The problem with believing that the standardized test scores tell us something about the effectiveness of specific schools ("Mountain View school test scores rise, but some students fall behind," Oct. 18) where the data are collected is that this ignores the students. But we get to blame the schools; how cool is that?
Things we might want to know about this year's cohort of students are: Has the population shifted a little by market renters priced out while subsidized renters remained? Has the average birth order increased a little (only children do better than the first of two, first of two bests second, second of three bests third and so on)? Is the average ambition of this cohort a bit less than that of the previous cohort? Are the parents of this cohort less available due to working more jobs? Did more of the mothers of this cohort overdose on alcohol, drugs or fluoride?
If we have collected no data to compare the student cohorts, we know that we know nothing.
Raymond R. White
Understanding Measure V
With five of seven members of the City Council having opposed local rent control Measure V (adopted by voters in November 2016), the effort to undermine or repeal the measure continues. At its Oct. 14 meeting, a three-member subcommittee of the City Council received suggested "draft" changes to the law, which the City Council may place on the March 2020 ballot ("Council punts on rent control limit," Oct. 18). Included is proposed city charter section 1717(a), which would empower the City Council to enact an ordinance allowing evictions with payment of "relocation amounts" to be established by the ordinance.
Here's the trick: under a 1995 state law, local rent control cannot limit the initial (base) rent for new tenants. This is sometimes called "vacancy de-control." Under this rule, landlords profit more from resident turnover. The current City Council has not responded to calls for calculating the return on investment from turnover. It is far more than the annual inflation adjustments for all units allowed by Measure V.
In any event, if the local law is changed to authorize evictions for payment of relocation assistance, evictions will ensue. Most of the renters in Mountain View could be ousted in short order. Already, one "sneaky repeal" of Measure V is headed for the March ballot: the landlords' initiative charter amendment. It well appears that some members of the City Council are working on proposing a second "sneaky repeal."
And there is now another variable in the mix. The governor just signed a state bill (AB 1482) that could limit "rent gouging" in some rental housing not better covered by local rent control. The state law does not apply to space rents in mobile home parks. And it could be repealed whenever the landlords make enough campaign contributions and promises of future support or get some new state legislators in office.
El Camino improvements
I was recently in Germany and was reminded of their great bicycle lane system. Instead of having the bicycle lane in the roadway, they widen the sidewalk and have designated bike and pedestrian lanes differentiated by separate sidewalk material that is easy to distinguish. Works great.