With skyrocketing rents forcing many families out of the Bay Area, one city's residents took action, and they're not happy with how city leaders responded.
At a special meeting Thursday night, the Mountain View City Council convened to discuss putting a rent stabilization measure on the November ballot. But it's not the same initiative a residents group spent the past two months gathering signatures for, according to the Mountain View Renters Coalition.
More than 7,000 people signed the fair rent initiative, and the county registrar approved the signatures Thursday, which means it will be on the November ballot. The measure calls for a cap on rent increases.
"It would not be able to go above the rate of inflation, which is typically 2 to 3 percent a year," said Daniel DeBolt of the renters coalition.
DeBolt says the mayor and council are now trying to sabotage it from passing by calling the special meeting to write their own measure. Hundreds of residents were expected to attend the meeting.
"I don’t have any idea that this meeting is to undercut their efforts," said Mayor Pat Showalter, who proposed the parallel measure.
The coalition fears having two similar measures on the ballot would confuse voters or split the vote.
DeBolt said the biggest difference with the city's measure is that it could be changed, rewritten or canceled by the City Council if unintended problems arise.
"They would probably gut it or amend it at the first threat of an expensive lawsuit against the city," he said.
If neither measure passes, thousands of longtime Mountain View residents like Maria Marroquin could be left vulnerable. She's facing a $200-a-month increase, and she and her grandchildren may have to move. Her grandchildren have asked whether they can continue with school.
"That is heartbreaking," she said.