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Tempers flare as Stanford's growth plan hits critical phase

Original post made on Sep 25, 2019

With Stanford University's bid to expand its campus entering a critical phase, the university doubled down Tuesday on its request for a negotiated development agreement with Santa Clara County.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 8:26 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2019 at 12:00 pm

To put it bluntly - screw the "nonprofit" Robber Baron - this isn't the 1860s thru 1880s. It's time to review the corporate university's nonprofit status and start taxing it.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Agree with whatever. Stanford has far too much power and money and they are allowed to do things that make life in adjacent communities difficult. Time for them to be a for profit enterprise and taxed accordingly. One doesn't accumulate the billions they have without making a profit.

Posted by Jon Castor
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Sep 25, 2019 at 1:42 pm

Jon Castor is a registered user.

I don't see a robber baron here. There doesn't seem to be any question that Stanford expects to contribute significant $ to the surrounding community. Also, under the law, Stanford has both taxable and non-taxable activities, and if there is any violation of the law with respect to the classifications, I would expect those who are being shortchanged to do something about it. They have every incentive to do so. Wrt Stanford will contribute funds, per the article and as previously reported: "last April... Stanford reached a separate agreement with the Palo Alto Unified School District on a package of benefits worth an estimated $138 million." Wrt the article's reporting on the present status, Stanford appears to be seeking some assurances about the future so the University can plan, and in exchange is willing to offer payments such as the package to the Palo Alto schools. If I understand the article correctly, Stanford wants to negotiate the rest of what might be given in a planned exchange, and there are unsurprisingly several cities with requests for significant $ contributions to transportation and housing, examples of which are listed in the article. We all know there are very real needs in these areas. A win-win would (1) allow the University to continue to strive to excel at the international level, and (2) help the surrounding cities and counties solve our pressing traffic and housing problems. I personally like the idea of even more housing on campus to reduce commute traffic, though I understand Stanford's point that not all faculty and staff will want to live on campus... therefore to the extent there is a gap, contributions to housing off-campus and traffic mitigation makes sense, and as mentioned, is being asked for. The present issue seems to be procedural, based on the article, that the County staff doesn't want to enter into those negotiations now, while Stanford understandably wants to work the package, or packages, out in parallel so they know wholly where they stand. These are strategies being pursued by the players. Despite the posturing, at the end of the day, we can be sure money will flow from Stanford to the community, and the community will allow (and even require) Stanford to build many things. I hope the parties will think win-win. For example, while the Hospital expansion and the new Andreessen Emergency/Trauma Center will add to the already bad traffic situation on Sand Hill Road, it's a tremendously valuable community resource that will save lives. I for one am very glad it's been built despite the fact that I am cursing our traffic every day.

Posted by Fred
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:00 pm

The item that bothers me is that the logic applied to Stanford expansion and the traffic issues that may or may not come with it is not applied to other employers in the area (Facebook, Google, etc.). Menlo Park may be getting a ton of traffic, but how much of that could be a result of the Facebook campus - same goes with Mountain View and the dozens and dozens of Google buildings (and resulting cars). Both of those companies weren't required to build a bunch of new housing when they moved in/expanded their presence.

I know this is a bit of "whataboutism," but it's not an empty comparison or an attempt to deflect the issue. The more employees enter the area (whether at Stanford or a high-tech company), the more traffic occurs, the more housing is needed, etc. Singling out one organization (Stanford) seems to be an attempt at squeezing money out of the one group the county knows can't up and relocate to a new county/city/state.

Posted by frugal
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:49 pm

frugal is a registered user.

How about capping employment until the housing and traffic situation is under control. Radical maybe but consider the alternatives.

Posted by Do something significant
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 27, 2019 at 11:14 am

Do something significant is a registered user.

How bout before we approve more building from Stanford, Facebook, and other huge, successful traffic inducing companies and institutions in the area (Google etc.), we require them to contribute a few billion to fund a below grade Cal train from Atherton or Menlo Park to Palo Alto or Mountain View?

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