According to a report, in the very first federal court hearing of Mountain View’s controversial RV parking ban, a judge said that he does not have immediate plans to dismiss the lawsuit as requested by the City.
Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins on Wednesday heard arguments from lawyers from California’s Mountain View City, who are trying to have the case dismissed. He also heard arguments from lawyers representing the RV dwellers seeking an injunction to prevent an immediate displacement of many low-income residents trying to survive in the middle of the housing shortage in one of Silicon Valley’s most populous cities.
After hearing each side, Cousins stated that he was “not inclined to grant the motion to dismiss (the case) in its entirety”. However, he would consider a preliminary injunction. He’s likely to issue a written decision regarding the matter in the coming few days or weeks.
“The issues are real and significant to each of the individual plaintiffs and also to the people in the community of Mountain View,” Cousins said during the hearing. “And I will treat them with the seriousness they deserve.”
The lawsuit filed in July in the US District Court for the Northern District of California was submitted by six Mountain View residents who live in RVs. They are concerned that they may be forced to leave their home and belongings should the ban remain in effect. Representing them are lawyers from the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Disability Rights Advocates, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
The ongoing lawsuit claims that the city’s recent RV parking ban prohibiting RVs from parking on most Mountain View streets is invalid and ineffective because it drives disabled and low-income residents out of the city. They said that this breaches a variety of provisions in the constitution, such as the right of free mobility and protection against excessive fines and fees, as well as the unlawful confiscation of property through towing.
As part of the preliminary injunction request, the RV residents’ lawyers have requested the judge to legally demand Mountain View to issue at least one warning before giving out a citation. They also asked that the city give residents information on alternative parking spots in the city as well as clear guidelines regarding the best way to challenge a citation when they are not able to pay the fine. They also want the judge to require Mountain View police officers to provide at least three written citations prior to the towing of any vehicle.
Mountain View officials denied that the ordinances were designed to remove residents with low incomes from their community. They said these were designed to address safety concerns, including the issue of large vehicles encroaching on bike lanes, making it difficult for drivers to observe the surroundings.