MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) – The city of Mountain View is facing a federal lawsuit alleging a voter-approved measure which places new restrictions on where people living in RVs can park their vehicles is unconstitutional and inhumane.
Attorneys filed the lawsuit on behalf of six plaintiffs who claim that Measure C, which was passed by voters last year, targets them because they are poor or disabled.
“They obviously are just outlawing the housing insecure,” Janet Stevens, one of the six plaintiffs, told KPIX 5.
When asked how she would react if the ordinance took effect, Stevens said, “It would be a crisis. If I was to ask someone, ‘If there’s going to be an earthquake and your house falls down, what are you going to do?'”
At a rally outside Mountain View City Hall on Wednesday, Celerina Navarro, another of the plaintiffs spelled out what was at stake.
“Mountain View is my city too,” Navarro said through a translator. “I have a community here. My children go to school here.”
Measure C prohibits oversized vehicles like RVs from parking on streets narrower than 40 feet. Housing advocates say the city is making it virtually impossible for some of its poorest residents to find anywhere to legally park in Mountain View.
“We think that this law is both morally wrong and unconstitutional and that’s why we’ve raised a legal challenge to it,” says Sam Diamant, attorney for the plaintiffs.
A spokesperson for the city says Measure C is about traffic safety. In a prepared statement, the spokesperson writes, “Due to their size, an oversized vehicle on a narrow roadway can encroach into the vehicle lane of traffic, which increases the risk of collisions for motor vehicles and bicycles.”
Housing advocates say traffic safety is merely the pretext for what amounts to a purge of the poor from the city.
“Any argument by the city that this is a traffic safety ordinance is incorrect. And that instead, they are trying to deal with what they describe as the ‘RV problem,'” Diamant said.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs said they are willing to negotiate with the city, but think it’s likely it will take the courts to decide the issue.