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New mayor Lydia Kou, vice mayor Greer Stone to lead City Council for one-year term

Magali Gauthier/Used with permission

The City Council appointed Lydia Kou as mayor and Greer Stone as vice mayor in its Jan. 9 meeting. Both positions are one-year terms.

Stone, an attorney who previously served on Palo Alto’s Human Relations Commission and Santa Clara County’s Human Rights Commission and Justice Review Committee, said he is excited for the next part of his public service journey.

“(I enjoy) being able to help people, especially Palo Altans who have various issues or needs and who feel that they don’t have a voice in the community,” Stone said. “To be able to talk to them, (to) make change for them, is something that never gets old.”

Stone also said he hopes to finish long-term projects the city has planned.

“With regard to a lot of issues, we have the housing element and economic uncertainties with a possible looming recession,” Stone said. “We have the climate initiative we’re trying to get over the finish line too. There’s so much that needs to get done next year, which is why I felt it was a good time to be in leadership to make sure that those continue to progress.”

Stone said involving youth in local government is also one of his priorities and he hopes to gain input through the Palo Alto Youth Council.

“I know so many teenagers within the community (who) are incredibly invested in issues such as climate change,” Stone said. “We have an annual meeting with the City Council, where (the) youth can share their views, and they work on projects to increase youth connectivity across the city.”

Kou, a former real estate developer with six years of experience on the council, served as vice mayor in 2022.

Kou said that when she first moved to Palo Alto her involvement in the community expanded when she joined the City Council.

“My civic engagement expanded to emergency preparedness in my neighborhood expanding to the rest of the city,” Kou said. “I know a lot of the neighborhoods around here in Palo Alto, but not to the depth that I know having been involved in civic engagement.”

Kou said in her one-year term as mayor, she also plans to focus on resident input.

“We should make sure that the residents who live here are communicating to understand what the local government can improve on,” Kou said.

Kou also said she wants to ensure the needs of every resident are prioritized, especially young people.

“We’re all parents, and even though our children may be grown up, we want to ensure that our youth are looked after and they have what they need in this community,” Kou said. “Whether you’re from Paly or Gunn, someplace in the city will affect you.”

Kou will also review the city’s economic development during her term.

“We’re looking at where the gaps are to attract new businesses to come into Palo Alto so that it would be more catering to its residents; that’s one part,” Kou said. “The other part is climate change. We have extreme weather, so as we start experiencing this, we really must consider climate change.”

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