SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose’s planned downtown land sale to tech giant Google has prompted a hunger strike at City Hall.
About 40 pastors, homeless people and supporters are protesting the deal, saying the city land should be used for housing the homeless.
“We disagree spiritually on the direction of our city,” said Pastor Scott Wagers of CHAM Deliverance Ministries. “San Jose’s got a vision. It doesn’t include everybody. Our vision, our fast, is to include all of our brothers and sisters. And make sure that this is a city that takes care of all of its citizens.”
The group spent Monday camped out on the steps of City Hall to call attention to what they said was a human rights crisis.
“We don’t need to guarantee unlimited profits for these tech corporations,” said Sandy Perry of the Affordable Housing Network. “What we need is to take care of our people.
San Jose plans to sell 21 acres of prime downtown land to Google for $110 million so the company can build a new high tech campus with as many as 25,000 jobs.
San Jose officials say the deal will benefit San Jose.
“The average San Josean is going to have more job opportunities closer to home, thousands of new housing units and money for affordable housing,” according to Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh.
Walesh said the deal calls for 25 percent of the new housing units to be for low-income residents.
The protest got the attention of downtown workers including David Curtis, who’s seen it from the other side as a software developer.
“I think the middle class is getting pushed out. I think a lot of people, especially around here are getting pushed into the streets,” said Curtis. “I think they have a point.”
Protesters and plan supporters will attend a city council meeting where the plan will go up for a vote Tuesday night.
The land includes several parcels that were once set aside by San Jose for a downtown ballpark for the Oakland A’s. Google stepped in after the A’s move to San Jose was blocked by Major League Baseball.
In a statement, Google said it “remains committed to the creation of affordable housing in San Jose and will continue to work with the city and community to address the aspirations and concerns surrounding future development.”