Ortiz to head Rental Housing Committee | News | Mountain View Online |

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Ortiz to head Rental Housing Committee

Plan for expedited petitions for rent increases wins approval

Evan Ortiz, who helped lead the Mountain View campaign for rent control, will now be taking the helm of the city's Rental Housing Committee. At the meeting on Monday, April 23, the committee voted unanimously to appoint Ortiz its new chairman.

The chairman position does not wield any extra authority for policymaking, but whoever holds it is in charge of convening meetings and setting the order for discussion on issues. Committee member Vanessa Honey previously served in the role, and Ortiz was the vice chairman.

The decision to appoint Ortiz was made relatively quickly, with minimal discussion. Committee member Tom Means initially proposed giving Honey a second year as chair because the position took time to learn and she was now experienced in the role. But the idea did not generate much discussion.

Committee Emily Ramos made a motion to appoint Ortiz as chair, and the decision was made in a 5-0 vote. Committee member Matthew Grunewald was voted in as the new vice chair.

The new leadership at the committee was among the quickest of the decisions at a lengthy meeting. In a discussion that proved more controversial, the committee backed plans to grant an additional 2.6 percent rent increase for landlords.

This idea has been promoted by the committee majority as a way to balance out a lapse caused a citywide rent rollback. Some committee members say landlords are due an extra increase for a period of 318 days following October 2015 when their rents were effectively frozen with no increase to adjust for inflation.

But granting this increase could be treading into a legal quagmire, and city attorneys have urged caution to avoid a future lawsuit.

At the Monday meeting, Grunewald proposed trying to package the 2.6 percent rent increase into the program's petition process, which he suggested could make it more legally defensible. Landlords have complained that filing petitions to raise rents is too burdensome of a process, so Grunewald suggested the city should create a simplified version of it for this increase.

He recommended the city should aim to create a one-page petition form that would be legally "ironclad." City staffers warned that could be difficult, but they promised to try their best. Details would come back at a future meeting for the committee's approval.

The Rental Housing Committee approved the plan in a 3-1 vote, with Ortiz opposed. Honey abstained.

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Comments

17 people like this
Posted by This Chair is furnature
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm

The chair of this group is a piece of furnature. The committe is controlled by its majority. The majority appointed by the pro-landlord city council is, surprise surprise, for the landlords - the language and intent of Measure V be damned.


5 people like this
Posted by Howard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 30, 2018 at 12:27 am

Howard is a registered user.

Here come the lawsuits!
This whole thing is ripe for litigation and I think it's time for the city residents to back their city and pay for it! What the heck...they voted for it.


109 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 30, 2018 at 3:37 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

I would expect this "committee" to have a relatively neutral chair who is open to all sides of the very serious issue of rent control. Given his past actions, I can't see how Mr. Ortiz can possibly be even remotely neutral. They need someone else.


4 people like this
Posted by Howard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 30, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Howard is a registered user.

Do the Landlords get charge their 2.6% for all the past months they were deprived of it?

The tenants got paid for the months they didn't get their rental decreases.
Can someone answer this????


9 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2018 at 4:51 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Howard you asked:

“Do the Landlords get charge their 2.6% for all the past months they were deprived of it?

The tenants got paid for the months they didn't get their rental decreases.

Can someone answer this????”

The answer is Yes, but under the following situation:

First, was the ownership continuous since October, 2015, if not, the property is disqualified for any adjustment.

Second, if there was any rent increase made during the period of October 2015 to December 2016, then again it is disqualified from getting any enhanced AGA.

So the answer is a little complicated, but it simply means you are asking the wrong questions.


9 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2018 at 5:00 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to William Hitchens you said:

“I would expect this "committee" to have a relatively neutral chair who is open to all sides of the very serious issue of rent control. Given his past actions, I can't see how Mr. Ortiz can possibly be even remotely neutral. They need someone else.”

If you can claim Vanessa Honey is neutral, please read the following:

These are notes from Mondays meeting:

“Time mark: 97.28

Vanessa Honey “The RHC has not provided the criteria to have petitions considered correctly.

Hearing officers are asking for more, more than what the RHC provided.

Initial Petitions move forward but not examined to make sure they are within the regulations.

Tenant pro bono attorney are asking for more and hearing officers are asking for more.

Criteria issues become litigious position regarding pro bono lawyers.

“soup recipe has been good for 6 years, but now everyone wants to change it..””

To me it looks like that the petition process simply has not yet been properly established. How can a petition be properly heard if there is no clear cut process or criteria. As Chair Vanessa Honey is responsible for the problems. Doesn’t this cause problems regarding Due Process? The fact is without due notice of established process, there can be no establishment that there has been no bias in the decisions made.

To me, it looks like we are moving blindly.

“Time Mark: 153:50

Vanessa clearly states that there is no standards in place. How can the petitions be valid without proper standards? I am very confused. Who is responsible for the problem, the Chair is responsible for this problem

Time Mark: 154:15

Hundreds or thousands of hours spent on a petition? How can that be? That would mean that landlords are not doing anything but the petition. Are they doing their job of maintaining their properties? That statement simply was unwise and indicated bias, not nuetrality

Time Mark: 154:50

Vanessa “Something is wrong with this”

Chair Vanessa Honey is responsible for the mess because she did not implement the CSFRA efficiently nor with good faith. She is simply the cause of it, and this expressed bias and not neutrality.

Time Mark: 154:20

Petition withdrawn, Vanessa assumes that the landlord gave up too much work. What basis did she have?”

It looks like this process may not be able to pass muster regarding if it satisfies Due Process standards. Thus Vanessa Honey is responsible for the failure of the petition process because the board simply has not done their job. That WAS HER RESPONSIBILITY.


17 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 30, 2018 at 6:13 pm

@William Hitchens, we don't need "neutrality" on the committee when it comes to rent control in the same way we don't need "neutrality" at the EPA when it comes to protecting the environment. That landlords and the Council keep pushing for that instead of people dedicated to upholding the law (unlike Tom Means, Vanessa Honey, and Matthew Grunewald) is typical Trumpian behavior, undermining our democracy.


10 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Maher is a registered user.

It's so predictable that reactionary conservatives who love their tRUMPer (yes, you do...you do... just admit it) oppose any attempt to level a playing field so that the Haves are required to release their strangle hold on any issue under discussion. Those poooor landlords are so oppressed and can't afford any reduction in their profit margins. Heaven forbid, that renters would dare to question or challenge the status quo, or expect to have a voice in the issues that could prevent homelessness.

What on earth is the world coming to? Could Justice actually be a goal?


15 people like this
Posted by observer not renter or landloard
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2018 at 10:32 am

so, the former pro-landloard leaning Chair was replaced by the pro-renter Vice Chair

after some discussion, of alternate ways to do this

unanimous decision, after some civil discussion

what a wonderful example of parliamentary procedure working well in our little, local, limited democracy


8 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 2, 2018 at 12:32 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

It appears that those that support Vanessa Honey have chosen not to defend her after the public had been given proof of her work to sabotage the CSFRA from her position in the RHC.

Isn't it interesting that the Apartment industry eats their wounded like the spiders did in the movie "Lost in Space"

She was given enough rope to make her own noose and strangle herself via poor if not awful conduct she did during her Chairpersonship. She had no clue how to use the parliamentary procedure, nor the conduct she was required to comply with as a "government" representative.


9 people like this
Posted by Your way or the highway?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 2, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Business Man,
I'm not sure who your are referring to when you indicate that Ms. Honey has no one to defend her. Why would she need a defense? She did an amazing job of helping a brand new committee get organized. She maintained control of every meeting and executed her role of chairperson beautifully. Every member of the Committee has one vote. Each voted their conscience and I hope they will continue to do so. She was courteous and respectful to community members on both sides of the issue and we should be thankful she was willing to donate her time, effort and expertise. It is my hope that Mr. Ortiz will continue in that vain. They deserve your appreciation not your criticism. Comments like this further divide our community.


6 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 2, 2018 at 5:46 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Your way or the highway? You said:

“I'm not sure who your are referring to when you indicate that Ms. Honey has no one to defend her. Why would she need a defense? She did an amazing job of helping a brand new committee get organized.”

The fact that we have only had one petition heard since December 23, 2016 shows that that cannot be correct. You also said:

“ She maintained control of every meeting and executed her role of chairperson beautifully.”

Yes, but she also interrupted and re3moved a person in mid speech during public comment. If it wasn’t for the other members covertly telling her thorough the computer messages, she would have not pulled the person back to allow that person the “right” to address the RHC. That kind of control violates citizens rights. You also said:

“Every member of the Committee has one vote. Each voted their conscience and I hope they will continue to do so. She was courteous and respectful to community members on both sides of the issue and we should be thankful she was willing to donate her time, effort and expertise.”

If you just listen to the last meeting, she did not express any leadership at all, every problem she discussed were of her own action. Instead, she complains that everyone else is responsible for the problems. Also I have another important question:

Why is the petition hearing officer communicating with the board regarding their decisions? That is not allowed given that the RHC is the “Appeal Board” regarding the original hearing. Thus you do not have due process because in order to perform as a judicial officer in government, you have to prove that there is no “appearance” of bias. Hearing officers are prohibited to talk to the RHC regarding hearings. What is she thinking? She doesn’t seem to have a clue regarding “due process”. You went on to say:

“It is my hope that Mr. Ortiz will continue in that vain. They deserve your appreciation not your criticism. Comments like this further divide our community.”

I am simply making objective observations regarding conduct. I am not attacking anyone, just presenting actual behavior and that it can be proven by looking or listening to the record.

I am not dividing anyone.


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