"Palo Alto's history is not a story about buildings or streetcars. It's about people. It's the story of a host of individuals who have contributed to the evolution of a city that, after 100 years, is widely respected for its sense of community." - A Portrait of Palo Alto by Paul Gullixson
Eighteen years ago my husband and I chose to move to Palo Alto to bring up our children. Along the way, I grew to love belonging to a "village", where neighbors cared, truly cared, helping and sharing with their neighbors and often proudly saying “Palo Alto is the greatest place to live and to bring up our children”.
Today, our “village” is quickly being diminished with a vision that is not in line with the identity of Palo Alto’s residents. I often ask myself what happened to our city. In the race to make Palo Alto "world class" in innovation, environmental leadership, and technology, our leaders have often not considered the effect on residents. Increased developments with up-zoning leads to traffic congestion, to parking frustrations, to further overtaxing our infrastructure, to enrollment increases that further overcrowd school campuses and to less park and open spaces.
We need a City government that uses sensible methods to address growth, and one that listens and responds to Palo Altans’ voices.
We need new leadership in City Council. You can bring this about by supporting and electing me to the City Council to address the following issues:
1) Current development policy is contrary to what many Palo Altans want our community to be.
- Unchecked and undesirable developments
- Traffic and parking congestion
- School overcrowding
- Declining quality of life
- Not enough parks and community centers
- Degrading Palo Alto’s physical appearance
2) Rebuilding confidence and trust in City Hall by realigning City Hall's vision with that of the residents', and encourage and foster citizen involvement.
- The City Manager has acknowledged that staff reports tend to be advocacy for a particular position rather than a presentation of the policy choices, advantages, disadvantages and tradeoffs. Staff reports are widely seen as ignoring much of the input from residents and biased towards special interests. Except when there has been public outcry, Council too often lets this slide. As a Council member, I would provide the leadership to change this culture among Staff.
3) We have had a large infrastructure backlog since the 1990s, today, most appears to be addressed. However, there are 9 significant infrastructure projects which includes the new public safety building planned for the upcoming years and will require oversight. We need a Council that will provide oversight and have the financial discipline to recognize that we cannot be “world class” on a range of peripheral activities at the cost of neglecting the basics.
Lastly, if elected, I would like to work with like-minded Council colleagues, here in Palo Alto and other cities, to return local zoning and planning process to the municipalities and for Sacramento to cease on legislature which are unfunded and treats all cities alike. Sacramento's unfunded mandates allow for developers to build bigger and gives concessions that overburdens a city services, infrastructure, schools and reduces residents' quality of life.
For a more responsive City government, vote for Lydia Kou for City Council.