Town Hall on Housing

Hosted by Lydia Kou, former Mayor, Palo Alto. Presentations by Eric Filseth, former Mayor, Palo Alto; Michael Barnes, former Mayor, Albany; Pam Lee, Attorney, Aleshire & Wynder; Anita Enander, former Mayor, Los Altos

PASZ Alert

HCD (the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development mandated more than 6000 new housing units for Palo Alto and is requiring Palo Alto to rezone properties currently used for commercial purposes for tall, high-density housing. Hundreds of jobs and many retail businesses will be lost.

Palo Alto Mayor Assails State Housing Mandates

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.

Four California Cities File Lawsuit to Stop SB-9

Petitioners/Plaintiffs City of Redondo Beach, City of Carson, City of Torrance, and City of Whittier bring this action to uphold the California Constitution and prevent the State of California from usurping a charter city’s land use authority, which …

California State Auditor releases scathing report on RHNA process

Report finds housing goals are not supported by evidence On March 17, Michael S. Tilden, the Acting California State Auditor, issued a blistering critique of the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and its Regional Housing Needs Assessments …

Who We Are:

We are a Citywide organization of residents concerned for our City’s future. We are actively involved in issues that are in agreement with our Principles and Goals as we strive to keep Palo Alto a unique place for raising families and fostering business innovation.

Our Mission:

Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ) is a grass roots, political action committee dedicated to a high quality of life for Palo Alto residents and the innovative spirit that has made Palo Alto unique.  We are for sensible land use planning and development and will continue to be advocates for mitigating the negative impacts of excessive development.

Our Vision:

We envision a dynamic Palo Alto that remains a family-oriented community with excellent schools, infrastructure and community services. Technology and business innovation are part of Palo Alto’s heritage and should be fostered.  We envision a City that is not overwhelmed by excessive development. We value diversity, our historic resources, our neighborhoods, parks and open spaces, and support projects that enhance our quality of life

Our Goals:

  1. Ensure that the pace of development does not outstrip our infrastructure, schools and City services, or compromise the beauty and character of our City.
  2. Encourage Housing that Allows for a Diverse Economic Population
  3. Maintain our Community as a Great Place to Live



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.

Sacramento housing mandates don’t make any economic sense

By: Gaetan Lion
November 19, 2023 – 9:49am

I am referring to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) housing building mandates. We know the demographics are not supportive of this scheme. California’s population is projected to remain flat or decline out to 2060. Given that the demographics with flat to declining population growth do not support Sacramento’s housing build-up, the resulting economics of housing development projects fall apart.

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Google ditches plans for $15 billion in Bay Area development

By Amanda Bartlett
Nov 5, 2023

Google has abandoned its plans for $15 billion in affordable housing, office and retail development in Silicon Valley, per a Friday announcement by tech giant and Australian developer Lendlease.
“The decision to end these agreements followed a comprehensive review by Google of its real estate investments, and a determination by both organizations that the existing agreements are no longer mutually beneficial given current market conditions.”

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State housing lawsuit against Huntington Beach put on pause

November 4, 2023

Top state officials took a legal blow in their ongoing lawsuit that accuses Huntington Beach of violating state housing laws, when a Superior Court judge halted their suit until a related federal case is decided.
A state Superior Court judge ruled Friday, Nov. 3, that the lawsuit file by the state Attorney General’s Office and California Department of Housing and Community Development must wait.

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October 27, 2023

Rarely has California seen so concerted and unified a campaign by its elected officials as the drive for housing density conducted by Gov. Gavin Newsom and allied state legislators over the past five years. All along, there have been three major goals: One is to ease a housing shortage, another is to drive down the price of housing and a third seeks somehow to ease the obdurate problem of homelessness.

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‘Affordable housing’ plans continue to be misguided

By Jackson Stromberg
October 25, 2023

I read Susan Kirsch’s Marin Voice commentary with keen interest.

It has been claimed that the state’s need for affordable housing is a compelling state interest that preempts the constitutional powers granted to cities. In fact, the current avalanche of housing bills coming from Sacramento provides only token benefits to low-income people as required by the law.

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October 20, 2023
Gov. Gavin Newsom is a big advocate of science, the concept, not the magazine. He’s often said science was behind his many controversial moves to counter COVID-19 and he’s using science in the state’s effort to mitigate future wildfires, for just two examples.

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Marin Voice: Problems with state housing policy emerging before our eyes

October 16, 2023 at 2:10 p.m.

The Museum of International Propaganda sits on a quiet corner in San Rafael. It displays examples from 25 countries, including Germany, Vietnam and the Soviet Union.
After visiting the museum, I started wondering if Sacramento’s housing policy qualifies. That is a goal of propaganda: to discourage critical thinking and discussion about an issue by using denigrating labels and name-calling so the popular narrative proceeds without challenge.

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The Yimbys are winning the media narrative, and that’s bad for all of us

OCTOBER 16, 2023

It’s too early to know what the local news media will do about a Board of Supes committee deciding today to once again delay Mayor London Breed’s extensive changes in local housing approval rules.
But based on a big piece in the SF Standard today, we can guess: It will be all about the Nimbys continuing to slow down changes that would allow more housing in the city and bring down prices.

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