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‘Police isn’t the way you deal with this’: Mountain View residents express frustration over city’s RV response

Original post made on Nov 21, 2022

When Mountain View began enforcing its RV rules at the beginning of October, “RVs started to appear on the street, and there were questions,” said one Ortega Avenue homeowner. Residents say they still haven’t gotten answers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 21, 2022, 11:58 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by SalsaMusic
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 21, 2022 at 2:22 pm

SalsaMusic is a registered user.

Mr Shkolnikov wants streets my taxes funded for parking and driving to become residential plots of land. Next he’ll want to have them reside in our parks. Giving public land away to squatters is a slippery slope. America has a strong history of property rights. If you don’t own it, you can only use it how the property owner says you can use it.

Posted by SalsaMusic
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 21, 2022 at 2:23 pm

SalsaMusic is a registered user.

Also, a blatantly one-sided view of the situation. Poor balanced reporting by this reporter. Surely there is a Mountain View resident who does not want this on Ortega.

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 21, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Otto Maddox is a registered user.

If this group of residents wants to supply toilets and trash disposal they are free to set it up and fund it.

Not sure where these toilets would go.. maybe in one of their yards?

To me living in an RV means living =IN= the RV. Your human waste stays in the tanks. You don't chain a generator to the bumper and run it on the street. You don't set up a BBQ on the sidewalk and cook dinner. You take your trash with you when you move every 72 hours.

I saw the mess left behind on Crisanto. No thanks.

Posted by JustAWorkingStiff
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2022 at 2:40 pm

JustAWorkingStiff is a registered user.

1. 57% of MV residents voted for the Oversized vehicle ordinance in city wide vote
2. Safe Parking offers parking, garbage, sewage, social services
a) This offer was communicated *years* in advance, and it you don't
comply, then the LE option kicks in.
b) Let's be clear: You need a clear budget for these things. You can't just
have unlimited resources for to anybody that shows up. MV has done more
than most cities.
3. I have very little trust in the competence of our Activist-owned city government leadership.
a) Zero announcements to the people on Ortega street.
b) Yet we spend hundreds of thousands of $$ on street signs
c) But why do the people on Ortega Street (and other streets) have to bear
the burden for the entire city *without their consent*
d) One-sided reporting; the reporter should have interviewed somebody
on Ortega street who objects
4. Back to the lack of competence of our Activist City Government
a) If they wanted to really help, the would have made a solid proposal
for 2000 RVs in the city, and clearly state how much it would cost to support
said 2000 RVs: Water, Sewage, Garbage, Power, social services. And clearly communicate how much each family in MV would have to spend. So each family can make a decision: A new backpack for my kid, or spend that Tax money on RVs.

Instead it was a free for all: Unlimited amount of RVs, from Anywhere, to Park Anywhere with no consideration for support services or communicating how much this will cost families so they can make an overt decision. And no consent from the people who live on the streets that the RVs would take over. This is sloppy governance.

Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 21, 2022 at 2:45 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

But according to Shkolnikov, “there was no announcement whatsoever that this was happening.” Oh contraire...
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link (Ortega is shown on this May 2022 map as NOT a narrow street).

Posted by MV neighbor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2022 at 3:58 pm

MV neighbor is a registered user.

I am really taken aback at how one-sided this story several others have commented, surely there are residents on this street who are not happy with RV’s permanently parked in front of their houses, with generators running all the time. The suggestions the man interviewed offered reminded me of how the then city council approached the issue back in 2017, make ok to park your RV permanently on a public road..have someone clean the waste tanks, collect the garbage and things like drive-by showers and laundry facilities. That coupled with the directive of the then council to stop enforcement of the 72 hour rule with respect to RVs led to an out of control situation and ultimately voter approval of the narrow streets measure. And that council never got around to setting up the safe parking lots, which was only done after they were replaced. Clearly, we need alternatives such as more safe parking lots but not measures to enable people to park permanently on city streets.

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Concerned is a registered user.

The city needs to enforce the laws and not just put the monkey on the backs of the residents to call infractions in. Many have buckets of sewage under their RV's, loud generators belching noxious fumes, no fire extinguisher, tax, insurance and are generally not roadworthy. Many have chosen not to get on the Safe Parking list so why are they still here? Also several of the County Parks have RV hookups and hot showers and are empty during during the winter, while the county pushes Mountain View to do more. Since the elections are over has the city backed off enforcement?

Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 21, 2022 at 4:11 pm

Nora S. is a registered user.

Great article! I like how this highlights what the ordinance has done: far from eliminating homelessness in Mountain View, it has squeezed all of the city's RVs onto a few streets, thus concentrating them into a small area and turning it from a shared responsibility to one borne by just a few residents. This seems rather regressive and selfish. I share Shkolnikov's frustration with the city, which has failed to provide solutions.

Posted by Free Speech
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 21, 2022 at 4:15 pm

Free Speech is a registered user.

Once again, this city council and their staff have failed to take the appropriate steps to end this longstanding nuisance. Let's be honest and stop all this virtue signalling. No-one who owns their house or pays rent wants an RV parked outside their home on a semi-permanent basis. Yes, we would all like to live without paying rent or utility bills but if you want to be paid Bay Area salaries, you have to pay Bay Area cost of living too.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Nov 21, 2022 at 5:28 pm

SRB is a registered user.

While the complete list of affected and excluded streets was not known when Council initially passed the Narrow Streets ordinance -shame on them for voting for a fill-in-the-blanks ordinance-, it was known by the time of the election in 2020.
Ballpark cost of signage ($1M+) was also known by then. Council deserves some blame for not clearly communicating before the election.
That said, the lawsuit and the settlement didn't change the fact that Ortega was never a Narrow Street. List of narrow streets have been published for a while, signs up for over a year. Not sure how people could be surprised to see oversized vehicles move to Ortega when enforcement resumed after a 2 years pandemic/lawsuit delay.

Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 21, 2022 at 7:15 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

The City Council does not care, 3 incumbents were swept into their 2nd term, due to the apathy of Mountain View Voters, we COULD have had at least ONE new council member, granted a newbie, but at least someone not part of the 'system'. Hicks did not even vote for Measure C, she is like a broken record talking about Safe Parking, we HAVE safe parking, clearly not enough to house EVERY homeless person in the SF Bay area but significantly more than other surrounding cities. If an RV 'dweller' refuses to apply for safe parking due to ANY reason, they should be moved on and the streets of Mountain View should be designated for residents whether they own or rent. At least one venture-backed startup has LEFT Mountain View, as their employees do not feel safe working late hours running the gauntlet of decrepit RV's out side their office. The city has washed their hands of this, any code enforcement is left up to the residents to NOTIFY the city, the City should be proactively patrolling these streets on a DAILY basis, not leaving it up to residents, we ALREADY pay taxes for these services, now we have to provide that service too? I have had it with Mountain View, meanwhile, Lenny Siegel who lives on a lovely OMV RV-free street started this, his silence is deafening.

Posted by Seth Neumann
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 21, 2022 at 7:44 pm

Seth Neumann is a registered user.

this is clearly costing the tax paying home owners and (thru their rent as a pass along) renters. Has the city done anything to try to recover the costs of cleaning up after these RVs by going after the owners? I understand that many of them are rented out by "entrepreneurs."

Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 21, 2022 at 7:44 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

I attended the meeting about Ortega, people DO NOT want RV's parked in front of their residences, To support unregulated street camping with no fresh water, no power, and no way to process human waste in the name of compassion is disingenuous.

Posted by concerned
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 22, 2022 at 12:08 am

concerned is a registered user.

Do not want RVs on Ortega to have the safety of kids

Posted by Scott
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 22, 2022 at 4:43 am

Scott is a registered user.

I’m disappointed in the imbalance that MV Voice has covered this issue throughout the years. This article is especially bias. I want to support local news with the subscription fee but not if the coverage continues like this.

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2022 at 8:22 am

ivg is a registered user.

The people who told us 2 years ago how great the "narrow streets" ordinance was have finally realized that it's not a solution.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Nov 22, 2022 at 9:54 am

SRB is a registered user.

@ivg, agree. Yet many commenters seem to direct their ire towards the council members who were against that ordinance. Go figure.

Posted by Homeless RV Dweller
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 24, 2022 at 11:35 am

Homeless RV Dweller is a registered user.

Providing the RV is operational, there are other neighborhoods in MV where one can park their RV. Just don't stay there all day and night as it will eventually attract attention.

The Cuesta Park neighborhood and the Grant Road Shopping Center provide excellent venues for itinerant RVs and the residents tend to look the other way providing there are no public disturbances.

I park in the neighborhood at night and move my RV by 6am to the shopping center. No problems.

Posted by Marc Jensen
a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 25, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Marc Jensen is a registered user.

Some RV people park in the neighborhood and keep a low profile.

As long as they park in front of someone else's house we have no problem with their presence.

Not everyone can afford to rent or own a home.

Posted by Richard
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 25, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Richard is a registered user.

Yes, as one lawyer friend protested, "this current law is an extremely blunt instrument!" Poorly designed and poorly implemented, meant to solve one problem, it actually produces many more, as evidenced by this article and the ensuing discussion.

This is a very serious problem, as many towns and cities face the growing challenge of homelessness. This is a societal/systemic problem, and the only way to really address it is to begin to have a serious societal conversation. E.g why is this happening, and how do we address the root problems that are the cause?

How about initiating this conversation in our High Schools as a real-world current challenge as an experimental first step, perhaps in a Government class?

Posted by l2zhang
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Dec 12, 2022 at 11:03 pm

l2zhang is a registered user.

Not sure how could be safe for RV parks on the public street when they would catch fire in the so called "Safe parking lot".

Web Link
On Monday, Dec. 12, at 12:38 a.m., a 911 call was received from a reporting party stating flames were coming out of a recreational vehicle parked at the Shoreline Amphitheatre Parking Lot B on Crittenden Lane.
Mountain View Fire units were dispatched at 12:38 a.m. and arrived on the scene at 12:44 a.m. They arrived to find a fully involved fire coming from an RV. Occupants moved adjacent RVs to prevent the fire from extending into their units. Firefighters initiated a fire attack with water lines pre-connected to the fire engine and extinguished the flames before they could spread.
The adult male resident of the involved RV was heard yelling for help by other residents and fortunately found his way out of the burning RV via a rear window before the arrival of firefighters. He left the scene before making contact with fire department representatives.

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