Tenants coalition opposes Measure D
We are the Mountain View Tenants Coalition, a group of working-class city residents that have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of rising rents on our friends and family. Our commitment to protect the tenant communities motivated us to be deeply involved in the 2016 rent stabilization efforts, which lead to the passing of Measure V. We are now writing to express our frustration with the way Measure D threatens these gains.
Measure D is much more favorable to landlords and negates the gains of the 2016 rent stabilization efforts we fought so hard for. We are concerned by the deception in indicating that rents will only go up 4%, an amount already more that the average raises of the past few years. Any amount of rent increase above the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases the possibility of more people being displaced from their apartments, possibly having to live on the streets in RVs. We know because these are our families, friends and neighbors. It's incongruent that some in the city are pursuing solutions to the RV problem, while at the same time pushing a measure that could lead to its worsening.
The current housing crisis has its roots in many decisions long before 2016's Measure V even passed, and it's absurd to attempt to fault it for things like apartment conversions. Other arguments, such as preventing housing board members from paying themselves -- something that has never happened and they've never even requested -- further shows the dishonest ways in which this measure is being presented.
The public should be suspicious by the amount of money to push this measure that is being provided by landlord associations, as well as the lack of support for Measure D by three council members, something not frequently mentioned.
As with the fight to pass rent control with Measure V, we feel groups like ours are the David vs. the Goliath of the landlord organizations. But we fought them and won back in 2016, and will we continue to fight for the defeat of Measure D this time around.
Mountain View Tenants Coalition
Vote yes on Measure T
The elementary and middle schools in the Mountain View Whisman School District are thriving. With the community's help, we've made a lot of progress in recent years -- both in terms of our students' academics and in creating and maintaining our school facilities.
MVWSD has been awarded 11 statewide Blue Ribbon and Distinguished School honors since 2014, with several schools earning the distinction for multiple years. In the last five years alone, our state test scores increased 11% (language arts) and 10% (math) in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards. We completed Measure G projects on time and within budget and opened three new campuses (Stevenson, Castro and Vargas) while making significant updates to all our schools.
But the work must continue. We stand poised to take the next steps in our district's journey in excellence. If passed on March 3, Measure T will raise $259 million to benefit all of our schools.
Specifically, Measure T will fund:
• Affordable housing for teachers and staff members
• Safety and efficiency projects in our schools, such as solar, new windows, perimeter fencing, and security
• Updating facilities to handle short-term growth, and
• Paying off construction loans, reducing our dependence on lease revenue and increasing our facilities' flexibility
Measure T will provide the funds needed to construct 144 units of teacher and staff housing and ensure we keep rents as low as possible, improving employee retention. It will also help us shore up our existing school facilities' needs, while also preparing us for the initial wave of student growth we know is coming to our current schools, given approved projects.
I do hope that we have earned your confidence as a community, and that you will continue to support our teachers and our students to the benefit of all residents of Mountain View. Please vote yes on Measure T.
Tamara Wilson, Mountain View Whisman School District board president
Misleading Measure D mailer
I hope Mountain View voters won't be deceived by a mailer that I understand some received last week from landlords and developers, purporting to come from the "Democrats" and misusing our traditional donkey logo to mislead voters into believing the local Democratic Party supports Measure D. To the contrary, the local Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly to urge voters to vote no on Measure D.
Renter protections are hard to achieve and all too easily lost. As the Voice's reporting notes ("In reshaping rent control, council members ask for community's trust," Feb. 14), Measure D mixes technical fixes with changes that would undermine tenant protections won through passage of the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA). The actual and official local Democratic Party urges voters to vote no on Measure D.
Bill James, Santa Clara County Democratic Party chair
Support local community colleges
Hats off to the Voice for standing up to the anti-tax bullies and supporting measures G and H! Your editorial on Feb. 21 ("Yes on community college measures G, H") tells it like it is -- community colleges are a necessary community resource.
As a De Anza College English instructor and a Mountain View resident, I can testify that many members of our community do see the value of having the Foothill-De Anza Community College District nearby. In fact, contrary to some of the readers' responses to your previous articles on G and H, complaining about "kids from outside the district" making use of the colleges, many of our students come right from our local schools, with more Mountain View High students matriculating to Foothill than any CSU or UC campus.
Of course, not all students decide to pursue a four-year degree, and Foothill-De Anza has us covered there as well. We offer many career and technical education programs, such as pharmacy technology, nursing, radiology, veterinary technology, graphic design and paralegal studies, among others. These students, after completing their studies, provide essential services for the community. And we have concurrent enrollment agreements with many local schools, including Mountain View and Los Altos High schools, so that students can start on their college education while still in high school.
It's for reasons like these that the Mountain View community needs to support its community colleges. Whether it's constructing new buildings or updating existing structures, such improvements will foster a better learning environment for students. And our colleges are also interested in helping at-risk students by providing housing assistance, mental health counseling and other essential services. As a resident and taxpayer, I know that I'll be voting yes on measures G and H.
Palo Alto Avenue
Redwood City artwork
The way this piece of art ("You are the Tree") is able to show centuries of our history in a beautiful way reminds me how much of an effect art can have on a person. Not only is it nice to look at, but it can teach someone so much about what has happened in the past, and give them more to think about for the future. In addition, it is also a nod to the environmental issues we have been facing. If we want to preserve our land and identity, that starts with supporting the growth of these trees as well, hence why the message "You are the Tree" is so meaningful.
We do not only live among the environment, but it is our source of living. Art is a creative way to direct attention toward critical issues that are hard to address through speeches, classrooms, and even a common conversation. As an aspiring artist myself, it's work like this that inspires me to dive even deeper into my field of interest.