Mayor disagrees with police about reason for influx of RVs

Mayor Lenny Siegel

Daily Post Staff Writer

Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel is disputing the statement of a police sergeant who said the city’s services attract people who live in RVs and other vehicles.

Sgt. Wahed Magee told City Council on March 6 that services from the Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos were drawing people to the city. The number of people living in vehicles shot up from 150 to 291 between February 2017 and December.

But Siegel says the issue is housing costs, not a desire for social services. He said he didn’t see why someone with no ties to the area would park their RV in Mountain View just so that they could access free meals or a case worker.

“Some of these people are gainfully employed, and they go to a gym to take a shower every day before they go to work,” Siegel told the Post. “That makes it a different kind of problem than the chronic homeless that we usually notice sleeping by the creek.”

Siegel said most vehicle-dwellers are employed. Some are construction workers or VTA drivers who go home to the Central Valley on the weekends, he said.

Siegel said it seemed that most vehicle-dwellers don’t even use the agency’s services.

“I think the reason people are here is they have jobs, family, friends here,” Siegel said.

Siegel admitted that he hadn’t been on a ride-along with Mountain View police to see what they’ve seen, but said he had met with homeless residents.

“I think riding with the police gives you a particular perspective,” Siegel said. “A lot of people are uncomfortable with police, particularly people who are down-and-out.”

Siegel suggested that RV residents are subject to more police scrutiny on the streets, leading to more run-ins with the law.

“It’s not just compassion that leads me to say we need to find a place for these people. Someone’s got to serve the Googlers food,” Siegel said.


  1. @mayor

    So where is the data showing they are mostly employed? How many have you talked to? You have met google food servers? (Like to see these people yoh speak of anecdotally). Im assuming hundreds like the statistical data shows the police have contacted to come to your opinion. If the police have a particular perspective, which I can agree on partially, then all these people they have arrested for drugs or whatever else given in the council report are our mountain view workers? These “down and out” people should be the minority since you said most are gainfully employed.

    Glad you admit you have not went out with police, who can show you what you cant see from your multi-million follar home on Lorreto Steet. I dont see you walking through the dirt areas by the parks where I have seen sewage. This is a rediculous article. Where is CSA in this article? I would like to see them say most are gainfully employed. You Mr Mayor do not represent your role very well.

  2. Though I am self admittedly not a bif fan of MVPD, to be fair the officer did not say only services from csa are bringing in the homeless. He did mention the great city of Mountain View being appealing in general, as well as possibly for family/friends nearby, as well as the great services from parks that we all enjoy. I dont agree with the citations and arrests MVPD carries out on the homeless, as it does not help. We should be fair to the statements that were made though!

  3. Strange!! Media only puts in the portion that sensationalizes their agenda….and it appears the Mayor too. What about the other council members? Typically a red flag when you hear only from one source as Sarah (other comment) points out. I would like to ask why the police were not contacted either. Im on the other end of the pendulum though…we need more enforcement. MVPD is not doing as much as they could IMO. I see RVs parked past 72 hours. No citation. No tow. We all have to follow the law!!

  4. The best data we have is from a survey we completed in July 2016. 68 individuals responded. 55% were employed, and many more were on Social Security and Social Security Disability. 59% said they were from Mountain View. 54% of the rest said they were from Santa Clara County. 59% said they left their permanent residence because of a Rent increase or problems with their unit. The Google cafeteria workers were interviewed by David Boyer for his podcast, the Intersection.

    • Thank you for sharing this data Mayor Siegel and especially for the stat on how many have left their permanent residence because of a rent increase or problems with their unit. I’m sure we will that % rise unless long-term solutions are put in place for affordable housing and stricter rent control laws for all Bay Area cities which will be easier to put in place once Costa Hawkins is repealed.

  5. So 68 of the over 300 means your facts are correct? From 2016 no less. A podcast cant really compare to csa or police who handle this full time. Im concerned why you are on the offensive against the opinion of the police? The votes went your way, yet you have these articles saying you disagree. I would expect a mayor to meet with the police to iron out perspectives i stead of lobby the public and create mixed messages. Ive never seen so eone use a small number or a podcast to dispell a public servants perspective….though it sounds like he offered a multitude of reasons that people come. Can you address his other reasons too that he gave. Im not a big fan of blogs but tao now that make more sense that your opinion that goes against other council members too. Shall you write an article on disagreeing with the other council members who went on ride alongs and learned from their obsevations that people cane (as one of many reasons) for services. Or we just targetting cops like usual??

    • No cop fan. But def believe in keeping things on the up and up. When did a different opinion start getting so much media hype? I think we can all have a real and different view without all this. Glad no restrictions went in, but this type of article creates more internal turmoil than any good. Maybe the mayor hates cops or feels threatened.

      • Saying that the Mayor hates cops or feels threatened is what creates more internal turmoil in our community. You should have stopped at explaining that we can all have real and different viewpoints. Many, many residents in Mountain View agree with the Mayor’s viewpoint in this article – especially the part about people who are down-and-out feeling uncomfortable around police.

  6. Shame on you Mr. Mayor for your obvious bias and perverting of the truth. I’ve never seen such poor city governance. Look at what’s happened in the last four years to our town- you should have safeguarded us from this problem not invite it. I feel like much of our council is to blame for these problems. I don’t trust them, their bias laden “facts” and I don’t trust a news paper that only sights one source for an opionion. Allison levisky you lack journalistic integrity and wouldn’t have gotten this publish in the MVHS Oracle- shame on you too. I’m ready for Lenny, Pat and Ken (or his flunky) to leave city government for good !!

  7. I am a cop “fan” and sitting next to my neighbor Janice. This article is completely bias and sad to see. Go Police!

  8. A new camper on a different block, everyday. A new beggar on a new corner, everyday. A new homeless person falling down drunk in front of Walgreens, everyday. A new person stealing something from me, everyday. Drive through the city, everyday and there are help wanted and for rent signs everywhere. More housing for who? More free stuff, for who? This mayor and council are for who? This town has become a vagrant town if you feel safe here, carry on. Personally, I have lived here for decades and just purchased pepper spray so I can park and buy groceries without feeling like I am defenseless against our hard working homeless:-(

    • This housing crisis and homelessness issue is happening all over the Bay area. I moved from the East Bay and the homelessness issue is not at all a problem here in Mountain View compared to Oakland, Berkeley and even Santa Cruz. We really need to look toward Sacramento to repeal Prop 13 and Costa Hawkins so we can move the whole Bay Area toward more affordable housing and protections for renters. We also need our City Councils in Santa Clara County to ensure that Big Tech corporations build an adequate number of housing units (with plenty of affordable units) for people that matches the number of new employees they plan to accommodate in new office buildings.

  9. It’s shameful that Mountain View’s mayor (and most of the rest of city council) seem to believe that they have an overarching obligation to basically throw out the welcome mat to any/all who – for whatever reason – use vehicle dwelling as their residential choice, as opposed to actually putting some restrictions in place…perhaps with with developers, for example.

    There are PLENTY of these vehicle dwellers who are CHOOSING to live in theses vehicles during the weeknights and driving their regular vehicles to work their construction jobs during the day, then moving their RVs down the block or around the corner on a Friday before they drive their personal vehicle home to their family in the inland valley for the weekend. Either the developers need to hire local construction workers, or they should be providing local housing for these employees during construction, so the developers do not foist their negative externalities onto the residents of the nearby cities, while the developers reap the profits. And, the mayor and city council needs to stop pretending it’s okay that this is happening.

  10. Mr. Mayor, DO A RIDE ALONG with your own police department. Learn something by seeing things from an informed perspective that might differ from your own.

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