SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Many San Jose residents had a message for city leaders on Tuesday: Just say no — to Google.
They’re worried the tech giant’s new downtown development is about to price them out of town.
It was hours before the San Jose City Council would vote on the Google compensation agreement which would allow the company to buy city-owned property for $67 million, for nine parcels?”
But San Jose resident Zenaida Sanchez arrived early and waited for a chance to voice her opposition.
Sanchez said, “Are we going to sell our downtown San Jose? The part that is going to be worth so much more, that is going to appreciate, not because of Google but because of the infrastructure? We’re going to sell that for what is it, $67 million?”
She says if anything, the land should be leased with payments tied to Google’s stock performance.
Her opposition was calm and measured. Others have been more in your face with their opposition.
Several protesters heckled Mayor Sam Liccardo’s state of the city speech last week and were tossed out of the building.
They’re concerned Google will drive already sky high rents out of sight.
“Say it loud, say it clear, Google is not welcome here,” they chanted.
But Liccardo defended the deal.
“Google is paying us 2.5 times what the city paid for this land and what the land was even worth a year and a half ago,” Liccardo said.
Thew mayor assured taxpayers that they are getting their money’s worth and that negotiations with Google are just beginning and will be open and inclusive.
“We’ll be talking about affordable housing and education and a lot of other needs in this city,” Liccardo said. “But I think it’s important for everyone to understand that this is a very public process. This is going to take a lot of time to work out. It’s not all going to get decided today.”
Liccardo says the city council’s Tuesday vote will not be the final word. The public process, shaping the plan and building it out, is expected to take a decade or more.
As of 6:20 p.m. on Tuesday, the city council was still meeting and hadn’t voted on the matter yet. However, the compensation agreement is expected to pass.