

I agree with you that Mountain View cannot solve the problem for the entire state. I am just saying that if we are going to work on our local problem we should being willing to explicitly pay rather than convince ourselves that there is no cost to having people live in unacceptable conditions.


18 people like this
Posted by Fair
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 23, 2019 at 10:22 am

When any group feels they have a righteous stand it gives them permission to falsify. This is called, "lying for Jesus." Petition signing these days are so dysfunctionally one sided I'm surprised they are even allowed anymore.

The city of mountain view does not have the manpower to check the signatures. They will do what's called, "eyeballing" and pass it on.


123 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 23, 2019 at 11:48 am

This article states,
"About 100 volunteers with Housing Justice and the Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America"

How wonderful that the Socialists, Lenny Siegel, Lucas Rameriz, A. Hicks, current and previous council members from are once wonderful city, where quality of life was once something that people ran on for the city council, want to change our city into something like San Francisco.

Now you have these Socialists, like Lenny Siegel, running again for city council, after being thrown out on this issue, is now buying votes from these hundreds are RV dwellers so he can be elected back into the city council. I am sure that these socialists groups have registered to vote all of these RV dwellers so they can vote for Lenny Siegel, at next year election for city council.

Everyone needs to be informed what will happen if Lenny Siegel gets back onto city council, and this RV ban on "Narrow Streets" is voted down.
Just look at what has happened in San Francisco, L.A and other Socialistic cities. Tent cities along sidewalks, public urination and defecation, 400,000 free hypodermic needles every month to drug addicts in S.F., and on and on.

Lenny Siegel is unfortunately a Mtn. View resident, and needs to be soundly beaten in the next election and his cohorts needs to be voted out and kept out of office.

Bring quality of life issues back to our city.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 23, 2019 at 5:21 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Gladys. Yeah - what happened to the "just" good old Socialist Party? Is Bernie a Democratic Socialist? (is that a Party in his state?). Then I guess I Must be a progressive Republican, an odd 5% of the voting public who supports just and compassionate "protect the general welfare" government action - but expects and works for it to be done with a sustainable and realistic fiscal plan (I would never have bought WeWork stock if it had an IPO !!!)

I signed the petition and got some signatures - not hours and hours of time I'll admit. But I'm also 'no longer' supporting with $$$, or voting, for Lisa M. The reporter seemed 'a little bit lame' on his reporting of signature gatherers. Is good old progressive Joan McDonnald (Sp?), the other woman carrying the basket (in the picture) a Democratic Socialist? (I doubt)


53 people like this
Posted by MV long timer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 23, 2019 at 7:20 pm

I'm not sure what is the more troubling aspect of this story. That MV has 61,000 denizens of voting age but only 35,000 are registered, or that 10% of an electorate can hold an elected body hostage in a democracy. Imagine, forces can bring in vote-getters and people who don't even live in our city to get 10% votes and then threaten the city council. I saw these vote-getters outside several Safeway stores and the vast majority of people I saw approached would not sign the petitions. City council, have the courage to represent in a democracy and not cower to a minority. Put the vote on the ballot. As for lawsuit threats, go ahead with the lawsuits if the ballot passes and just countersue for all expenses. The ACLU letter is a joke. Without going into detail on all the points, just the position of the Eighth Amendment violation vis-à-vis Martin vs City of Boise interpretation is a joke: the court ruled on an involuntary act relative to an unavoidable consequence. Parking on a street is not an involuntary act - at least I haven't seen self-driving RVs do that yet. Go ahead and challenge this in court and lose. But first, let's get it on the ballot and don't cower to a minority group.


4 people like this
Posted by Carmen
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 25, 2019 at 2:46 pm

What about if the city were to provide a RV park where all these RVs were to be located with shower facilities, sewage hook ups, and electric lines? Like kind a mobile home with modest monthly rent. I don't think that living in the streets without the basic needs is very charitable either. Maybe Google can donate part of their land to create something good and useful for the city of Mountain View.


38 people like this
Posted by Old Mtn View
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 25, 2019 at 3:15 pm

We all know you can get a few thousand signatures and let’s assume they’re all actual full time residents and voters for now. I saw the signature collection fist hand and there was no checking of ids but let’s ignore it for now.

The problem is, that’s a small fraction of the voters and they’re already told the city council we want these RVs gone. Gone like yesterday.

If the RV advocates like Lenny were tactical they would have used that long period when all these vehicles clogged up the residential neighborhoods to negotiate an exit ... that is, to understand that time is not on their side. They asked for way too much and got nothing and now less people are willing to allow this than before. You can’t give everyone in an RV a cheap home to live in this city, that’s wishful thinking. Or crazy thinking.

I’m a tax payer here. I don’t want to pay 100s of thousands of dollars or more like millions to incentivize these squatters to leave. There are some good people in the RVs - many - but they’re not being served well by the most vocal who ask for a payday. This is why we the voters did not re-elect Lenny because we were tired of the foot dragging.


62 people like this
Posted by Say it again
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 25, 2019 at 3:24 pm

The best thing you can do is vote and make sure Lenny is not ever holding office here again.

We’re tried of the RV issue. The voters said enough !


13 people like this
Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 25, 2019 at 5:18 pm

It really is something seeing "liberal" people in Mountain View going straight to the Trumpian rhetoric. Compare Old Mtn View above saying "There are some good people in the RVs" with the classic Trump line:

"They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Hopefully, this will kick off some self-reflection, but honestly, most of your comments here wouldn't be out of place in a Trump rally.


38 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 25, 2019 at 5:50 pm

Check every single signature. I saw their tactics, they are committing signature fraud. Should they be found committing fraud they should have charged against them. This is the dumbest idea ever, speed up the RV ban ASAP, get rid of every single one now. My goodness all this city does is destroy everything decent about it.


18 people like this
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 25, 2019 at 6:29 pm

From what I learned by talking to some of the people soliciting signatures they misled people by saying “the City Council has just passed a ban on homeless people would you help in overturning this ban”. Of course this is shall we say a lie, the ban was on motor homes parked on the street and turned into place to live.
I talked to the the people gathering signatures because my wife signed this petition but of course she was misled as she feels strongly about removing the motor homes from the street.
If there are enough signatures to force the City Council to place the measure on the next ballot for a vote they must do this. I am sure the measure on the ballot will not use misleading wording to force the issue either way.


41 people like this
Posted by @Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 25, 2019 at 6:50 pm

If you or anyone else, feels that they where lied to by the signature gatherers,and signed the petition, contact the Mtn.View city clerk and ask that your name be removed from the petition.


24 people like this
Posted by Billy Bob
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 25, 2019 at 9:46 pm

Sad day for Mountain View


8 people like this
Posted by A resident
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 26, 2019 at 9:30 am

Why are the rich RV folks favored over the homeless living in tents? How about advocating for allowing tents on side walks?

I think Lenny Seigel is a decent man and I did vote for him however the last thing Mountain View needs this.


21 people like this
Posted by Quality of life
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2019 at 11:26 am

If the public had to be tricked into signing, there's no way it has a chance on the ballot, but we'll still have to pay all the expenses.
This is further $ being siphoned from MV by the RV people, only delaying the inevitable.
OK then, lets "due process" this puppy all the way and then put it to bed for good. The writing on the wall is clear for the RVs. They will go. This latest is a stalling tactic/stunt.


31 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 26, 2019 at 1:49 pm

@Quality of Life,

Yes, this will cost us taxpayers more money, as if $2,000,000.00 has not been enough already.

The council has to put this on the ballot for voters to decide.

Problem is, Lenny Siegel will also be on the ballot after being thrown out of office. If Siegel gets re-elected and the RV ban is voted on and passes, then you get Siegel back into office where he has L.Rameriz and A.Hicks waiting for him to start this crazy path again in allowing people to live where ever they want, sidewalks, parks, streets/RV's, etc. They will as the new city council, vote to overturn the voters if they pass the RV parking ban.

Siegel and company will need only one more council member to be his puppet. There are 4 council seats that will be on the ballot next year. Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak will be running for re-election and are in favor of limiting where these RV's can park. The 2 empty seats will need to be fully vetted by the public, and NOT THE VOICE. The Voice will endorse Siegel and his friends.


10 people like this
Posted by Quit being so Lenny Triggered
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Jeeze, that guy is living rent free in your brain man. Get him out then discuss RVs without discussing Lenny, then start a NEW thread about the GOOD things Lenny's opposition is doing and why we should vote for them instead of living the "I hate Lenny" life.


8 people like this
Posted by MV Homeowner
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 27, 2019 at 6:32 pm

MV Homeowner is a registered user.

Gladys' comments are spot on! In addition to have a better quality of life for all, the MVPD should rigorously enforce existing vagrancy laws. Communities all over the country also ban any street parking from 2am - 6am. This could easily be applied in the areas where RV's congregate.


6 people like this
Posted by rational
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 29, 2019 at 1:59 pm

rational is a registered user.

Menlo Park bans all overnight parking in residential neighborhoods. Single use parking permits are available to homeowners at the Menlo Park Police Station.

Mountain View should adopt a similar set of laws. This law applies to everyone so there's no question about discrimination against the homeless.

We already have a law that makes it illegal to park a vehicle for more than 72 hours without moving at least 1000 feet each 72 hour period. It would seem all those motor homes that are immobile and up on blocks could be cited and towed away post haste.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2019 at 8:28 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to member you said:

“Check every single signature. I saw their tactics, they are committing signature fraud. Should they be found committing fraud they should have charged against them. This is the dumbest idea ever, speed up the RV ban ASAP, get rid of every single one now. My goodness all this city does is destroy everything decent about it.”

That goes both ways. Simply put, you need to do this with every initiative. That means I agree that even Measure V signatures should be verified. I welcome a complete line by line verification for Measure V. But that means that the recent ballot signatures by the landlords are equally required to be examined. Are you willing to make sure it is done universally and thoroughly?

Or are you wanting a differenat standard?


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