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Mountain View's safe parking lot is now open 24/7, and RV dwellers are moving in

Original post made on Apr 10, 2020

Residents living in cars and RVs finally have a safe, dedicated place to park their vehicles during the day in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 10, 2020, 1:32 PM

Comments (34)

Posted by govt bureaucracy
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 2:25 pm

Notice that this was only possible because they exempted themselves from mobile home residency laws.
How much more varied kinds of housing would be available at lower costs if we would just loosen all the laws and regulations? Between govt bureaucracy and NIMBYism we are the source of our own problems.....
Web Link

Posted by Peter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 2:40 pm

Good luck ending this in the future. This is now a permanent RV park. Come in ye RVs from far and away, we’ve got ya covered.

Posted by reader
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2020 at 2:46 pm

@Peter, what proof do you have that people move from a more affordable area, to a more expensive area, so they can live in a vehicle?

There but for the grace of God goes you.

Posted by justaworkingstiff
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2020 at 3:17 pm

Mountain View City Council actually did a good job here.
They are helping *Ex-Mountain view residents*
Safe Parking is an organized, planned way to help these people
- Safe place to park
- Services such as garbage, water, sewage disposal
- Social Services to help get them back on their feet
- Share the burden across all MV residents, not just a few neighborhoods
- Centralized location is a more efficient way provide services to RVs

The alternative free-for-all by Lenny Siegel is very poor planning
- Anybody from any where can come park anywhere in Mountain View
- No provision for garbage, water, sewage disposal
(Other than than use public parks - which MV residents may want to use)
(With Covid 19 - Sanitation stations have been deployed at taxpayer expense
after park bathroom closed)
- Parking anywhere RVs want means MV residents in those areas must
bear a disproportionate burden. Oversize vehicles impeding car
and bicycle traffic. Without formal services, sewage gets dumped into
the drains in the streets. Environmental groups are suing the city of MV
for the pollution such dumping is causing.
- It is ok to spend MV tax payer money for ex-MV residents who have had
housing problems
- It is not ok to spend MV tax payer money on anybody who want to live in
their RV in Mountain View just because of lax enforcement of the laws
and they just want a cheap place to live on the streets.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 3:34 pm

On a somewhat related topic, 4 days ago on Monday April 6 the state Judicial Council passed several interim rules for operation of California courts. One such rule is that courts will not issue a summons in an eviction (unlawful detainer) case (residential or commercial) until 90 days after the declared end of the statewide emergency. There is an exception where the landlord gets permission to proceed from a judge based on evidence that eviction is needed for health and safety. It might apply to a CRACK HOUSE, for example. And police can still arrest tenants for committing crimes - although another rule passed by the Judicial Council lowers bail to zero except for serious felonies. A "summons" is what requires a defendant (tenant) to respond to a lawsuit or suffer a "default" by failing to respond on time. So even though a landlord could file a lawsuit (unlawful detainer complaint) and give a copy to a tenant, the lawsuit would remain legally not served because of the absence of a summons. The statewide landlord group, the California Apartment Association (CAA), yesterday called upon the Judicial Council to reconsider. No change seems likely. So while tenants should avoid getting behind in paying rent, those who cannot or do not pay will not be facing eviction via an unlawful detainer action for many months. Anyone who does receive official-looking papers concerning eviction should contact an attorney. If some attorneys are employed by government to provide assistance, maybe someone will next post that information here. And maybe the Voice can run an article on the subject.

Posted by Billy Bob
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 3:40 pm

It took city council 5 years to provide 29 spaces we have over 600 RVs in the city now up 47percent from 3 years ago .We more than likely get 29 RVs moving into Mountain View a week . This is progress I would hate to see what failure looks like .

Posted by Disgusting
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 3:57 pm

And who pays for all this and what it the price tag now and down the road?

This will turn into a problem similar to feeding stray cats. More and more will come and it will get worse. And we already have porta potties in many parks just for the homeless and even the regular park bathrooms are now considered homeless bathrooms. The worse part is that this will take years to undo. Kiss your parks goodbye Mountain View!

Posted by Peter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Just to clarify my comment: as RVs take up new residents at the Shoreline parking lot, we will get new RVs taking their spots on the City streets.

I’m 100% opposed to this. Enough is enough!

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 7:24 pm

@Billy Bob, no, it took this City Council only 2 years, which is fast compared to previous Councils that did nothing. Abe Koga and Matichak did a great job pushing for these lots paid for by the county and having Simitian behind it. What should have been done: Every vehicle dweller is forced to live in one of our city lots with all the services. Instead we are supplying porta potties and hand washing stations all over the city, leaving the vehicle dwellers the choice of parking spot. But council followed the pressure put on them by Lenny's group. For them nothing is ever good enough. When the pandemic is over, our council will have its hands full undoing services and regulating the growing vehicle population in Mountain View. And Kevin Forestieri, stop using the word "BAN" there was never a ban. Over sized vehicle parking was regulated, just like in any other city of America!

Posted by Trump
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 7:51 pm

It's great to see folks like Polomom endorse the Trump strategy, where Matichak and Abe-Koga fought tooth and nail to kick out vehicle dwellers in our city, and then once we are in a global pandemic and any decent person realizes we need to help them, blame your predecessors like Lenny Siegel for the predicament. Shows that there's not much distance between the rich Silicon Valley liberals and the MAGAs in policy, only temperament.

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 10, 2020 at 8:08 pm

@Trump. It was our own councils previously that caused our city to turn into RV campgrounds. If we want to help these temporary vehicle dwellers to regain permanent housing we need to have safe parking lots with social services. Accepting RVs as permanent housing solution is morally unacceptable. Leave Trump out of this Mountain View specific issue.

Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 10, 2020 at 10:01 pm

At least four years ago Pat Showalter and I proposed a sanctioned encampment ("safe parking") at the Shoreline Amphitheater parking lots for our vehicle households. The idea was to provide sanitation services and case management to help people find more permanent housing. Instead, some of our colleagues and the city manager initiated a program based on church parking lots. Unfortunately, that well-intentioned program did not generate enough spaces, with no spaces for oversized vehicles. Now, due to the pandemic catastrophe, we have a chance to demonstrate that this approach makes sense.

With people living vehicles in many California cities, it's ridiculous to attribute their presence in Mountain View to city policies. Rather, vehicle residents are here for the same reasons as the rest of us: jobs, schools, family, doctors, friends, and weather.

Posted by Chris
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 11, 2020 at 12:50 am

It’s such a shame to see so many of these disgusting elitist comments geared and levied toward people who work hard everyday, but may not be financially as fortunate as many of you have become.

There are people in this country who actually might look at you the way you look at people living out of there vehicles. Some are veterans, families, teachers, perhaps even someone that served your meal at a fine dinning establishment you frequent. How have you become so far removed and disconnected to not want to express a way to help as opposed to assuming a negative and abstinent disposition towards those you don’t approve of? Someone at some point in time has had to put up with you. Have compassion. For all you know, someone in one of the RV camps might be a person on the front lines of the pandemic helping to preserve health.
You just, never know.

Posted by Jessica
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2020 at 1:48 am

I'd actually like to weigh in on this issue. I'm an RV street dweller but I'm an ASM that works 40 hours a week and makes about 46k a year. I used to work part time but that made me lose my old apartment because the pay was so low and ended up living in my car for some months while I got a new job and worked my way up to management.

Even with this new pay I cant afford an apartment because they're way more per month than I make and I was sick of paying expensive prices that keep going up (essentially throwing my money away) and just bought an RV to live in. So much cheaper. But of course it's frowned upon and I would have to shuffle around. I also have a car so I use uber to pick it up so I can get around.

You probably wont believe me but I'm not a druggy. I work hard and I'm trying to pay off bills. I've heard that the reason rent is so expensive and makes it hard for me to find a place to live is because of tech people coming and landlords upping rent since they can pay it. I cant but I still work my store as best I can and try to help people that come in buy what they need. You might have visited my store not even knowing my situation. I remain positive but saddened by people saying negative things about RV dwellers without knowing their story.

So I like to share mine so people can have a little more sympathy for others. Rent is too expensive here but I stay because I have family nearby. I refuse to be their burden when the house is already full so I haven't moved in with them. Also I do like my job. I just wish I could find a place like I did in 2010 that offered a 1 bedroom for 800 a month. You can never find that now.

Hopefully my story gives some insight in the RV community. She's my home, I make it work and I love her. She isnt a broken down piece of junk either and I dump in the proper places like the fairgrounds ($25 to dump each time).

Maybe I'm a rare case but I do like the option to just drive my home away if I need to.

Thank you for reading.

Posted by sonnyt650
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 11, 2020 at 8:09 am

Contrary to Lenny Siegel's post: when Los Altos next door isn't afflicted by this blight, it's ridiculous (his choice of words, not mine) NOT to attribute the RV dweller presence in Mountain View to city policies. Every generation before had a simple solution to fight homelessness (are "vehicle dwellers" somehow burdened with local property taxes?) without forcing longtime residents to bend over backwards to accommodate: those that couldn't afford an area moved out to somewhere with lower cost of living.
True that without many of the lower income residents staffing local businesses, the remaining residents would need to travel farther out of the area for some services. However I much prefer seeing other communities grow and thrive from the influx of visitor money than watch this community suffocate under an unsustainable social experiment.

Posted by whtcabo
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 11, 2020 at 8:55 am

Wow I just read that you people who are so much better then the Rv dwellers compared people with so little as it is to stray cats. So sad that we've come to this. I hope all of you who write like this don't believe in heaven and hell. My kids goto mistral,Grahamand los altos high and all know multiple kids who's families are in this situation guaranteed you wouldn't be able to pick them out at a grocery store. Your depiction of the families in RV's is likened to how hitler and the original brown shirts looked at the polish and Jewish community. Sad that you are like this.For any left leaning person that say Trump is to blame for how people talk and write hatefully, These same people where writing these comments when Obama was president. Its angry and almost jealous behavior.

Posted by Covid-Kid
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 11, 2020 at 9:39 am

Back in the day if you could not afford to live in a neighborhood you move to one that was affordable to up the quality of your family's life. Living in a RV is not good for children.

This is the, "stray-cat-syndrom." Once you feed them they will never leave and more will come.

Posted by What weekend is this?
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 11, 2020 at 10:09 am

> Once you feed them they will never leave and more will come.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Happy Easter y'all...

Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 11, 2020 at 10:12 am

What a remarkable statement! Mountain View is a community that has long treasured cultural and socio-economic diversity. The remarkable success of our tech companies, combined with a decades-long, policy-induced drought in housing construction, created a situation in which wealthier newcomers drove out many long-term residents as well as more recent service-worker arrivals. It's called "gentrification," and in most places that's a pejorative because it not only harms lower-income residents; it undermines the fabric of communities.

While I am offended that you compare some of our neighbors to stray cats, I also have to say that members of my family feed, adopt, and love stray cats. It seems that you would have them starve.

Posted by Concerned Vet
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2020 at 10:40 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Michael Green
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 11, 2020 at 11:12 am

@Lenny Siegel okay boomer...

Posted by Trump
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 11, 2020 at 11:37 am

We even get the Trump-like inversions here. According to some posters, vehicle dwellers are living a care-free life here, while homeowners are the truly downtrodden "burdened by property taxes." I know these folks talked like this before, but I guarantee you every last one of them "resists" against Trump.

As for "ok boomer" can tell a meme is past its prime when old Boomers direct it at each other on a newspaper comments section...

Posted by Wildlife Lover
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2020 at 1:19 pm

"While I am offended that you compare some of our neighbors to stray cats, I also have to say that members of my family feed, adopt, and love stray cats. It seems that you would have them starve."

I'm offended by both statements, and hope your stray cats are fixed to prevent more unwanted cats. As a supporter of stray cats, please consider reading a 2013 Smithsonian article on the moral cost of stray cats and their unneeded killings of an estimated 8-26 billion birds and small animals per year.

Web Link

Posted by oh yeah? resident of Cuesta Park
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm

I thought the Cuesta Park annex was closed to residential use. Maybe you are sleeping out there, in a little tent, or sleeping bag that I cannot see? Wouldn't it be BETTER for you to live in a little RV, with electric, water and sewer hookup? Sort of like the RV residential facility that existed out near 101, in the Wagon Wheel neighborhood [before demolished for tri-story townhouses].

Ah, but I guess this is not an Emergency. Too bad, then the County could take over that area, and add a dozen or 2 RVs close to business and two shopping centers. With a Vet for U 2 talk to!

Posted by Disgusting
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 11, 2020 at 6:28 pm

@Lenny Siegel

Please tell us the basis of your myth, "Mountain View is a community that has long treasured cultural and socio-economic diversity" and how that includes RVs and what the hell it has to do with allowing essentially homeless encampments?

Every one I have talked to wants Mountain View to be a safe, law abiding city with good schools and parks. No one I know cares about any one's ethnicity or income status. They just expect people to do the right thing in accordance with the laws the rest of us are expected to adhere to. So maybe you should quit pulling out the racist and communist card so much when making your points.

And I agree with @Wildliek Lover, that if you're feeding strays I certainly hope you are doing more than just that. Because all you are doing is inviting bigger problems if you are not capturing them and having them fixed and hopefully adopted to good homes. It's quite similar to your attitude toward RVs if you are not. So please prove to us all what you have done to curb the stray cat population!

Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 11, 2020 at 6:52 pm

The vehicle residents are following the law. That's why the Council majority wanted to change the law.

The people who are violating the law are those who permanently park basketball hoops in the public right of way. I don't really mind that, but it is illegal.

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 11, 2020 at 7:24 pm

@Lenny Siegel, most US cities have had over sized vehicle parking restrictions. I know this for a fact, I use my RV for what is was created for: Recreation. On my cross country trips I have rarely found a city that lets me pullover for the night and not pay for a campground. Our city has to get these RVs off the streets into organized lots and help people move back into permanent housing. Jessica is the perfect example of the RV population that wants to avoid paying for city services but live on our streets. I hope she is on our list for low income housing, since she claims her annual income is below $ 50 000. Our city has a lot of affordable housing in the pipeline. Just don't make the RV your permanent housing. Housed residents are paying for you, utilities, city services, etc. If we all moved into RVs to save $, our city would be broke. So anybody here living in an RV, do yourself a favor and sign up for the Safe Lots, put yourself in the hands of social services, be cooperative. If you don't want any of this, MV will push for you leave our city.

Posted by Trump
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 11, 2020 at 7:41 pm

Polomom, I know that the Trump comparison was a harsh mirror for you to have to face, but the more you talk, the more clear you make it to everyone just how close you are to him. Let me guess, you get a little tear in your eye when you see those "refugees welcome" signs and feel good about yourself, while simultaneously trying to kick all the local poor people out.

Stick to polo.

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 11, 2020 at 9:15 pm

@Trump: Have you been to the lots? Why not check it out. I have. We are helping these poor people in a good way.

Posted by Jessica
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2020 at 3:53 am


I appreciate the advice but past experiences with getting help while I lived in my Honda Fit and worked part time showed me that in order to get help, you need to practically be destitute to qualify. I'm not on foot stamps anymore cause I can afford to feed myself (took myself off it in fact so the money could go to those that needed it more) but when I applied, all they wanted to know was how much I made, if i paid rent, how much my phone bill was and how much I had in the bank (if you had no money at all, youd get immediate service, which is understandable, but I had some money because I was using it to pay credit cards and a student loan).

Despite my situation, all I got for food stamps at that time was $18 a month. I told them I couldn't afford to eat because of my other bills taking most of my paycheck but they didn't tally that in the qualifications because they didnt count and said I could pick food up from pantry's. But I had no way to cook food, living in a Fit. I still went so I could get food I didnt need to refrigerate or cook so I had something. Luckily my job was a grocery store so I would also sometimes buy food there I could eat immediately.

So when it comes to housing, especially with how much I make now, they might think I should be able to afford an apartment on the $3400 (before taxes are taken out) a month I make versus qualifying bills like they did with food stamps. Except that I cant because all of my bills leave me with just enough to afford getting meals. Sometimes I was short for a week and bought ramen I could microwave at work but I somehow always made it work.

Also I may not pay for utilities but I don't think they count as something people all pay for and is more based on your own housing usage? I pay taxes like everyone else through my paycheck which pays for city services and I dont get paid under the table. What I dont pay for are property taxes but people that have apartments dont pay for that either I imagine. Just their rent and electricity usage (at least in my old building that's all it was).

I don't have any kids/dependents and RV dwellers that have them should be first in line to get help into housing versus me. I'm sure I'm on the bottom of the list of people that qualify for help. Rents are just continuously rising while wages dont go up fast enough.

Also, checking out the website for safe lots says that people dont qualify if living in a vehicle is a way to save money. I'm sure they base that off how much you make and think you're not paying for your vehicle (which I am in a loan for that I pay every month) or it could just be the same criteria like food stamps, where only qualifying bills are taken into account. Even student loan payments dont weigh in.

In a way I would like to have a single apartment of my own but only if it were affordable. Because let's say I did get an apartment but most of my paycheck left me without money to afford food because I still had to pay my other bills. Then I would have to apply for food stamps again. My wage is just not feasible for this area. They would rather I be unemployed and living in a tent than working honestly and living in a tiny home.

That's my experience with social services anyway.

Posted by whtcabo
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 12, 2020 at 6:55 am

Back in the day you moved to more affordable location. What a False statement. Back in the day you moved for better opportunities. Back in the day countries didnt speculate the housing markets or send there citizens over for baby mills. Back in the day blue collar business existed. Back in the day you didn't have mass amounts of older people to work low wage entry level jobs as in the service industry. Back in the day people built communities. Back in the day you could afford to live in mountain view.back in the day your mom and dad owned that house you live in and you just probably inherited it if not you bought it when it wasnt marked up 10,000% get real @covid. Ok now come all you anti human, pro high rent, I pay high taxes but have pre 2000 controlled rent mortgages. Lie to make your points valid.

Posted by sonnyt650
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 12, 2020 at 9:12 am

"Back in the day" my parents emigrated to the U.S. for "better opportunities". We settled in Mountain View for a huge variety of reasons, when comparing U.S. locations least among them is "better opportunities". They purchased a small house and plot of land for 1/100th today's prices, and raised my two sisters and me on less than half my current annual salary. Do the math: my salary doesn't enable me to purchase the smallest home here, while before all this I used to commute daily up to SF to earn that salary. The notion of "better opportunities" doesn't mean anything at all in the decision to live in Mountain View versus anywhere that's not Mountain View whether back in the day or now.

Posted by Disgusting
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm

@Lenny Siegel

The law already states no parking more than 72 hours in one spot. 99% of RV's have been parked far longer than that with sorts of crap stored in and around them on the street. Also, anyone sitting in a registered vehicle on a public street is considered an operator of that vehicle, not a resident, and is required to follow the laws of the state and city. So keep commenting and digging yourself into a hole. When you can't get out, you'll know why. Just don't take the rest of us with you.

Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 12, 2020 at 4:06 pm

This topic is nothing but a WMD

A Weapon of Mass Distraction orchestrated by the City Council to try to avoid the people from paying attention to the following:

The city Council sold out to the Private Housing sector to arrange Housing Discrimination via Disparate Impact by making housing too expensive in Mountain View.

This was done by only allowing projects with such inefficiency and design for only luxury housing. What I would like to see is someone making a legal complaint against the City for violating the fair housing laws in both the state and federal laws.

Second, that action DIRECTLY caused the situation many of the above posters are complaining about. These individuals are NOT INNOCENT and under the doctrine of Clean Hands, cannot find fault on others. Because they ACTIVELY contributed to the situation. But they do not want the public to be aware of it.

Thus they DISTRACT the public from addressing the CAUSE of the problem. They will use ANY means necessary to DENIGRATE, USE CHARACTER ASSASSINATION, AND USE ANY LANGUAGE to ENCOURAGE HOSTILITY to those who have not even been PROVEN to have done anything wrong.



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