"Voice your displeasure outside"
Last week, so many people attended our rally before the City of San Jose's public meeting about a planned Google mega-campus in the city that many were barred from entering the packed meeting room.
San Jose residents trying to attend a public meeting about the future of their city were told to "voice your displeasure outside." Many people could not raise their concerns inside the public meeting, but TV news cameras were there to capture the events.
We went to City Hall with a simple message: If Google's coming to town, we need it to be a good neighbor.
We know first hand that major tech expansions lead to massive increases in homelessness, evictions and rents. We've seen it happen in San Francisco and throughout Silicon Valley. In Mountain View, Google's current hometown, homelessness has soared by 1,024% since 2011.
We also know that the low-wage jobs these campuses create do not pay the bills. What use is a $16/hour job at Google when the average rent in Google's hometown of Mountain View has soared to $4,000 per month?
Google and the City of San Jose have a choice to make. Are they going to forge a new path for tech expansion? One that protects existing residents, works with the community and actually benefits local people. Or will they allow rampant tech-fuelled gentrification to continue?