Doing a “deep” dive into Moore’s Myths and Misconceptions in his “newsletter”.


Executive Summary: Debunking Moore’s Claims on Land Use and Housing

This document criticizes Los Gatos council members’ Moore’s and Ristow’s handling of land use and housing issues. Here are the key points:

  • 2040 Land Use Element: Ristow and Moore approved a plan that significantly increased development density, allowing for nearly 12,000 additional housing units. Their downplaying the impact hasn’t addressed the lack of a fiscal impact analysis.
  • Referendum: In 3 weeks, over 3300 Residents opposed the 2040 plan and forced a vote (referendum) due to concerns about overdevelopment.  Recently, rather than putting the referendum on the ballot and being horrifically embarrassed, Ristow, Moore and Rennie withdrew their ill-conceived Land Use element.  More to come from them in the future.
  • Builder’s Remedy: The town lacks a certified Housing Element, opening the door for developers to bypass town regulations through “Builder’s Remedy” applications. Of the 16 cities in Santa Clara county, Los Gatos is 1 of 4 who still does not comply
  • Failed Certification: Ristow and Moore are blamed for the town missing the deadline to certify its Housing Element, leading to the Builder’s Remedy situation. 12 nearby towns achieved certification.  Los Gatos currently has 7 proposed apartment/condo buildings ranging from 7-12 stories high.
  • Misleading Statements: Ristow and Moore downplay the consequences of their decisions and portray themselves as prioritizing a compliant Housing Element, despite approving a non-compliant version earlier.

The document concludes that Ristow and Moore’s actions contradict their claims and prioritize their personal agendas over responsible growth that respects the town’s character.


Here is what really happened:


Moore voted for the 2040 Land Use Element that removed the first goal enshrined in the 2020 Land Use Element which was – “to preserve, promote and protect the existing small-town character and quality of life within Los Gatos”. He fundamentally does not agree this goal should guide ALL development in the Town. Don’t take our word for this, go ask him!

A goal “to preserve, promote and protect the existing small-town character and quality of life” does not appear in the 2040 Land Use Element. This is only one of many reasons why 3,000 residents signed a successful petition to referend the disastrous 2040 Land Use Element that Moore voted for. Moore only now has agreed to take the action to rescind the approval of the 2040 Land Use Element because he feared the outcome of a public vote would be devasting to his and Ristow’s pro-growth agenda.

Moore voted for a 2040 Land Use Element which massively increased the allowable development density Town wide on Medium Density (renamed High Density), Very High Density, Mixed Use and Central Business District land parcels, approximately doubling the allowable density. This legally allowed the potential development of over 12,000 housing incremental units. Worse he voted to do this knowing the Town had not conducted a fiscal impact analysis to determine the fiscal impact of growth at these levels. How is that being responsible in your decision making?

Moore continues to claim the upzoning really doesn’t matter by conflating dubious and unsubstantiated forecasts of future housing development with what is legally permissible to be developed under the 2040 Land Use Element. This is not how reasonable land use planning should be conducted. Moore simply refuses to acknowledge the inconvenient fact that the massive upzoning was an invitation to “more” development Town wide and at substantially higher densities!

The doubling of land use density is a one-way ratchet – once you increase the allowable development density on land, it is virtually impossible to reduce that increase under existing state law.  For Moore to claim he has always tried to protect Los Gatos from development that is out of step with the character of the community is not substantiated by any of his actions, starting with the 2040 Land Use Element. His words are a convenient sound bite that one expects to hear from a career politician, which clearly Moore aspires to be.

Regarding the comments on the Housing Element, the self-serving nature of his comments is stunning.

Let’s start with the Builder’s Remedy. To be clear, this type of development application only applies if the Town does not have a certified (e.g., substantially complies with State Law) housing element. And as of this writing the Town still doesn’t have a certified housing element.

The deadline to obtain certification from HCD was January 31, 2023. The Town Councils under Mayors Rennie and Ristow in 2022 and 2023 failed to do their job. The deadline was known years in advance. But those Councils were controlled by a block of three council members who refused to take control of the process, overly relied upon Staff that wasn’t fully informed and overly relied on an incompetent consultant that we paid $360,000 and got nothing for our money.

The result was the Town failed to meet the deadline.  And the Town is now paying the price with approximately 15 builder remedy application which we can do little about. That is the ugly reality Moore is desperately trying to distance himself from. He was part of the gang of three.

What everyone needs to understand is under the Builders Remedy, the town has lost essentially all discretion over developments. The excuse that there are other laws that allow for bonuses and concessions is just hand waving. None of the State bonus density laws or concessions would allow a 7-story building to be developed across from the downtown park. We should not be distracted from the root cause of this – namely not obtaining certification of the Housing Element in a timely manner.

Let’s directly address the pathetic excuse for the Town’s abject failure in obtaining housing element certification. First, let’s all agree just because other local jurisdictions didn’t meet the January 31, 2023 doesn’t mean that Town has done an excellent job in managing the process. What is true is no other jurisdictions in Santa Clara County have received as many builder’s remedy applications as the Town. Los Gatos won the Builders Remedy prize.

As of this writing the Town’s Housing element is still not certified, while the overwhelming majority of jurisdiction in Santa Clara County have been certified including Los Altos Hills (May 30, 2023); Los Altos (September 5, 2023); Campbell (May 30, 2023), Gilroy (August 2, 2023), Milpitas (May 17, 2023) and Morgan Hill (November 29, 2023) to name just a few. Why is the Town still not certified? Ask Moore and the two other council members that have acted as a voting block for over three years, substantially controlling the process, including blocking reasonable actions such as taking notes at HCD meetings with Town Staff.

Worse, Moore’s statement that “I have made it my top priority to pass a compliant Housing Element as expeditiously as possible” underlies the problem we have – Moore simply doesn’t know what he is doing!

Moore voted on January 30, 2023 to adopt a Housing Element making a finding that “Housing Element substantially complies with Housing Element Law”. Moore ignored a letter the Town had received from HCD two weeks earlier which clearly informed the Town Council the draft housing element under consideration did not comply with State law.

Instead of taking HCD’s finding seriously, he recklessly proceeded to adopt the element anyway, making a “finding” that directly clashed with HCD’s letter and worse was not substantiated by any facts in the record. This put the Town in a very unfavorable position with the very state agency responsible for certification of the Town’s Housing Element. How was this good judgment?

For him to now attempt to “un-ring the bell” by claiming his top priority is to “now” pass a compliant element is proof of his lack of experience and knowledge. What did he think he was doing on January 30, 2023? This is what happens when we have well intentioned Council members with no experience and poor judgment in positions of power. Our community is impacted.

In closing, don’t misunderstand what we are saying. We believe Moore is trying his best and is not acting out of malintent. Moore is a good guy. Additionally, we believe in responsible growth that fits within the goal of preserving the Town’s character and charm. Under the State Law, the Town is required to grow, and we must comply with this law. But this doesn’t mean we have to be foolish.

Our issue is the “spin” Moore puts forth. Sadly, for him the facts demonstrate he is over his head on these complex land and housing issues, refuses to listen to other reasonable opinions, is guided primarily by his own political philosophy and then attempts to deflect and confuse the horrific decisions he has made that ultimately have catastrophic impact on the Town.

As we opened with, facts matter, and Moore’s track record is clearly on display for all to examine if they wish to take the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *