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San Jose Seeks San Francisco Tech Firms Amid Protests Against Techies

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Protestors block tech shuttle buses between market and mission streets. (Mark Kelly/CBS)

Protestors block tech shuttle buses between market and mission streets. (Mark Kelly/CBS)

Len-Ramirez_BIO-HEAD Len Ramirez
San Jose native Len Ramirez has been a news reporter for KPIX 5...
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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — As protests heat up in San Francisco over so-called “Google buses” and tax breaks for tech companies, San Jose officials are hoping to lure companies with a friendlier business climate.

Thousands of new housing units are coming online at a blistering pace, including two new 20-story high-rises in Downtown San Jose. But what is not up to speed are the numbers of jobs being created.

“Out of the top 20 cities in the United States, we are the only one that has a larger nighttime population, than a daytime population. And we want that to change, we want more jobs to bring that more equal or even better,” said San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis.

Khamis told KPIX 5 he was dumbstruck when he first heard about the loud and sometimes angry protests over the loud and sometimes angry protests in San Francisco over tech shuttles and tax breaks for companies such as Twitter.

The councilman wants to send a message that those companies and their workers are both more than welcome in San Jose.

“We won’t be protesting you, we will be welcoming you and hoping that you will bring jobs to our city,” Khamis said.

He said San Jose has better prices and better weather than the City by the Bay. Although the Silicon Valley housing market is hot, it’s not red hot like San Francisco. And in this part of Silicon Valley, there is no class warfare against techies.

“San Jose is much more open for that business, it’s not as hot of a space, it’s a little bit of an undiscovered gem, so there’s plenty of places for people to live,” said Greg Woock, CEO of talking and texting app company Pinger.

Woock said he relocated to San Jose in 2006, moving out of primo real estate in Manhattan.

“We had to move, it was just practical because the labor force that we needed was out here. So the software talent was here, the hardware talent that we needed at the time was here,” he said.

He found the workers, among the most educated in the country and room to grow. Pinger will soon fill out two floors of a historic building in Downtown, close to hip restaurants, housing and transit, all at a comparative bargain price.

“It’s much more affordable in San Jose. There’s a hunk that remains in my bottom line that wouldn’t be there if I was in San Francisco,” Woock said.

City officials also said unlike San Francisco, their permitting process doesn’t have as much red tape, claiming that they move at the speed of business.

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