Google San Jose village panel ponders jobs, economic, housing impacts

SAN JOSE — Google’s proposed transit village in downtown San Jose provides both opportunities — and poses challenges — for a wide array of jobs and affordable housing in the Bay Area’s largest city, according to presentations to a meeting Monday night of an advisory group that’s studying the game-changing project.

Jobs for all income levels and affordable housing for local residents were themes that dominated a meeting of the Station Area Advisory Group. The panel is gathering community input to guide development of a Google transit-oriented community near the Diridon train station.

“There has been a lot of discussion about the links between jobs and housing,” Dave Javid, principal with Plan to Place, and a consultant to the Station Area Advisory Group, told the panel. “We want to be sure that lower-wage workers can find a place to live here.”

The Monday night meeting was effectively the first public airing — and the emergence of a laundry list of issues and demands in connection with the Google village proposal. As the meeting progressed, panelists and San Jose city staffers made it clear that the process is only in the early stages.

“We need to maximize high-density housing in the Diridon Station Area,” said Lori Severino, civic engagement program manager for the Diridon Station Area. High-density housing should also be built, according to Severino’s presentation, in corridors well-served by transit, including east San Jose.

What’s more, these housing opportunities should be made available for a wide array of San Jose residents.

“At least 25 percent of the new housing units should be affordable for moderate-, low-, very low- and extremely low-income residents,” according to recommendations presented to the advisory group.

Mountain View-based Google has proposed a development in downtown San Jose of offices, homes, restaurants, shops and open spaces where the search giant could employ 15,000 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Trump praises Harley-Davidson boycott, escalating feud with firm

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

President Donald Trump on Sunday leveraged the office of the president of the United States against a private American company for seeking to insulate itself from his trade war.

“Great!” he wrote of purported plans by customers of Harley-Davidson to boycott the venerable motorcycle company over its plan to move production of motorcycles sold in Europe to factories outside the U.S. The firm, founded in Milwaukee in 1903, estimated that it would lose $100 million annually from steel tariffs imposed by the president in March.

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Trump tweeted “Many @harleydavidsonowners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.”

His early-morning tweet followed a meeting Saturday with “Bikers for Trump” at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. About 180 members of the group chanted “Four more years!” and “USA!” as they entered the ornate ballroom, according to the Associated Press. The president thanked them and praised their rides, calling them “the most beautiful bikes anyone’s ever seen.”

As recently as last year, Trump extolled the company, saying in a meeting with executives in the Roosevelt Room that he considered Harley-Davidson a “true American icon, one of the greats.”

His view changed when the firm’s leaders announced this summer that they would use overseas facilities for production of bikes headed for sale in Europe. The company said it would not change its longstanding policy of not selling motorcycles in the U.S. that are made overseas.

Trump gambled that even those fond of the brand would stick by his side, threatening in June, “If they move, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Chinese-citizen engineer at San Jose tech firm stole secrets, brought them to Chinese firm, jury says in awarding major damages

Development engineer Gangyi Chen stole trade secrets from his San Jose technology company and brought them to a Chinese firm, according to a Silicon Valley jury that ordered payment of $66 million in damages.

Chen, a Chinese citizen with a UCLA PhD, was working for Lumileds, a San Jose company making LED lighting, when he was recruited by publicly traded Chinese electronics company Elec-Tech International, according to the lawsuit complaint. Chen signed an employment contract with ETI before leaving Lumileds — and days before he left, he smuggled out thousands of files containing company secrets, according to the suit.

A law firm representing Chen and ETI said the jury’s verdict was disappointing, but that they would appeal.

“As we asserted during the trial Elec-Tech independently developed its own process for LEDs and never took, nor used any of Lumileds’ technology,” law firm Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell said in a statement.

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“Further, the technology they asserted in this case is all generally known and cannot be claimed to be proprietary in any way.”

Chen, after quitting ETI in 2012, moved to China, bringing the secrets with him and receiving a significant career boost, the suit claimed.

“Though employed as a research engineer at Lumileds, since starting his employment with ETI, Chen has been promoted to vice president and is one of the most senior executives of the company,” the suit claimed. “He is one of ETI’s highest-paid executives.”

In its verdict delivered Friday, the jury found that Chen, who worked at Lumileds from January 2005 to June 2012 — had misappropriated Lumileds’ secrets and that ETI had used them. Chen started at Lumileds the year after receiving a PhD in chemical engineering from UCLA, according …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Property tax overhaul? Backers of initiative deliver signatures for California’s 2020 ballot

A ballot initiative to tax California’s business and industrial properties based on regular assessments of their value — a major rewrite of Proposition 13, the state’s landmark constitutional amendment limiting property taxes — could be headed for the November 2020 ballot.

A large coalition of community groups spearheading the initiative, including the League of Women Voters, has announced it has gathered the required signatures. The campaign is holding rallies from Berkeley to San Diego on Tuesday as supporters deliver 850,000 signatures to county election offices for verification; it needs 585,407.

The proposed overhaul of Proposition 13 — long sought by progressives — could yield $6 – $10 billion annually in additional tax revenue for public schools, community colleges and public services, according to the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst. While panned by at least one county assessor as unworkable — and sure to be fought by real-estate interests and large companies if it went forward — proponents say the initiative would bring in sorely needed dollars for schools, lift some of the tax burden from homeowners and level the playing field between new and more established businesses.

“My elevator pitch is that residential property owners are paying a disproportionate share of current property taxes for local schools and community services,” said Helen Hutchison, an Oakland resident and president of the California League of Women Voters.

The initiative takes aim at the commercial side of a property-tax measure that voters enshrined in the state Constitution in 1978 as part of a statewide tax revolt. Under Prop. 13, businesses get the same break as homeowners; the taxable value of their properties is reassessed only when the property changes hands or undergoes significant upgrades.

If the constitutional amendment is successful, however, many companies would have their properties reassessed regularly — a change that, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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