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City Council candidates talk rent control, RV ban in virtual candidate forum

Original post made on Aug 17, 2020

Nine candidates seeking a spot on the Mountain View City Council this November squared off Saturday at the first candidate forum of the election season, showing early ideological splits on some of the city's hot-button issues.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 17, 2020, 1:27 PM

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Comments (13)

59 people like this
Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 17, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

Regarding the RV ban, the article says, "Speaking against the ban were Lashlee, Gutierrez, Nunez, Showalter and Siegel." This makes it easy to know who NOT to vote for.


24 people like this
Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 17, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

So true, Waldo! We get enough demonization of the poor and "undesirable" from the Oval Office these days! Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak's support of the RV Ban is cut from the same cloth, and clearly disqualifying. The Mountain View I love is an inclusive city, not one where we try to kick out the poor.


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2020 at 1:10 am

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

I observe an interesting problem for the City of Mountain View.

The CSFRA entitles lawful rent to be based on Market Rate. Several landlord petitions asked for rent increases. I was in one of them, in 2018 the rent was adjusted to match market rate based on the condition of my building. So, my rent is currently market rate. EXCEPT now the market rates have dropped. Per the article found here (Web Link). It is reported that rents have gone down 15.9% from last year.

Here is where the City has a problem, my landlord has been upgrading separate units of my building and still on top of that he is discounting the prices of those upgraded units. I have the petition of the landlord submitted to the City that shows the previous rates. Given that the market rates of his units are required to be equally distributed, it appears that the “market rate” of my building has gone down. There is no question that a landlord cannot arbitrarily target some units to be treated less equally to others, that is the definition of discriminations, all you need is the tenants to be a protected class under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Such as national origin, age, disability, family status.

Given that the CSFRA only allows for market rate rents, and my rent was adjusted before 2019, it would appear that all rents in this building should be entitled to a rent reduction based on the market rate. Given that the City has seen a 15.9% rent reduction the CSFRA does entitle all rent-controlled units to be provided a 15.9% rend reduction in the City.

The CSFRA standard for rent reduction is as follows:

“(c)Petition for Downward Adjustment — Decrease in Housing Services or Maintenance. A decrease in Housing Services or maintenance, or deterioration of the Rental Unit beyond ordinary wear and tear, without a corresponding reduction in Rent, is considered an increase in Rent. A Tenant may file a Petition to adjust the Rent downward based on a loss in rental value attributable to a decrease in Housing Services or maintenance or deterioration of the Rental Unit. The Petition must specify the circumstances allege to constitute a decrease in Housing Services or maintenance, and demonstrate that the Landlord was provided with reasonable notice and an opportunity to correct in like manner to Petitions filed pursuant to Subsection 1710(b)(2) herein.

Thus, is any landlord has upgraded any unit and at the same time dropped any prices this would qualify as a decrease in housing services or maintenance. It is a matter of simple math here, the units that are “improved” when receiving a lower rent than it did in the past reduces the current values of the existing unimproved units. These landlords KNOW this. There is a significant discount of the current value of the existing units where there is a price discount provided for the refurbished or upgraded units above what is necessary to be considered necessary for inhabitation. That is defined under the CSFRA here:
For example this landlord installed dishwashers in selected units, thereby if you look at the site apartment therapy seen here (Web Link) it would entitle an apartment to an increase of rent of say $125 a month. If the apartments are furnished you can expect a 15% increase over the unfurnished rent according to landlordology on this website (Web Link). This was done after 2018 in a unit in my building being charged $2500 a month, so you would expect that rent to be set at $2500 + $125 + 15% which comes to 3,020 a month.

Thus if a landlord is renting the unit at a 4 % discount from the past it would be $2500 – 4% or $2400 a month, given that the market rate from the past with the added amenities would be $3000 a month, he is discounting the apartment at a rate of 20% under the circumstances

“(3)Fair Rate of Return - Factors Excluded.

In making any upward adjustment to the Rent based upon a Landlord's Petition to ensure a fair rate of return, the Hearing Officer or Committee shall not consider the following factors as justifying an upward adjustment:

(C)The costs of capital improvements that are not necessary to bring the property into compliance or maintain compliance with applicable local codes affecting health and safety;

So, any “improvements” made on a unit to market them at a higher price will by default reduce the current value of the existing not improved units. Especially if the rents collected can be proven to be lower than the previous rates. In my case I have the landlords own petition to prove it is reducing its prices on units at higher levels of amenities. In effect this is discrimination. Now if these units are rented by protected classes under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, even if it wasn’t intentional, it would still be discrimination. Thus, these landlords are creating a VERY dangerous situation for themselves.

The Bottom line is that the RHC should consider a regulation dictating for as long as the market rates are going down, the rent-controlled units that are currently in the previously defined market rates by a hearing officer, must be by default discounted the same rate of reduction being reported. In this case 15.9%. This is the current Market Value for the properties isn’t it? They are not provided any lawful excess of it even with the California Constitution, it provides for a “fair” return on investment, but when the market does down the return on investment also goes down.

This should apply to all tenants in CSFRA units in Mountain View.


37 people like this
Posted by Steve Syracuse
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2020 at 9:40 am

Steve Syracuse is a registered user.

Happy to see we have young people running. However, given their potential inexperience, we need the right type of young people. John Lashlee is exactly the type we don't need. He is a tech bro downwardly mobile, irritant. The type that is ruining our city. Does really know anything about Mountain View but wants to run for office.

I happen to like Nunez. While his politics are to the left of lots of us here, at least he has roots and has been coming to city hall meeting as long as I have been tuning in.

Just to show that I am not some left wing kook, I also plan to vote for Lisa and MAK.


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 18, 2020 at 10:54 am

Gary is a registered user.

Both the county and city have a temporary ordinance that allows renters "substantially" burdened by the pandemic to establish a potential defense to eviction based on non-payment of rent. Last week, the state Judicial Council dropped its statewide virtual ban on eviction cases effective at midnight on September 1. The county and city ordinances on deferring rent expire at midnight on August 31. On August 11, the county board of supervisors expressed support for extending its ordinance limiting evictions countywide at a meeting to be held on August 25. I wrote the Mountain View City Council suggesting potential action extending the city's ordinance be agendized for its meeting later that same day: August 25. We shall see if Mayor Abe-Koga ensures that the matter is duly agendized. The state legislature might also act by the end of August. The Governor has special powers. But if nothing is enacted, California could see a million eviction cases filed in September.


16 people like this
Posted by Hillside Sourced
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 18, 2020 at 11:47 am

Hillside Sourced is a registered user.

Two issues that I’m wondering about....My apartment complex where I’m struggling to make $3500/mo. rent has occupied RVs parked right outside apartment front doors some 25 feet away. Is this legal? RV pop-outs project into the street. I know some people rent these RVs from others and people are in the market to purchase RVs just to rent to those who can’t or won’t pay apartment rent. This is OK with the city?
Also, should my rent be less if I’m not able to access for almost six months the amenities I’m paying for like, swimming pool, sauna, exercise room, club house, billiards room?


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Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

In response to Hillside Sourced you said:

“Two issues that I’m wondering about....My apartment complex where I’m struggling to make $3500/mo. rent has occupied RVs parked right outside apartment front doors some 25 feet away. Is this legal?”

IDK but another question is that if it is legal, does the property owner on the street charge a fee for parking there or are they renting out the RV to the occupant? You also said:

“RV pop-outs project into the street. I know some people rent these RVs from others and people are in the market to purchase RVs just to rent to those who can’t or won’t pay apartment rent. This is OK with the city?”

IDK, but my question is that what authority do you have to demand that explanation? When market manipulation is used to inflate costs, it is perfectly legal to boycott the scheme by using alternatives. I don’t know whether the street is narrow or not because you haven’t stated the streets name. Thus, you are submitting an unfounded supposition. Please give us more information to allow us to understand the situation? As far as you saying:

“Also, should my rent be less if I’m not able to access for almost six months the amenities I’m paying for like, swimming pool, sauna, exercise room, club house, billiards room?”

I believe you have a VERY good point. The facts are that maybe everything except the pool being shut down, means the cost of maintenance or operation of them should not be recurring. The pool is outside or inside? If inside it should be treated as an inactive pool, thus it should be drained and shut down as well. I believe that under this situation the lease you signed is now in breach, and you are entitled to a new one with a price reduction for the loss of services.

IDK if your unit is in the enforcement of the CSFRA, if it is you should petition for a rent reduction.


37 people like this
Posted by Consider the implications
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Consider the implications is a registered user.

I think that it is unconscionable to provide RV parking as a housing alternative. Providing this type of housing drives down wages. It is true that we and surrounding cities get cheaper workers but think of the impact that is has on children who are raised as second-class citizens.

Provide rent subsides for people that you truly want to help; don't setup a slum because it is "free" to do and makes you feel good. The long term for this quick fix is very costly to those you are being dumped there.

If you can't provide subsides, then the market will clear. People will leave and people will pay more to have their dishes wash and their lawns mowed. In the end, the workers will have a dignified life and it will be better for everyone.


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Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 18, 2020 at 7:22 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Steve Syracuse, what do you mean by "downwardly mobile?"


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2020 at 9:05 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

Randy,

That is what the "bosses" want people to be. They want to systemically make people get paid less for doing more. I know I was trained to do it.

Consider the Implications,

The problem with your theory is that prior to any equilibrium, there is going to be a serious collapse. In fact Bloomberg is predicting a "tech exodus" the story is found here (Web Link).

The reality is that COVID has started the ball rolling regarding the collapse of quality of life businesses in the valley. My greatest loss was Clark's Burgers. The reality is that those that are in the position to do so are leaving, and those not in the position are stuck.

And AB5, the Microsoft case (Web Link) and the Dynamex case (Web Link) regarding contractors is forcing tech workers to relocate out of state to avoid the tech business to reclassify them as employees.

That is just a temporary fix because it is the IRS Contractor v. Employee standards that made these changes. Only legislation in congress can reverse this change.

The fact is that COVID is moving high income earners away from the valley, and so many people who planned on this never occurring are about to get walloped. The standards of living in the valley are going do drop significantly unless the tech business decides to invest into stabilizing the valley. But I would not hold my breath.


7 people like this
Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 18, 2020 at 10:36 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Steven, I don't understand how that applies to John Lashlee? From what I've seen, he has worked tirelessly for the workers here in Mountain View. If anyone has abandoned the real residents of Mountain View, it's Margaret Abe-Koga, Lisa Matichak, and Jose Gutierrez with their support for Measure D.


7 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2020 at 10:59 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

REandy,

Full agreement my preferences are for Showalter, Seigal, Leiber, and Nunez.

The flat out lying by Koga, Matichak, and Gutierrez and that they were Democrats in Name Only (DINO's) because their own party did not endorse Measure D.

I don't know enough about Lashlee, but I agree with his plans if he is elected.

But I observed when the people wanted actions by Showalter and Seigal, they did try to act for the benefit of the people. Nunez deserves a shot because he did such a good job on CSFRA, and Leiber does have a good history.

My hopes are we never have any private housing agents be in the City Council for now on. They prove themselves to be dishonest and punish the people of the City of Mountain View. Like John Inks and Mike Kasperzak did.

I was so glad John Inks came in last in the last election, I am almost certain he will never run again. If he does we will just use the withdrawn ballot measure activities to prove he is not worthy of it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 11, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Concerned is a registered user.

Rent Control
With work from home people are moving out of Mountain View daily. A Zillow map shows a record number of places to rent and yes rents are dropping Web Link . So by year-end rent control may be a non-issue. With people moving it means less money is being spent in local businesses and coupled with Covid it is another nail in their coffin.

RV's
There are less than ten families / Individuals on the Safe Parking lot waitlist. This gives them access to a caseworker and a path to affordable housing. That makes it clear that the remaining RV dwellers have little interest in being housed and are content to live on the streets at Mountain View taxpayer expense. Vote YES on Measure C to restrict RV's on the streets.


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