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East Palo Alto changes first-source hiring rule to accommodate Amazon

Some residents are outraged by the decision while the City Council says the ordinance is obsolete

East Palo Alto's long-standing first-source jobs rule of hiring up to 30 percent of local residents at new businesses has been set aside by the City Council to make way for Amazon in the new University Square project. The decision could signal a revamp of the city's first-source-hiring ordinance, which some council members on Feb. 21 said needs an overhaul.

But some residents are fuming over the short notice that Amazon gave to the council, which, they said, had more of the appearance of an ultimatum than an offer to help the community. Residents were also not given adequate notice, they said.

Amazon already occupies 80,000 square feet of office space at University Circle on the city's west side, but the company proposes to occupy about 200,000 square feet of office space at the new building at 2100 University Ave. on the city's east side just over the U.S. Highway 101 ramp and to hire 1,300 employees.

The company's east side presence would bring high-skilled jobs, many of which the city's residents could not fill, Amazon claims. Instead, developer The Sobrato Organization and Amazon offered a proposal at the Feb. 21 council meeting to create a job center staffed by an employment specialist for 10 years. The specialist would help residents to identify their job skills, develop skills to find and keep jobs and to find employment in East Palo Alto or outside of the community, CEO John Sobrato said.

But some residents are angered by the council's approval, calling it "gentrification at its finest," and they want the council to repeal its decision. The city already has hard-working employment-training groups such as StreetCode Academy, Renaissance Entrepreneurship center and JobTrain, and it doesn't need another jobs center to help residents find miscellaneous jobs; it needs a commitment from Amazon to help fund the skills it says that residents need so they can be hired by Amazon and other Silicon Valley companies.

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Amazon gave the City Council little time to debate. Staff only learned of the proposal on Feb. 14 with a deadline for the council's decision of Feb. 21. Amazon's potential lease of the space is contingent on removal of the first-source-hiring requirement, city staff noted. Amazon would move on to other potential locations if the issue could not be quickly resolved, staff said they were told.

Residents said the short notice is indicative of the company's view of the community.

"It is a JOKE that the City Council would accept Amazon's first alternative offer. It may be true that the skill level of residents in EPA would not be able to fill this 30 percent first-source hiring policy, however, the ordinance requires a good-faith attempt. Amazon is a large international company that is solving world problems daily. The fact they did not attempt to address this issue with much thought shows how little they think of the community they would like to be neighbors in," Marlayna Tuiasosopo-Gordon, an engineer and Fremont resident who calls East Palo Alto her second home, said in an email letter to the community.

Council members said they wished they had more time to debate the finer points and to give the proposal a serious look before taking a vote. But given the time crunch and the need to get the ball rolling on a project that has been stalled for years, they didn't want the developer to lose out on the opportunity, they said. In the end, they voted 4-1 in favor of the Sobrato-Amazon proposal with Councilwoman Donna Rutherford abstaining.

"The building was built to have a tenant, not to be empty. It's unfortunate not to have enough time to vet it, but the outcome is that it will benefit the community," Mayor Larry Moody said.

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The city's first-source hiring policy is 14 years old. It was created as the city sought redevelopment and rebuilt areas such as the Ravenswood 101 retail center and University Circle, which includes offices and the Four Seasons Hotel. The ordinance was to help retain jobs for residents in the community as development takes place and to help prevent displacement, But the results have been mixed. East Palo Alto continues to have an unemployment rate that is twice that of surrounding communities as a whole, Assistant City Manager Sean Charpentier said.

Some retail businesses have had a hard time filling some of the positions because of a lack of basic language or job skills among residents. The Four Seasons Hotel has not been able to reach the 30-percent mark despite training of some workers through the nonprofit JobTrain, Charpentier said. A November 2016 update found that Nordstrom Rack had hired no one from East Palo Alto; The Home Depot hired 56 percent and Mi Pueblo supermarket and Office Depot have 71 percent each of hires from East Palo Alto. Overall, 37 percent of employees in the city are residents, he noted.

Charpentier said the problem of having the right tech skills is not exclusive to East Palo Alto. In Menlo Park, only about 4 percent of Facebook hires are that city's residents despite having one of the most highly educated populations in the state. (According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 57.6 percent of Menlo Park residents are of working ages between 23 and 64; East Palo Alto's is 58.4 percent.)

East Palo Alto City Council members noted the ordinance has never had the teeth to enforce a 30-percent-hiring rule; an ironclad requirement would likely be unconstitutional. A business needed to show it made a "good-faith effort" only.

Sobrato and Amazon argued that the 1,500-square-foot job center at University Square property would help match employees with the kinds of jobs and skills they desire or already have, and it would help achieve better outcomes than more nebulous first-source hiring. The job center would offer its services for the 10-year-lease lifetime. If at any time the center was to be discontinued, Sobrato and Amazon would be beholden to 30-percent first-source hiring. As the property's owner, Sobrato would be required to come up with a lease for any new tenant to either follow the hiring policy or maintain a job center, city staff said.

"I truly believe this alternative will provide a much better result for the residents of East Palo Alto," John Sobrato, CEO of The Sobrato Organization, said. As a public benefit, the developer agreed during the planning process to provide nearly more than $1.2 million in funding. The money will pay for the center and staffing.

Some audience speakers at the Feb. 21 meeting agreed with the proposal, but with caveats. Scott Hochberg, a workers' rights employment attorney with Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, said that relieving Sobrato and Amazon of the 30 percent first-hire rule makes sense given the skills of most residents, but he urged the city to step back and consider the proposal before committing to a vote.

"The employment specialist in my view should be closely connected to Amazon. In addition to providing generalized job-placement advice to the community, the specialist should know about openings at Amazon and be able to funnel local residents into those jobs, because I'm sure that a good portion of East Palo Alto residents would be fine for them. The specialists' role to help East Palo Alto residents get jobs at Amazon should be written into this agreement," he said.

Charpentier said the city does have many residents with tech skills; they currently work elsewhere but might wish to return to a job in their city. Sobrato had also noted that although many jobs are highly skilled in tech, many other jobs are support roles.

Duane Goff, chairman of the Committee on Social Justice at the League of United Latin American Citizens of California, a civil rights organization, cautioned he has seen many instances where companies have gotten around hiring and similar public-benefit requirements. The specialist should not be an Amazon staff member, "otherwise that would be putting the fox in charge of the hen house," he said.

Over the 10-year life of the jobs center, Amazon should also be able to help residents become employable at the company through additional job training, he added.

"That's the kind of commitment I want to see, not just throwing a million bucks at it because in all honesty, and I don't mean to be insulting, but for an organization the size of Amazon a million bucks is chump change. I don't think we should be treated like that; I think we should make them prove what they say they want to do," he said.

Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica said that the existing policy is old and needs to be revamped. The job center proposal is "innovative" and the kind of project that could kick off how the council has to think about what development really means: about training people and even about wages. "There are a lot of ways the city can help the community to be in a better economic situation," he said.

But Rutherford said she did "not see the potential of East Palo Alto residents getting the benefit here." She was concerned about long-term residents who have invested in the community and who want to stay here "getting a piece of the pie."

She also expressed concern about the rush to make a decision.

"Something like this comes to the council at the ninth hour," she said, adding she hoped the vote could be put off for further study.

Councilwoman Lisa Gauthier wanted to know where the 1,300 employees would end up living and if they would displace existing residents. Charpentier said that he did not have an answer to where people will live, but many who work at University Circle offices commute over a wide area including from Walnut Creek to Morgan Hill.

Gauthier also wanted to know how groups that already educate students in technology, such as the StreetCode Academy and other job-training organizations such as JobTrain, might be incorporated into the job center's goals. She, Moody and Councilman Carlos Romero also wanted the job center to work with other city-based jobs programs to avoid redundant services and to create a pathway for residents toward earning living wages.

Residents including Tuiasosopo-Gordon said any serious discussion about educating the community must include existing tech-education efforts in the community. The Amazon proposal does not contain any language that furthers those efforts, but rather just offers job-placement services that do nothing to keep East Palo Altans in their community. They plan to organize against the council's decision and put forth a proposal of their own to counter Amazon's, they said.

Spokespersons for Amazon and Sobrato could not immediately be reached for comment.

A previous version of the story said that Marlayna Tuiasosopo-Gordon is an East Palo Alto resident.

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East Palo Alto changes first-source hiring rule to accommodate Amazon

Some residents are outraged by the decision while the City Council says the ordinance is obsolete

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 22, 2017, 1:23 pm

East Palo Alto's long-standing first-source jobs rule of hiring up to 30 percent of local residents at new businesses has been set aside by the City Council to make way for Amazon in the new University Square project. The decision could signal a revamp of the city's first-source-hiring ordinance, which some council members on Feb. 21 said needs an overhaul.

But some residents are fuming over the short notice that Amazon gave to the council, which, they said, had more of the appearance of an ultimatum than an offer to help the community. Residents were also not given adequate notice, they said.

Amazon already occupies 80,000 square feet of office space at University Circle on the city's west side, but the company proposes to occupy about 200,000 square feet of office space at the new building at 2100 University Ave. on the city's east side just over the U.S. Highway 101 ramp and to hire 1,300 employees.

The company's east side presence would bring high-skilled jobs, many of which the city's residents could not fill, Amazon claims. Instead, developer The Sobrato Organization and Amazon offered a proposal at the Feb. 21 council meeting to create a job center staffed by an employment specialist for 10 years. The specialist would help residents to identify their job skills, develop skills to find and keep jobs and to find employment in East Palo Alto or outside of the community, CEO John Sobrato said.

But some residents are angered by the council's approval, calling it "gentrification at its finest," and they want the council to repeal its decision. The city already has hard-working employment-training groups such as StreetCode Academy, Renaissance Entrepreneurship center and JobTrain, and it doesn't need another jobs center to help residents find miscellaneous jobs; it needs a commitment from Amazon to help fund the skills it says that residents need so they can be hired by Amazon and other Silicon Valley companies.

Amazon gave the City Council little time to debate. Staff only learned of the proposal on Feb. 14 with a deadline for the council's decision of Feb. 21. Amazon's potential lease of the space is contingent on removal of the first-source-hiring requirement, city staff noted. Amazon would move on to other potential locations if the issue could not be quickly resolved, staff said they were told.

Residents said the short notice is indicative of the company's view of the community.

"It is a JOKE that the City Council would accept Amazon's first alternative offer. It may be true that the skill level of residents in EPA would not be able to fill this 30 percent first-source hiring policy, however, the ordinance requires a good-faith attempt. Amazon is a large international company that is solving world problems daily. The fact they did not attempt to address this issue with much thought shows how little they think of the community they would like to be neighbors in," Marlayna Tuiasosopo-Gordon, an engineer and Fremont resident who calls East Palo Alto her second home, said in an email letter to the community.

Council members said they wished they had more time to debate the finer points and to give the proposal a serious look before taking a vote. But given the time crunch and the need to get the ball rolling on a project that has been stalled for years, they didn't want the developer to lose out on the opportunity, they said. In the end, they voted 4-1 in favor of the Sobrato-Amazon proposal with Councilwoman Donna Rutherford abstaining.

"The building was built to have a tenant, not to be empty. It's unfortunate not to have enough time to vet it, but the outcome is that it will benefit the community," Mayor Larry Moody said.

The city's first-source hiring policy is 14 years old. It was created as the city sought redevelopment and rebuilt areas such as the Ravenswood 101 retail center and University Circle, which includes offices and the Four Seasons Hotel. The ordinance was to help retain jobs for residents in the community as development takes place and to help prevent displacement, But the results have been mixed. East Palo Alto continues to have an unemployment rate that is twice that of surrounding communities as a whole, Assistant City Manager Sean Charpentier said.

Some retail businesses have had a hard time filling some of the positions because of a lack of basic language or job skills among residents. The Four Seasons Hotel has not been able to reach the 30-percent mark despite training of some workers through the nonprofit JobTrain, Charpentier said. A November 2016 update found that Nordstrom Rack had hired no one from East Palo Alto; The Home Depot hired 56 percent and Mi Pueblo supermarket and Office Depot have 71 percent each of hires from East Palo Alto. Overall, 37 percent of employees in the city are residents, he noted.

Charpentier said the problem of having the right tech skills is not exclusive to East Palo Alto. In Menlo Park, only about 4 percent of Facebook hires are that city's residents despite having one of the most highly educated populations in the state. (According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 57.6 percent of Menlo Park residents are of working ages between 23 and 64; East Palo Alto's is 58.4 percent.)

East Palo Alto City Council members noted the ordinance has never had the teeth to enforce a 30-percent-hiring rule; an ironclad requirement would likely be unconstitutional. A business needed to show it made a "good-faith effort" only.

Sobrato and Amazon argued that the 1,500-square-foot job center at University Square property would help match employees with the kinds of jobs and skills they desire or already have, and it would help achieve better outcomes than more nebulous first-source hiring. The job center would offer its services for the 10-year-lease lifetime. If at any time the center was to be discontinued, Sobrato and Amazon would be beholden to 30-percent first-source hiring. As the property's owner, Sobrato would be required to come up with a lease for any new tenant to either follow the hiring policy or maintain a job center, city staff said.

"I truly believe this alternative will provide a much better result for the residents of East Palo Alto," John Sobrato, CEO of The Sobrato Organization, said. As a public benefit, the developer agreed during the planning process to provide nearly more than $1.2 million in funding. The money will pay for the center and staffing.

Some audience speakers at the Feb. 21 meeting agreed with the proposal, but with caveats. Scott Hochberg, a workers' rights employment attorney with Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, said that relieving Sobrato and Amazon of the 30 percent first-hire rule makes sense given the skills of most residents, but he urged the city to step back and consider the proposal before committing to a vote.

"The employment specialist in my view should be closely connected to Amazon. In addition to providing generalized job-placement advice to the community, the specialist should know about openings at Amazon and be able to funnel local residents into those jobs, because I'm sure that a good portion of East Palo Alto residents would be fine for them. The specialists' role to help East Palo Alto residents get jobs at Amazon should be written into this agreement," he said.

Charpentier said the city does have many residents with tech skills; they currently work elsewhere but might wish to return to a job in their city. Sobrato had also noted that although many jobs are highly skilled in tech, many other jobs are support roles.

Duane Goff, chairman of the Committee on Social Justice at the League of United Latin American Citizens of California, a civil rights organization, cautioned he has seen many instances where companies have gotten around hiring and similar public-benefit requirements. The specialist should not be an Amazon staff member, "otherwise that would be putting the fox in charge of the hen house," he said.

Over the 10-year life of the jobs center, Amazon should also be able to help residents become employable at the company through additional job training, he added.

"That's the kind of commitment I want to see, not just throwing a million bucks at it because in all honesty, and I don't mean to be insulting, but for an organization the size of Amazon a million bucks is chump change. I don't think we should be treated like that; I think we should make them prove what they say they want to do," he said.

Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica said that the existing policy is old and needs to be revamped. The job center proposal is "innovative" and the kind of project that could kick off how the council has to think about what development really means: about training people and even about wages. "There are a lot of ways the city can help the community to be in a better economic situation," he said.

But Rutherford said she did "not see the potential of East Palo Alto residents getting the benefit here." She was concerned about long-term residents who have invested in the community and who want to stay here "getting a piece of the pie."

She also expressed concern about the rush to make a decision.

"Something like this comes to the council at the ninth hour," she said, adding she hoped the vote could be put off for further study.

Councilwoman Lisa Gauthier wanted to know where the 1,300 employees would end up living and if they would displace existing residents. Charpentier said that he did not have an answer to where people will live, but many who work at University Circle offices commute over a wide area including from Walnut Creek to Morgan Hill.

Gauthier also wanted to know how groups that already educate students in technology, such as the StreetCode Academy and other job-training organizations such as JobTrain, might be incorporated into the job center's goals. She, Moody and Councilman Carlos Romero also wanted the job center to work with other city-based jobs programs to avoid redundant services and to create a pathway for residents toward earning living wages.

Residents including Tuiasosopo-Gordon said any serious discussion about educating the community must include existing tech-education efforts in the community. The Amazon proposal does not contain any language that furthers those efforts, but rather just offers job-placement services that do nothing to keep East Palo Altans in their community. They plan to organize against the council's decision and put forth a proposal of their own to counter Amazon's, they said.

Spokespersons for Amazon and Sobrato could not immediately be reached for comment.

A previous version of the story said that Marlayna Tuiasosopo-Gordon is an East Palo Alto resident.

Comments

resident
Menlo Park
on Mar 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm
resident, Menlo Park
on Mar 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Of course bringing in a huge employer that requires skills that do not match the current residential population will cause gentrification. Thousands of highly paid relocated employees will need to live somewhere. Landlords will remodel their properties and raise their rents to match the demand. Then what happens to the existing city residents???

I don't buy the claims that Facebook is only able to hire 4% of their workers from Menlo Park. How hard did they really try? Fact is that relocating younger unmarried H1B foreign workers is much cheaper than hiring local people who often have families and mortgages. Did Facebook try to hire local workers by paying prevailing local wages, or did they cheap out with foreign workers? Hiring foreigners just adds to the housing problem.


94303
Palo Verde
on Mar 22, 2017 at 2:04 pm
94303, Palo Verde
on Mar 22, 2017 at 2:04 pm
Palo Altan
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm
Palo Altan, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Good point, 94303. Our BMW in our Palo Alto driveway states it's located in East Palo Alto due to the 94303 zip code. Apparently, in the 70s, the Postal Service looked into changing the shared zip code but decided it would cost too much.


Mark Dinan
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm
Mark Dinan, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I am quite happy to see that Amazon will be moving into EPA. It is a huge plus for the community to finally be attracting high tech investments. Changing the policy is the only course of action, as it is impossible for any company to hire 30% of their engineering talent from any city, especially one as a small as EPA. There is a reason why Google and FB have buses coming from every corner of the Bay to work in Mountain View and Menlo Park.

Most people in East Palo Alto are happy to see Amazon come in, as this was a vacant lot for many years. East Palo Alto needs more development and construction like this, and I am happy to see that Sobrato has a successful outcome to its investment.


Grumpy Old Guy
Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm
Grumpy Old Guy, Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm

What a shame and a travesty.

EPA City Council could have easily required Amazon and the developer to put together a fund equal to the 30% of the job salaries for 10 years and use that fund to lend to EPA residents to start up local businesses.

It's easy to see how EPA City Council found the allure of money, high tech to be a new shiny toy rather than having to deal with the hard reality of low-income families, crime and social services. Rather than work with the community and new businesses to develop a fair partnership, the EPA Council chose the lower path of of saying 'too bad' to the displaced families who were seeking jobs.

What ever happened to the idea of win/win in this deal?






musical
Palo Verde
on Mar 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Mar 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Looks like win/win to me. The prospect of 1300 more cars daily at the University/101 interchange should reduce the desire for downtown Palo Alto office space.


Head Shaker
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)

on Mar 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm
Name hidden, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)

on Mar 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


So?
East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2017 at 4:55 pm
So?, East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2017 at 4:55 pm

So EPA should tell Amazon to go away if they can't play by the rules. There are plenty of techies in EPA.

We really don't have enough water for more big companies as it is.


eric
Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2017 at 5:28 pm
eric, Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Palo Alto will now no doubt try and pretend this building is in their town, just like they do w/ University Circle.


Herman VonHymen
East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2017 at 7:34 pm
Herman VonHymen, East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2017 at 7:34 pm

I for one welcome our new Amazon overlords! Jokes aside, the 30% rule is/was/always has been unsustainable - case in point why other tech co's haven't been able to invest here beforehand. Amazon just caught themselves a sweet deal given how long the property has been vacant for and I hope the city can sort out a better deal to attract more water/investments and all kinds of jobs to the area.


Hmmm
East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2017 at 8:03 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2017 at 8:03 pm

I believe that spokesperson Marlayna is NOT a resident of East PalomAlto. She lives across the bay and does community work here in town. She may have been raised here, but I'm not sure.


member
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2017 at 9:03 am
member, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2017 at 9:03 am

The job set-aside/first-source for EPA residents anticipated "big box" and other retail like IKEA, Home Depot, grocery stores, and other retail.

The set-asides clearly did not anticipate technology companies, or non-warehouse operations of Amazon: Skills relevant for these businesses just aren't in EPA.

The change was inevitable.


Member
East Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2017 at 9:40 am
Member, East Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2017 at 9:40 am

I welcome Amazon to come to EPA. It is hard to hire 30% of workforce for engineers jobs, unless you went school for it. If we want a dr. We can't train a dr. At a local job training, we need that person to get a proper education n credentials to be a doctor. In the Amazon realm they need people that properly educated to do ther work. However, when it comes to community, they can offer mentor programs, where they can introduce some of these skills to teen n young adults to go into the engineering field or to tell these kids to pAy more attention to Math n science, so in the future this is where they can be.


Robert Smith
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2017 at 9:57 am
Robert Smith, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2017 at 9:57 am

East Palo Alto needs gentrification. The only choice is whether the current residents are part of the gentry or not. It is largely up to them to decide what they want to be.

Education is the key.


non-resident
Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 11:32 am
non-resident, Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 11:32 am

In response to comments by "resident" and similar others.
1. How do we expect Facebook or Amazon to try harder to hire local if the required education and experience is not there to start with?

2. Cheap relocation of unmarried H1B workers is NOT the only or major source of human resources for high-tech companies. As a person who is hiring for a major tech company, I can attest that we have many, many US-born engineers and other proficiencies with the right skills, educated in this area or other parts of the US, that we hire and relocate to this area. Pls stop pointing the finger in the wrong direction (foreign workers) to create a political argument.

3. Silicon Valley and environs has a housing problem because buildable land is fixed AND there is a growing economy continually pulling in new workforce to the area.

4. As housing prices of ownership or renting increase, there is undeniable impact on locals with income and resources that is not able to keep up with the growth. But, limiting the growth in the area is not the solution.

5. What about the job growth impact in the services sector catering to this influx of highly educated workers? Retail stores, restaurants, construction, household help, mechanics etc.

Of course, there is a gentrification problem. But, I do not see how "hiring local" helps anyone.

(I do acknowledge there are other, more realistic suggestions in other posts.)


PA resident
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 23, 2017 at 11:40 am
PA resident, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 23, 2017 at 11:40 am

What kind of jobs will be at this new location? And is there/will there be a job fair just for this location.? Or a special website for the 94303 jobs?

Depending on the job mix, there are many local residents in Palo Alto/EPA who would like to work here and could
bike to work.---thereby reducing the traffic load. That's the best way to get "local" hires is to publicize the jobs "locally" first through local media!

Amazon please let us know!!


Chip
Professorville
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:06 pm
Chip, Professorville
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Member is correct. When the 30% local hire rule was imposed, it was intended for big box retail & fast food.

Remember what happened to Home Expo? They followed the rule, opened in 2000, & had to close in 2005. Employees were stealing them blind - staying inside the store after closing & removing high-ticket items to be sold or fenced elsewhere. Neighboring communities lost a great retail source & Home Expo became Home Depot.
More recently, AT&T had to close down their retail store in the same center.

There's been plenty of time for EPA residents to utilize the sponsored low & no-cost job training programs to acquire or upgrade skills. Unless the kids who were in school 17 years ago have pursued additional education to prepare them to work @ Facebook, and still live in EPA, requiring 30% local community hires isn't viable. A business campus in the community is more beneficial in the long run.


resident
Charleston Meadows
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm
resident, Charleston Meadows
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm

I have no problem with Amazon being in EPA. However I an sick of hearing about the "required" housing in PA. MP, EPA,and MV are busy building new housing in previously open space which is great, as well as RC which has a lot of new housing east of 101. PA's problem is that it is built out but has very old buildings on El Camino and East Bayshore area. It would be helpful if the owner's of those very old buildings would be identified and some requirement to upgrade those old buildings be floated through the city so that land can be made more productive. Also, can the combined forces of Google, FB and Amazon get the railroad crossing the bay at Dumbarton fixed so trains can run from the east bay. Or add some trains that are on the ACE tracks that cross the bay and go through Alviso. We are all missing the boat here on how to make the total area more up to date.


Grumpy
another community
on Mar 24, 2017 at 7:47 am
Grumpy, another community
on Mar 24, 2017 at 7:47 am

I think many of you are missing the point: the jobs need to go somewhere else. Why do we have to continue to squeeze housing into built out towns and infrastructure so companies can bring more and more workers into the area from outside? Enough already.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2017 at 8:30 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2017 at 8:30 am

Is there a high unemployment rate in EPA?

I'm not sure whether any company can be told to employ employees within a given radius? Just because an employee may at the time they enter employment they may give a certain address, that may not be the case for very long.

It is similar to the proposals about renters who do not own cars, will use bikes or walk to work, use nearby services, etc.

Ethically, trying to force these issues is wrong. Practically, it won't happen.


Marlene Glez
East Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2017 at 9:57 am
Marlene Glez, East Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2017 at 9:57 am

I'm ok with amazon joining EPA on University ave but please can the City of East Palo Alto built the sidewalk of Addison ave between Garden and Bay Shore and also built a Bike & walk bridge, one close to addison ave and other by Home Depot, at least this will help a lot to reduce more traffic!


TechDude
East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:15 pm
TechDude, East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:15 pm

I'm thinking instead of a job center that may overlap already existing ones, why can't Amazon spend that money on one or several classes that teach residents computer programming, entry level engineering or other technical skills, for free? That certainly will help bring the avg skill level up, so residents may find jobs even in other tech cities and not just EPA.

The reason they're putting the hiring clause aside is because the skill requirement is too high for most EPA residents. Well, it's gonna be the same 10 years from now if education opportunities aren't coming.


Hmmm
East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2017 at 8:00 pm

TechDude - your mischaracterizing the reason they out the hiring Claude aside. There's no way a city of this size has enough of the right type of specialized engineers to fill that remaining %, even if residents here were hired for nontech jobs there.


Just Thinking
Midtown
on Mar 31, 2017 at 10:02 pm
Just Thinking, Midtown
on Mar 31, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Or alternatively. they could do what any profit seeking capitalist might do in the face of rising property values. They could welcome the incoming techies with open arms. And then start renovating their single family homes for use as rental homes to the newcomers and move to areas outside the city center where rents and mortgages are lower (i.e. Gilroy/Hollister, East Bay, etc.). With a neighborhood wide facelift and rising school rankings (they should encourage all the neighborhood kids to study harder!), a single family house in between Facebook, Amazon and Google could easily get $4000 a month which is a pretty nice retirement/supplementary income fund which will increase over time. The incoming techies would be working for them, instead of vice versa. For those that currently rent, they could work their relationships with their neighbors to help improve them improve their single family homes. Or work to get contracts with the local city council to improve the city parks, etc. Or sign a long term retail lease and figure out what services and amenities to provide to the new neighbors.


Marlene Glez
East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2017 at 3:32 pm
Marlene Glez, East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2017 at 3:32 pm

I'm a home owner, I'm ok with Tech Companies joining Bay Area but please we need to build more walk&bike bridges, East Palo Alto is going to build one close to Home Depot but we need other between University ave and Willow ave, also wide freeways and main streets and make affordable housing for low income people, It's not just for police man and teachers, everybody matters.


Name hidden
Los Altos Hills

on Sep 26, 2017 at 8:00 am
Name hidden, Los Altos Hills

on Sep 26, 2017 at 8:00 am

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Name hidden
University South

on Sep 26, 2017 at 8:29 am
Name hidden, University South

on Sep 26, 2017 at 8:29 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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