Law Foundation and ACLU: Mountain View RV Ban is Unconstitutional


May 13, 2019

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and the ACLU of Northern California issued a letter demanding that Mountain View City Council oppose and reverse two unconstitutional proposals that target Mountain View residents living in vehicles.

Mountain View City Council has proposed a citywide ban on the parking of oversized vehicles, including RVs. City Council has also passed an ordinance banning the parking of vehicles that discharge domestic sewage on the public right-of-way. Both measures violate the U.S. Constitution in several ways. 

These measures are a wrong-headed reaction to the city’s dizzying housing crisis, which is pushing a troubling number of Mountain View residents out of their homes and out of Mountain View altogether. For some, living in an RV is the only way to remain in Mountain View, where their children go to school, where they access essential medical treatment, and where their families and support systems are.

“It is cruel and unusual punishment under the Constitution to criminalize sleeping outside or in a vehicle when, as in Mountain View, a city has zero available shelter beds,” said Michael Trujillo, Staff Attorney at the Law Foundation. “Measures like the proposed parking ban that intentionally make life more difficult for people who are homeless or housing insecure offend bedrock notions of fairness and equality and send a message that the City of Mountain View is not really open to all.”

A parking ban denies oversized vehicle dwellers equal protection of the law and restricts their freedom of association and right to travel under the U.S. and California constitutions. Under the proposed ban, individuals who reside in oversized vehicles would be prohibited from parking in the City to vote, conduct business, attend doctor’s appointments, go to work, or meet and interact with family or friends. 

"As member of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition (MVTC) and ally of the Mountain View Vehicle Residents, the support from ACLU and the Law Foundation couldn't come at a better time,” said Angel Santuario, a founding member of the MVTC. “Our elected officials have demonstrated they don't really care about Mountain View's most vulnerable with their words and actions. Now, thanks to our allies, we might be able to finally hold them accountable." 

Click here to view the full letter sent to Mayor Lisa Matichak and Mountain View City Council.

Read more:

Civil rights attorneys protest Mountain View's RV ban — Mountain View Voice (May 13, 2019)

Civil rights groups challenge proposed Mountain View RV ban — ABC7 (May 14, 2019)

Mountain View RV parking ban is cruel, unusual punishment, opponents say — KRON4 (May 14, 2019)

Denuncian que es anticonstitucional la prohibición para estacionar casas rodantes en calles de Mountain View — Univision (May 14, 2019)

ACLU to this Bay Area city: Proposed RV ban is unconstitutional — The Mercury News (May 13, 2019)