Town Square

Amid protests, Mountain View council passes RV parking ban

Original post made on Sep 25, 2019

The Mountain View City Council passed a sweeping ban that would close off various neighborhoods in the city to oversized vehicles like RVs, amidst complaints about the city's growing population of homeless people.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 1:57 PM


Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Finally some action. Right or wrong this is better than doing nothing and letting the homeless population continue to explode. This at least puts into place a step towards creating solutions.

Siegel needs to go away. The quote makes it sound as though he's saying blight is okay... ridiculous.

Posted by Member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:22 pm

STOP KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD! What is this BS: 'but delayed its start date to June 2020 in order to provide more time to study its impacts'

So, now we going to waste $ to 'have a study' then revote and then kick it down the road again? ITS NOT THAT HARD




Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:23 pm

I'm not sure how someone can say "Right or wrong this is better than doing nothing" with a straight face. Surely, if it's wrong, it's worse than doing nothing, no?

Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:33 pm

@Randy Guelph

How do you know what is being implemented is wrong? If we've learned nothing over the past two decades, it's that unintended consequences are assured. It's really only in hindsight can you say something worked or didn't. Getting started in working through them is the right move. Doing nothing just allows the problem to expand.

Posted by Thank you, City Council
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:36 pm

Thank you, City Council is a registered user.

We cannot continue to have RVs blocking sightlines and dripping sewage all over this city. I support the decision, including expanding the safe parking.

I can't understand how anyone thinks allowing people to live in RVs with no sanitation services or security is the humane thing to do. This is long overdue and I appreciate the city's approach.

Posted by Bicycle Commuter
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm

What about RV's blocking bike lanes, especially along Shoreline. I am regularly forced to ride in the middle of the right lane blocking cars behind me, because the space of the bike lane free of RVs and trash is insufficient. It sure feels like a safety issue to me when impatient drivers pass me too closely, because RVs block the lane that was supposedly dedicated for bicycles.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:45 pm

Bored M, you said "right or wrong this is better than doing nothing". If you want to argue that it's "right", go ahead, but your statement said it was better even if it was wrong. If you didn't mean that, please clarify.

Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:50 pm

@Randy Guelph

I don't know if it's the right or wrong solution. It's a step in figuring that out and it's long overdue. Does it go far enough? Is it too far? We'll find out and from that hopefully we can adjust. Doing nothing means we sit idle with everyone frustrated and continue to watch blight and an expanding homeless population.

Make a move and then adjust.

Posted by ShorelineWestDude
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:53 pm

ShorelineWestDude is a registered user.

This does not go far enough, not even close. It does not address streets which are larger such as Shoreline Blvd, a street that is residential and lined with parks and schools.

For example, the city rapidly posted signs banning parking on the west side of Shoreline Blvd (because of the new Community Garden), effectively ending the problem almost immediately on that side of the street.

but failed to post anything on the east side of the same thoroughfare, which is directly in front of a city park,
often filled with children!

The result is RVs and feeder vehicles in this side of the street continue to be a problem and nuisance.

People of MV Council, Siegel is no longer mayor, but you still seem intimidated by his new-Marxist threats and ideology, and that of the ACLU, another highly suspect organization with a leftist agenda!

Read the tea leaves, the people do not want these RVs polluting our City.
This is not inhumane nor in no way denies that there is a homeless problem(which must be addressed
not just in this City, but State wide.

Continuing to allow RVs to park illegally for more than 72 hours as permanent housing with no sewage treatment, water or other facilities is no solution.

It simply is unsafe, unclean, wrong and an imposition on the vast majority of citizens.

What are you gong to do if and when tent encampments start springing up on the streets as in San Francisco ?

Are we to tolerate that as well ?

Dos anyone on the Council have any guts to face this RV problem head on?

One can only pray i guess.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:54 pm

Ok, so you don't think that, regardless of whether it's right or wrong, it's better than doing nothing? You're really not being clear about this.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:57 pm

The underlying issue here is that none of the proponents of this can state a clear rationale for this or goal. The problem being solved is left unstated, other than vague pretextual generalities about safety that the city itself failed to provide any evidence for.

For example, Bored M, what metric are you looking for to see whether this is "working?"

Posted by Oh Randy
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Oh Randy is a registered user.

Here's a guy who reads this article and thinks, "What this discussion needs is several nitpicky posts about grammar and usage."

I think you're the one who needs to get to the point, if you have one.

Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

@Randy Guelph

Metrics for this seem very subjective. If we read a lot of these comments, seeing 0 RVs would be success (Siegel would be the other extreme). I do not hold an absolute view.

I don't think what the Council has done is a panacea, but unless they take an absolute approach we're going to have to find middle ground. If that means we okay RVs in industrial areas, then maybe that's the trade-off, but we need to work through steps to see what a majority can live with. I will say that without any action and the homeless population becoming more apparent, you will have more and more people thinking that 0 RVs is the proper number.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 25, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

I find the "view from nowhere" to be unjustifiable when discussing policy. "Some people wants this, others want that, the appropriate response is somewhere in between," doesn't have any moral justification.

What is the issue we're attempting to solve with regards to people living in vehicles? If it's bike or vehicle safety as people claim, the city should have had no problem demonstrating it. Bicyclists speaking at council last night pointed out that the city has done very little to improve far more pressing bike safety issues.

The only conclusion one can draw is that these justifications are pretext for rousting the poor and homeless from our city so millionaires don't have to look at them.

Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Lenny Siegel is a registered user.

The Council approved two ordinances. The bike lane measure is fairly clear. If re-approved on October 22, it will force oversized vehicles off of Shoreline Blvd. It won't do anything about most of the other vehicles that obstruct bike lanes.

The so-called "narrow streets" ordinance is unclear. The Council approved it without knowing what streets would be covered. My testimony against the ban showed four clusters of motorhomes on streets without sidewalks, cross-streets (on the motorhome side), or curb cuts. The streets are wide enough that there are no traffic safety issues.

Meanwhile, if the Council is worried about waste disposal, why are they focused on motorhomes, which have waste tanks, instead of inhabited passenger cars, which don't?

Posted by LMBZ
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 25, 2019 at 7:15 pm

LMBZ is a registered user.

I agree that the Council should be worried about waste disposal from RV's. I also agree with Lenny.....Dear Council, ban all sleeping inside of vehicles on the street overnight. If the police come across a vehicle, impound the vehicle immediately.

Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 25, 2019 at 9:11 pm

psr is a registered user.

It is about time the council took a stand for the PERMANENT RESIDENTS of this city. Zero is the correct number of inhabited RVs that should be allowed on the city streets.

It is sad that some people can't afford to live where they want, but that is the way it is. Most of us have figured out that, to live here, we have to have enough income to afford it. If we don't, we move to someplace we CAN afford.

California attracts tons of people from all over because we have state politicians (like Newsome) who tell people that they can have free everything from the state if they come. Free school, free food, free medical care, free everything. Why wouldn't they come in droves? They aren't required to work, or even follow the law, and the government hands them taxpayer money. Meanwhile, schools get budget cuts, streets go unrepaired and countless other services are cut or not increased, all to provide for those who feel no need to provide for themselves.

The unemployment rate is 3.7% and there are a million jobs that are available and unfilled. If you want to work, there is a job for you, but it might not be HERE. It is unfair to the thousands of city residents who follow the law, work and contribute to the community to have to subsidize those who think they have a right to live here without pulling their weight.

As I have said before, Lenny Siegel and the rest of those who want to have RVs here should allow those vehicles to park on their personal property, as long as they are not creating blight for their neighbors. The ACLU lawyers should make their addresses public so that they can provide space and hook-ups for these RVs. I don't live in Atherton because I can't afford to do so. If people can't afford to live here, then they shouldn't be living in the streets. They should go where they can make enough to live as their neighbors do. Those neighbors worked hard for what they have. They shouldn't have to pay the way for others while not even being allowed to have the neighborhood they worked hard to earn. Nothing could be less fair.

Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2019 at 11:03 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

One thing that people have not been made aware of is that a large number of the RV’s are NOT inhabited by struggling families, but rather well paid workers earning well into six figures. A very common type of RV dweller are Union tradesmen that live in far flung places and come to Mountain View to “live” while they work high paying jobs in other cities that do not tolerate the RV dwelling. I have talked to these people on numerous occasions and they are far from “homeless”. It is an economic choice they have made to allow them great earning potential and low cost housing. I encourage the city council to continue to support programs to get struggling families out of the RV’s and off the streets and do whatever is necessary to discourage those that live in RV’s an an economic advantage simply because the city allows it.

Posted by My Two Cents
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2019 at 11:48 pm

My Two Cents is a registered user.

Frequently, right in front of my house is a high-end, oversized van, that is someone's living room. I don't think he sleeps there, but it has a futon, curtain, and a sofa inside. It looks like an extension for entertaining guests or maybe someone actually sleeps in it ocassionally. The person rents a room couple doors down and he shifts his van around. Whenever this van is parked by my driveway, I have real trouble backing out my very busy street - Montecito Avenue is already too narrow for 2 rows of parked cars and two-way traffic - and is made worse by busy cut-through and school traffic. So, yeah, I am in support of this ban, because these oversized vehicles aren't always about the needy - they are people taking advantage of our lenient rules. By the time my minivan clears the van enough for me to see the incoming traffic, it is already too dangerous for me to be out so far with no visibility. And I have kids in the minivan. My family's safety matters too. What more, right at the corner of Farley and Montecito, is an assisted living facility. They too, park their oversized vans right after the corner on Montecito. This section of Montecito is highly dangerous because of oversized vehicles, yet folks turning in from Farley frequently speed, because it looks so empty from the blind spot where their turn starts.

Posted by Public swimming pools user
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2019 at 12:03 am

Public swimming pools user is a registered user.

This summer, my kids attended a swim team that practices 4x/week at Rengstorff / Eagle Park Pool depending on the week. So very frequently, there would be police activity at these parking lots. Police cars doing rounds, and doing repeated rounds in short interval. Police arresting someone (we saw that at both pools) - once for a vehicle dweller who was stabbing or carving up a park tree trunk for fun, another time, someone put in handcuff near the porta potty / picnic tables at Rengstorff pool. RV dwellers using the park bathrooms for washing up. Porta potty at the parking lot - and we frequently end up parking near it because few spaces were available - and the ground is filthy. Overflowing dumpster near the porta potty. Folks sleeping in a car right on the park parking lot - and police action again. All together, I felt rather insecure being in my own city, using public amenities, that is supposed to be welcoming and safe for families and residents.

Posted by David B. Karpf, MD
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 26, 2019 at 1:18 pm

David B. Karpf, MD is a registered user.


It is easy to post uncivil comments under a pseudonym, and harder to do so under one's real name. You use the great untruth "Us vs Them" in calling Lenny Siegel a "Marxist" to support your view that of course all folks living in RVs should be banned from the City of Mountain View, without acknowledging that reasonable people can disagree on this (and most) topics. For example, I both acknowledge that RVs parking on city street could provide some safety risks to pedestrians and bicyclists, while also believing that people need a place to live, and understanding that an entire class of people, including persons who may work in Mountain View, can no longer afford to pay rent in Mountain View. Like most serious problems, there is no one "right answer", and it will take all sides to come up with th optimal solution. Your post does little to achieve that end.

Posted by Bpositive
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Bpositive is a registered user.

Thank heavens we finally have SOME forward motion. Between those that say, y'all come, and those that say, ban them all, there was a lot of room for compromise. In spite of great challenges, I believe the council and staff spent a lot of time to put together proposals which offered vital compromises, and should please both "sides."

The citizens have waited years for some action, so that we could get a breather and deal with the people who are already in need of assistance. Until we made some headway, people would just continue to flock to our city until the numbers were so out of control that we couldn't help anybody.

The council took some positive steps forward the other night for both sides of the issue in getting better visibility by protecting our bike lanes and our narrow streets. Also, in getting the time limit extended from 7pm to 7am to 5 pm to 9 am. This will be helpful for those getting to school, work and particularly in the winter with shorter hours, which was done with compassion for our transient dwellers.

And in a very important step, they set priorities for assistance, i.e. first for families with students enrolled in MV schools, second for those who have had a legal address in Mountain View in the last five years, third preference for seniors, and fourth for those with disabilities. Let us figure out a way to work together because the more the push for a free for ALL, the more the push will be made for removing ALL. The ability to compromise will bring out the best in all of us.

And if we are not so acrimonious as a community, maybe more of our businesses will step forward to help because they won't be worried about any and everything they do as being open to criticism.

Specific thanks to Council members Lisa Matichak, Margaret Abe-Koga and John McAlister (who I never heard before but was a refreshing voice of wisdom and pragmatism), and to Ellen Kamei, who was willing to help endorse a plan that would move us all forward.

Posted by PhD
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 26, 2019 at 2:20 pm

PhD is a registered user.

@David B. Karpf, MD
Your posts are top notch and I bet your fart smells as roses too.

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 26, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

@Greg David You are right and the Mercury News just this week brought up another opportunistic MV vehicle dweller: Barton Lunfort, a personal trainer in Mountain View, has been living in an RV for the past year just outside of the apartment he had rented for four years on Continental Circle.

Lunfort, 57, who lives alone and earns a six-figure salary, said he decided to buy an RV because it was his best option to save money for retirement.

“I don’t do it because I enjoy it. I do it out of necessity so that I can have a future without being completely broke and then have no choice but to live on the streets,” he said Tuesday night.

He is "homeless" by choice.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 26, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

There's something a bit, one might say rich, about "Polo mom" talking about an employed person who can't afford rent being ""homeless" by choice."

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 26, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

@Randy Guelph, just pointing out that we are still putting all vehicle dwellers in the same pot, asking for case workers and affordable housing to be offered. This person is by choice part of this group and it is time to separate the opportunistic vehicle dwellers from the real displaced living on the street as a last resort.Because of our lax of enforcement in the past more and more people "chose" to live on MV streets in an RV. These people are not the ones that need our immediate help. Most residents have said that all along. And this person could afford rent, as he said. But he wants to save $. He is part of a very large group. I wish our former mayor would acknowledge that, too.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 26, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Polo definitely brings to mind the image of "let them eat cake." How is he "opportunistic" when he's living in a vehicle outside his previous residence of four years? He was displaced by rising rents and is now living out of a car, but to you, a wealthy resident of Waverly Park, he's somehow homeless by "choice."

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 26, 2019 at 5:33 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

Life is about choices, when I moved here 35 years ago I could not afford to live in an adjacent community that I liked very much. I did not expect that community to accommodate me and my dream, I lived pay check to pay check happily in MV. I pay taxes, pay for City services and volunteered every free minute I had for 20 years in the community. So don't judge me by my neighborhood. I have lived within my budget all my life. Living in my hometown was never an option, prices were always out of reach. So I find people that play the system ( don't pay for any services and use city streets) opportunistic. And the RV landlord is the worst of all.
Not sure what your reference to Polo means, I have nothing to do with horses.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 26, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

If we're in the mode of discussing who's "worst of all", I'd have to say millionaires that accuse homeless people of "playing the system" would probably be near the top of my list, but you're entitled to your own opinion.

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 26, 2019 at 6:09 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

Do you have any idea what a six figure salary gets you on the MV rental market? Check Zillow, plenty of choices. Also plenty of vacancies. Not just in those over priced new developments.
Which brings up the housing shortage created by empty over priced units. Too bad we cannot ask the new developments to put aside those for people in real need of housing. Council approved thousands of units, but only recently focused on the affordability factor.
I might be house rich, but I can't sell and move anywhere else in CA because of the new parcel tax associated with that. I would not be able to afford that. A lot of people are in the same boat. Just another perspective from "my" neighborhood.

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 26, 2019 at 6:57 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

It's interesting that the argument doesn't apply to any other highly-valued asset. "I might have millions of dollars in stock, but I'm not rich because if I sold it I'd have to pay taxes on it" for some reason doesn't fly. Odd, that. Please, just own the fact that you're a millionaire saying that the homeless are "playing the system."

Posted by JPP
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 19, 2019 at 9:12 am

JPP is a registered user.

The advocates aren't basing their reactions on facts or studies. They haven't validated who the RV dwellers are. the advocates haven't visited and checked each vehicles resident. The dwellers are not contributing to city services through taxes. The police cannot make the change. Voters have to make the change so the officers can do their job effectively. Some vehicles are not registered and some drivers don't have insurance nor licenses. They are undocumented and get paid under the table, in cash. Some are drug addicts. We've noted the license plates (plural) and handed them to the police. People who EARNED , are responsible, pay their taxes are having to bear the burden. Los Altos government and residents are smart and rationale. They don't have this RV problem. The supporters or advocates haven't bothered to base their reactions on facts. We've spent some time observing and speaking with some of these transients and officers around the Escuela,/Latham , Rengstorff and areas around Walmart. Mountain View is a friendly enviornment for these people, so ofcourse , they will come and reside here. The drug addicts can readily pan handle and get money . Why do they park and live in Mountain View -- because they can and they get away with it. To supporters of RV/ car dwellers, go put your support towards action. Go visit the dwellers, pick up the trash and needles, ensure they are paying taxes, their vehicles are registered and they have active drivers' licenses. Have them stop pan handling, get the meth addicts off the streets -- you support them, - then go clean it up.

Posted by JPP
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 19, 2019 at 9:44 am

JPP is a registered user.

To all the supporters and advocates of RV and car dwellers: Go clean up the mess, document who the RV residents are, have them pay income tax, ( like the rest of us) and other taxes, - so that they are at the very least contributing to the services of Mountain View including the fire fighters, sanitation staff and police offers ( who work very hard trying to keep the city safe). The Officers cannot do their job, if the government is lenient.
At the bare minimum, the MV citizens who earned the right to reside in MV, via rent & property ownership, should be able to rely on the law and officers. There needs to be accountability of who these RV dwellers are and whether they have a criminal background, whether they are paying income tax, their vehicles are registered, whether they are insured and whether they have a drivers license. If you want the RV dwellers - then you should be responsible for them and their actions. A side note: the apartment complex on Escuela have mutliple residents per unit. This significantly contributes to the parking congestion around that area

Posted by JPP
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 19, 2019 at 11:01 am

JPP is a registered user.

@ Polomom and others: We know several in MV who reside in their cars and RV's by choice. They are drug addicts, and undocumented. Some became 'homeless' due to their addiction. Others create trash and steal, so we reported them. We sent the license plates, and photographs to the police. However, the officers can only do so much.As mentioned, MV is a friendly RV/Car dwelling environment, so it's attractive. East San Jose/ Berryessa, has affordable rent.