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Palo Alto Planning Commissioner Quits Over Too-Expensive Housing

Phil Hall
Aug 11, 2016

Housing in Silicon Valley is so expensive—pause for the response “How expensive is it?”—that a planning commissioner in Palo Alto quit her job because she was unable to afford living in that city.

According to a San Jose Mercury News report, Planning and Transportation Commissioner Kate Downing submitted her resignation yesterday, complaining that after five years of "trying to make it work in Palo Alto, my husband and I cannot see a way to stay in Palo Alto and raise a family here."

Indeed, Palo Alto is one of California’s priciest markets, where the average rent in the second quarter was $3,463; for homeownership in Santa Clara County, where the city is based, the median price of a single-family home is $982,500.

Downing added that she and her husband are moving to Santa Cruz and will continue her career as a senior corporate counsel to a tech company in Santa Clara. However, she bristled at the suggestion that her resignation should be seen as “a sad story about me.”

“I'm going to land on my feet,” she said. “I'm extraordinarily lucky and privileged. I'm going to be fine.”

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