The proponents of Measure C are using the slogan, “Safe streets for all.” It’s misleading and elitist.
It’s misleading because most motorhome residents park on streets that don’t have driveways or cross traffic. Think Crisanto along the tracks, Wentworth along Central Expressway, and Continental Circle along Highway 85.
Where they pose a traffic hazard – limiting visibility – the city already has the tools to move them. When I was on Council, the City moved the motorhomes away from the Target driveway on Latham. When I was Mayor, I relayed, to Public Works, concerns from the CEO of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation that its garage driveway exit onto Continental Circle was obstructed by oversized vehicles. When I checked it out, I found construction trucks. So the City immediately painted the adjacent curb red, and soon we posted signs prohibiting tall vehicles a little further down.
Measure C is not about safety, it’s because some people in our community don’t want to see the signs of poverty in the midst of our collective affluence.
The proponents don’t want to make the streets “for all.” Throughout our single-family neighborhoods, people treat the public streets in front of their houses as their own private property, parking their cars for much longer than 72 hours and leaving basketball hoops there permanently. I don’t really have a problem with that. So why do they have a problem with other people parking their vehicles on streets that are not in front of houses?
This is the drawbridge phenomenon. Some of our residents have made it across the affluence drawbridge, and they want to pull it up behind themselves. This is not the spirit of the Mountain View that I’ve lived in for 48 years.
Finally, some of the proponents claimed that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, our police were not enforcing the requirement that vehicles be moved at least every 72 hours. Vehicle residents, on the other hand, told me that the police were over-zealous. The proponents of Measure C chose to forget that the purpose of the 72-hour rule is to prevent the accumulation of abandoned vehicles, not to harass people who can’t afford the rent.
The courts have ruled that cities can’t roust homeless people (or people whose homes have wheels) unless there is someplace local for them to go. That’s why the proponents pretend that the measure is about traffic and parking.
If you truly believe in safe streets for everyone, join me in voting no on Measure C.