News

Vigil in East Palo Alto protests Amazon, Facebook policies

Protesters say policies will lead to gentrification, criminalization of their community

Chants of "Jobs for EPA!" and "Hey hey, ho ho, racial profiling has got to go!" rang out Thursday night in front of 2100 University Ave. in East Palo Alto, where Amazon plans to occupy 200,000 square feet of offices and add 1,300 employees. Some drivers honked their approval, while others, some looking down from double-decker bus seats, remained silent.

A group of more than 50 people assembled on the corner of Donohoe Street and University Avenue for a vigil to protest policies of Amazon and Facebook, which they said would lead to gentrification and criminalization of their communities.

The protest focused on East Palo Alto City Council's decision to waive its locals-first hiring policy for Amazon, and the Menlo Park City Council's current consideration to allow Facebook to pay for increased police services in eastern Menlo Park.

Facebook has offered to pay $9.1 million over five years to enable the Menlo Park Police Department to expand its services in eastern Menlo Park.

Event organizer JT Faraji of East Palo Alto said that Facebook's offer will "(aid) in the criminalization" of his community because he thinks increased policing will lead to racial profiling.

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The protest was organized by a group called the "Real Community Coalition," which, according to Faraji, is made up of residents and is unaffiliated with other nonprofits or politicians, which may, he said, have their own interests or conflicts.

Amazon

The East Palo Alto City Council on March 22 voted to allow Amazon to waive the city's hiring policy, which mandates that businesses in the city hire 30 percent of their employees from among city residents, or demonstrate a good-faith effort to do so. Instead, Amazon agreed to create a job center staffed by an employment specialist for 10 years.

According to East Palo Alto city staff, Amazon's leasing of the space was contingent on removing the hiring requirement. Amazon already occupies 80,000 square feet of office space at East Palo Alto's University Circle offices.

A number of East Palo Alto residents at the protest said the City Council caved too easily at Amazon's behest, and that it was unfair – and possibly discriminatory – for Amazon to simply assume that East Palo Alto residents wouldn't be eligible for the high-skilled tech jobs they sought to fill. Others said that Amazon's alternative approach, to start a job center and hire a job search specialist, was insufficient.

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Duane Goff, a retiree who is an East Palo Alto resident, called the measure "a little pat on the back," and named several other programs that already exist in the community to help people search for and become eligible for jobs. It's the jobs, he said, that are lacking.

Pemberton Gordon, a longtime East Palo Alto resident, said he works in tech recruiting and his wife works as an electrical engineer. He said that even if there may not be enough East Palo Alto residents who are software engineers to meet that 30 percent requirement, tech companies usually have a number of jobs that don't require special technical skills, such as sales, marketing and administrative positions.

East Palo Alto also has a coding academy, StreetCode, which several attendees said could be a potential hiring pool for Amazon, were the company to make an effort to hire locals.

David Chatman, an East Palo Alto resident and Facebook employee, said that if Amazon had followed the city's hiring policy, it would have expanded residents' access to higher-paying jobs than are currently offered in the city, many of which are in retail, he said.

As a Facebook employee, he said he has seen both the abundance of what tech jobs can offer their employees, and what the introduction of such abundance to a community can do to people who are left out. On one hand, he said, he sees himself as a fortunate member of his community for having the tech skills to work at one of these companies. On the other, he's watched family members be pushed to the cusp of displacement by rising housing costs.

He said he'd like to see such companies invest in the communities where they set up shop – not only by making grants and donating money, but by making efforts to keep locals from being displaced.

What's next

"I think there's a movement picking up," said East Palo Alto resident Ofelia Bello. Amazon's decision to come to East Palo Alto marks a turning point for the city, she said.

For so long, she said, East Palo Alto has been seen as separate from Silicon Valley. While it has experienced the pressures and stresses of added regional growth, she said, it has not necessarily reaped the benefits.

"We have a long history of being screwed over," she said. Even though Amazon is expanding in East Palo Alto, its recent action shows that it still sees East Palo Alto as separate from Silicon Valley, she said.

The coalition has not given up hope for a reversal of the East Palo Alto City Council's decision, despite a March 25 statement by the East Palo Alto Mayor Larry Moody that he would "not offer a vote to rescind the decision nor recommend the Council do so."

In regard to Amazon, Bello said, "They can work with us, or we're going to clash."

Members of the Real Community Coalition said they plan to attend the East Palo Alto City Council's next meeting on April 4, which starts at 7:30 p.m.

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Vigil in East Palo Alto protests Amazon, Facebook policies

Protesters say policies will lead to gentrification, criminalization of their community

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 31, 2017, 12:39 pm
Updated: Mon, Apr 3, 2017, 8:30 am

Chants of "Jobs for EPA!" and "Hey hey, ho ho, racial profiling has got to go!" rang out Thursday night in front of 2100 University Ave. in East Palo Alto, where Amazon plans to occupy 200,000 square feet of offices and add 1,300 employees. Some drivers honked their approval, while others, some looking down from double-decker bus seats, remained silent.

A group of more than 50 people assembled on the corner of Donohoe Street and University Avenue for a vigil to protest policies of Amazon and Facebook, which they said would lead to gentrification and criminalization of their communities.

The protest focused on East Palo Alto City Council's decision to waive its locals-first hiring policy for Amazon, and the Menlo Park City Council's current consideration to allow Facebook to pay for increased police services in eastern Menlo Park.

Facebook has offered to pay $9.1 million over five years to enable the Menlo Park Police Department to expand its services in eastern Menlo Park.

Event organizer JT Faraji of East Palo Alto said that Facebook's offer will "(aid) in the criminalization" of his community because he thinks increased policing will lead to racial profiling.

The protest was organized by a group called the "Real Community Coalition," which, according to Faraji, is made up of residents and is unaffiliated with other nonprofits or politicians, which may, he said, have their own interests or conflicts.

Amazon

The East Palo Alto City Council on March 22 voted to allow Amazon to waive the city's hiring policy, which mandates that businesses in the city hire 30 percent of their employees from among city residents, or demonstrate a good-faith effort to do so. Instead, Amazon agreed to create a job center staffed by an employment specialist for 10 years.

According to East Palo Alto city staff, Amazon's leasing of the space was contingent on removing the hiring requirement. Amazon already occupies 80,000 square feet of office space at East Palo Alto's University Circle offices.

A number of East Palo Alto residents at the protest said the City Council caved too easily at Amazon's behest, and that it was unfair – and possibly discriminatory – for Amazon to simply assume that East Palo Alto residents wouldn't be eligible for the high-skilled tech jobs they sought to fill. Others said that Amazon's alternative approach, to start a job center and hire a job search specialist, was insufficient.

Duane Goff, a retiree who is an East Palo Alto resident, called the measure "a little pat on the back," and named several other programs that already exist in the community to help people search for and become eligible for jobs. It's the jobs, he said, that are lacking.

Pemberton Gordon, a longtime East Palo Alto resident, said he works in tech recruiting and his wife works as an electrical engineer. He said that even if there may not be enough East Palo Alto residents who are software engineers to meet that 30 percent requirement, tech companies usually have a number of jobs that don't require special technical skills, such as sales, marketing and administrative positions.

East Palo Alto also has a coding academy, StreetCode, which several attendees said could be a potential hiring pool for Amazon, were the company to make an effort to hire locals.

David Chatman, an East Palo Alto resident and Facebook employee, said that if Amazon had followed the city's hiring policy, it would have expanded residents' access to higher-paying jobs than are currently offered in the city, many of which are in retail, he said.

As a Facebook employee, he said he has seen both the abundance of what tech jobs can offer their employees, and what the introduction of such abundance to a community can do to people who are left out. On one hand, he said, he sees himself as a fortunate member of his community for having the tech skills to work at one of these companies. On the other, he's watched family members be pushed to the cusp of displacement by rising housing costs.

He said he'd like to see such companies invest in the communities where they set up shop – not only by making grants and donating money, but by making efforts to keep locals from being displaced.

What's next

"I think there's a movement picking up," said East Palo Alto resident Ofelia Bello. Amazon's decision to come to East Palo Alto marks a turning point for the city, she said.

For so long, she said, East Palo Alto has been seen as separate from Silicon Valley. While it has experienced the pressures and stresses of added regional growth, she said, it has not necessarily reaped the benefits.

"We have a long history of being screwed over," she said. Even though Amazon is expanding in East Palo Alto, its recent action shows that it still sees East Palo Alto as separate from Silicon Valley, she said.

The coalition has not given up hope for a reversal of the East Palo Alto City Council's decision, despite a March 25 statement by the East Palo Alto Mayor Larry Moody that he would "not offer a vote to rescind the decision nor recommend the Council do so."

In regard to Amazon, Bello said, "They can work with us, or we're going to clash."

Members of the Real Community Coalition said they plan to attend the East Palo Alto City Council's next meeting on April 4, which starts at 7:30 p.m.

Comments

Jason
Palo Alto Hills

on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:09 pm
Name hidden, Palo Alto Hills

on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:09 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.


anon
Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2017 at 2:01 pm
anon, Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2017 at 2:01 pm

> He said he'd like to see such companies invest in the communities where they set up shop – not only by making grants and donating money, but by making efforts to keep locals from being displaced.

Wake up and smell the coffee. If East Palo Alto forced a tech companies to hire 30% from city residents, East Palo Alto will remain a ghetto, known only for IKEA and Home Depot.

[Portion removed.]


Joe
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm
Joe, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm
Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2017 at 2:15 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Those people chanting "Jobs for EPA" presumably are out of work at present. I'm just asking what types of jobs they are looking for? How far are they willing to travel for work? What types of qualifications they have?

If they are looking for work and there is great unemployment in EPA, then they need to let us know what type of jobs they need in EPA?


Nayeli
Midtown
on Mar 31, 2017 at 5:26 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
on Mar 31, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Re: "Moses Maka holds up a sign 'We want jobs' outside of the new Amazon office complex during a protest..."

No problem! Just make certain that you pay attention in school, earn good grades and apply to good colleges. Invest at least four years at college -- doing your best to improve yourself.

After four years (and the investment cost associated with it), you'll have the knowledge, skills and educational background to prove your worth at a good job. You won't be able to start at the top; however, hard work, perseverance and ingenuity will help you to advance.

Such things will show potential employers that you're worth investing a good salary in. You won't have to consider a minimum wage or hard labor job as a "career."


Just a Thought...
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2017 at 6:52 pm
Just a Thought..., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Or, alternatively... they could do what any good profiteering capitalist might do when faced with increasing property values. They could welcome the incoming techies with open arms. Why not collectively start fixing up the single family homes in the area for rental to the newcomers. Then move to areas outside the city center where its much cheaper (i.e. Gilroy, East Bay, etc.) and start collecting rent checks. Then the techies would be working for them, instead of vice versa.

For those currently renting or living with parents, there could be an abundance of rehab construction work over the next 5-10 years to fix up the single family homes and improve the neighborhood community areas like parks and playgrounds. They would just need to work their existing relationships with their neighbors (or parents) who do own their homes. As an additional plus, the commute times would be less than 10 minutes away.

If the neighborhood had an overall facelift and the school rankings improved (just have to encourage the neighbors' kids to study harder!), an updated single family in East Palo Alto could easily rent for $3.5-4K and increase into perpetuity as the area amenities improved. That would easily set one up for a nice retirement.


you get what you deserve
Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2017 at 7:56 pm
you get what you deserve, Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Love this comment

"Event organizer JT Faraji of East Palo Alto said that Facebook's offer will "(aid) in the criminalization" of his community because he thinks increased policing will lead to racial profiling"


so you don't want to help combat crime? well ok live with it.


Thomas Paine
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 1, 2017 at 9:58 am
Thomas Paine, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 1, 2017 at 9:58 am

So "They can work with us, or we're going to clash." Nice way to attract businesses to EPA. The stark reality is that Amazon is going to have trouble finding enough people to fill the new jobs given the intense competition for qualified candidates from the rest of Silicon Valley. EPA residents with the skills Amazon needs should find easy to get hired. I know as I've spent hours recruiting folks for non-technical jobs and they are few and far between. As to the coding academy, that is a great idea but typically most of their graduates are best suited in an IT department doing more basic programming. The reason Amazon is opening the facility in Silicon Valley is to attract world class engineering minds who have proven experience.


Bring in the numbers.
Midtown
on Apr 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm
Bring in the numbers., Midtown
on Apr 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Keep contesting the BS. Bring the heat to the city manager/planners, go to city council meetings, voice your opinions (the larger the numbers, the better), make sure you conduct yourselves respectfully, but bring the heat.

Keep fighting for your city, don't let these city council members walk all over the city, I commend the effort you all are putting in. Let's stop these corporate sellouts!


barron parker
Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2017 at 11:05 am
barron parker, Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2017 at 11:05 am

Two large, successful, international internet companies want to do a major expansion into your community -- a city with a high level of joblessness and crime -- bringing with it all the associated jobs (construction, tech, restaurants, hotels, ...) and revenue, and you just say "no".

Perfect example of "cutting off your nose to spite your face."


Tony B.
Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm
Tony B., Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Regarding Mr. Faraji's comment that Facebook's offer to pay $9.1 million over five years to enable the Menlo Park Police Department to expand its services in eastern Menlo Park, will '(aid) in the criminalization' of his community, as he believes increased policing will lead to racial profiling, is a falsehood. Firstly, per the article, Mr. Faraji is a resident of East Palo Alto, not Menlo Park. These are two separate jurisdictions, although Menlo Park PD does provide some overlap and assistance to East Palo Alto PD. Secondly, Facebook provided additional funding to Menlo Park PD several years ago to create and staff a police sub-station in Belle Haven, allowing the hiring of an officer to specifically patrol the Belle Haven area. Facebook recognises the rapid growth in Belle Haven, as some of their employees have either purchased, or rent homes/rooms in the neighbourhood. One would think the increased police presence would be a deterrent to crime in Belle Haven, not an increase in racial profiling, and welcomed by the residents. If anything, increased police patrols will provide a greater sense of security to the area, and sends a message to potential lawbreakers to think twice before committing crimes.


Mark Dinan
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm
Mark Dinan, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Many people in East Palo Alto are in favor of Amazon moving here. The organizers of this protest - some who do not live in EPA, and in at least one case has never lived here - are a small but very vocal minority. The benefits to the community are numerous: $300k in property taxes, increased revenue from sales tax from Amazon employees, and most importantly: a premier tech company locating offices here. Nothing sends a message like "EPA has changed for the better" than being able to say "Amazon is in EPA."

There are some in East Palo Alto who want to see EPA remain "outside" the high tech economy. The reality is that with the dramatically lowered crime rates (EPA is now twice as safe as San Francisco and Santa Cruz for violent crime), EPA has seen tech workers moving in like never before in search of affordable housing. These newer residents work for many different companies (HP/Palantir/Stanford/Startups/eBay/Oracle/Google), and keeping Amazon out will not change this dynamic.

If we want to see things like improved schools, increased housing, commercial space, and a downtown built, EPA residents need to accept that developments like the Sobrato building are an essential step forward.


Mamau
Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm
Mamau, Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm

My worry about Amazon is all the increased traffic through our neighborhoods. It is already so bad with Facebook and getting worse.


Sighing
South of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2017 at 1:45 pm
Sighing, South of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2017 at 1:45 pm

The ONLY other nations in the world, besides the U.S., that don't provide a free college education for its qualified students, are third world countries in West Africa!

That is the whole problem in a nutshell! If you don't have the money for a four-year degree, or make a little too much to qualify for a scholarship or financial aid, you can't go to college in this country.

Working full time and going to school here and there, a little at a time, gets tiresome very fast!

The U.S. government has zero interest in higher education, or investing in its citizens by educating them.

Scary, when you consider that a four year degree is a minimum necessity for most jobs these days. Many companies, as well as ALL high tech companies, require a graduate degree. That's the minimum requirement for home ownership, now.

To be recession-proof, an employee needs a PhD, or multiple grad degrees.

Few people whose parents were not multi-millionaires can afford the time and money for all the needed education!

Which is the reason the tech companies hire foreigners: THEIR governments paid for their education, even if they got a graduate degree from an American University!


EPAMom
East Palo Alto
on Apr 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm
EPAMom, East Palo Alto
on Apr 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm

"$300k in property taxes" - Those don't go to the city. The county gets that.

"increased revenue from sales tax from Amazon employees" - Since the City gave away a ground floor retail requirement to the developer it's just a closed office building with closed parking. No retail on site and there is no convenience for any employee to shop in our city.

" and most importantly: a premier tech company locating offices here. Nothing sends a message like "EPA has changed for the better" than being able to say "Amazon is in EPA." Who cares what name is on the building? I don't see how we have any bragging rights that AMAZON is in our city when it pretty much excludes any residents from even going inside there - for community benefitting retail ... or jobs.


Nayeli
Midtown
on Apr 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
on Apr 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm

@ Sighing - Please provide a list of every nation on the planet other than "third world countries in West Africa" that offer 100% free college educations to 100% of their citizens.

It is amazing that America's colleges and universities are the cream of the crop in this world -- and America is one of the most heavily-saturated countries (in terms of college degrees).


musical
Palo Verde
on Apr 4, 2017 at 7:09 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Apr 4, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Grass is always greener on the other side of the wall.


Hmmmmmm....
South of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2017 at 1:54 pm
Hmmmmmm...., South of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2017 at 1:54 pm

It is probably easier and faster to list the countries that DON'T pay college tuition for their students who qualify for higher education.

Ghana
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Gambia
Lesotho

I don't think Venezuela pay college tuition any longer, but not certain. All other South American and European countries do, however.

China, Japan, S Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Ladakh, Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan and India all pay college tuition, also. Even MExico and the rest of Central America do those!

That said, in most foreign countries, there are no " general education" requirements to be fulfilled, so a BS degree can be completed in only two years, an MS in only one additional year, and a PhD in one more year after that! In the time an American college or University to award a BS degree, the rest of the world can have a PhD!

However, most American companies consider a foreign degree to be an incomplete education!


Nayeli
Midtown
on Apr 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
on Apr 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm

@ Hmmmmmmm... Do you have a citation for this?


@Nayeli
Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm
@Nayeli, Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Why don't you just google it?


Nayeli
Midtown
on Apr 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
on Apr 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm

@ "@Nayeli" - I did search for it. I can't find any evidence to validate the claim that the rest of the world gives completely free college educations to 100% of their citizens. In fact, I find quite the opposite. A college education is something that is rare around the world. Moreover, I find that the nation with the best colleges and universities is, well, this one.


Srsly?
Evergreen Park
on Apr 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm
Srsly?, Evergreen Park
on Apr 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm

No country pays for100% of its citizens to get college degrees, although Finland pays for about 80% of them.

Most countries pay 100% of college tuition for their QUALIFIED students.

Only the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark pay for living expenses as well.

But, yes, the best colleges are in the US! More work is required here to get a degree-- the rest of the colleges in the world give their students a rather incomplete education, not well- rounded at all.

Try googling under "List of countries providing free college education".

Some countries pay for colleges in the home country, but East Africa, Europe and Asia will pay for an American education, up to PhD level.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Wow, there is definitely some arrogance here about American degrees being better than other countries degrees, or American colleges being better than other countries colleges. I feel sure that those who went to college in other countries would disagree.

However, it may seem that a 4 year degree in the US is "more rounded" whatever that means, than a 3 year degree elsewhere, but the 3 year degree may actually get the graduate a job when finished. Also the requirements to get into the college may take an extra year of high school doing specialized higher level exams to gain entry.

Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges. They are completely different from a different starting point and a different ending point.




Abitarian
Downtown North
on Apr 6, 2017 at 6:11 pm
Abitarian, Downtown North
on Apr 6, 2017 at 6:11 pm

I do not live in East Palo Alto and I certainly do not speak for its residents. I do think the residents should be heard and their concerns should be addressed.

That said, the city does have an ordinance which directs businesses to hire 30% of their employees from East Palo Alto and it is likely that more technology companies will move operations to East Palo Alto in the future.

*If* I were a resident, I would like to see solutions that prepare more people from East Palo Alto for employment with these technology firms.

It does not seem likely that another ordinary job center will help residents acquire the sophisticated skills and specialized experience that are needed for these types of jobs.

But what about programs to get kids excited about Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) subjects?

What about paid summer and after-school internships for teenagers at these technology companies?

What about college scholarships in these subjects that require graduates to come home and work in East Palo Alto for some specified number of years?

Again, as a non-resident, I don't get a say, but if I did, these are the types of programs I would like to see.


Nayeli
Midtown
on Apr 6, 2017 at 9:27 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
on Apr 6, 2017 at 9:27 pm

@ Srsly?:

That is a major difference. The United States has 320 Million citizens and all of them have access to a college education. This includes excellent students, terrible students and everyone in-between.

If those prospective students are poor, then they have access to various means of financial aid (e.g., Pell Grant, other grants, subsidized loans, etc.). That financial aid is enough to pay for a college education at many community colleges and even some state colleges.

Unfortunately, the nation doesn't make a distinction between "qualified students" and those aforementioned "terrible" students.

I knew a guy in college who was in school for FIVE years (at a state school) who still had made little progress toward a specific degree. He kept changing his major over and over again -- flunking many courses and receiving academic progress waivers when he "needed" them. He was a waste of money. He eventually dropped out after six years worth of state and federal grants and enormous student loan debt. He now works at a Home Depot.

If the United States focused on "qualified students" when it comes to four-year universities, then I think it would be money better spent. Unfortunately, many government-guaranteed financial aid recipients are below-average students admitted to state schools at great investment risk.

As student loan debt has skyrocketed to an unsustainable level, I think that something will need to change. Perhaps it is time to create standards for what constitutes "qualified students" for four-year universities. Non-qualified students can still receive aid to community colleges where they can earn their education and prove themselves "investment-worthy" as four-year transfers.

I agree that American universities are undoubtedly better. This isn't always the case but certainly true as a whole. Most nations rank American schools ahead of the colleges and universities elsewhere.


resident
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 6, 2017 at 11:40 pm
resident, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 6, 2017 at 11:40 pm

We definitely need more for-profit businesses in this area that actually pay their taxes. People keep saying we are a huge economy but for who? Goggle and FB are storing billions off-shore and not paying taxes on it. If there is no tax base where we actually realize the tax payment then we have reduced support for the schools and city support services. Baltimore gets lots of press - it used to have manufacturing - steel - other manufacturing. That is a place where all residents could get jobs. Now the biggest employer is John Hopkins - a nonprofit. Their school system is in free-fall and many of the young people are rioting because they do not see a path forward. That translates to Oakland and other cities which are having financial trouble. EPA is lucky to get Amazon - but Amazon needs to pay it's taxes.


musical
Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2017 at 12:53 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2017 at 12:53 am

Add up all the local employees of Google, Facebook, Amazon et al, then multiply by average salary. That's a huge tax base. Good thing all the billions in income taxes are getting lost in Sacramento and Washington. If that money stayed here, prices of everything would be beyond ridiculous.


resident
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 7, 2017 at 8:37 am
resident, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 7, 2017 at 8:37 am

Regarding the H-1B employees they do not work directly for the companies - they are a subcontract with TATA and other consolidators for Indian H-1B Visa Holders. So their salaries are coming from TATA, etc. Since those agencies are located in India then the tax issues are muddy and unclear. The subcontract agency is responsible for the employment tax issues. That is why the use of H-1B visas is so desired. It also addresses the health insurance issue which in this case would be the responsibility of TATA, etc. Note that the UC SF medical center has laid off it's local IT workers and outsourced that function to India.


Srsly?
Evergreen Park
on Apr 10, 2017 at 5:57 pm
Srsly?, Evergreen Park
on Apr 10, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Heard on NPR Radio today that even the former Soviet Bloc countries will pay for qualified students to attend college. They even talked to a woman from Romania who said she had attended graduate school in the US, paid for by the Romanian government. She ended up with a PhD in math from a prestigious American University ( she did not say which one), and was offered a professorship from Stanford-- which upset her parents when she refused it. Instead, she now is a professor at one of the UCs ( she did not state which).


resident
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 11, 2017 at 10:10 am
resident, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 11, 2017 at 10:10 am

Lots of press about H-1B employees and how "valuable" they are. Since it is now tax time note that you get your tax information which qualifies all of the taxes withheld by your employer from your paycheck. The FICA is relative to Social Security and is matched by your employer up to a defined dollar value. There are also the California taxes withheld - including State Disability Insurance (SDI). The cost of managing the payroll taxes and following through with the proper reporting and payment to the government is not insignificant. There is also the medical insurance cost which must be withheld and paid to the government/insurance company.
If a H-1B worker is coming through an agency like TATA then TATA is doing all of the work here and the subcontract to TATA is coming through on the main company books as a "Subcontract". So the value to Google, FB, and Amazon is that they have no responsibility regarding the payroll taxes and they do not have to provide the yearly tax documents to the individual. So that is the "value" of the H-1B employee. If a US citizen working directly to the company than you need a whole Accounting Department to manage the payroll taxes, as well as Human Resources to manage the hiring and firing of personnel. At the rate that young people change jobs this is unbelievably cumbersome.


Well, Now....
Palo Verde
on Apr 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm
Well, Now...., Palo Verde
on Apr 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Speaking of NPR, there was a blurb a few days ago about how difficult it is for start-ups to find qualified employees in the USA-- and it is being blamed on the fact that the elementary and secondary education here is so poor. Combined with the fact that the USA is one of only a handful of countries that does not give free college educations--and beyond-- to qualified high school graduates, the tech industry as a whole feels they have to hire college grads from countries that DO pay for higher education!

Ironically, most of the H1B visa employees hired by start-ups and high tech companies got their graduate and PhD degrees at UC Berkely, Stanford or MIT. Paid for courtesy of their respective homelands: usually PRoC, S Korea, India, Taiwan or Vietnam.


resident
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 11, 2017 at 3:16 pm
resident, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 11, 2017 at 3:16 pm
resident
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 11, 2017 at 6:00 pm
resident, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 11, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Our universities are graduating millions of students who are fully aware of the requirements of the tech industry. US universities bring in foreign students because they pay more for tuition. That is an on-going discussion regarding the UC system. The Bay area California students are particularly tuned into the requirements of the tech industry. They are discriminated in attempts to getting accepted to the UC system since they pay the lowest price for tuition. That is also an on-going discussion in the bay area. There are many "narratives" to promote the H-1B visa program but hiring local grads is the way to go.


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2017 at 10:49 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2017 at 10:49 am

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