Mountain View Whisman School Board Meetings September 2017

MVWSD Board Meeting, September 7th and 21st, 2017

The Mountain View Whisman Board of Trustees met on September 7th and 21st.

After School Programs Audit Report

The district’s strategic plan designates this school year as a planning year for after school programs. The audit report highlighted a variety of different after school programs across the district, some funded by the district and others paid for by parents or PTA’s. Some programs are run by parents, as well, while others are run by outside contractors like the YMCA.

The board was asked to consider whether there should be uniformity in after school programming across school sites. Another approach would be to provide certain district run programs like Beyond the Bell at each site, but continue to allow the current variety of programs as well, or the district could provide equal funding for afterschool programming across sites. The variety of programs and providers means there is little data linking programs directly to students’ academic outcomes.  The Trustees asked for more information about impacts on school climate, parent surveys, etc., to guide decision making.

Reserve Cap

Senate Bill 751 is currently awaiting a signature by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 751, among other changes, exempts small school districts and basic aid districts like MVWSD from a reserve cap. The current reserve cap is 6%, meaning a school district can only set aside 6% of the budget in reserve. If SB 751 is signed, the Board can instead set its own reserve cap based on recommendations from the district office. The Trustees discussed whether the Board should send a letter to Governor Brown expressing their support for the signing of the bill and made this an official agenda item for the future.

Enrollment Priorities Task Force

The District approached the Trustees seeking guidance for the Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF).

New school boundaries were approved this past June after a years long process by the Student Attendance Area Task Force (SAATF). The SAATF was instructed that diversity and socio-economic status were not to be taken into account when redrawing boundaries, but instead an emphasis was made on not having students cross major thoroughfares like El Camino Real and Central Expressway. The SAATF’s mission was to not only address overcrowding at schools like Huff and Bubb, but to plan ahead for the opening of a new Slater campus.

With these new boundaries going into effect in the fall of 2019, the Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF) is tasked with setting grandfathering guidelines for students in changing school zones, as well as reviewing the district’s current 26 enrollment priorities. Right now an enrolling family can elect to attend any school within the district pending space at that school and the current enrollment priorities.

One of the main challenges facing the Board is reconciling the SAATF’s emphasis on neighborhood schools with school choice and socio-economic diversity. The Board felt that diversity is an issue for schools and any attempt to address it by the EPTF would be welcome. The Trustees also noted that while neighborhood schools are a priority, there should be some flexibility for school choice. Board members were not concerned about school size and would continue to support current schools even if enrollment dropped dramatically for several years. Grandfathering of students within changing boundaries had limited support – perhaps only for a year or two. The District will share these overall guidelines with the EPTF at their first meeting.


The Trustees adopted a resolution asking that legislation be enacted at the federal level to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by March 2018.  The MVWSD Board “calls upon the United States Congress, including all members of the California delegation, to work with President Donald J. Trump to enact legislation prior to March 2018 that would, at a minimum, continue the existing DACA program and provide DACA recipients with a pathway to permanent residence and eventually to US Citizenship.”

— Devon Conley, Observer

Mountain View City Council Meeting October 2017

After a two month summer recess, the Mountain View City Council resumed meeting in September.

Upon reconvening the Council on September 5th, Mayor Rosenberg read a moving tribute to Julie Lovins, the longtime Observer of the Council on behalf of the Los Altos-Mountain View League. The tribute was prepared by Julie’s brother, Amory, and is available in the video recording of the September 5, 2017 City Council meeting on the City website.

North Bayshore Precise Plan – Final Policy Direction

On September 26th, the Council provided policy direction for the last time on the North Bayshore Precise Plan. Although the Council had previously been divided on the issue of the appropriate mechanism to monitor traffic impacts of new development in the area, there was unanimous agreement on the robust monitoring and enforcement programs devised by City staff. This includes biannual trip counts to ensure that the “trip cap” (the maximum number of vehicles traversing into and out of North Bayshore during peak hours, based on the vehicle capacity of San Antonio Road, Rengstorff Avenue, and Shoreline Boulevard) is not hit. If the number of vehicles traveling down any of those three “gateways” into North Bayshore exceeds the trip cap, then the City stops issuing building permits, effectively prohibiting new development in the area.

Additionally, the Council supported policy language in the Precise Plan intended to promote the development of a local school in North Bayshore. All proposed residential development projects will be required to submit a Local School District Strategy, which may include land dedication for a new school, additional funding for school development, or other innovative strategies.

The Council also removed a mechanism that would have allowed proposals for additional office space, exceeding the 3.6 million square feet of office space studied in the Environmental Impact Report for the North Bayshore Precise Plan. During the study session, a representative from Google challenged this decision, saying that Google would not build any housing at all if it did not have the ability to develop additional office space beyond the 3.6 million currently allowed. However, Google has since rescinded its “ultimatum” and has indicated that it supports the effort to build housing in North Bayshore, despite the removal of the provision for potentially more office space.

Affordable Housing Priorities and Strategic Framework

In a lengthy study session on September 12th, the Council discussed a comprehensive strategy to address the housing affordability crisis. Although no formal actions were taken, the Council expressed support for a variety of measures recommended by City staff, including approval of an investment strategy for the projected $78 million generated by affordable housing fees on new development over the next several years. $50 million is proposed to be allocated to develop 350 to 400 affordable homes for low-income households, and $28 million will be allocated to fund 200 to 250 permanent supportive housing units or rapid rehousing for the homeless. Additionally, strategies to provide housing for moderate income people (often referred to as housing for the “missing middle”), increase the number of ownership housing units built, and strengthen affordable housing programs to produce more affordable units were broadly supported by the Council. Staff anticipates returning to Council next year to refine and prioritize the programs and strategies.

Regulation of Commercial Marijuana Activities

In November 2016, Proposition 64 was approved by California voters, legalizing recreational marijuana activity. Noting that 68% of Mountain View voters supported the ballot measure, the Council directed staff to develop an amendment to the Zoning Code to permit and regulate commercial marijuana activity, including delivery and sale of cannabis products. Staff will return with a temporary moratorium of all commercial marijuana activity until the development of a regulatory framework is complete in order to avoid a regulatory gap. In the absence of any local law, the state becomes the sole regulatory body of marijuana-related activities.

Environmental Sustainability Task Force 2

On September 5th, the Council provided direction on the scope and deliverables for the newly established Environmental Sustainability Task Force (ESTF). The ESTF was first convened in 2008 and concluded with a major report providing a number of recommendations pertaining to climate change, water use, waste reduction, energy, land use, transportation, and other sustainability activities. This second Task Force is charged with analyzing how Mountain View can achieve its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals over the next 10 years and assisting with community education and outreach efforts. The new ESTF will prepare a report and present its findings to the Council in the summer of 2018.

City Clerk Retiring

City Clerk Lorrie Brewer announced that she would be retiring at the end of this year after over six years of service to the City. On September 26th, the Council initiated the process of searching for her successor. A candidate is anticipated to be appointed by the Council early next year.

—Lucas Ramirez & Julie Lovins, Observers

Housing Committee Update October 2017

The LWV of California supports measures to increase the supply of safe, decent, adequate housing for all Californians. Our local Housing Committee regularly writes to our local city councils to advocate for more affordable housing in our community. It was, therefore, welcome news to see Governor Brown sign four major housing bills, all of which LWVC supported, on September 29th which will help make more affordable housing available.

First, AB 1505, commonly called the “Palmer fix”.  This bill clarifies that cities can require below-market-rate (BMR) rental units in market-rate developments.  Also, known as “inclusionary zoning”, such ordinances were initiated in the 1970’s and by 2009 approximately 170 jurisdictions in California had such zoning requirements, which led to a lot of BMRs being developed.  Mountain View and Los Altos both had these ordinances, with slightly different requirements as to what percentage of units had to be rented at various income levels.  In 2009, in the Palmer case, an appellate court struck down these ordinances as being prohibited by the Costa-Hawkins (rent control) law.  The State legislature passed a Palmer fix once, only to be vetoed by Gov. Brown, and has tried every year for many years to get this legislation through.  Probably, Mountain View will have to take action to reinstate its BMR ordinance, and, at the same time, presumably, state that Rental Housing Impact Fees, which were instituted because of the Palmer case, will no longer be collected from rental housing developers. And, in Los Altos, it may be necessary also for the Council to clarify that its ordinance is now in effect.

SB 2, the Building Homes and Jobs Act, creates a permanent funding source for affordable housing through a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents.  The fee is capped at $225 per transaction and exempts commercial and residential sales.  It is estimated to bring in $200-$300 million annually, mainly through refinancings.

SB 3, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond of 2018, placed a $4 billion bond measure on the November, 2018, ballot to fund numerous critical affordable housing programs in California.

SB 35, the Housing Accountability and Affordability Act, streamlines the approval process for housing that includes affordable units in many jurisdictions. Cities must now report annually how they have met their RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) goals.  If the goals are not met, or an annual report has not been filed, approval of qualified housing projects will be streamlined, so long as the developments are consistent with existing zoning, density, design standards and other locally adopted objective and ministerial policies and required public benefits, until these cities meet their RHNA goals.  

Housing developments proposing 10% lower-income units (less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI)) or higher than 10% if there is a local BMR/inclusionary zoning ordinance requiring a higher percentage, will be fast-tracked where the local jurisdiction has not met its RHNA goals for the above-moderate category. Typically, the cities in our area have met their RHNA goals in the above-moderate category.  This provision is aimed mainly at no-growth cities.

If the development proposes 50% lower-income units, it will be fast-tracked in cases where the RHNA goals were not met for those incomes at less than 80% AMI, which is the case in Los Altos and Mtn. View.  The streamlining, for example, means that if the development contains 150 or fewer units, it must be approved within 90 days of submittal.  Of course, in these instances the project is typically 100% affordable and will need local funding to be feasible.

— Sue Russell, Housing Committee Co-chair

[email protected]

Bullis Charter School Board Meeting September 2017

SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

   Of particular interest to our Leaguers were the following three items on this Regular Board Meeting agenda:

  1. Report on Strategic Plan Action Team goal VI: We will positively impact more students through the strategic sharing and replication of our education model via Action Plan #1: “Open a nearby school in Santa Clara County that serves a high number of Free and Reduced Lunch Program-eligible students.” BCS has been researching other schools and districts who might be interested in having a second Bullis Charter School in their area. The search committee has widened their parameters to San Mateo County. The goal is to start an application process by March of 2019 and open the new school in fall of 2019. They are particularly looking at school districts from which they draw a lot of applicants already. It was noted that there are 1,000 students on the wait list for BCS. As part of this presentation the board members revisited a chart titled “Charter Governance Options” showing three different models. Discussion ensued about which model is better suited for BCS at this point in time in light of their desire to expand to a second school. This agenda item will come back to the board for further reports.
  2. Facilities and Settlement Agreement with LASD update: Leaguers will remember that as part of the “Five Year Plan” between BCS and Los Altos School District there was an agreement for representatives from each entity to commence quarterly meetings to share information and requests. At tonight’s board meeting we heard the report of this latest quarterly meeting. A “big picture” takeaway is that people from both entities share that they are glad they are having these meetings and working together, and agreed that they are a good use of their time. A more nuts and bolts report followed describing the types of items that BCS requests of LASD at this point in time of their working relationship. For example, BCS kindergarten teachers want grass in their play area. LASD shared that they are going ahead with their solar projects over the parking lots of their schools, so folks should be aware of temporary loss of parking spaces. At this quarterly meeting the participants set the dates of their meetings for this school year.
  3. Speaking of the “Five Year Plan,” available at this meeting were the original agreement documents dated June and July of 2014. At this meeting the board selected their team members to work on the next steps of this agreement. Long-time BCS board members Francis La Poll and Andrea Eyring will be joined by newer board member Rich Ying on this committee. Doing the math, the Five Year Plan is in effect until 2019, so BCS and LASD are more than half way through it, hence the need for next steps planning. This agenda item will come back to the board for further reports.

— Ellen Wheeler, Observer

Los Altos City Council Meetings September 2017

September 12, 2017

The City Council was asked to introduce and waive further reading of the Density Bonus Regulations ordinance and adopt the local density bonus regulations developed by the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) – currently 38 units/acre. The ordinance gives incentives to developers to build more affordable housing. The applications can be rejected because of 1) specific, adverse impact on public health and safety on the physical environment, 2) contrary to state or federal laws, or 3) don’t result in actual cost reductions to provide affordable housing or rent.

Even though, of the twelve public comments, ten supported the density bonus regulations, the council vote split 2-2 on the ordinance decision because council member Jean Mordo was absent. Chris Jordan, City Manager, said to carry forward the decision to the next meeting, Jean Mordo could cast a vote to break the tie. Deliberation was carried forward to September 26, 2017.

In addition, the council introduced further readings to the ordinance that pertains to the Commercial Thoroughfare (CT) zone district. Previously, PTC had recommended and the council had enacted a moratorium on the CT zone running along El Camino Real until November 14, 2017. Decisions must be made by then or the plans go back to the PTC.

Many amendments are reflected in the PTC design – among them access and screening of refuse collection, setback requirements, and height limit modifications. Decision on the CT zoning ordinance was diverted by debate on housing height limits, 30 or 45 feet was preferable, although 45 to 47 feet are in the plan. Chris Diaz, new City Attorney, warned that setting limits at 30 feet would initiate trouble from the state Housing and Community Development department (HCD). The council decided to hold deliberation over until September 26 meeting.

September 26, 2017

City Council raised the Density Bonus Regulations. Council member Jean Mordo, absent at previous meeting, is comfortable with including the pre-approved menu of items that are part of the development applicant’s design choices – then, the possibilities are known exactly. Two public comments agreed with Mordo, but one person suggested that putting affordable housing downtown may not benefit retail and restaurants. The council should keep the economy in mind when making decisions. After much discussion over details of the document, the suggestions by council members Jeannie Bruins, Jan Pepper, and Lynette Lee Eng were added to the document and a second reading will be adopted on October 10, 2017.

Ten public comments were heard on the ordinance for Commercial Thoroughfare zone district which must be decided by November 2017. The ordinance is difficult and complicated, and most comments addressed problems with the items that must be included for the ordinance to be accepted by the state’s housing element law. Council members debated the item about height limits and mechanical parking, whether to challenge the items that the council doesn’t like, and whether to have an outside study to further understand the conflicts in the ordinance. Since the first ordinance took over one year to finalize, the city would not meet the time limit by further study, and the entire project would have to start again. Jon Biggs, Community Development Director, suggested that the staff could show the council what a project would look like, including parking and driveways, to alleviate concerns. Again, possible changes to the wording were suggested and a second reading and possible adoption would be held over to October 10.

— Claire Noonan, Observer

Listening to All America – notes from Supervisor Simitian’s talk

Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor for District 5 spoke on “Listening to Trump’s America: Bridging the Divide” on September 9, 2017 at the Mountain View Senior Center. The event was sponsored by LWV Los Altos-Mountain View and LWV Cupertino-Sunnyvale.

After the 2016 election results, Supervisor Joe Simitian asked himself, “How did this happen?” Then he determined to find out. He traveled to three rural areas to listen, learn and understand what folks outside the Silicon Valley bubble of reality were thinking – and why.

He shared his findings and conversations from these three counties in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan with the audience of over 100 in Mountain View, a center of innovation and high technology. Following are some notes from his presentation.

On November 9, 2016, a surprise candidate (surprise to many in California) was elected President of the United States. 46% of the electorate in the US voted for Donald Trump, while 32% of the California electorate; 21% in Santa Clara County; 13% in Mountain View and 12% in Palo Alto voted for him.

Choosing areas that had voted for President Obama (twice), and then switched to Mr. Trump, numbers estimated from 6 to 10 million people changed their historical voting pattern. Why?

Speaking with over 100 people from its poorest county, Robeson County, North Carolina, rural Pennsylvania Cambria County, a coal and steel area that went 67% for Trump, and a car manufacturing town in Macomb County, Michigan where Trump won by an 11% margin, Mr. Simitian heard:

  • how out of touch Democrats are with people
  • not much about terrorism or immigration
  • a lot of negatives about Hilary Clinton: emails, Benghazi, the Foundation, corrupt, elitist, condescending, gender issues, “a woman could not be Commander in Chief”.

He also heard that the Republicans ran a better, more robust campaign with more grass roots enthusiasm – yard signs were 200:1 for Trump. And he heard and felt the desperation of these areas: tobacco, textiles, coal, steel and cars were gone, gone to Mexico, Brazil and China; desperation felt by people who had been making $60-65K per year and are now making $20-25K per year.

The people there asked, where is our Federal government that we pay all those taxes to? They are working harder and have less, have high rates of suicide, depression, and illness. But the really bad news is that these things have been happening for forty years – not just yesterday – there have been layoffs and industries leaving since the 1970’s.

When he asked whether people believed Trump when he told them the coal and steel jobs would be back, they replied, “False hope is better than no hope at all.” And, “If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll have the same.” And, “Nothin’ to lose.”

So, what should we do now? Mr. Simitian’s responses:

  • Listen, learn, understand with respect
  • Different is not wrong
  • Get out to vote – make a difference – emphasize that every vote makes a difference
  • Create up-skills jobs and train people for them
  • Share the story of the Valley of Hearts Delight – technology can help
  • WIIFM – need to have the answer to What’s in it for me
  • Negotiate for trade to help all parties
  • Deliver the goods – and you will win.

He is speaking in San Francisco on Monday, Oct. 23, 6:30 pm at the Commonwealth Club 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco 94105. These programs are also typically recorded for later viewing.

— Marieann Shovlin, LWV Cupertino-Sunnyvale

Mountain View Whisman School District August 2017

MVWSD Board Meeting, August 17, 2017

The Mountain View Whisman Board of Trustees met on August 17, 2017, for the first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year. The discussion focused on the District’s summer activities and upcoming actions this fall.

Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF)

The District and the Board of Trustees began a review of enrollment priorities and grandfathering that will span the 2017-2018 school year, with a final decision on updating both expected in May- June. The twenty-six enrollment priorities used to assign students to schools are convoluted and confusing for families, and the most popular schools in the District, Huff and Bubb elementary, are suffering from overcrowding. New school boundaries adopted this summer will also go into effect in the 2019-2020 school year, raising questions about grandfathering of students and siblings at current school sites.

In the upcoming September meetings, the Board will review data on enrollment and provide direction to the new Enrollment Priorities Task Force (EPTF). The District is already working to make the enrollment lottery more transparent, but the EPTF will focus on updating the current twenty-six enrollment priorities and the District’s grandfathering policy in light of new school boundaries.

The District is gathering input through the EPTF, community focus groups, the online Thought Exchange process, community and Board meetings, and internally. To form the community focus groups, the District is reaching out to neighborhood associations in the communities most impacted by grandfathering policies. The eight focus groups will meet twice during the year.

The EPTF is forming now and is charged: “to provide recommendations on how to streamline the enrollment priorities administrative regulation; look at best practices in enrollment that could help mitigate the impact of future growth; and, provide a recommendation on grandfathering policy to help enact the new boundaries” with a hard deadline for grandfathering. The EPTF will include 1 parent or community member from each school site, 1 staff member from each school site, and two staff members from District administration. The parent/community member applicants are reviewed by the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) and the District Advisory Committee (DAC).

North Bayshore Development and Impact on MVWSD

The City of Mountain View is nearing the end of its environmental review of the North Bayshore Precise Plan. The plan includes 10,000 housing units and anticipates approximately 2,358 new students for MVWSD. To meet this increase in enrollment along with 842 new students from developments already under construction the District would need to build three additional neighborhood elementary schools and one middle school. These student numbers do not include the East Whisman area which is also undergoing development. Although the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for North Bayshore says that developers must pay fees to offset costs to the District, the construction costs of four new schools, not including land acquisition, are projected to exceed developer fees and state funding by $122 million.

Dr. Rudolph stressed to the Board that the EIR must address the increase in students  by requiring developers to provide land or take schools into account in developments. He also encouraged the Board to begin working with an architect now on a vision for new schools. The cost of land means the District may need to consider urban school models with a smaller footprint or included in larger developments with housing or even K-8 schools. The Board agreed to hold a Special Session to further discuss the North Bayshore plans before the City Council votes on the final EIR.


MVWSD Special Session, August 29th, 2017

On August 29th, the MVWSD Board of Trustees held a special meeting to further discuss the North Bayshore development and its impact on the District. Given a projected increase of 3,200 students in the development area, Dr. Rudolph called for the Board to:

  • Develop a communication package on the North Bayshore Precise Plan and share it with both the City Council and community members;
  • Send out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for architects to begin planning for growth in North Bayshore;
  • Form a Board subcommittee to create a North Bayshore Facilities Master Plan in the next twelve to eighteen months. This working group, similar to the Student Facilities Improvement Plan Committee of 2008-2009, should include District staff, parents, City staff, and business and community partners;
  • Over the next two years, also develop an East Whisman subcommittee and Facilities Master Plan; and,
  • Beginning in 2019, look at land acquisition, determine funding sources, finalize plans, start working on staffing formulas, and develop school boundaries for North Bayshore and eventually East Whisman.

District staff will continue meeting with city staff to discuss the North Bayshore Plan. The three new North Bayshore neighborhoods of Joaquin, Shorebird, and Pear are expected to add 946, 706, and 706 students respectively. 1,255 of the North Bayshore students will live in affordable housing units. The East Whisman Precise Plan is predicted to add 1,077 new students, making for a total of 4,086 students.

Construction of four new schools for the North Bayshore area is expected to cost $165.6 million. Developer fees of $16.6 million and state funding of $26.7 million leave the District with a $122.4 million shortfall, not including the cost of land in an area priced at $10-$15 million per acre. The constraints of funding and land availability mean the District may look to land sharing arrangements with the City around green space, a new library, or athletic fields. Urban school models of multiple stories, mixed use, or K-8 should also be explored.

Board members discussed the contents of a letter to the City Council that District staff will draft and bring to the next meeting for approval. The letter will state that the Board supports the development of affordable housing in Mountain View and wants to mitigate traffic impacts by locating neighborhood schools in North Bayshore. Trustees emphasized the need for a significant impact on schools to be included in the Environmental Impact Report for the North Bayshore Precise Plan, both in terms of land and financial shortfalls. The Board also stressed the importance of cooperative relationships between the city, developers, and the District in planning for the future.

— Devon Conley, Observer

News from the Mountain View Rental Housing Committee August 2017 July – September 2017

News from the Mountain View Rental Housing Committee


On November 8, 2016, the residents of the City of Mountain View voted to adopt Measure V, also known as the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), to stabilize rents and to provide just cause eviction protections for certain rental units in Mountain View.

Effective April 5, 2017, rent levels and rent increases for covered rental units, built before February 1, 1995 must comply with the CSFRA. Single family homes, condominiums, and duplexes are not covered by the CSFRA.

For more background go to the Mountain View website:

Rental Housing Committee Meeting 07/10/2017

The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm, roll call taken, minutes approved from the previous meeting, and then for the next hour oral communication from the public was heard by the committee which included any subject that was not on the agenda.  These subject matters were broad in nature however many pertained very closely to the issues of rent stabilization and the community.  This part of the meeting and its’ hour long time span is mentioned in this report only to emphasis the importance of this subject to the people.

The first item on the agenda of unfinished business from the June 19th meeting began when further modifications were made to the Petition and Hearing Processes which will now be formally changed by the Staff so that by the next meeting these procedures can be either be adopted or once again revised.

The next item on the agenda was to determine a ‘Fair Rate of Return’ standard for the landlords.  This is very important in that it could allow the landlords to raise rents higher then what is allowed under the CSFRA by petitioning the city with a list of rising expenses that resulted in declining revenues in the past years.  ‘Expenses’ is the key word and defining this word was tonight’s issue.  Per the CSFRA, expenses can include property tax, ongoing maintenance costs and certain improvements to the property, and further, this law has given discretionary powers to the RH Committee for determining additional expenses that could also be included.  This evening the RH Committee staff presented an expanded list of numerous expenses that they felt should be considered as part of the landlord’s petition package which then brought many people in attendance of this evening’s meeting, wanting to voice their opinion.  This generated hours of discussions from both renters and landlords articulating their views very passionately, very intensely and sometimes very volitively.

No decision was made this night and at about 12:00am the Rental Housing Committee was adjourned to reconvene again on July 24, 2017

Rental Housing Committee Meeting 07/24/2017

This meeting was called to order at 7:00pm with a packed room of both renters and landlords.

Unfinished Business –


Because little was accomplished at the previous meeting of 7/10 the discussion went immediately to the ‘Unfinished Business’ of the evening’s agenda which continued the discussion of regulations for the Petition and Hearing Process and defining a Fair Rate of Return Standard for the landlords. 

With the guidance and approval of the legal team, the staff presented their recommendations for the above to the committee, however one of the members wished to propose a different approach in defining the Fair Rate of Return Standard.  Rather than using the suggested CPI ‘All’ index which follows costs that he felt did not accurately reflect housing profits, he proposed using the index specific to the rental housing market which would/could overestimate the numbers. 

This generated lengthy discussions and other proposals from each of the RHC members.  The legal team listened and cautioned of potential litigation as the suggestions drifted away from the original recommendations that had been challenged and tested in other courts.

Further discussions and other alternatives were offered however when the vote was taken this new proposal of using the rental housing market index was approved by a decision of 3-2.

Upon hearing this outcome the public in the courtroom made it clear they were unhappy with this decision and were quite vocal.


RHC acknowledged that they have received the report from the Mountain View City Council for reimbursement of advanced funding.  The RHC was designed to run independently of the City and will pay for its’ own costs by annual fees from the rent-controlled apartments.

New Business –


The effective date of Measure V is in question:

After Measure V passed in the November election, December 23, 2016 was the effective date for the measure to be enacted.  That date is now in question because of a lawsuit that was filed 2 days before the law was to take effect. 

The lawsuit brought a temporary restraining order which blocked the measure for about 4 months.  Finally on April 5th a court lifted this suspension and since that date the City of Mountain View has informally accepted April 5th as the implementation date for Measure V

Renters and landlords now see different dates for Measure V’s effective date and attorneys for both are requesting clarity from the RHC committee and all are heading to court.

Rental Housing Committee Meeting 08/24/2017

This meeting was called to order at 7:00pm, roll call was taken and minutes were approved.

Oral Communication from the Public was presented passionately by both renters and landlords and among numerous subjects included some of the following concerns: one renter has filed a lawsuit against his landlord for overpayment, mobile homes should be covered under Measure V, landlords have no incentives to upgrade or improve their properties with the CSFRA in place.

New Business-

7.1 Introduction of Budget Process – Ms. Kong, Mountain View’s Finance and Administrative Services Director presented a report reconfirming that any upfront costs that the RHC was currently generating and that the City was covering, would be fully reimbursed through this committee’s proceedings.  Early in October City Staff will present an RHC proposed budget to this committee for approval by October23rd.   

Unfinished Business-

6.1 Adopt Regulations for a Vega Adjustment Standard to be incorporated into the Fair Return Standard

This standard was to help landlords who had kept their rents at or below market rates and   now because of Measure V the rent roll back is hurting these landlords the most and causing ‘disproportionately low rents’.

Defining ‘disproportionately low rents’ is part of the Vega Standard so the City Staff looked to other rent control cities for their approach to this definition and found some of the cities have used data from HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Their data is used to help in the definition and as a baseline calculate Section-8 housing vouchers.

Some members of the RHC stated using HUD data for this application is not acceptable and pointed out that these numbers seemed unrealistically low and although in some parts of Santa Clara County they may be accurate, they are not accurate in Mountain View. 

A few other approaches were suggested, some extremely overly complicated which produced further discussions.  All members of the RHC voiced their concerns pertaining to this complex issue but as the evening wore on a vote was taken and approved using HUD data for individual unit adjustment.

Rental Housing Committee Meeting 09/11/2017

This meeting was called to order at 7:40pm, roll call was taken and minutes from July24, and August 28th were approved.

Oral Communication from the Public – the subject discussed tonight was that some of the landlords are now passing thorough the utilities to the renters as part of their rent.

Unfinished Business –

9.1 Consideration of Establishing the Effective Date of the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act – The RHC deliberated and announced they had decided the effective date of this act is December 23, 2016

New Business-

10.1 Proposed Information Technology System including Database/Registry – Due to the scope and breadth of the CSFRA, implementation could require a reliable well-functioning IT system and currently all cities in California with Rent Stabilization programs use one. 

An IT system will require up front capital and ongoing operating costs.  To the extent that a system is not implemented or is not sufficiently robust, it is likely that greater staffing resources will be needed to handle the various tasks of the CSFRA.

Because of the potential expense, could there be other departments that could also benefit from this program?

The staff will bring to the next meeting additional information for the RHC’s consideration

10.2 Proposed Staffing Plan – After the report was given and discussion was concluded the following proposed staffing plan was approved:

  • 1 Program Manager
  • 2 Administrative Analyst I/II
  • 1 Office Assistant II

10.3 CSFRA Fee Methodology and Program – After the report was given and discussion was concluded the RHC approved:

Setting the same fee for both full and partially covered units.  This methodology would treat Fully and Partially Covered Units the same and establish the same fee for both types of covered units under the CSFRA that would recover the cost of the program. To ensure full funding of CSFRA program the Rental Housing Fees for a total of 16,788 Covered multi-family rental units would amount to the FY 2017-18 Budget divided by the total amount of units. This calculation is simple and easy to implement.

— Tamara Lewis, Observer

Mountain View – Los Altos High School District (MVLA) August & September 2017

August 21 and September 5, 2017

Summer School Principal Bill Pierce gave the board a report on summer school.  Classes were offered for credit recovery and makeup for failed courses to improve UC A-G eligibility, plus some acceleration courses and a few transition-to-high-school classes for incoming 9th graders, including “Bridge to High School” for students who did not graduate from their middle schools.  The numbers of students attending and classes offered were roughly the same as last year.  Added new this year, Algebra 2 Boot Camp was for students who needed a little help getting ready to take Algebra 2 in the fall.  Last year’s Catalyst class was divided into Catalyst Algebra and Catalyst Geometry this year, to prepare incoming 9th graders for algebra and geometry.  There were many more girls in the Catalyst classes this year compared to last year.

New Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Margarita Navarro presented a review of the implementation of the homework policy that was begun in 2016-17.  Both MVHS and LAHS conducted surveys of students to determine their reactions to the new policy.  A majority of students reported a reduction in stress due to homework-free weekends.  There were mixed results on the question of whether homework was useful to learning or busywork.  A small percentage of students reported that some teachers were not following the policy and those reports were investigated.

Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen gave a Facilities Master Plan progress report.  There will be a complete update at the October 23 board meeting with the architect and campus maps showing where new construction is recommended.  The agreement to lease Mountain View city land near Alta Vista for a new two-story building for Freestyle Academy and office space is in final negotiations.  A bond feasibility survey of voters is being designed and will be presented at the October 9 board meeting.   School site meetings will be held at the end of September and early October to get input from administrators, teachers, students, parents, and neighbors.  An application to the state school building fund is being prepared;  MVLA is eligible for $25 million in funding for new construction and improvements.

The board approved an increase in fees for the rental of MVLA facilities by outside groups, to be phased in over two years, 2017-18 and 2018-19.  Rates have not been increased since 2001.  A survey of nearby school districts (Saratoga, Fremont, and Campbell)  found MVLA’s fees to be substantially lower than average.  Palo Alto was not included in the local school district average fees because their rates are much higher. 

Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen presented the 2016-17 unaudited actual financial results, which showed revenues of $82.3 million and expenses of $78.6 million.   The final balance in the reserve is $9.5 million, including the state required 3% reserve.  The target reserve amount is $16.2 million (17%); the district is working to achieve that level gradually over multiple years. 

— Sally Ahnger, Observer