EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed in the news items cited here do not necessarily represent the opinion of Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning. We try to present a balanced picture of the news on the subjects of housing and legislation.

Palo Alto Mayor Assails State Housing Mandates

By Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto Mayor Lydia Kou took a swing on Wednesday at state housing mandates during her “State of the City” address and warned that recent laws could render the council helpless to prevent an onrush of large developments.
Kou sharply criticized recent state laws like Senate Bill 35 and Senate Bill 330, which limits a council’s ability to revise design standards.

Cities raise concerns about bill that extends streamlined approval for housing

by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly
Fri, May 12, 2023,

Palo Alto considers joining opposition to Senate Bill 423, which would eliminate sunset date for SB 35.
With California’s legislative season entering a critical juncture, cities are keeping a particularly close eye on Senate Bill 423, a bill that would indefinitely extend an existing law that creates a streamlined approval process for residential projects in cities that fail to meet their housing quotas.

Opinion: Are any of California’s housing laws actually working?

PUBLISHED: May 10, 2023

A slew of ambitious housing legislation has emerged recently in states as varied as Maine, Utah and Washington. Many of the proposals aim to loosen zoning restrictions with the goal of addressing housing shortages. Perhaps not surprisingly, California is mentioned in many of the resulting conversations and debates, and not in a positive light.

Housing Unaffordability: How We Got There and What to Do About It


From the end of World War II until 1970, owner-occupied housing was broadly affordable across the entire country. The standard measure for measuring affordability —the price-to-income ratio— was at about 2.8 in 1950, 2.5 in 1960, 2.6 in 1970, 3.4 in 1980, and 4.2 in 2020. This meant that, to a large extent, factors other than housing, such as climate, amenities, and job and economic opportunities, drove migration, which builders were in a position to respond to.

Marin Voice: In fight against excessive housing numbers, our hands are far from tied 1

April 21, 2023 at 3:43 p.m.

The threats of a “strike force” coming from Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office; intimidating letters from the Housing and Community Development Department chastising communities for what department considers inadequate housing elements; and well-funded, corporate-serving agencies like the pro-housing group Yes In My Back Yard, as well as it’s legal arm YIMBY Law, are having a stifling impact.