RV residents file lawsuit against Mountain View to block Measure C

STORY AND PHOTO BY CARLY HELTZEL

RV residents, represented by legal advocacy groups, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Mountain View in an attempt to overturn Measure C — the ban on oversized vehicles, including RVs, on narrow streets.

As 83% of the city’s streets qualify as narrow, many members of the public have regarded Measure C as a backhanded ban on Mountain View’s RV residents fueled by a “Not In My Backyard” mentality. 

The lawsuit alleges that the ordinance was designed “to banish the City’s low-income populations.”

“It’s about the Constitution and not allowing discrimination against people that can’t afford housing,” plaintiff and RV resident Janet Stevens said. “Not only in the city of Mountain View but everywhere.” 

The legal groups leading the effort are the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and Disability Rights Advocates. They filed a six-plaintiff class action complaint under the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the U.S. and California Constitutions, among others. 

The city’s most recent statement released Wednesday said that the ordinance is focused on traffic safety and treats RVs no differently than other oversized vehicles.

This, however, makes it worse in Stevens’ mind. 

“They’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” Stevens said about the ordinance. “They’re just disguising what they want to do by their title of making it street safety. This is ‘Not In My Backyard’ gone crazy.”

Stevens, the ACLU and many more have actively opposed Measure C from when it was first drafted as a city ordinance in September 2019. Mountain View Housing Justice Coalition spearheaded a petition that struck down the ordinance and forced it onto the November 2020 ballot as Measure C, where voters passed the measure with 56.6% margin.

In December 2020, city council approved the measure’s implementation — the installation of about 2,600 street signs that cost $980,000. Wednesday’s statement said sign installation, along with enforcement of the measure, is set to begin later this month.

Mayor Ellen Kamei and Council Member Margaret Abe-Koga were both unable to comment, citing it as an active lawsuit.

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