San Jose Google: how we move forward

December 5, 2018

Last night, after a 10-hour City Council meeting filled with protests and impassioned testimony, the San Jose Council voted to sell our public land for Google’s mega-campus — and agreed that community benefits, especially affordable housing and opportunities for local residents, must be a core part of the project.

Hundreds of San Jose residents raised concerns that a deal that’s been marred by a lack of transparency and community engagement could displace our city’s families, and speakers called on Google to address the occupational segregation that means tech’s low-wage janitors and cafeteria workers look more like San Jose’s diverse communities than do the high-wage programmers and engineers.

Emotions ran high amidst unprecedented security and restrictions, with the final vote happening inside an empty meeting hall after all attendees were cleared from the room following civil disobedience.

Responding to your months of organizing — from attending community meetings and actions outside Google and City Hall, to signing petitions and sharing videos — the Council said they’ve heard the community’s demands that Google address its impacts on San Jose.

It’s a key win — but right now it’s also just a promise, without firm implementation plans or concrete commitments from Google. In the coming months, it will be up to all of us to make that promise real: to hold Google and the City accountable to taking meaningful action through a much more open and transparent process in which the community has a real say. This is especially true when it comes to ensuring Google commits to quality, family-supporting jobs for Google’s shuttle drivers, cafeteria workers, janitors and security officers.

If we get this right, San Jose can set a new standard for how tech growth can create widespread opportunity — rather than the trail of gentrification and evictions that so many people spoke about last night.

Thank you for all you have done in the past 18 months, for your energy, your passion, and your deep commitment to a San Jose that values transparency, engagement, and inclusion.

Now, let’s keep on the pressure. To quote Frederick Douglass, “power concedes nothing without a demand.”