SAN JOSE – Nearly 300 residents gathered for the first in a series of community-led town halls on the potential impacts across the City, as well as the opportunities, of Google’s proposed San Jose Mega-Campus. Residents shared their vision for addressing issues of affordable housing, access to quality jobs and education and other community needs within the project.
“I have lived in the east side of San Jose my whole life and I have seen the many changes that have happened due to the tech industry growing around our community,” said María Guerrero, a barista for Eurest at Intel. “We would like a voice at the Google negotiations because of the many changes that will impact our community. We have many concerns and only by voicing these and working together can we change our community for the better.”
The City of San Jose has begun negotiations with Google and, despite vocal concerns from the community, has yet to offer residents across the City the opportunity to share their vision for the project. Recently, neighbors joined to say the community needs a seat at the table to ensure its needs are addressed within the project as San Jose negotiates the sale of some its most valuable public lands to Google.
“Some of our members have gone hungry because they couldn’t cover rent, pay for school, and support their families,” said Katherine Nasol, a member of Filipino youth and student organization Anakbayan Silicon Valley. “We want Google to not just provide free food for its employees, but support affordable housing, quality jobs, and education opportunities for our communities.”
The town hall consisted of a “learn-in”, breakout sessions in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, and a larger discussion on the community’s overall vision for the project. The residents were joined by Vice-mayor Magdalena Carrasco. The community vision for the project that develops through the series of town halls will be shared with the Mayor, City Council and Google representatives.