A diverse crowd of over 200 people attended a town hall meeting about Google’s proposed mega-campus in downtown San Jose on Thursday August 24th 2017 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. The meeting was coordinated by Silicon Valley Rising, a coalition of local groups such as Affordable Housing Network, Asians American for Community Involvement, Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, Latinos United for A New America, NAACP San Jose Chapter, SEIU, Silicon Valley De-Bug, South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, Unite HERE Local 19, and Working Partnerships USA among others.
At the meeting residents addressed their concerns about the consequences of the Google campus such as increased costs of housing, inadequate high paying jobs, lack of diversity in employment, inefficient public transportation, lack local business support, and homelessness. Housing in particular is a major social issue and the Google campus will only exacerbate the problem.
Google has been in direct negotiations with City of San Jose but has neglected it’s own residents. Currently Google in in control of the plans for the mega-campus but this meeting and future meetings were organized to bring more equity and rational planning into the discussion. The meeting was a starting point to hear people’s voice and craft a more balanced plan that will hopefully benefit, Google, San Jose, and it’s residents.
Union workers picket Silvery Towers in down-town San Jose over hiring scab workers on May 31, 2017. According to Al Gonzalez, a business representative for UA Local 393, Silvery Towers was sold to Guangzhou R&F Properties in China. Full Power Construction an affiliate of Guangzhou R&F then hired non-union workers from outside the area.
It was also learned that Guangzhou R&F Properties lured Chinese millionaires to invest at least $500,000 in their project in order to obtain a US green card due to the EB-5 Visa program. The EB-5 Visa program is an archaic investor program enabling entrepreneurs to apply for a green card if they invest or provide jobs for workers.
Full Power Construction hired inexperienced non-union plumbers, sheet-metal workers, and electricians as low as $15 up to $30 a hour who are often inadequate for the work.
Full Power Construction are not paying workers family sustaining wages especially for the costly Silicon Valley area. They are not hiring local workers, apprentices, women, and veterans in order to cut costs and increase their profit margins. In addition the EB-5 scheme doesn’t really benefit local workers or help decrease local housing costs but only to make more money for Guangzhou R&F Properties.
In San Francisco on March 10, 2017, hundreds of Native people from different Nations and their supporters boisterously stood up for indigenous Native Rights and sovereignty. The nationwide protest was part of the four days of prayer, lobbying and demonstrations at the Nation’s Capitol. When President Trump gave the DAPL pipeline an approval for completion on January 2017, they showed the government wasn’t honouring any Native treaties. Most Native treaties were developed from 1774 to about 1832 to establish borders and behaviour between the government and Nations. These protests show that the struggle against DAPL will continue.
A fervent Women’s March crowd of over 30,000 women and supporters marched from San Jose City Hall to Plaza de César Chavez in San Jose on January 21, 2017. It was one of the largest marches in San Jose history. They marched to denounce the attitudes and beliefs of new President Donald Trump. Trump is threatening to overturn abortion rights, shut down Planned Parenthood, and nominate anti choice Supreme Court Justices. The Women’s March brought many new activists forward and re-energized the movement to protect human rights, civil liberties, and social justice.
An exuberant rally and march fighting for immigrant rights started at the San Jose City Hall and ended at the Plaza de César Chavez on January 17, 2017. It was the national and international day to demand protection against criminalization, deportations, and hatred resulting from the election of Trump. They were fighting to defend DACA (it allows young undocumented immigrants a deferred action from deportation), immigrants, LGBTQ, Muslims, and refugees.