Midpeninsula Post

Palo Alto City Council elects new mayor and vice mayor, swears in councilmembers

Palo Alto City Hall in October 2022. (Yoochan An)

Lydia Kou and Greer Stone were elected Palo Alto mayor and vice mayor, respectively, at last Monday’s city council meeting. New councilmembers Ed Lauing, Julie Lythcott-Haims and Vicki Veenker were also sworn in.

Stone nominated former vice mayor Kou for mayor. The nomination was approved unanimously.

“Anyone who has had the pleasure of getting to know Lydia will immediately think of her incredible heart and her empathy,” Stone said. “I think that’s what our community can expect with Mayor Lydia: an empathetic and kind leader, but also someone who is not afraid to stand up for what they believe in and tell it like it is.”

Former mayor Pat Burt, who said he has known Kou for over a decade, praised Kou for her continuous dedication to the community.

“Having served with many councilmembers, I don’t know of anyone who is more committed to the job, who does her preparation more thoroughly and feels greater devotion to our community than vice mayor Kou,” Burt said.

Stone and councilmember Greg Tanaka were nominated for the position of vice mayor by Veenker and Lythcott-Haims, respectively. Lythcott-Haims and Tanaka voted for Tanaka, whose term expires in 2024.

“[Tanaka] dives into the issue to help us understand the issue in a different manner than may have been presented,” Lythcott-Haims said. “He is efficient, he is dedicated. … Tanaka is entering his final two years on our city council. This is our last chance to elect him … as vice mayor.”

Stone, who was elected to council in 2020, was ultimately elected vice mayor by a vote of 5-2.

“[Stone is] extremely well prepared and a very active participant on all the issues,” Lauing said. “He takes a proactive approach digging into things with staff and colleagues in council meetings. … I think Greer will be an extremely strong leader assisting Mayor Kou in 2023.”

Councilmembers also presented and adopted resolutions commending former councilmembers Alison Cormack, Tom Dubois and Eric Filseth for their “outstanding public service.”

Cormack, who received the most votes in Palo Alto City Council history and served on council for one term, was commended for her efforts in improving communication, supporting public safety and championing climate action, among other contributions.

“I’m incredibly impressed with your memory and your dedication, you also came across as incredibly smart,” Tanaka said to Cormack. “It’s been a privilege serving with you.”

Dubois, who was mayor in 2021 and served on council for two terms, was recognized for his role in fostering community through events, improving infrastructure, creating affordable housing, promoting sustainability and increasing government transparency, among other contributions.

“I remember when you [Dubois] ran for council in 2014, one of the things that struck me was you said you loved Palo Alto,” Kou said. “All your actions show it. You have championed fairness, openness and transparency and respect. … I shall miss you on council, as will many members of the public.”

Filseth served as mayor in 2019 and was on council for two terms. The council acknowledged him for helping rebuild the city’s affordable housing fund, advocating for the community, funding programs and reducing costs where appropriate, among other contributions.

“Whether it’s safety issues or affordable housing, … I can’t think of a better advocate for the residents of Palo Alto than you have been over the course of the past eight years,” said Alex Kobayashi, on behalf of Senator Becker and Assemblymember Marc Berman to Filseth. “You have provided reason, arguments and advocacy for constituents. … Thank you for your service.”

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