SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The San Jose City Council’s unanimous vote early Wednesday morning to approve a land deal with tech giant Google is a step toward solving the city’s historic jobs/housing imbalance, but officials say many more such deals are needed.
San Jose Officials gave the green light to the land deal after one of the most raucous council meetings in city history.
The protests led to arrests and a rare closing of the council chambers.
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“People were being thrown out just for saying anything,” protester Daniel Gonzales told KPIX 5. “It doesn’t matter how many ways the city council spins this; they’re making backroom deals. We’re going to defeat them.”
Tensions remain high over the deal’s potential impact on housing costs.
Google will pay $110 million for 21 acres of city-owned land near the Diridon train station to build a new high-tech campus which could bring 25,000 jobs to San Jose.
The jobs are needed because most of the people who live in San Jose commute to other cities for work.
“I don’t think there is a comparable city that has so much more housing than jobs. I think San Jose is kind of unique,” said Steve Levy, an economist with the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy.
According to Levy, the housing imbalance stresses police, fire and other city services.
“The problem is they don’t get the tax revenue from the jobs to support the services for the residents,” explained Levy.
Near the end of the ten-hour meeting, City Councilmember Sergio Jimenez asked city staff members what the Google deal would do to the imbalance.
“I know we’ve been talking about that for many, many, many, many years,” he said.
Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh responded that it will help, but only incrementally.
“The general plan calls for adding 360,000 jobs and 120,000 housing units by 2040. And it’s that ratio that ends up moving it to 1 to 1,” said Walesh.
City officials are optimistic that the Google deal will also spur development from other companies in the downtown area, bringing more jobs and services to San Jose.