By Devin Fehely

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — A rent control fight heating up in Mountain View between property owners and housing advocates could extend into 2020.

The battle over rent control has become so charged and so contentious, it has garnered its own colorful but telling nickname.

“We named it ‘The Sneaky Repeal,’ said Mountain View Tenants’ Coalition spokesperson Maria Marroquin.

Marroquin calls it that because she says signature gatherers have used what she describes as underhanded and at times downright dishonest tactics to get people to sign.

“When they request a signature, they ask, ‘Are you a Mountain View voter? Yes? Would you like to support rent control in Mountain View?’ Often, the person will say, ‘But we have rent control,’ explained Marroquin. “And they’ll answer that this is an improvement. That is a lie.”

In 2016, Mountain View voters approved Measure V. It provided just-cause eviction protection and capped annual rent increases in properties built before 1995 at five percent a year.

Predictably, some property owners were not pleased.

“Basically, you’re creating a time bomb for creating slums in Mountain View. And that’s one of the major concerns with rent control in itself,” said property owner Carlos Padilla.

Padilla, who owns rental properties in San Jose and Mountain View, says rent control ignores a basic laws of economics: that his costs for the upkeep and maintenance of his buildings aren’t capped at five percent.

“Rent control is a well-intentioned idea. But some of the unintended consequences are that there’s lost revenue for the city, county and state,” said property owner Eric Fischer-Colbrie.

The campaign to repeal or re-write the city’s rent control rules missed a deadline for the November ballot. They are now setting their sights on 2020. But they deny the charges that they’ve been dishonest with voters.

“I don’t believe it. I’ve personally met many of the signature gatherers,” said Padilla

  1. Chas Linebarger says:

    I voted for Proposition 13 in 1978 to protect long time home owners from having to pay rising property taxes. I knew that there would be a hefty loss in tax proceeds to local government but property rights seemed more important to me. One side effect was the sudden new admission fees for all museums. Yep they all used to be free. When I went to school in SF I went to the Natural History Museum every day for lunch and often had coffee at the Modern Art Museum back when it was on Van Ness. All free to the public. And now rent control seems like the right thing to me too. I know there are serious problems with it from tenants who hang on to units but spend most of their time elsewhere and landlords who stop keeping the property up. But to me it’s about protecting tenancy. If you a flat you should be protected from gentrification, whether of your neighborhood or of the whole 9 county bay area. It’s the right thing to do.

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