Midpeninsula Post

Julie Lythcott-Haims

(Courtesy Julie Lythcott-Haims)

Lythcott-Haims represented the 18th congressional district at 2008 Democratic National Convention, co-led the peninsula’s Democratic Volunteer Center in Menlo Park, worked in various nonprofit groups like the Young Women’s Christian Association of the Mid-Peninsula and is a bestselling author of three nonfiction books.

“I’m running for city council because as a Palo Alto resident for over 20 years, I have come to appreciate that while I am a homeowner, many cannot afford to live in our city,” Lythcott-Haims said. “Humans need shelter, and we don’t have enough of it in Palo Alto.”

Housing

Lythcott-Haims voiced support for a five-story housing development that would provide 20 housing units next to the Town & Country shopping center.

She is in favor of higher-density developments for housing and the creation of market rate and affordable housing. Lythcott-Haims is also in favor of streamlining development in North and South Palo Alto and increasing support, either through incentives or more streamlined processes, for accessory dwelling units.

Lythcott-Haims said she is a believer in “not leaving anyone behind” and wants to make sure that people of different income levels, ethnicities, sexualities and backgrounds feel safe in Palo Alto.

“Too often the people who are trying to move in are of color, or they’re low income, or they’re in some other category that isn’t considered ‘traditional Palo Alto,’” Lythcott-Haims said. “I have been the recipient of that kind of cruelty, and I will not stand for that happening to other people.”

City services

Lythcott-Haims supports removing or severely reducing the usage of K-9 units in the police department, which she said have a history of violence towards African-Americans. She also emphasized the importance of addressing issues around race.

“I want law enforcement colleagues to be able to speak frankly about the issues we face because if you can’t speak frankly, if you can’t talk about them, you can’t face them,” Lythcott-Haims said. 

Environment

Lythcott-Haims said she wants to make the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan a higher priority for the council and offer incentives and resources for families to switch away from fossil fuels. She has also expressed interest in increasing green transportation options, such as electric school buses.

“I think it’s absurd, frankly, having grown up not here, that school children are driven to school and back by their parents and that you have hundreds of cars every day taking kids to our elementary, middle, and high schools,” Lythcott-Haims said in an interview with the Palo Alto Daily Post. “I want to see [the crosstown] shuttle come back, I’d love to partner with Stanford … so that we can all get around our city.”

Community inclusivity

Lythcott-Haims is the only candidate who has youth mental health listed as one of her priorities. She is in favor of creating deeper ties between the Palo Alto Unified School District and the council and has expressed interest in the creation of a youth mental health task force, a group of elected youth who would work to address the youth mental health crisis.

“Let’s have the courage to ask our youth, ‘What does it feel like to be a kid here?’” Lythcott-Haims said. “And, [we need] to be brave enough to say, ‘You know what, we’re going to make some brave and bold decisions,’ so that [youth] life is one of greater ease and greater joy, because that’s what childhood is supposed to be.”

To learn more about Lythcott-Haims, visit her website here.

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