Former mayor criticizes current mayor over RV parking ban

CORRECTION: This story has been edited to say that Mountain View City Council directed city officials to write an ordinance banning RV parking for consideration this fall, which could go into effect on Jan. 1. No RV ban is currently on the books.

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

Mountain View Mayor Lisa Matichak appeared on the NPR show “Here and Now” to defend the City Council’s decision to consider an ordinance banning RV parking in an interview that former Mayor Ken Rosenberg later said was “Matichak’s version of ‘Let them eat cake.’”

“We’re not criminalizing poverty. We are addressing parking throughout the city to address the safety and health concerns,” Matichak told “Here and Now” in a nearly six-minute interview that aired Thursday (June 20). “A lot of the oversized vehicles are parked in the bicycle lanes.”

Rosenberg criticized the interview in a mass email to Mountain View housing advocates Friday morning.

Council voted after midnight on June 12 to set into motion a future ban on RVs and other oversized vehicles parking on city streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. The ban hasn’t been approved, but council said it wanted to consider such an ordinance this fall.

The ACLU sent the city a letter last month claiming the forthcoming ban was unconstitutional, but Matichak told NPR that parking regulations were within the city’s constitutional rights.

When asked whether the ban would push RV dwellers into neighboring cities, Matichak said she couldn’t say.

“I can’t really speak to what folks might do. I think they have lots of different options,” Matichak said. “There might be some that go to other cities, but there might be some that decide to go into more stable housing or move out of the area. There’s lots of different choices for folks.”

Matichak noted that city officials had been “asking folks for years” to engage with caseworkers in order to find more stable housing.

“There are some people who have engaged, and it’s good that we’ve had success with over 100 families being moved into more stable housing,” Matichak said. “We need others that are not engaging with the caseworkers to work with them.”

She said that while some people live in vehicles in Mountain View because they have nowhere else to go locally, that some car campers “do have other options that they can move into immediately.”

The ban is set to go into effect Jan. 1, once the city has opened two parking lots that would accommodate 60 RVs. The city last counted 171 RVs parked on Mountain View streets.

Those parking lots will require occupants to register and engage with social services caseworkers.

The city attorney will be told to come back in March or April with an update on the impacts of the ban, which would allow council to consider adopting a 24/7 ban on RV parking on city streets starting July 1, 2020.

Matichak said on the NPR show that she is in favor of a 24-hour ban.

She went on to challenge the city’s major employers to open their parking lots to employees who live in vehicles, but stopped short of singling out Google. Matichak demurred when asked whether tech companies were doing enough to solve the housing crisis.

“I certainly appreciate what the tech companies are doing. I think this is a partnership that everyone needs to participate in, and I appreciate the recent actions that Google took,” Matichak said, referring to the $1 billion Google pledged to invest in housing across the Bay Area on Tuesday.

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3 Comments

  1. Former Council Member Rosenberg did not run for re-election, had he done so he would have been voted out of office just as the other 2 incumbents were voted out of office for wanting to expand these RV parking to other parts of the city.

    These outside activist groups have been called to Mountain View by former voted out incumbent council member Lenny Siegel to break down civil order in our city. The residents have been very patient on this issue for 4 years and well over $1 MILLION dollars of tax payer money has been spent on this issue and all these former, and some current council members want to do is to expand these RV parking to more areas of the city.

    We all know where this is headed, from RV parking, then tents along the sidewalks will be next, and courts have ordered city workers to not clean up the trash as it is the belongings to the homeless. A judge in southern California did just this.

    It is long over due to enact this ban NOW.

  2. This ban will push them to Palo Alto, whose city council won’t be able to figure out what they should do. This is the kind of conflict that ties Palo Altan into knots. Some will feel sympathy for the RV people, and others won’t want strangers camping in front of $4 million homes. And the special parking lots for RVs will just attract more of them, and those who get spaces there will make it their permanent home.

  3. Parking lots for RVs is one of the very few solutions that could work in this terrible environment we’re in. Google’s money could buy a big lot that could be developed into a place that could hold both RVs and perhaps some sort of tent city or a structure for those who can’t afford an RV. It sucks, but this is a solution that could work in a lot of bay area cities and should be developed pronto.

    Too bad if it’s not especially pretty. TOO BAD.

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