March 4, 2020
The path to new legislation may not be simple, however, as evidenced by efforts to pass the CSFRA in 2016. Daniel DeBolt, an ex-journalist who covered the Mountain View City Council and an avid activist for Measure V, testified to how difficult the process was.
“It felt like I was fighting a war,” DeBolt said. “It bothers me that it’s so exhausting to simply protect people from becoming homeless. That shouldn’t be a fight that anybody has to do over and over and over for years.”
The next ballot has a new measure regarding rent control called Measure D. The main parts of the measure include increased rent rises to four percent annually (permitting extra increases to pay for house improvements), banning the payment RHC members’ salaries and formally separating mobile homes from Measure V. Many believe that this will weaken rent control restrictions.
One of the contentious sections of Measure D was the separation of mobile homes from Measure V, as many thought this was an effort to decrease regulation and allow park owners to increase rents unfettered. According to City Council member Chris Clark, though, this was to allow for less oversight from the RHC and more direct involvement of City Council.
At the Mountain View City Council meeting, Doug Johnson from the Western Manufacturing Housing Communities Association brought up long-term negotiations and leases with park owners as an alternative to rent control, which multiple council members expressed interest in. These long-term leases would set rent prices and increases over a period of time (given examples seemed to be around a decade or longer), which would limit excessive price hikes; however, these policies rely on park owner cooperation to be effective, as they are voluntary. Once park owners agree, though, they are contractually bound to comply.
Multiple sources agreed that building more units would be the only viable solution in the long run.
“I really don’t like how people say it’s a housing crisis,” DeBolt said. “This is a people crisis. This is a tenant crisis. This is a homeowner crisis. This is a human crisis. It’s everybody’s crisis.”