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Lydia Kou seeks fresh term on Palo Alto City Council

Council's leading proponent of 'slow growth' pledges to fight efforts to densify city

Councilwoman Lydia Kou, who is sworn in by City Clerk Beth Minor on Jan. 3, 2017, officially launched her re-election campaign on May 28. Photo by Veronica Weber.

City Councilwoman Lydia Kou, who over the past four years established herself as one of Palo Alto's most strident opponents of dense developments and Sacramento housing mandates, plans to pursue a new term.

In a Thursday message, Kou announced her intention to seek re-election and pledged to balance what she called the city's "unrestrained growth," improve government transparency and fight Sacramento's attempt to "take away local control over zoning and other basic City decisions."

With the announcement, Kou became the first council incumbent to announce re-election plans. Mayor Adrian Fine and Councilman Greg Tanaka, who are both affiliated with the council's more growth-friendly faction, are also eligible to run for another term. While both are expected to do so, neither has formally announced his decision.

The May 28 announcement marks the beginning of Kou's third council campaign. A real estate agent and a longtime neighborhood volunteer with a focus on emergency preparedness, Kou became enmeshed in the city's land-use battles in 2013, when she emerged as one of the leaders of a coalition that opposed the council's approval of a zone change that would have allowed the development of a 60-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes on a former orchard site on Maybell Avenue. Residents overturned the zone change in a referendum that year, dooming the project.

Kou and two other opponents of the project, Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth, all ran for the council the following year. While DuBois and Filseth both won election, Kou fell just short during the 2014 campaign. She ran again in 2016 and won election.

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Since then, the Barron Park resident has been the council's critic of commercial developments, even as she championed programs that would help low-income residents. A member of the council wing often known as "residentialists," she supported the council's decision in 2018 to slash in half the citywide cap on non-residential development in the Comprehensive Plan. Even as Filseth has emerged as the council's most centrist member and DuBois has shown a willingness to compromise and collaborate on various land-use issues, Kou has been consistent in her opposition to most new developments and to housing bills like state Senate Bill 50, which would relax local zoning standards to allow more housing development.

While Kou has supported the city's Housing Work Plan, which aims to spur more housing production, she has argued that the city should primarily focus on below-market-rate housing. She supported the approval of the Wilton Court development, which is set to break ground later this year and which will include 59 units for low-income residents and adults with disabilities. She also joined her colleagues in voting to contribute $10 million in public funds for the project.

She and DuBois have also focused their housing efforts on renters and low-income residents. In 2017 and in 2018, they had proposed capping rent increases (the council ultimately rejected the idea). Last year, they had more success in advocating for a "safe parking" that would devote parking lots to vehicle dwellers (the city is now moving ahead with establishing such a program at local churches). On the topic of housing, she has frequently clashed with Fine, who supports housing for all income levels, including market rate, and who has been Kou's leading ideological opponent on the council.

During recent budget hearings, Kou has been a leading advocate for restoring funding for teen programs and for reducing spending on capital projects such as the reconstruction of the fire station at Mitchell Park. In her announcement, Kou alluded to the city's projected $40 million budget deficit and to her disagreement with some of her colleagues over capital projects. The council majority, she wrote, "is slashing city services, but not the 'unfunded' capital improvement projects or generous salaries for city staff, to meet this deficit."

Kou framed the current political debate in Palo Alto as a clash between "those who say Palo Alto must become more dense" and those who want to preserve the city's traditional character and retain what she calls "livability for residents."

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"There is a vocal faction demanding Palo Alto be a 'world-class' city," Kou wrote. "But what does this term mean? Does it mean having more headquarters of famous corporations, even though their biggest "contribution" is their out-of-town employees clogging Page Mill, Oregon Expressway, Charleston, Arastradero, Embarcadero, and El Camino."

Kou also criticized Sacramento legislators and regional agencies who she said are planning for "substantial population growth."

"Lacking detailed knowledge of the city's differences, these unelected officials have imposed unrealistic planning goals and housing targets," Kou wrote.

In discussing her platform, Kou said she would limit zone changes that "favor individual developments at the community's expense" and "limit exemptions to developers, businesses and employers in order to reduce parking, traffic, pollution and noise." She also said she would ensure that businesses and employers "pay their fair share of all City expenses, including infrastructure costs."

"I believe Palo Alto is at a crossroads," Kou wrote. "Do we retain our single-family residential areas, expand our community serving businesses and retain our unique character? Our village? Or, do we change our zoning and land use regulations to allow for severe densification and morph into a large urban center?"

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Lydia Kou seeks fresh term on Palo Alto City Council

Council's leading proponent of 'slow growth' pledges to fight efforts to densify city

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, May 28, 2020, 1:20 pm

City Councilwoman Lydia Kou, who over the past four years established herself as one of Palo Alto's most strident opponents of dense developments and Sacramento housing mandates, plans to pursue a new term.

In a Thursday message, Kou announced her intention to seek re-election and pledged to balance what she called the city's "unrestrained growth," improve government transparency and fight Sacramento's attempt to "take away local control over zoning and other basic City decisions."

With the announcement, Kou became the first council incumbent to announce re-election plans. Mayor Adrian Fine and Councilman Greg Tanaka, who are both affiliated with the council's more growth-friendly faction, are also eligible to run for another term. While both are expected to do so, neither has formally announced his decision.

The May 28 announcement marks the beginning of Kou's third council campaign. A real estate agent and a longtime neighborhood volunteer with a focus on emergency preparedness, Kou became enmeshed in the city's land-use battles in 2013, when she emerged as one of the leaders of a coalition that opposed the council's approval of a zone change that would have allowed the development of a 60-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes on a former orchard site on Maybell Avenue. Residents overturned the zone change in a referendum that year, dooming the project.

Kou and two other opponents of the project, Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth, all ran for the council the following year. While DuBois and Filseth both won election, Kou fell just short during the 2014 campaign. She ran again in 2016 and won election.

Since then, the Barron Park resident has been the council's critic of commercial developments, even as she championed programs that would help low-income residents. A member of the council wing often known as "residentialists," she supported the council's decision in 2018 to slash in half the citywide cap on non-residential development in the Comprehensive Plan. Even as Filseth has emerged as the council's most centrist member and DuBois has shown a willingness to compromise and collaborate on various land-use issues, Kou has been consistent in her opposition to most new developments and to housing bills like state Senate Bill 50, which would relax local zoning standards to allow more housing development.

While Kou has supported the city's Housing Work Plan, which aims to spur more housing production, she has argued that the city should primarily focus on below-market-rate housing. She supported the approval of the Wilton Court development, which is set to break ground later this year and which will include 59 units for low-income residents and adults with disabilities. She also joined her colleagues in voting to contribute $10 million in public funds for the project.

She and DuBois have also focused their housing efforts on renters and low-income residents. In 2017 and in 2018, they had proposed capping rent increases (the council ultimately rejected the idea). Last year, they had more success in advocating for a "safe parking" that would devote parking lots to vehicle dwellers (the city is now moving ahead with establishing such a program at local churches). On the topic of housing, she has frequently clashed with Fine, who supports housing for all income levels, including market rate, and who has been Kou's leading ideological opponent on the council.

During recent budget hearings, Kou has been a leading advocate for restoring funding for teen programs and for reducing spending on capital projects such as the reconstruction of the fire station at Mitchell Park. In her announcement, Kou alluded to the city's projected $40 million budget deficit and to her disagreement with some of her colleagues over capital projects. The council majority, she wrote, "is slashing city services, but not the 'unfunded' capital improvement projects or generous salaries for city staff, to meet this deficit."

Kou framed the current political debate in Palo Alto as a clash between "those who say Palo Alto must become more dense" and those who want to preserve the city's traditional character and retain what she calls "livability for residents."

"There is a vocal faction demanding Palo Alto be a 'world-class' city," Kou wrote. "But what does this term mean? Does it mean having more headquarters of famous corporations, even though their biggest "contribution" is their out-of-town employees clogging Page Mill, Oregon Expressway, Charleston, Arastradero, Embarcadero, and El Camino."

Kou also criticized Sacramento legislators and regional agencies who she said are planning for "substantial population growth."

"Lacking detailed knowledge of the city's differences, these unelected officials have imposed unrealistic planning goals and housing targets," Kou wrote.

In discussing her platform, Kou said she would limit zone changes that "favor individual developments at the community's expense" and "limit exemptions to developers, businesses and employers in order to reduce parking, traffic, pollution and noise." She also said she would ensure that businesses and employers "pay their fair share of all City expenses, including infrastructure costs."

"I believe Palo Alto is at a crossroads," Kou wrote. "Do we retain our single-family residential areas, expand our community serving businesses and retain our unique character? Our village? Or, do we change our zoning and land use regulations to allow for severe densification and morph into a large urban center?"

Comments

Yes to Housing
Southgate
on May 28, 2020 at 1:39 pm
Yes to Housing, Southgate
on May 28, 2020 at 1:39 pm
43 people like this

I'm normally a fan of Gennady's writing, but he's not calling balls and strikes here. Kou may have voted for Wilton Court when it already had the votes to succeed, but she voted against the zoning to make it happen. She also voted against many of the components of the housing work plan. Finally, presenting her as a champion for renters is absurd. During the discussion of renter protections, she threatened "rent control is coming," asking "Do you want Palo Alto to become a renter town?." And where are the tenant protections? Been waiting since 2018.

Lydia Kou famously tweeted that Palo Alto has plenty of housing...you just need a superb realtor, like her. She's not a housing supporter or champion for tenants. She benefits from the housing shortage and has no incentive to improve things for people who can't afford multi-million dollar homes. Very much hope she loses this race. Unacceptable behavior when so many are suffering with high housing costs and homelessness.


ALB
College Terrace
on May 28, 2020 at 1:54 pm
ALB, College Terrace
on May 28, 2020 at 1:54 pm
116 people like this

Lydia Kou is a thoughtful council member who listens to her constituents. She has never been in the pocket of developers. She has always engaged well with communities throughout Palo Alto. Lydia Kou supports building new housing to create a balance in our town. We have constituents here, who at forty percent, are renters. I support Lydia's values and know her to be a decent human being.


Jake T
College Terrace
on May 28, 2020 at 2:04 pm
Jake T, College Terrace
on May 28, 2020 at 2:04 pm
9 people like this

I would be shocked if the 40% of renters can vote, given that many are immigrants unaware of the political machinations that keep their housing expensive and the community exclusive. Maybe more of the Palo Alto company’s workers would live in the city instead of clogging up roads from out of town if the city had housing growth to match jobs growth.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 2:24 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 2:24 pm
90 people like this

"Strident"????? She's one of the more reasonable, responsive and polite people on the CC. She also reflects community sentiment and is much more moderate than many of the people who called for a total moratorium on office construction to save what's left of our city from being over-run by commuters employed by businesses that pay no local taxes unlike in everyone other surrounding community but are very adept at shifting their costs to US in the form of RESIDENTIAL parking permits and OUR paying the commuting expenses of their employers.

Speaking of commuting expenses, Mayor Fine knows very well that his former SF employer paid its employees' commuting expenses and didn't try to stick SF taxpayers with the tab that he so eagerly sticks PA taxpayers with.


Anon
Evergreen Park
on May 28, 2020 at 2:30 pm
Anon, Evergreen Park
on May 28, 2020 at 2:30 pm
94 people like this

Thank you Lydia Kou fir wanting to spend so much more of your time helping the city and region.
If all politicians were as honest and hardworking as you we would live and work in much better circumstances.
Thank you for standing up for renters and renters rights and lower income workers in our community.
The other incumbents Fine and Tanaka are fake residentialists not really interested in affordable houSing and do everything they can todo to promote business and the real estate community that pay fir their campaigns!
Don’t be fooled into voting for fine and Tanaka again!
Go Lydia Kou!!!!


Trees
Evergreen Park
on May 28, 2020 at 2:50 pm
Trees, Evergreen Park
on May 28, 2020 at 2:50 pm
87 people like this

Glad Lydia is running. She is a thoughtful sincere and brave council member. We need more like her!


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm
73 people like this

Lydia Kou has *not* been supportive of phony "housing" plans that actually make the jobs/housing imbalance worse. No wonder the Manhattanizing pro-office-space-development "world-class city" crowd is critical of her.


Thank you for your service
Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 5:11 pm
Thank you for your service, Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 5:11 pm
75 people like this

Thank you, Lydia, for your willingness to dedicate your passion, energy, and brilliance, to our community. Palo Alto needs another 4 years of your leadership and wisdom. Lydia has a record of representing our (the residents) voices and fighting against special interests and developers who are trying to buy Palo Alto. I cannot wait to vote for another 4 years of your leadership.


Kou Has My Vote
Crescent Park
on May 28, 2020 at 5:14 pm
Kou Has My Vote, Crescent Park
on May 28, 2020 at 5:14 pm
76 people like this

Great news! We need to stop the endless stampede of office building that creates horrible traffic congestion, block after block filled with commuter cars parking on residential streets, and makes it ever harder for us to solve housing problems for people in the community.

Kou has stood for all the right things. She's been a strong opponent of the developer giveaways that are destroying so much of our city. And her prior campaign wasn't funded by developer contributions, unlike some other council members.

She's got my support.


Alex
Barron Park
on May 28, 2020 at 5:46 pm
Alex, Barron Park
on May 28, 2020 at 5:46 pm
17 people like this

Lydia Kou is a realtor and directly profits from housing shortages. She has no place on the city council making decisions that affect housing.


Fix the article please
Adobe-Meadow
on May 28, 2020 at 6:38 pm
Fix the article please, Adobe-Meadow
on May 28, 2020 at 6:38 pm
56 people like this

*strident* is way out of line. The dictionary definitions make clear it is a negative description, and has no place a news article. Besides, it is a very inaccurate description of Council Member Kou, who regardless of whether you agree with her, is never "loud," "abrasive," or "grating." "Forceful" or "outspoken" would be an accurate description.

Gennady Sheyner and Jocelyn Dong, please fix this editorial error and apologize to the Council Member.


Alfred
Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 6:56 pm
Alfred, Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 6:56 pm
33 people like this

@Alex, isn't every current council member a Palo Alto residential property owner, and therefore "directly profits from housing shortages?" Besides, I'd argue that realtors benefit primarily from transaction volume - the more housing there is, the more transactions.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 7:27 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 7:27 pm
35 people like this

@Alex, don't forget about council members (and commissioners( who are land use attorneys serving the big developers, commercial landlords who've had to recuse themselves and those benefiting from the state, local and national YIMBY parties and Silicon Valley Leadership Foundation funded by the big tech companies that directly benefit from shifting the tax burdens and costs of congestion caused by their constant growth.


Budget Reality
Downtown North
on May 28, 2020 at 8:25 pm
Budget Reality, Downtown North
on May 28, 2020 at 8:25 pm
8 people like this

I have nothing against Ms. Kou personally. As an elected representative, however, she has (in my opinion) been behind the curve in understanding and representing the interest of Palo Altoans.
She has (again in my opinion) shown herself to have relatively shallow understanding of our structural challenges and bureaucratic tensions, as expressed through her comments and questions in Council Meetings.

No hard feelings, but we need a fresh shuffle...


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 8:57 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 8:57 pm
55 people like this

@Budget Reality, Ms. Kuo's extremely detailed and comprehensive survey on residents' budget priorities was more substantive than the city's ONE-question survey and got close to the same number of responses from Palo Altoans as the city's even though it obviously took longer to complete.

Which survey was the shallow one?

When the city council rushed through their ADR plan, she was one of the few CC members try to answer many of the unanswered questions about eviction, owner-occupied, parking, etc.

Years later many of those questions remain and the city's wondering, gee, what's the problem? Why aren't more residents rushing to build ADRs. Commissions have been formed. Department procedures are being reviewed. Costly consultants probably hired....

I'll take substance over superficial sloganeering any day, thanks.


Invaluable Perspectives
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2020 at 9:26 pm
Invaluable Perspectives, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2020 at 9:26 pm
70 people like this

Kou brings invaluable and unique perspectives to our city council as an immigrant woman born in Hong Kong, growing up for years in the Sudan, then Guam, settling here and marrying an African American man, then raising two children together. A stunning personal journey and example of our All American Story.

Lydia Kou cares passionately about fair play for Palo Alto residents, nearly half of which are renters. She has led every effort to protect them from displacement, many successfully, while others who talk big about housing - Adrian Fine and Greg Tanaka - opposed most of these efforts. She introduced off-street safe parking for RV dwellers. She advocated for the tenants of the President Hotel.

Yes, she doesn't support all market-rate housing developments that drive-up land costs, knowing that such projects take up the little land left that is badly needed for affordable housing projects. To rely on a percentage of for-sale units set aside in market rate housing projects will never result in significant affordable housing.

Kou's quiet work to anchor the Le Comida elder affordable meal program at its new home at Stevenson House was also critical.

I too was unhappy to see the word, "strident" used in this article and toward Kou. Not only does it not pertain to her, it is also a tired insult too often used to dismiss womens' views. Would you describe Tanaka as strident? Any man on council as strident? No, you wouldn't. You need to cut this out.


Anne
Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 11:29 pm
Anne, Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 11:29 pm
51 people like this

I also object to the use of "strident" to describe Lydia Kou.

Lydia Kou is trying to preserve what little quality of life we have left. I look forward to reelecting her in November.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 12:07 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 12:07 am
1 person likes this

I would argue that Lydia Kou was elected because of a "New Residentialist" (sic) platform developed by Tim Gray and myself in the 2012 election in which we got nearly 8,000 and 6,000 votes, siding in the various debates with Greg Schmid, incumbent, who got 13,000 votes. This pre-dates Maybell, maybe presaging the pushback. In a similar move, Tom Dubois came to the fore appealing a staff ruling on Alma Plaza, Alma Village -- though the project went thru.

PASZ in my view created a Hobson Choice or something like that by having Lydia run as a slate with Eric, Tom and Karen - they advocated a "bullet ballot" meaning vote 4 not 5 - -excluding me, and arguably creating room for "The Diplomat" one term member Cory Wolbach who was pro-growth, in 2014. Lydia won, eventually, as this wave continued, in 2016.

If there is room for only one Residentialist, I think Lydia would lose out to newcomer Rebecca Eisenberg. Maybe they will work together and shift the power back to the people. The socalled Establishment, and the milennials, end up being pro-growth, Forward -- its a huge special interest.

That might be an over-simplified model. We shall see.

Here is a campagn preview from Fall, 2014, see especially my comments (opposing a large development proposal at El Camino Park). In November the Weekly described Tim Gray and myself as cautionary or jeremiad about downtown and development interests, but endorsed the evenual winners, across a spectrum: Berman, Kniss, Burt and Schmid. (Actually Berman has taken a ton of money from Real Estate, in all his elections).

Web Link

I don't know how Covid-19 will help or hurt the problem, but generally the local election is like a horse race, too quck, and superficial and the system tends to work against newcomers; whereas Tanaka and Fine, among current council members, came out of the Planning Commission spoils (as did Burt and Holman), Eisenberg has been shut out of even a single vote in several attempts at boards. Lydia came out of the neighborhoods and PTA.

Lydia has done an ok job, but I'm obviously more enthused about the impact Rebecca could have on council.


Easy 8
Green Acres
on May 29, 2020 at 12:12 am
Easy 8, Green Acres
on May 29, 2020 at 12:12 am
34 people like this

This November election should be the one where residentialists regain the majority in the council.

I believe Filseth, DuBois, and McCormack are in the middle of their terms. That leaves 4 open spots for this November election - the top 4 vote getters are elected to the council. Kniss is thankfully termed out.

There are a lot of residentialists in Palo Alto. Kou seems very likely to finish in the top 4.

That means residentialists only need to elect one more candidate in the top 4 - finishing # 4 is fine. If that happens, the residentialists regain a 4-3 majority in the council after many years of being in the minority.

Residentialists need to find a good candidate, donate, etc. to elect 2 candidates (including Kou) in the top 4 in these upcoming elections. I've got my checkbook ready.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 12:37 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 12:37 am
1 person likes this

Oops: Tanaka voted for Eisenberg once. But recently, December, 2019, despite her impressive sparring with five current council members, she got zero votes. Her protest against the perception of a conficlt of interest of the incumbent commissioner, seems to have worked, however.

Maybe there could be a news service that did not rely on real estate ads (or own a commercial building itself) that could do a better job defining the political scene here and covering elections. Hats off to Gennady for his work, but I do still wonder if his hands are slightly tethered. (I apologize that I once claimed and believed that he deliberatly cleaned up the language of leading developer, making a speech to council, as compared to the more obvious explanation that he just misread his notes, or fixed it by accident).
The link is from 2012.

I think PASZ is a joke and has done a disservice to residents. The PASZ versus Palo Alto Forward model might be too superficial but what is interesting about Eisenberg is that she can be the swing vote, and independent of both sides. She is more pro-growth than I was, but way more social oriented that the typical tech executive. She is sort of an elite -- with a Stanford-Harvard background - but fights like and for underdogs.

Rebecca thinks on her feet brilliantly; Lydia reads well from her scripts. I prefer either to Tanaka or Fine.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 9:28 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 9:28 am
Like this comment

PASZ is like a cross between Jane Austin and a couples retreat at Eselen.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 9:30 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 9:30 am
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 9:42 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 9:42 am
19 people like this

>> Eisenberg is that she can be the swing vote, and independent of both sides. She is more pro-growth than I was,

I'm concerned about her recent support for mixed-use projects. These projects usually make jobs/housing imbalance worse, AND, so far, the city has not been able to find a formula that keeps local businesses in the commercial space that actually serve local residents. College Terrace Centre is a perfect example of exactly what not to do.

>> Rebecca thinks on her feet brilliantly

If elected, she might have the highest IQ on PACC, but, I want someone with a deep understanding of the issues. The city does not "need" any more office space, and, I haven't heard her say that.


Abitarian
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 10:24 am
Abitarian, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 10:24 am
38 people like this

I saved my lawn sign from Lydia's last campaign in hope that she would run for re-election this year. It goes up today. Thank you, Lydia, for all that you do for the citizens of Palo Alto!


S_mom
Community Center
on May 29, 2020 at 10:35 am
S_mom, Community Center
on May 29, 2020 at 10:35 am
32 people like this

I haven't followed much beyond the current budget discussions, but Kou was one of the few (Tanaka was the other) who seemed willing to question the establishment/city manager proposal, which to me seemed very questionable. She came across as a little quirky but I appreciated her bravery and willingness to speak up even when other council members (particularly Fine and Cormack) seemed annoyed by it.


Jim Colton
Green Acres
on May 29, 2020 at 10:53 am
Jim Colton, Green Acres
on May 29, 2020 at 10:53 am
46 people like this

I'm glad to see Lydia Kou running for council again. She has consistently supported the idea that Palo Alto doesn't need to densify to the extreme in order to progress. She has supported low-income housing that is well planned and is actually affordable. She gets her points across without being strident! Her integrity is above reproach. I will vote for Lydia Kou in November.


Sunshine
Barron Park
on May 29, 2020 at 11:05 am
Sunshine, Barron Park
on May 29, 2020 at 11:05 am
43 people like this

Lydia Kou is an excellent Council member. She is one of a very few who are concerned about those who live in Palo Alto.
I think that once Covid-19 is no longer an immediate concern and the restrictions end, we will find there is less need for housing in Palo Alto. Many of the companies and their employees like working remotely. Many of the employers also like having fewer on site workers.
Some work in areas that cannot be performed from a non-work site others miss their colleagues at work, but most like working without the distractions. Even those whose work cannot be done at home would like to stay home when they need to write reports.
Note that Google and some others have plans to employ fewer on site. Consider what will happen to all that then excess housing when working remotely becomes the fashion.


mjh
College Terrace
on May 29, 2020 at 11:27 am
mjh, College Terrace
on May 29, 2020 at 11:27 am
38 people like this

To demonstrate that the Weekly is not biased, I trust that if Adrian Fine announces he is running for a new term, the first sentence of the Weekly's coverage will read,

"City Councilman Adrian Fine, who over the past four years established himself as one of Palo Alto's most strident proponents of dense developments and Sacramento housing mandates, plans to pursue a new term."

"over the past four years established himself as one of Palo Alto's most strident proponents of dense developments and Sacramento housing mandates, plans to pursue a new term."

I was about to make an extra donation to the Weekly but using the word "strident" with all its negative connotations demonstrates a lack of objectivity and I would expect more of the Weekly's reporters.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 11:34 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 11:34 am
1 person likes this

Posted by mjh, a resident of College Terrace

>> To demonstrate that the Weekly is not biased, I trust that if Adrian Fine announces he is running for a new term, the first sentence of the Weekly's coverage will read,

Well done! That is, until this:

>> I was about to make an extra donation to the Weekly

You disfigured your witty comment with this part. Please skip it next time.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 2:13 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 2:13 pm
Like this comment

(Now I’m the Joycelyn Elders of local dissent...)


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 2:28 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 2:28 pm
Like this comment

@Jim Colton — maybe you’d have more integrity if you identified yourself as Lydia’s former campaign manager. I thanked you at the time for picking up the tab when Karen Holman invited me to sit at y’all’s table, during the awkward campaign season in Lydia’s salad days. Literally pork barrel.
Lydia and I met in 2004, and she helped my brother sell his house. She consulted unpaid on our sale of my mother’s condo.
I’m saying Lydia good, Rebecca better.

Why did the Weekly delete my putting my finger on exactly what’s wrong with PASZ?


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Like this comment


Regarding “strident” it’s not such a slur. When I ran they said I “railed against” development. They said I was “anti-government” and when I challenged them they wrote me back to say “ your are ‘anti-government’ in the third definition sense of being anti-incumbent”.
Freedom of speech, biotches!!


Santiago
Barron Park
on May 29, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Santiago, Barron Park
on May 29, 2020 at 2:37 pm
40 people like this

This is great news! Thank you Lydia for running again! Lydia cares more for the residents of Palo Alto than outside development interests. Could anyone honestly say the same about Adrian Fine with a straight face.


Rose
Mayfield
on May 29, 2020 at 2:47 pm
Rose, Mayfield
on May 29, 2020 at 2:47 pm
40 people like this

I'm donating to Lydia's campaign. She cares about our community and protecting our quality of life. She doesn't sell out to big business and real estate developers. She listens. She cares. She devotes herself to keeping Palo Alto a place where we want to live. She has my total confidence and admiration. Thank you, Lydia!


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 2:51 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 2:51 pm
2 people like this

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North

>> I’m saying Lydia good, Rebecca better.

It isn't either/or. Vote for both, and you still have choices to make.


Excellent councilmember
South of Midtown
on May 29, 2020 at 2:56 pm
Excellent councilmember, South of Midtown
on May 29, 2020 at 2:56 pm
30 people like this

Mark Weiss, I am not interested in your biography though I see you are obsessed with the past, your own, and show biz. Not relevant to this thread or to most of us.

This thread is about our excellent council member Lydia Kou.
Articulate and not long winded. Straightforward questions and answers.
Patient, intelligent, well spoken. Cares about residents!
Cheers for Lydia!


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 3:19 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 3:19 pm
Like this comment

@Excellent — and apologies to Lydia for digressing from the issues and your campaign to respond to the personal attack of one of your purported supporters against me, but-
— I’ve lived in this community since 1974, thats 46 years —- the past is relevant to all but the carpetbaggers. What about you?
More relevant, I know personally 20 Palo Alto council members past and present and another 20 potential candidates. I ran in 2009, 2012, 2014 and in 2018 I pulled papers and qualified for the ballot by petition but withdrew when my mother, a Palo Altan, entered hospice.
“Show biz” loosely applies to my work, the way “ignoramus” and “troll” apply to yours. I believe the arts are an essential part of who we are. The lack of left brain thinking, by leadership, arguably explains why The New Residentialists and PASZ have accomplished “Bo Diddley” in terms of taking back Palo Alto from the developers.
So sit on it, Potsie!!


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm
Like this comment

Who exactly objected to my now-censored comment about Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, Jane Austen, Esalen and self-serving and on what dialectical criteria?


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 3:49 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 3:49 pm
6 people like this

@Mark Weiss, your post is still there; you posted the same thing twice.

"Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
6 hours ago

PASZ is like a cross between Jane Austin and a couples retreat at Eselen.


Lenny
Barron Park
on May 29, 2020 at 5:26 pm
Lenny, Barron Park
on May 29, 2020 at 5:26 pm
43 people like this

I will vote for Lydia. I support quality over quantity every time. If you like density, just go to LA. You'll see what density looks like.


Gale Johnson
Adobe-Meadow
on May 29, 2020 at 7:58 pm
Gale Johnson , Adobe-Meadow
on May 29, 2020 at 7:58 pm
29 people like this

It took her a while to settle into her job on CC initially, but she has matured and gained confidence along the way. Always polite and thoughtful, but also has strong opinions based on solid research and supports them very well.


Anne
Green Acres
on May 30, 2020 at 9:10 am
Anne, Green Acres
on May 30, 2020 at 9:10 am
44 people like this

Lydia Kou is one of those rare people who thinks holistically about our town and the issues affecting it. She considers issues thoughtfully and with safety and residents (all residents) and compassion at the forefront. She never acts from a place of ideology or preconceived notions. She has a lot of courage to act in a holistic way for our town even when others misrepresent that.

The divide between Kou and the anti-residentialists (Fine, Kniss) has never been about“housing”, it has always been about being pro-holistic-civic stewardship (Kou) versus mindless pro-densification for corporations and big developers (Fine, Kniss).

Densification was never going to bring down housing costs, it does the opposite in in-demand job centers like Palo Alto. The pandemic has abruptly illustrated one of the many downsides to mindless densification, yet Fine and his like seem unable to adapt to the new reality.

We are really fortunate to have someone like Kou who is willing to put so much work into our community. I know Lydia from working with her as a community member, and I know her to be thoroughly ethical, kind, intelligent, community-minded and without pretense.

Jim Colton’s comments speak for me, too. Mark Weiss’s criticisms are out of line. Jim Colton is not a politician and managed Lydia’s campaign as a neighbor and friend who knew her from community safety volunteering. Jim is also without pretense- he would have volunteered for her campaign because of what he knows about Lydia and how much we need people like her on council.

Thank you, Lydia, for being willing to run again and serve in your thoughtful, humble, and safety- and all-residents-first way.


Unqualified
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2020 at 9:33 am
Unqualified, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2020 at 9:33 am
31 people like this

Rebecca Eisenberg is totally unqualified for any elected office, unlike Lydia Kou. That Mark Weiss is her fan base shows he no idea of her infamous, disturbing behavior over the last years to be appointed to the Planning & Transportation Commission by the city council, failing each time for good reason.

Below is the site where you may view her 15-minute interview for with the council from last December. I guarantee you have never seen an applicant interview anything like this.

She reeled off residentialist platitudes in Gennady's article, showing she is clueless about about how our city works and what is in place - she promises to institute departments such as Code Enforcement that we already have.

Here is the Eisenberg 12/4/19 Planning & Transportation Commission interview. It starts exactly at the 2-hour mark - drag the maker to the spot, but carefully - its easy to pass. You may want to watch a minute or two of the prior interview to see how a typical applicant behaves. Copy and paste into youtube:
Web Link


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on May 30, 2020 at 11:07 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on May 30, 2020 at 11:07 am
2 people like this

I voted for Lydia last time around because she has qualifications in Real Estate and can understand if someone is pushing an idea which is legally not possible.

However the FRY's site debates have created problem. The intention to make that into housing is somehow derailed by the history of the location and some locals who want to import immigrants to work in a foreign owned factory there.

We are not an excuse for H1b workers on property that is suppose to support the stated goals for housing. The housing argument is clearly defined as local teachers, local city staff, local support personnel - police and firefighters, essential city personnel who have to commute to this location. We are trying to reduce the number of commuters to this city. Making that into a foreign country workplace totally derails the goals in front of us right now and then pushes the requirements onto other locations.

Can we all please get straight on what is being asked of this city and the most obvious way to respond. And whoever builds there can make a profit - that is not taxpayer supported property. And the owner of that property can take a tax break if they work it correctly. That are more than one way to pencil out a development.


Stephen
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2020 at 11:33 am
Stephen, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2020 at 11:33 am
25 people like this

I think Mr. Sheyner could use a refresher course in journalism with a focus on unconscious bias. The use of the word "strident" to describe Councilperson Kou's forceful opposition to some of her colleague's positions is clearly sexist. Were Lydia Kou a man, say Lyndon Kou, I suspect that the words "strong" or "forceful" might have been used instead of "strident".


Cringey
Old Palo Alto
on May 30, 2020 at 12:08 pm
Cringey, Old Palo Alto
on May 30, 2020 at 12:08 pm
23 people like this

@Unqualified:

Wow, that video is an eye-opener. What an embarrassing, angry, meandering, nonsensical diatribe that was. Eisenberg's going to get zero votes.


Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 30, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 30, 2020 at 8:26 pm
3 people like this

Hi @Stephen,

Thanks for your opinion about my use of the word "strident" to describe Lydia Kou's opposition to dense developments. I stand by my description, but since you (and a few others) claim that my use of the term is "clearly sexist" and suggested that I would never use it to describe a man, here are two stories from the past in which I use "strident" to describe men with ideological positions that are opposite from Ms. Kou's:

Web Link

Web Link

Thanks again for reading and for weighing in.


Weekly Reader
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2020 at 10:56 pm
Weekly Reader, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2020 at 10:56 pm
15 people like this

@Gennady, you are not a very good journalist, but you're better than this. The root of "strident" is "screech"; the dictionary definition is "loud, grating, and harsh." If you can provide examples of Ms. Kou speaking that way, please do.

Per this article from Slate (Web Link), per Google, "strident" is used twice as often to describe women as men. You're saying "I also have used it to describe men" just shows you don't know what the word means, and you certainly don't understand its connotation.

Here's the full list of synonyms for "strident" from Merriam Webster,com:

"blatant, obstreperous, vociferous, loudmouthed, noisy, openmouthed, outspoken, vocal
howling, screaming, yelling, caterwauling, clamant, squawking, vociferant, vociferating, yawping (or yauping), yowling, cacophonous, dissonant, resounding, sonorous, clamorous, uproarious
blaring, booming, brassy, brazen, clanging, earsplitting, jangly, squealing, whining, whiny (also whiney), yapping, yelping, nasal, penetrating, piercing, sharp, clangorous, dinning, discordant, noisy, rackety, high-pitched, piping, screeching, shrieking, squeaking, squeaky, treble, whistling"

I'm guessing you just meant "forceful," which in my mind would be an accurate description. Ok fine - you made a mistake - please just admit it and make the change. When the reporter becomes the story, that's almost always a sign of bad reporting.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:04 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:04 pm
Like this comment

Yeah and I believe I did post that I strongly preferred that instead of calling me “the agitator” I was the “agitprop Picasso”.
And he’s the watery Molotov Gish Jen wanna ginzu.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:14 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:14 pm
Like this comment

Can I get a re-do?
Gen is the watery Molotov Gish Jen wanna Ginsu.
Or as Michael Franti might say he’s more kinichi-wah than kinichi-wah-wah.
And this is a bit obscure and belongs halfway between here and a different breaking so to speak story but: Britt Daniels “Don’t Make me a Target”

And they did once call me “Rage Against The Machine” and I said “AFI, bitch” — AFI is newer, more indie has nicer hair and had played locally at Cubberley.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:20 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:20 pm
Like this comment

I think the actual name in his native Norse of Edward Monk “The Scream” is “The Shriek” if that helps some


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:23 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 30, 2020 at 11:23 pm
Like this comment

@Weekly reader (good one)
When the reporter becomes the story, that's almost always a sign of bad reporting.
Or what is Tom Wolfe Hunter S Thompson Dave Eggars?


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 31, 2020 at 12:26 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 31, 2020 at 12:26 am
Like this comment

Well maybe the Weekly will write a story about me not running for Council and that would be a more appropriate place to respond to the three people who name me by name in their support of Lydia.
Lydia by the way met my brother thru me and helped him sell his $1.7 million house in 2004, when she was not in politics except Terman PTA and was Grace Wu's mentee. Lydia and John, that is, and likely made a commission of roughly $50,000. She more recently consulted on the sale of my mother's condo, in Palo Alto, unpaid, as a friend or a quid pro quo - -she would naturally want to see the condo even if she did not end up with a listing. She also came to Mom's Memorial, at Beth Am, the one that Anna Eshoo spoke at. Barbara H. Weiss (and she won't mind that I digressed to this point, I'm still in mourning, still miss her).
But regarding Rebecca -- and as others point out, maybe they will run as a slate or help council get an extra female seat and not compete for the same seat, so to speak -- since you mentioned it, I was at the meeting you link to - -I'm visible in the background, ten feet from the speaker, or roughly 10 of the speakers -- and I say it shows Rebecca as qualified and refreshing. Ironcially, one of the spats was about whether her background as Stanford undergrad and Harvard law - she studied with future US Senator and government watchdog Elizabeth Warren -- and being of counsel for companies like Reddit and PayPal qualified her to rebut or argue with that of Palo Alto City Attorney Molly Stump. She says, credibly -- I'm not a lawyer, one class on Constitutional Law at Dartmouth with Vince Starzinger, and future Senator Kristin Gillibrand sat two rows ahead of me -- Gillibrand, too, is a lawyer -- that those appointments are comparable, advocate for a tech firmer versus advocate for City Council here -- and are distinct from being Judges or Courts who make laws of the land or define such - she says her father is a judge, back in Wisconsin - -you betcha! -- and I like the part where Tom Dubois, with degrees in business not law from Purdue and Georgetown not Stanford and Harvard disagrees with her and she goes: "Are you a lawyer?" and then Eric jumps in -- and I've never seen this having watched nearly 100 interviews of boards here and been in that seat five times myself - -and the only two votes I ever got were from Tom Dubois and Greg Schmid -- Eric Filseth mayor says she can "pass" rather than answering further Tom's question.
I think some of current leadership will side with her, lawyer up, form alliances, with Our Miss Becky -- reminds me of another smart lady and Mom -- Becky Morgan -- who I worked for once, her campaign, walking my own neighborhood, despite being across the aisle -- and endorse her. Yet there are likley thousands or 10,000 Palo Altans who would want a council member who is a complete outsider and not part of any group.
Rebecca on a board or dias with any of the five or six of Eric, Tom, Greg, Alison, Adrian and or Lydia would help them elevate their game, which is ultimately good for We The People, although now I hear that some people want to be called They or We The People.
Becky also reminds me of my friend and former Gunn classmate and co-editor of The Oracle Greg Zlotnick -- who worked for Becky Morgan, and Pete Wilson, and his mother Caroline was treasurer for Becky Morgan -- in that he was such a good attorney as our Santa Clara Water Board member that the executive hired him to be staff attorney. (which of course, if you follow this, causd a political backlash, which the press, not here, but in San Jo, eat up and fanned unfairly). Good people create backlash, this is politics! (Greg later married a Feinstein staffer...and is back with team Donkey not Wacky Packy).

Good luck Lydia and Rebecca ---
@Unqualified claiming that Rebecca Eisenberg is "unqualified" is like Donald Trump declaring that Twitter editing his tweets should be stopped, to protect his free speech.


Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 31, 2020 at 12:38 am
Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 31, 2020 at 12:38 am
3 people like this

"Strident" has more than one definition. "Aggressive and determined" (Oxford). "Holding firm opinions or beliefs and tending to express them frequently, in a way that offends some people." (MacMillan). I thought the context ("strident opponent of dense developments") made it clear that I wasn't talking about firm opinions, not grating sounds.


Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 31, 2020 at 12:40 am
Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 31, 2020 at 12:40 am
2 people like this

*Wasn't should be "was." Thanks again.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 31, 2020 at 12:48 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 31, 2020 at 12:48 am
Like this comment

Dude get some rest.
Being compared to Gish Jen is not an insult!
Her "The Resisters" is interesting cross between Philip K Dick and Mickey Mantle


Weekly Reader
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2020 at 9:49 am
Weekly Reader, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2020 at 9:49 am
14 people like this

@Gennady, your inability to see your mistake, and desire to take a point of view, is your biggest weakness as a journalist. I also fault your editor - she should be correcting this sort of thing as well as developing you (please pass that on to Jocelyn and Bill).

My online OED (via the Santa Clara County online library) just shows the one definition: "Making a harsh, grating or creaking noise; loud and harsh, shrill." Since the full OED, in its glorious 20 volumes, has lots of definitions for virtually every word, I'm sure you could find one that fits.

But so what? Even if you have a thin reed of a defense, clearly your readers were confused, and understandably, since the word is controversial (you can find current articles discussing whether and how it is sexist) and has clear connotations (its primary meaning is "shrill"). It was a poor choice and you should just note it for the future and make the change.

Journalism is like jokes - if it requires explanation, it isn't very good. You don't get to decide what your readers think the words mean. Be stubborn about facts, not word choices.


Anne
Green Acres
on May 31, 2020 at 10:00 am
Anne, Green Acres
on May 31, 2020 at 10:00 am
34 people like this

@Gennady and Mark Weiss
“Troll” has more than one definition, too, including as applied to online discussion. Please look up them up, Mark Weiss. I appreciate that everyone if getting a little stir crazy but leadership on CC is important. Please be respectful in not just the content of your posts but in not becoming trollish.

Mark Weiss you keep implying Lydia is acting from calculation in a way that is wildly speculative and not consistent with the person I know. I have known her to help out civically in many ways, knowing she could be taking blows to her reputation but because it was the right thing to do. I know she ran for council after lots of thought about the sacrifices and to make Palo Alto a better place for everyone, and that’s how she has approached it. She has a sense of duty to others, is the most humble person on the Council and gets misinterpreted grief for it all the time.

Lydia has been one of the most thoughtful Councilmembers, Someone who is exactly what a good Councilmember should be: Always working to serve the residents of this town.

This thread is about her announcement that she will run again. Thank you Lydia, I know how much you wrestled with the desire to serve and the knowledge of what those who intend to prioritize all residents are up against.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2020 at 2:44 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2020 at 2:44 pm
17 people like this

@Mark Weiss

It isn't *either* Lydia Kou *or* Rebecca Eisenberg. They both could win. Why don't we talk about the pros and cons of Kou in the Kou thread and the pros and cons of Eisenberg in the Eisenberg thread?

Back on topic: other PACC members have found ways to justify building office space using the mantra "housing". Kou seems to be the *only* member who consistently hasn't played that game, and has dared to raise the issue of "housing" projects that are making the jobs/housing imbalance worse. For that reason alone, I would vote for her, but, she also has been a great all-around member.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on May 31, 2020 at 7:19 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on May 31, 2020 at 7:19 pm
Like this comment

Lydia has my cell phone number and if she either wanted my input, or wanted me to butt out of her thread, she’d tell me so.

I know Lydia and John a lot better than @Anne of Green Acres does but, sure, the rules permit her or they to post here.


Anne
Green Acres
on Jun 1, 2020 at 1:20 am
Anne, Green Acres
on Jun 1, 2020 at 1:20 am
14 people like this

@Mark Weiss
You think Lydia is going to call you to tell you what to think or say on an online forum? Tell you not to be such an insensitive jerk after the trollish behavior on the campaign announcement thread? You really don’t know her then.


Lydia is a good person who puts residents first and is NOT corrupt
Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:08 am
Lydia is a good person who puts residents first and is NOT corrupt, Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:08 am
26 people like this

Lydia is a good person who listens to residents and acts dutifully on their behalf. She respects their desire not to have cell towers near their homes, is willing to push back on city staff when appropriate (e.g., spending), puts city employees and critical resident services ahead of new buildings in a time of crisis, and last but not least ensures appropriate zoning and enforcement remain so that our quality of life isn't destroyed. New York City is wonderful but would be a living hell without subways. That is what SB50 is all about: density before needed infrastructure.

As our election approaches, I implore voters to consider who funds the campaigns and why candidates vote the way they do. Campaign donors must be exposed. Developers and big business give big bucks to people like Alison Cormack, Liz Kniss (fortunately termed out), Adrian Fine, and Greg Tanaka. These folks repealed the office cap. Really? More office space needed? These pro-development majority folks have appointed pro-development people to the planning commission AND refuse to remove a proven corrupt commissioner Michael Alcheck. At least 3 of the planning commissioners are real estate attorneys with businesses as clients. Gee, what a surprise that they don't want to cater to residents yet bend over backwards to big business.

Follow the money. Be sure to vote for candidates like Lydia who do NOT owe favors to developers and big tech and have your back.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2020 at 9:32 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2020 at 9:32 am
Like this comment

Lydia is a good person who puts residents first and is NOT corrupt
a resident of Downtown North

>> Adrian Fine, and Greg Tanaka.

Sounds like Adrian Fine and Greg Tanaka deserve their own articles and comments threads.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 1:15 pm
27 people like this

Thank you Lydia Kou for being an ever constant supporter of what the City of Palo Alto residents want. Lydia Kou has attended many constituent led events that have voiced concerns related to the community and then thoughtfully taken those concerns back to city Council and led motions or voted on motions that supported community desires and concerns.

She was the one who made the motion to keep library funding and youth programs going during the last budget. A line item that was worth pennies compared to the massive infrastructure projects that cost millions and millions of dollars during a pandemic are going on that Adrian Fine supports.

There are a lot of trolls spamming this thread with lies about Lydia Kou. For the people who are seriously wondering if the negative remarks are true (they are not), I challenge you to go listen to past recordings of city budget meetings and see if Lydia Kou represented the community desires and wants. Whether she represented her constituents, or whether it was another city councilor (I won't say who) that tried to ram rod substitute motions that didn't support community desires.

Actions speak louder than words. Listen to past city council meetings and watch Council Member Lydia Kou's actions. Her actions are all about her constituents.

The moment we don't re-elect Lydia Kou, Palo Alto is at risk of getting a city council filled with people who just want to force huge infrastructure projects that are costing tax payers and residents (including renters) lots of money. Where community services that are already on shoe string budgets will be taken away and residents are forced to dig deeper into their pockets.

Question what you read folks and verify. Verify by going back to past meetings and listening and watching, and seeing the motions and votes. They are all recorded. Follow-up and see who doesn't give a damn about Palo Alto residents and is all about big dollar constructions during budget deficit, and who actually wants to protect community services and police and fire services.

Lydia Kou thank you for your service.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:05 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:05 pm
Like this comment

Let’s keep track here that of the first 60 comments all of them except the ones by myself, Gale Johnson, and Jim Colton are by anonymous posters. Maybe it’s just one person with a lot of computers. Maybe it’s Russian trolls.
Mr Johnson Incidentally carries a lot of weight with me because of the fact I know that he is a family friend of Mr. Wohlbach who was sort of a rival of Kou on Council. (although I have not met him in person I recognize the name and that his twin sons are you slightly years ago and I have been to their house; is sons at least one of which served our country).

Whether you agree with my analysis or not everything I say is true.

I may end up voting for Lydia. I don’t recall voting for her before. And I will admit publicly that I have voted in the past for people like Nancy Shepherd, Liz Kniss and Greg Scharff who I had disagreed with most of the time but they do seem to hear me out.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 9:10 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 9:10 am
8 people like this

Hi - in response to a question above, I want to clarify my position on a crucial issue:

Palo Alto has too much office space. Palo Alto has FAR too much office space.

We need to work on converting office space to residential space. We need to put a stop to any and all office space building unless and until that office space building is accompanied with an equal or additional amount of residential building, or other concessions that go beyond paying into a fund to build more parking garages. We have too many parking garages.

Residential development does not just HAPPEN, as Adrian Fine has said. That strategy has been proven ineffective. Residential development happens if you plan it and hire developers to build it.

For too long, the developers have been calling the shots, and Palo Alto has spent the majority of our city staff time responding to developer demand. The time for that is over. Palo Alto must call the shots. We plan our community and then build it, not the other way around. That includes housing.

I support a rejection of -- not just a delay to --all non-residential (and non public) projects that are clogging city time. That includes the President Hotel and Castilleja. If it not for public use, and not for residences, we do not need it. These projects bring more cost to our community than they bring benefit - they had ample time to design their plans in a way that served our residences.

Keeping these huge demands in our system, when they require us to bend our zoning and safety rules in ways that harm our residents is a decision: it is a decision to continue to waste taxpayer time and money when we know what is important now: housing and public serves. Time to say Enough.

I posted about these issues at length in the thread about the President Hotel. If you go here and scroll down you will see it:

Web Link

I welcome Lydia to the race, and look forward to an opportunity to discuss with her how we can work together to protect the interests of the residents of Palo Alto. We need to stand up to developers and take charge of our city's destiny. And we cannot do that alone.


Anne
Green Acres
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:02 am
Anne, Green Acres
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:02 am
14 people like this

@Mark Weiss,
Townsquare deletes comments from people from the same IP address who use multiple names, which can complicate things when more than one person in the same household wants to post on an issue, but at least it prevents your concern. Anonymity allows people to keep the focus on the issue and helps keep conversations from veering into the ad hominem (which stifles expression) as much.

I suggested you understand the term "troll" a bit more because trolling is not just hate speech and needling, it's also repeated attempts to divert from the topic at hand, including with seemingly breezy talk, or like repeatedly making the topic about yourself or your unrelated memories. You have criticized others for the way they participate in this online forum, I am asking you to be a little self reflective and more civic-minded on that very issue.

I do hope you maintain an open mind and vote for Lydia. She has been, more than anyone else on City Council since Greg Schmid (who I wish we had more of), volunteering for the sake of making Palo Alto a better place and serving all residents.


Anne
Green Acres
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:22 am
Anne, Green Acres
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:22 am
6 people like this

If Lydia Kou and Rebecca Eisenberg get on the council, then it will have a residentialist majority for the first time in decades. We need that. We have a broken voting system, though, it should be changed to ranked choice.

If there are three open seats, and 2 candidates each strongly on the side of 2 different opposing factions, and there is 1 candidate who is an unknown but seems okay, then that one candidate is likely to get the third vote from all voters and seem like the most popular candidate, when in fact most voters don't care that much about that candidate.

If there are three open seats, and 3 candidates strongly on one side and 2 candidates strongly on the other side of different opposing factions (in this case, overdevelopment for large corporations versus holistic civic-minded development), if the people who are in favor of the side with the 2 candidates place their third vote for any one of the 3 candidates on the other side in order to use up all their votes, then the side with the 3 candidates is likely to bump one or more of the 2 candidates on the other side.

In other words, since we don't have ranked choice or district voting, voters who care about the direction of our City, i.e., the council majority, must only vote for the candidates they really want to see on the council, and they must NOT vote for less-favored candidates just to use their votes up because this system means they will be voting against their favorite candidates.

It doesn't just matter that you get candidates you want on the council, until we get ranked choice voting, citizens who want to see the makeup of the council start putting residents first will have to consider bullet voting.

I don't think we should have fractured district voting here, but I do think at least a quadrant with two districts in the north and two in the south would help ensure we get more representation across town. We pay our city employees a lot yet require councilmembers to be essentially volunteers -- we should make it possible for councilmembers whose income is below a certain threshold to receive a stipend for volunteering on council, it's a lot of work and if history is any guide, only the most well-heeled residents, mostly from the north side of town, can afford to serve.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:41 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:41 am
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Posted by Anne, a resident of Green Acres

>> In other words, since we don't have ranked choice or district voting, voters [...] must only vote for the candidates they really want to see on the council, and they must NOT vote for less-favored candidates just to use their votes up

Yes, I hope people understand this. It is somewhat subtle, but, please, only vote for candidates you want on the board-- that last candidate who makes the "best three out of five" or "four out six" list for a lot of people may displace one of your top two.

Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Hi - in response to a question above, I want to clarify my position on a crucial issue:

Thank you for clarifying!


Stephen
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm
Stephen, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm
Like this comment

Gennady: I could go get my magnifying glass out and look at my OED, but instead I went online to our home-grown dictionary, Meriam Webster:

"Definition of strident
: characterized by harsh, insistent, and discordant sound
a strident voice
also : commanding attention by a loud or obtrusive quality
strident slogans"

Amazingly, the example Collins uses is quite striking:

"If you use strident to describe someone or the way they express themselves, you mean that they make their feelings or opinions known in a very strong way that perhaps makes people uncomfortable.
[disapproval]
She was increasingly seen as a strident feminist. "

Please see Web Link


Resident
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:38 pm
Resident, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:38 pm
Like this comment

I will not vote for a realtor who moved here about 20 years ago and became unhappy with the way she wanted things to be for her and her family. She is a realtor and a native of Hong Kong China. And of course, all candidates are nice - they are trying to get your vote, but she won't be getting mine.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:45 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:45 pm
15 people like this

Posted by Stephen, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

(in re "strident")

Stephen, I agree with you that the word choice wasn't perfect, but, if Lydia Kou is "one of Palo Alto's most strident opponents of dense developments", then, *more power to her*!! We need more "strident" people like her, speaking up when developers are pulling all their smoke-and-mirror tricks to confuse residents/voters about their proposals.


Resident
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 8:02 pm
Resident, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 8:02 pm
4 people like this

How can anyone trust realtors or developers on city council? Selling and developing is how they make their living. After trusting them in past elections, they are not getting my vote this time.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:22 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:22 am
16 people like this

Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> I will not vote for a realtor [...] She is a realtor [...] all candidates are nice - they are trying to get your vote, but she won't be getting mine.

So, you will be voting for keep-the-dirt-trucks-rolling pro-development candidates like Adrian Fine then? That's your choice to make, but, it won't be mine.


DC Comics Suicide Squad
Community Center
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:53 am
DC Comics Suicide Squad, Community Center
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:53 am
2 people like this

I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is like the straw that broke the camels back. The notion that Kou, Lauing, Burt, and Eisnerberg could be voted into office this November frightens me.

One is totally unprofessional and her remarks, typically aggressive in tone, are always off the mark despite seeming to have been prepared for her.
One is a warm body who struggles to figure out which way the wind is blowing, makes an uneducated guess, and then tries to sail in that direction until he loses his nerve and sits on the sideline.
One has earned a reputation for being cruel, short-tempered, and frankly unaccomplished. With so many years on the loop, it's surprising how few miles he's covered.
One has an ax to grind with an ever-growing list that spans nearly every demographic. If her case is met with resistance, she pounces with equal parts hostility and fervor. She seems to be in a fight with everyone who doesn't see eye to eye with her and yet, ironically, imagines herself as a team player.

What sort of Council would this leave us? Can you really imagine the interactions between Dubois, Filseth, Kou, Eisenberg, Lauing, Burt and Cormack as being productive towards meeting the challenges of the next decade (2020-2030)? This strikes me as the most frightening group of leaders that could possibly be elected into office in my many years as a Palo Alto resident. God help us.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:56 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:56 am
19 people like this

Posted by DC Comics Suicide Squad, a resident of Community Center

>> I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Yes, you did, and so will I. Lydia Kou has been a breath of fresh air in a stale, overcrowded room. Thank you Lydia!


Ray
Professorville
on Jul 31, 2020 at 5:45 pm
Ray, Professorville
on Jul 31, 2020 at 5:45 pm
12 people like this

Thank you Lydia for your service to the city. I have met with you and find you, as someone said, "a breath of fresh air." You have my vote and a contribution to your campaign and I shall analyze as best I can, the desires of the others running for Council.

It is disheartening to see conversations disintegrate into comments about people's beliefs who are not involved in anything other than, VOTE for the person you think best fulfills what you expect of a City Councilor. You can say why, but this should be a forum of enlightenment, not a discussion about symantics or reporting or how long you have lived inPalo Alto. It should be about the future of Palo Alto.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 3, 2020 at 9:11 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 3, 2020 at 9:11 am
14 people like this

This is Lydia's column. She is a hard worker and does understand the issues. I did disagree on her position concerning the Fry's site and suspect that "deal" is out of everyone's hands. The players will be boxed in by the powers to be at a higher level to reach some ABAG requirements. When all is said and done we have to meet a requirement and that is the obvious place to do it.

I disagreed with Eisenberg's take on Foothill Park. She is suppose to be a lawyer and her response was not a legal response. It was a "pandering' response. She is like a person who has ADHD and all over the place with assumptions that she is in charge and everyone else is going to toe the line that she establishes. We already have that in Mr. Fine without all of the verbiage. That approach makes me sick enough that I cannot stand watching the PACC meetings. Not interested in buying more of the same on steroids. Since she is on the legal staff she does have input in city functions and is suppose to keep us out of trouble. How is that working? NOT


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 4, 2020 at 10:07 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2020 at 10:07 am
11 people like this

Lydia - great job last night. You identified the short and long range issues and clearly put the financial aspects of FHP in the center of this issue. Super Job.


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