Message to the Office of the Mountain View City Attorney

By Alex Eulenberg

Mountain View homeowner since 1998

sent March 15, 2023

Permission is hereby given by the author to reproduce and alter this letter in any form, with or without attribution.

I spoke last night at the City Council meeting about the urgent need to have the Mountain View City Council make the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts stop hosting events by organizations that disallow participation on the basis of COVID-19 vaccination status, either among their staff and volunteers, or among the participants of their programs, with Peninsula Youth Theatre and Pocket Opera being examples of two such organizations. I would like to follow this up with a specific request for the Council.

My question to the Office of the Attorney, then, is this: what specifically could the Council do to make the MVCPA refuse to host such medically exclusive events? Would it require an amendment to the City Charter? Do Council members have ex-officio status within the management at MVCPA and could they change the policy that way? Could they pass a resolution to “defund the MVCPA” unless the Center adopts such a policy? I want to know what the Council can do to make the MVCPA ban medical exclusivity from their premises as soon as possible.

In my opinion, what is going on at the MVCPA with regard to medical exclusivity is wrong and needs to be stopped. Perhaps your office believes that what is going on at the MVCPA is perfectly fair, ethical, and legal. But for the sake of argument, permit us to entertain a hypothetical example wherein it is clear that there is a violation of the law going on. Suppose a certain theater company had productions at the MVCPA that required patrons to either present a valid marriage certificate, or else provide an HIV-negative test result, in order to attend in person. And furthermore, what if this company advertised that it is their policy to only have individuals in heterosexual marriages on their staff. If the members of the City Council believed contracting with such a company was illegal or against City policy, and wanted the MVCPA to stop having performances by this company until they changed their hiring and attendance policies, but the management of the MVCPA disagreed, saying everything was legal and in accordance with City policy, and continued to work with such an organization and enforce such an attendance policy at these performances, what could the City Council members do — as the City Council — short of suing its own department for violation of California and Federal civil rights Law? Also, in that case, what should a concerned resident of Mountain View who opposes discrimination on the basis of marital status or sexual orientation demand of the Council?

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I would appreciate an answer regarding what could be done in both the actual and hypothetical situations.