Last updateTue, 21 Feb 2017 4pm

Solicitors surrender to the Hills

All that hilly terrain and space between Los Altos Hills’ homes proved to be the town’s saving grace; a nonprofit organization that ignited a social media fervor has abandoned its attempts to solicit door-to-door within the notoriously circumspect community, as doing so was just too much work.

“The houses were too far away from each other,” said Sam Jazani, spokesman for the U.S. Foundation for Liberty and Human Rights.

UPDATED: MV to defend rent control initiative

Town Crier FIle Photo
Measure V supporters passed a Mountain View rent control initiative in November that now faces a court challenge.

The Mountain View City Council agreed unanimously Tuesday night to defend Measure V, a voter-approved rent control initiative being challenged in court by a landlords' group.

The council emerged from the closed session portion of its Jan. 24 meeting directing City Attorney Jannie Quinn to answer the complaint filed last month by the California Apartment Association (CAA) and oppose its request for a preliminary injunction.

The decision is bound to allay some concerns among Measure V backers that the city might not defend the initiative – council members are on record fundamentally opposed to rent control. But members heard from numerous speakers at their Jan. 10 meeting urging them to "respect the will of the people."

Measure V, limiting annual rent increases to between 2 and 5 percent, passed in the Nov. 8 election. The CAA filed a temporary restraining order Dec. 21 to prevent the city from implementing the measure, which also calls for a five-member board to settle landlord-tenant disputes with binding arbitration.

The CAA must file a motion for a preliminary injunction by Feb. 3 to continue to freeze implementation of Measure V.

The Mountain View Tenants Coalition formed and lobbied for the rent control law in the wake of significant rent increases in the city over the past five years. Nearly 60 percent of Mountain View’s 75,000 residents are renters.

New council

Ken Rosenberg began his one-year stint as mayor of Mountain View at the council’s Jan. 10 meeting.

“It’s an honor to be Mountain View’s 67th mayor,” he said.

Siegel was appointed vice-mayor.

“We are still dealing with rent control, traffic and development issues, so those will likely be the big issues for another year,” Rosenberg told the Town Crier when asked about the city’s challenges.

He said he’d like to see “a stabilization in exodus from our city for those in the “naturally affordable” housing.

“I’d like to see people be able to get out of sleeping in their vehicles,” Rosenberg said. “And I’d like the process of community-wide human rights learning to begin in earnest.”

Lisa Matichak and Margaret Abe-Koga, who finished first and second, respectively, in the Nov. 8 election, also were sworn in. They replace Mike Kasperzak and John Inks, both of whom were termed-out after eight years of service. Councilmen Chris Clark and John McAlister were re-elected to the council.

Social Security office reopens

The Social Security Administration is scheduled to reopen its Mountain View office Feb. 1.

Located at 701 N. Shoreline Blvd. office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays. The SSA temporarily closed its Mountain View office last February.

“I know firsthand how happy the citizens of Mountain View and its surroundings will be to hear of the new office,” said Mariaelena Lemus, SSA public affairs specialist. “For the past year, we have held two contact sites, one at the library on Wednesdays and another at the Senior Center on Thursdays. I have seen the need for a new office in this area. Getting to the nearest office, either in Campbell or Redwood City, is quite a challenge for most, and for some seniors it is virtually impossible.”

For more information, call (800) 772-1213 or visit socialsecurity.gov. Online services are available in Spanish at ssa.gov/espanol.

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Joint session focuses on public benefit

The Los Altos City Council held a joint study session with the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) Jan. 10 to discuss what public benefits might be suitable to enable a developer to exceed the 30-foot height limit for an office building on First Street.

Officials with Los Altos Community Investments are looking to construct an office building exceeding height limits. According to city code, a building can be taller than otherwise allowed if it offers a public benefit to the city.

New LA council agrees to discuss proposed park

More than six hours after the Los Altos City Council welcomed its newest member, councilmembers voted narrowly in favor of entering an exclusive negotiating agreement with Los Altos Community Investments to discuss the possibility of a park and underground parking on First Street.

The agreement passed 3-2, with newcomer Lynette Lee Eng and Jeannie Bruins dissenting.

Los Altos council seeks residents' input on priorities for 2017

The Los Altos City Council plans to review its constituents’ priorities before councilmembers depart for their annual retreat Jan. 21.

To learn what Los Altos residents want to see accomplished in the coming year, the council posted an online public survey that can be filled out through midnight Jan. 18.

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