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Palo Alto moves forward with business registry

Original post made on Apr 30, 2014

Facing a job boom of immense but mysterious proportions, Palo Alto officials voted late Tuesday to create an online registry that will require all local companies to provide employee data to the city.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:50 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by Timothy Gray, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:04 am

The Business registry idea is a useful tool and needs to be supported.

Last time the registry was brought to the citizens as a Business Tax and was defeated.

The historical behavior has been to favor big businesses and penalize small businesses. To encourage the small start-ups, a provision should provide a free or very low cost registration for businesses less than five, so that we maintain and encourage an entrepenurial environment. Otherwise, downtown will become the domain of large corporations and we will loose the diversity that has made Palo Alto great. We must take extraordinary measures to welcome the little guy.

Also, if our real objective is having a complete registry, a free registration for the small businesses would then remove any incentive to fly under the radar.

Think about it.

Tim Gray


Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:13 am

> some of the questions on the city's proposed questionnaire for
> businesses, including ones relating to county health permits and
> tobacco sales.

It will be very interesting to see just what the City asks on this questionnaire. What could tobacco sales have to do with traffic, or parking? Nothing! But if the City wanted to be able to continue its social engineering--forcing companies to provide this sort of information might be one way for them to make claims about this, that, or the other that they could not otherwise.

To date--no one at City Hall has demonstrated any use for this information. Good that there is a Council election in the Fall--we'll get a chance to quiz any incumbants about how they have solved all the problems by having this information.


Posted by Entrepreneur, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 30, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I've run a solo practitioner consulting business out of my house for almost 30 years now. The article says home-based businesses are intended to be exempt from the registry. Is the text of the proposal available anywhere?


Posted by It's a TAX, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm

So much for public input and transparency.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2014 at 6:48 am

The city council members proposing the business registry says:

"Most cities rely on these tools for obtaining and analyzing critical information about the characteristics of businesses in their communities for purposes such as informing zoning decisions and public-safety planning and service response," the memo stated."

I would like to see the city council explain how this information would have helped their votes on past PC Zoning decisions, like the Lytton Gateway, College Terrace Center, or the Maybell Fiasco. Would they have changed their votes for Lytton Gateway if they knew there were 15,000 people who work downtown or 20,000 people who downtown? And if they want to know how many people are going to occupy Lytton Gateway, how is the developer going to know? and how is the developer going to know how many are driving versus taking public transit?

We already know about the parking problems downtown - it's all been well documented on how many parking spaces there are, the occupancy rate of the parking spaces, etc. by residents in Downtown North & Professorville. Does the city staff or city council not believe the residents?

The city council keeps saying other cities have a business registry or business license tax - give us some concrete examples from those other cities on how they use the information for zoning changes. But the council doesn't have any examples because cities have not used this information for zoning.

In my opinion if the city council feels this information is so important in making zoning changes, and they did not have the information, they should have never voted for the PC Zoning changes in the past. And it shows that they were basing their votes on other criteria - like helping the developers who were their campaign contributors.


Posted by Palo Alto Native, a resident of College Terrace
on May 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Great idea. Establish caps on number of workers per square feet an max captivity for events (first number lower than max capacity). This to counter open space work environments and overcrowding in general. Unannounced inspection officers to ensure conformity to capacity laws. Same applies to private homes with say 10 people living in a two bedroom home ( either a function of young professionals, multiple families, or cultural norms in foreign countries).


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