SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – As Google plans to build a massive campus in Downtown San Jose, the tech giant received an earful from people concerned about high rents and gentrification at a community meeting Monday night.
At the meeting, critics of the project unfurled a poster showing the Google Android mascot handing out an eviction notice, with a sign reading “Welcome to Googleville.”
It sums up the feelings of people and groups who are concerned about the mega campus Google plans to build on the western edge of downtown. The complex would include offices, retail space and residential units.
“I think anyone who drives through Mountain View has seen the impact of Google,” said Maria Noel Fernandez, campaign director of Silicon Valley Rising. “Homelessness has increased more than a thousand percent in Mountain View. You can see people living in RVs across Silicon Valley.”
Silicon Valley Rising is a coalition of community, faith and labor groups that has been critical of the project.
The group was one of several players at the table at Monday night’s packed “Station Area Advisory Group” meeting, which focused on housing solutions, education and jobs.
“What we’re told is that they’re bringing 20,000 jobs to San Jose and that we should be happy,” Fernandez told KPIX 5. “What we’re saying, as actual San Joseans is that we need to actually get details on what those jobs are going to be, an actual commitment that those subcontracted positions are going to be good jobs.”
A Google representative at the committee meeting said the company is listening, and will discuss the points raised throughout this community process.
During public comment, Blair, who declined to give his last name, told those gathered, “You’re ready to build a big bright new Downtown San Jose and you are really excluding and like possibly trying to exterminate the homeless downtown population.”
Gail Osmer of San Jose told representatives, “We need affordable or low income housing for seniors.”
In a statement to KPIX 5, Google public affairs manager Javier Gonzalez said, “The first six months of the city’s public engagement, and our own community meetings, have clarified the aspirations and concerns for future development…”
Gonzalez went on to say that the company will “continue to participate in these open dialogues.”