Update 6:38pm: The item is officially withdrawn!
Mountain View, CA – October 27, 2020 – Silicon Valley DSA believes the Mountain View City Council’s upcoming consideration of a proposal to appoint four new members to the Rental Housing Committee (RHC) at the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, October 27th, is an unprecedented and undemocratic move that will endanger the city’s rent control protections. Council must dismiss this proposal.
The Rental Housing Committee is the group tasked with implementing the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), which protects Mountain View renters from excessive rent hikes and arbitrary evictions. The terms of four of its six members will expire in April 2021, months after the new Council will have been voted in. These appointments should therefore lie with the next Council rather than be rushed in by the current Council when many voters have already mailed in their ballots.
The current Council has repeatedly made their antagonism toward rent control clear through their attempts to put the CSFRA back on the ballot despite its widespread community support and their appointment of anti-rent control advocates to the RHC.
This latest effort, however, is particularly disturbing. Preemptively packing a political body in the midst of an election is the kind of power play that echoes our broken national political scene. That Council is considering taking a page from Mitch McConnell’s book should be of concern to every constituent.
When Council discusses these appointments, agendized as item 9.1 on Tuesday’s meeting, they must end this charade. There is no justifiable reason for these critical positions to be filled months before they will be vacant, during an election that will determine the politics of those that will be appointed. The future of the RHC must be decided by the voters of Mountain View, who have made their support of rent control abundantly clear when they voted in CSFRA in 2016 and defeated Measure D, which aimed to dismantle rent control earlier this year.
Come January, Council could have a wildly different disposition towards rent control, one far more in tune with its constituents. It could also maintain its current anti-renter majority. Either way, these appointments should be made by the new Council. If the voters elect a Council that prioritizes the well-being of renters over the profits of landlords, it should not have to clean up hasty last-minute appointments in order to secure the renters rights that all Mountain View residents deserve.
About Silicon Valley DSA
We are the Silicon Valley chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). We believe our economy and society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. We are not a political party; we are a community organization building working class power and fighting for radical change.
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