VIDEO: Google’s San Jose expansion draws protests

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(KRON) — Affordable housing advocates held a protest outside Google’s offices in Mountains View. Calling on the tech company to “do right” by soon-to-be neighbors as it moves ahead with development in San Jose.

Those protesting told KRON4’s Rob Fladeboe they are worried about rent hikes and evictions amid Google’s plans for huge expansion in downtown San Jose.

A coalition of South Bay affordable advocates staged a rally in the heart of Google’s sprawling Mountain View campus.

They were giving voice to concerns about Google’s ambitious expansion plans in downtown San Jose.

We’re just saying if you’re coming to San Jose, public land for public good,” Silicon Valley Rising Campaign Leander Maria Fernandez said. “You have to make a commitment about the impact your project is going to have on the community.”

The activists, who have taken to calling the company’s proposed megacampus in downtown San Jose as “Googleville,” met briefly with a Google representative and delivered a letter that spells out concerns that Google’s plans will lead to rent hikes and evictions.

“We’re asking Google to step up and respond to the needs of the people and to the entire region,” Fernandez said.

Google’s Javier Gonzales politely accepted the letter but offered no comment on its contents, which included a demand that Google commit to setting aside 25 percent of any housing it might build in San Jose as affordable to the people who live there now.

The activists are likewise calling on the City of San Jose to drive a hard bargain with Google, whose plans are said to include building some 6 million square feet of office space where some 20,000 people might one day be working.

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