Posted by Maria, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jan 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm
What kind of question is that?! If you sum up the cost and benefit of all companies being in Palo Alto, or downtown, do you have actually doubt that the costs outweigh the benefits (many of them intangible) of having business activity and innovation in Palo Alto?! Why would Pat Burt need to know precisely that formula when it is evident that we need these sort of companies to keep Palo Alto interesting, and not just from a financial perspective.
It is obvious that you want to live under a rock where nothing ever happens. That's not Palo Alto! Welcome to the 21st century.
Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:43 am
> What rock are you living under?
It’s amazing how some people in Palo Alto never seem to learn anything .. no matter how many times the basics are explained to them.
All entities occupy space, consume a certain amount of energy, and also create disruptions in the ecosystem which are often described as externalities. These externalities in an urban setting can ripple across the landscape, often creating problems for people not directly associated with the organism/entity/company. The parking problems downtown are an on-going, and seemingly unsolvable, problem that demonstrates a first order externality. And then there is traffic, as employees/clients/customers/suppliers/vendors/etc. need to gain access to the space where the entity operates. Beyond that, there is infrastructure that needs to be in place, and replaced, from time-to-time. Keeping the infrastructure functional takes more people than one might believe.
Continuing on, there is public safety, which often requires a certain number of public safety employees based on a ratio of people per square mile. And of course, there is a never ending number of managers at City Halls—who end up being hired to do something, even if it is not managing.
High Tech companies do not contribute much to the financial ecosystem of Palo Alto—other than buying lunches. While Surveymonkey.com is not a smokestack industry kind of outfit, it nonetheless generates externalities that must be paid for, one way or another. Outside of the indirect payment of property tax through their lease, and any taxes they pay for utilities—these sorts of companies do not contribute much to the financial operation of the City Government.
As to their ability to draw other companies to Palo Alto that interact with them, and somehow contribute to the tax base—that is really a far reach to suggest, without some proof.
So .. that’s the rock I live under. What kind of rock do you live under that you don’t know about these issues?
Posted by Maria, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm
The entrance of ALL tenants (including you) add externalities to the ecosystem. As a citizen of Palo Alto and business owner, I'd much prefer to have the vitality of technology companies than that of another Starbucks or similar, which by the way hardly contribute to the local coffers because they put everything in to-go containers --and forego taxes -- and which headquarters are not nearby; and which types also add to consumerism instead of the global long term brand equity of Palo Alto, and Silicon Valley.
In addition, it is the City's policy to not be involved in picking and choosing who enters the business mix and who does not. In the same vein they will not advocate for or against SurveyMonkey, regardless of what they do. It is up to the landlord and tenant to agree to that.
The City's job is to make sure that certain process takes place to mitigate pollution, traffic, and all the externalities you mention. Growth has externalities, but it also has long term intangible value, that you cannot hold the City Manager to be able to measure that. It is not his job.
It is entirely obvious that all the squeaky wheels in these posts are always against growth. And they entirely forget why it is their property values continue to increase, while the Palo Alto economy has not collapsed like every other town in America in the last few years. Guess why? It is because we have hosted these sort of companies( and their employees) that have had a global impact, and the only ones that actually export worldwide.
These words and my time is wasted, in any case. Go back to your rock you want to live under.