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Facebook's long-term stay tied to benefit deal

Original post made on Feb 17, 2012

Facebook may at times feel as if everyone in Menlo Park expects a helping hand from the social networking giant.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 17, 2012, 10:45 AM

Comments (32)

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This kind of shakedown of a successful private company is outrageous. I hope this blows up in Menlo Park's face.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Glad to read that David Boesch's skills and talents are being used...He is a valuable team player in my opinion.


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Posted by disssccc grace ful
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

"This kind of shakedown of a successful private company is outrageous."

Agree. It's not like corporations have been shaking down local communities much.

Pro sports teams blackmailing towns for subsidies to build or stay put, walmart demanding corporate welfare, oops, I mean tax breaks to locate, etc.

Wouldn't surprise me if that campus was originally built with a bit of welfare, sorry did it again, I meant "help"

Facebook should be free to cause massive traffic jams. The shutins up in the hills who post here don't care much about us slobs that work for a living and have to get to a 2nd job on time.


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Posted by Srini
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

disssccc grace ful.........Perspective, please. You are not wrong about corporate shakedowns, pro sports, Walmart, etc. This has nothing to do with Facebook. They have been a good company, respectful of their communities, and good to their employees, of which there are many. They are also not responsible for your struggles. Like myself, it's good you have a job to go to, unlike some other "poor slobs", as you so eloquently stated. And where can a copmany the size of Facebook go without affecting traffic? It's not like they are taking over the empty car dealerships on El Camino. By the way, they didn't build that campus, so if there was, indeed, "welfare" or tax breaks, they certainly didn't get it. Who do you think could move into that campus without affecting traffic? You now have a company who is doing everything right and boosting the fortunes of your financially strapped city. Leave them alone to continue to do that, rather than plan for a short term stay.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

David Boesch again? Many of us were very happy to see him leave his post as Menlo Park's city manager. It sounds like the County was happy to see him leave too. Why is he back again? How much is he receiving for this gig?


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Posted by disssccc grace ful,
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Srini

"They are also not responsible for your struggles" Didn't talk about any struggles you think I have. I'm happily plying my trade. Traffic concerns are real for everyone, cept the shutins up in the hills.

"By the way, they didn't build that campus, so if there was, indeed, "welfare" or tax breaks, they certainly didn't get it. " Didn't say they built the Sun campus.

Wonderring, with the change of ownership, was the property reassessed under Prop 13, or was there another corporate break?




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Posted by common sense
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Thank you Joseph E. Davis for your succinct comment:
"This kind of shakedown of a successful private company is outrageous. I hope this blows up in Menlo Park's face."

Many of us are so tired of the "takers" and shakedown artists who don't take responsibility for their lives but instead think those who produce jobs and a better world owe them a handout. It's time to grow up Menlo Park and embrace success and promote personal responsibility!


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Posted by faceplant
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Menlo Park is an allegedly educated community, and it bothers me that so many residents are so starstruck that they have no problem with Facebook stomping all over the existing rules and rewriting the zoning code to suit themselves.

Let's look at it another way. Those of us who own homes and businesses in Menlo Park (ie, taxpayers) sometimes want to renovate our own property. If our design encroaches an extra 6" on the setback, we are expected to have our plans redone to meet requirements. Would our renovations affect traffic or otherwise have a deleterious impact on our neighbors? Apart from the annoyance of construction, not at all. So why are Facebook's demands, including the tripling of allowed occupants, treated so much differently? Are there different rules for the super rich?

Let's not forget that Facebook is occupying land that traditionally belonged to manufacturing companies who produced sales tax revenues. Once Facebook takes over the territory, we will never see those revenues again.

To top it off, we have Facebook's kindergartenish whines of "if you don't do what we want, we won't play!" Well, unless our city can cash the "prestige" of Facebook at the bank, I would like to see our city representatives engaged in real negotiations that benefit our entire city. Not just a privileged few.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Resident you are willing to BASH a very good man yet you refuse to identify yourself, why?

"David Boesch again? Many of us were very happy to see him leave his post as Menlo Park's city manager. It sounds like the County was happy to see him leave too. Why is he back again? How much is he receiving for this gig?

When you say the County you mean only 4 people....not the County


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Posted by Thank God!
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

All I can say, is Thank God there aren't too many misinformed residents like "faceplant"! I guess faceplant forgets that FB will be supplying upwards to possibly 9K people in this facility. Yep, that's 9K EMPLOYED PEOPLE, many of which will live in our town, and hopefully drive up our home values. And who is "stomping all over existing rules"?? I think what they are going after now are variances, and discussing mitigation opportunities. No one is "stomping all over existing rules"! Me thinks faceplant is very envious!
The way I see it, I'm sick and tired of vacant buildings in this town, mainly because of individuals like faceplant who is either envious of someone making more money than he or she, or not approving of a certain type of utopian business, or who knows?! I hope FB comes and stays for as long as there is a Menlo Park!


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Posted by Connected
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I think that people here talking about a Facebook "shakedown" are protesting too much.

Menlo Park "shakes down" real estate agencies and travel agencies and eyebrow bars downtown that dare to locate in a retail district. They are made to move, change their product mix, pay in lieu sales tax fees, etc.

But when Facebook moves to town and asks for a huge increase in employee count at the sun site, and we dare to talk about mitigations or sales tax in lieu fees or building bicycle overpasses, suddenly it is a shakedown.

Facebook will raise 5-10 billion dollars via this IPO. What is it worth for Facebook to have a secure home in Menlo Park before they IPO? How about 1% of the IPO money that they raise. That's a one time payment, how much would that be? 50 - 100 million dollars.

When you start talking about mitigations or other payments by Facebook to Menlo Park, keep these numbers in mind.



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Posted by faceplant
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm

My assertions are actually correct, probably because I've read many of the documents pertaining to Facebook's demands. Apparently others have not wished to contaminate their judgment by relying on facts!

I was not aware that Facebook's new campus would magically eliminate the vacant buildings on El Camino. Does Facebook have some secret deal with Stanford (owner of most of those properties)? I'd love to hear that scoop, and so would many others!

In deference to opposing viewpoints, I see the merits in adopting a Chinese style of work that includes cramming a lot of workers into a relatively small amount of space and expecting them to labor intensely for long hours. Perhaps the Facebook plan also includes having their employees work around the clock, which might reduce the traffic problems to nearly zero!

While some affluent MP residents are counting on a rise in home value, I myself am more concerned about the thousands of low income residents who will be driven from their no-longer-affordable housing. It's easy to get confused when you focus on your own profiteering. Looking at the bigger picture may help clarify the situation for those of you suffering the pangs of unrequited Facebook love.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

When the Lead Agency does not lead, as is required by law, then all of the other agencies have to fend for themselves and chaos ensues. How much better it would have been if Menlo Park had met with all of the other agencies and coordinated a single, comprehensive and manageable list of impacts that need to be mitigated. Instead, Menlo Park simply puts its needs first and told the other agencies that they were on their own - the result is understandably confusing to Facebook and a disgrace to Menlo Park.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It will be instructive to see if the Mayor of Menlo Park, who aspires to county-wide office, can show the wisdom and leadership necessary to go beyond the narrowly crafted staff report and convene a working group of all of the impacted local entities in order to produce a single, comprehensive, balanced and fair list of desired mitigations BEFORE the city begins its negotiations with Facebook.


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Posted by Connected
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Menlo Park holds the keys as to whether or not Facebook can change the development agreement for the Sun campus. Of course Menlo Park is going to ask for something and be in position to do so. It's the same as Stanford and Palo Alto. Menlo Park has no leverage there and gets nothing but the impacts.

It would be pretty sad if the mayor of Menlo Park did not stick up for the town when she has a chance to do so.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"if the mayor of Menlo Park did not stick up for the town when she has a chance to do so"

Sounds like exactly what is not needed for a County Supervisor - think small, think local, think only about what is good for 'my town'.


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Posted by money
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Facebook is asking for special dispensation from zoning rules and the general plan. They will not bring any - that's right ZERO - direct sales tax revenue to menlo park. As someone else pointed out, the city expects non-retail businesses on Santa Cruz to pay in lieu sales tax. The city should expect the same in the business district where sizable revenue is supposed to come. If businesses don't provide their fair share, who has to pick up the tab? It's us residents who live in the city limits.
What fb requests will bring significant negative impacts. The city should expect them to provide tangible benefit for letting them do that.
Money talks, and fb should provide a good amount.


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Posted by MP resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm

FB should pay some in lieu fees but before people comment please read the entire list of the City Council's requests. It is like a spoiled child's Christmas list who knows they have rich parents. Our City Council are not leaders - they are takers.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are excerpts from the staff report:
RECOMMENDATION
Staff recommends that the City Council provide direction for negotiating the
Development Agreement for the Facebook East Campus Project located at 1601 Willow
Road based on the following parameters:
1. Provide a source of on-going revenue for as long as the land use entitlement to
exceed 3,600 employees is in place.
2. Provide one-time items in the form of public improvements or studies that would
benefit the surrounding area.
3. Provide a mechanism for funding programs and services that meet on-going
community needs.
4. Pursue a commitment to fund housing opportunities in the City and surrounding
region.
5. Pursue a trip cap penalty amount that is severe enough to ensure compliance
with the project description.

Attachment A
Facebook Campus Project
Public Benefit Ideas
February 14, 2012
 Improved bicycle access to the site, including improvements to the Bay Trail,
freeway overcrossing, and commonly used bicycle access routes to the site;
 In-lieu fee for loss of tax revenue;
 Use of Facebook shuttles for public transportation, similar to the Marguerite
shuttle system implemented by Stanford;
 Revenue for Menlo Park City School District;
 Improvements to Flood Park;
 Landscape and street sign improvements along Willow Road;
 Provision of free wireless access to Belle Haven;
 Construction of a centrally located library branch at Ivy Drive Plaza;
 Installation of bus shelters at key locations;
 Improvement of existing City resources, including the Senior Center, Belle Haven
Library and Belle Haven pool;
 Construction of a housing complex at Flood Park;
 Installation of public art;
 Financial support for senior/low income households and transit oriented
development;
 Provision of a major grocery store in Belle Haven;
 Provision of job opportunities with preference given to Menlo Park residents;
 Facebook funded employee supported mentorship and volunteer programs;
 Provision of child care for Facebook employees and the public;
 Construction of a sound wall between Kelly Park and US 101; and
 Native landscape plantings along Bayfront Expressway.


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Posted by Liberals Gone Wild
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

1. Have Facebook fund a monorail system that ties to both the Palo Alto and Menlo Park CalTrain Stations and make it free for all users.

2. Have Facebook pay for the expansion of the Dumbarton bridge to 5 lanes in each direction and the tolls for all Menlo Park residents.

3. Have Facebook pay for the Dumbarton Rail and commuter tickets for all Menlo Park residents.

4. Have Facebook buy electric cars for all its employees and provide electrical plug-ins.

5. Have Face Book Pay for a PG&E substation fueled by Triple Junction Galium Arsenide, Indium Tin Phosphide, and Germanium Solar Panels that it will erect on its roof and adjacent land.

6. Have Facebook pay for the expanision of the Bay Front Expressway to Seaport Drive in Redwood City

7. Have Facebook pay for new interchanges for University Avenue, Willow Road, Marsh Road, and Woodside Road and Highway 101.

8. Have Facebook buy Google Cell Phones for all Menlo Park Residents.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would welcome Facebook to Menlo Park without ANY conditions as it will bring energy, economic stimulus and creativity.

If, however, the City of Menlo Park wishes to impose conditions on Facebook then those conditions should reflect the documented impact of the Facebook presence on ALL local public entities rather than just those which narrowly impact the City of Menlo Park.


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Posted by faceplant
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm

For those of you new to the fray, seasoned professionals usually open negotiations with demands that are unlikely to be met but can be sacrificed in the name of compromise. Both sides give up a little, and meet in the middle.

I didn't make up those rules. That's just how it is. No one with any negotiating skills (and I would omit MP's negotiators from that class) starts off with the bottom line.

For those of you salivating over those thousands of new jobs: beware. You anxious "consultants," who have been spending long hours at the gym or hanging out at Borrone with your laptop pretending to be working -- you're not going to be hired. Facebook has said that it's scouring college campuses for new staff (Web Link) not looking for experienced professionals at home. So the addition of those new jobs will not ease the local unemployment, and in fact may exacerbate it, as the spouses and girl/boyfriends of new FB employees begin carpetbombing the valley with their dazzling resumes. Over 35? Might as well cash in and move to Des Moines.


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

"So the addition of those new jobs will not ease the local unemployment"

Your argument is silly. Assuming you are correct in your assertion that the residents of MP are too stupid to qualify for a job at Facebook (YOUR WRONG.) Do you have any clue what it will cost annually to maintain that campus? The answer is tens of millions.


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Posted by Connected
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Interested:

Faceplant is right. This is not about intelligence, it's about who these kind of companies are looking for. These employees must be young, with the right pedigree and personality and willing to subordinate every other aspect of their life to the company.

I'm afraid that "YOU'RE WRONG".

Facebook will drive up real estate prices around here. But I'm afraid that real opportunities for people who are more than 10 years out of college, will not increase. Of course there will be support and service jobs.

If we want to get everyone back to work, we should encourage high tech manufacturing and manufacturing automation. Maybe there will be room for that as well.


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Posted by Some Guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm

@faceplant

Did you really think there weren't different rules for the super rich?
Why do you think Lindsey Lohan isn't in jail?
The rules only apply to the slaves, the rich and famous get to do whatever they want.


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Posted by sound+fury
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Peter Carpenter gets harder and harder to take seriously. After blustering nonstop about how Menlo City was committing clear CEQA violations with regard to Menlo Fire and Facebook, the district didn't even submit a comment letter on the EIR. Now the same complaint is delivered in vaguer terms, but no less self-importantly? Give it a rest.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 22, 2012 at 12:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" the district didn't even submit a comment letter on the EIR."

Wrong - see below:

Via E-mail
November 16, 2011
William McClure, City Attorney
City of Menlo Paxk
Timothy D. Cxemin, Special Counsel '~~i
Menlo Paxk Fie Pxotecrion District
Harold Schapelhouman, Fire Chief
Menlo Paxk Fire Protection District
Timothy D. Cremin
Attorney a[ Law

Impacts of Facebook Project on Menlo Park Fire Protection District

We worked with the City and provided detailed factual information on the impacts of the
proposed Facebook Project on the Fire District and its provision of fire and emergency
services. The purpose of dus agreed-upon process was to provide the City with information, so that the City could consider and address the District's concerns early in the Project's processing. As we discussed yesterday, the City has reviewed and considered the information. However, the City believes that the Project will not have a significant impact on the Fire District and no mitigation measures are required The District strongly objects to the analysis and methodology used by the City to reach its less than significant conclusion.

The District strongly objects to the conclusion. The District believes that the factual
information that it provided supports a fording of significant impacts to the District that
should be addressed by mitigation measures or conditions that require Facebook to provide funding, equipment and/ox other measures to reduce the Project's impacts. At this point, it does not serve any purpose for the District to repeat the informarion and analysis previously provided to the City to support its position. The District stands behind the information that it previously provided and its opinion that the Project will have significant impacts on the District that need to be mitigated.

In light of the foregoing, the District does not believe it is useful to submit supplemental comments. However, it will point out that the public services section still contains factual errors separate and apart from the disputed methodology and conclusions. So, we recommend that the City carefully review the factual information in the revised public services section against the information previously provided by the District.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Mr. Carpenter:
You seem to have time on your hands. Why don't you work on the mess in YOUR town - Atherton (lawsuits, building dept accued of corruptness, hiring and firings galore).
We will take care of town - MP.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by money
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm

fb jobs will come to the region whether they are located in mp or not. they signed a 15 year lease on one site and own the other. there aren't many large sites where they could go. the city should negotiate hard for positive benefits to mp where it's most needed.....such as land for affordable housing, dramatic improvements all the way downtown for safe biking and walking, maybe free wi-fi for the city, and so on. fb wants special rules. why should mp give that away when there are negative impacts?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Why don't you work on the mess in YOUR town - Atherton"

Atherton is making great progress, Thank you.

Menlo Park is, however, suffering from extreme parochialism. The last time I checked the MPFPD served not only Atherton and East Palo Alto but. alas, Menlo Park. My efforts are well spent.

Would you care, or are you able, to address the issues on this topic?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Money,

did you miss the memo that Menlo Park is proposing to get rid of its housing department. we won't need any more land.

The thought of affordable housing on the peninsula is an urban myth. With the number of millionaires about to be minted working off willow road. you can count on the price of homes near their location to go for a premium. Most do not have children so they are immune to the bad schools over there.

Roy Thiele-Sardiña


 +   Like this comment
Posted by money
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Roy - cities are required to plan for affordable housing. With land, organizations like Habitat for Humanity can build some. It's good for our community to have such diversity. Belle Haven is a reasonable location as is area near train station. The city has a bad habit of accepting in lieu fees for such housing but never acquiring a place where any can be built. this is an opportunity with fb. they are increasing the imbalance of jobs and housing so should help.


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