East Palo Alto weighs Facebook lawsuit

City officials to discuss legal action at Thursday meeting

City officials from East Palo Alto will meet in closed session Thursday to discuss a possible lawsuit against Facebook.

At a special joint meeting of the East Palo Alto City Council and the Redevelopment Agency, officials will discuss potential litigation against the social-media company, which recently completed a move to Menlo Park.

The city of East Palo Alto has raised concerns that the influx of above-average earners employed at Facebook will displace the city's current residents and heavily impact traffic on roadways around the 1-million-square-foot East Campus, located at 1601 Willow Road.

The campus now houses about 2,000 employees, a number Facebook anticipates will increase by 1,000 per year over the next six years, according to draft environmental impact documents filed with the city of Menlo Park.

Thursday's meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at 2415 University Ave. in East Palo Alto. The potential lawsuit will be discussed in closed session at 12:30 p.m.

Related stories:

Study: Facebook expansion likely won't displace East Palo Alto residents

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Like this comment
Posted by Outraged
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

How dare they increase property values, bring in city tax revenue, and improve the general appearance of the community!

It's horrible!

Like this comment
Posted by Ron
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm

What could be more productive than get in the way of adding industry to a blighted area that will increase the city's tax revenue and create jobs. Those wishing to file the lawsuit should seek work in the Obama administration where the work will be better received.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This project should be built however the City of Menlo Park is doing such a horrible job of serving as the Lead Agency for the EIR that the project may well and properly be delayed by legal challenges.

From: Peter Carpenter

Date: December 14, 2011 2:04:44 PM PST

To: A variety of local leaders and newspapers

Subject: Draft EIR for Facebook project - Sole Agency vs Lead Agency

The way that the City of Menlo Park has treated its responsibility as the Lead Agency for this project is that the City of Menlo Park has instead become the Sole Agency for this product and therefore the only beneficiary will be Menlo Park.

This project should move ahead and do so promptly. Unfortunately, because the city is blatantly ignoring the impacts of this project on other entities, this process will be delayed rather than accelerated. The EIR is supposed to be an independent analysis of the impacts of this project by an outside expert yet the city has provided detailed and on-going guidance to the contractor as to what to include and what not to include - leading to such crazy statements as "The City of East Palo Alto also raised an issue relating to the potential displacement of East Palo Alto residents. For reasons discussed below, this issue is not evaluated further in the Draft EIR because possible displacement of residents would not result in a significant physical impact on the environment." The initial "independent" analysis looked at the per capita impacts of the additional employees and, since that would have logically lead to having to consider the impacts on other agencies, the city direct the 'independent' contractor to remove that analysis for the draft EIR. EIR's seldom fail on substantive grounds but almost always fail on process grounds - the 'independent' analysis which fails, at the city's direction, to acknowledge the impacts on other agencies will doom this EIR to failure.

Just as it did with the Gateway Project the city is intentionally ignoring the impacts of this project on East Palo Alto, Atherton, the school districts and the Fire District. In the Gateway process the city actually said to the other entities that there is only so much money we can get out of the developer and we are taking all of it - including a last minute demand by Fergusson for $50k of landscape additions.

The result of this unprincipled behavior by the city would be to place an involuntary tax on the citizens of all the other effected entities in the form of a reduction in service levels as the resources of those agencies, unmitigated by Facebook, are diverted to serve the impacts of this project.

Hopefully someone from Facebook is reading this Forum and realizes that it is Facebook that will suffer from the legal delays that will occur if the city continues in its Sole Agency mode rather than being a responsible Lead Agency.

Benjamin Franklin said "You may delay, but time will be lost and lost time is never found again."

Like this comment
Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Ron, please tell us how Facebook in Menlo helps EPA tax revenues? Maybe I'm not understanding your comment.

Like this comment
Posted by Ron
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm

To Aquamarine:

They might buy something in EPA, gasoline, lunch, office supplies, (sales Tax), buy a house (increase property tax revenue) etc.

Like this comment
Posted by Confused
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Um, I am confused. How is Facebook being there any different than when Sun was there? Did the city sue Sun too?

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Facebook wants to add 7000 more employees - a huge increase.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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