News

'Google park' now a possibility

Council OKs policy on naming rights, sponsorships

Googleville, USA, here we come.

With Google in the midst of a donation-spree that seems timed to counter it becoming a symbol for Bay Area gentrification and under-funded public transit, Mountain View City Council members took action Tuesday night to make sure the city doesn't miss out on more corporate funding.

To be fair, the council never mentioned Google as the specific reason for the policy change, which sets the stage for companies to buy naming rights to city parks and city buildings, and sponsor city events, such as outdoor concerts.

Council member Mike Kasperzak said he wanted to make sure the possibility existed. He raised the hypothetical scenario where a company bought the city enough land for a relatively large park -- would council members really want to turn that down if it required naming the park after that company? After all, the council would still have to approve any name change.

"If we don't have the policy to permit that, no one is really going to try anything," Kasperzak said. "It's a lot easier to get people to think about it if it might be permitted."

Council members Jac Siegel and Ronit Bryant were the only council members to vote against the policy change, citing concerns over the naming rights issue. Member John McAlister said he liked the event sponsorship aspect. The rest of the council was silent.

"I don't want people to be able to buy the names of parks -- it just doesn't seem right to me," Siegel said.

"I don't want to visit my neighborhood park and find it called AT&T park or ... not to mention the names of any Mountain View companies," Bryant said. "We are so surrounded by advertising all the time. Naming rights I absolutely cannot support. It's the Mountain View Community Center, not company XYZ Community Center."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 10, 2014 at 9:11 am

If the choice is between no park and Google Park, I choose the later, as long as the city is making them pay for the bulk of the park construction and long term maintenance costs, not just a token naming fee. If council members don't like this idea, they need to look at how they are managing the city's revenue sources.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

The way council is bending over maybe just go ahead and rename the city as Googletown.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lost Altan
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2014 at 11:36 am

The BK is gone - MV is being gentrified and the only way to stop it is to disallow people from either making good money or preventing them from living in MV. Not sure which is less American but either way neither idea is acceptable. The question here is if we are willing to give up branding of a park in exchange for being able to have a park. The cost of land in MV is so high that it is going to be all max height buildings crammed next to each other unless the city reserves land for parks or prevents growth of the economy; given the price of land I don't see how you expect MV to make new parks. OTOH Google has tons of a money and a willingness to spend it on the community - take their money, give them the branding for a limited time and decide later if it's so offensive you prefer not to have a park.
Just sayin.


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Posted by NotfondofGoogle
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I'd just like Google to relocate to the east coast. Their motto is to do no evil, well, they should abide by that motto. The adverse ripple affects they are causing for those of us who work and live here. I'm tired of the large G buses driving down our small street near our home. Tired of the rise in rents. Tired of the fact that they're changing Mtn. View to where it's geared towards single people and driving families out as they can't afford housing here. Google employees have all the perks to where they don't have to spend their money on gas, food and housing. It's like a cult. It's obvious they have the perks so the young single people they hire work more. They get paid the minute they step on the Google bus. Who wouldn't want to work for them. Makes it hard on the cities restaurants as well as the employees eat at Google as well as families trying to afford living here. And that artist's conception on the front page of the Voice last week. I saw that and just sighed. What next. As the one poster noted, yes, just rename our city Googletown. Or better yet, if they do split the state, just name it Southbay Googleville. Just sayin.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm

The majority of our City Council is bought and paid for. If Ken Rosenberg, Mike Kazpersak's hand picked stooge #2 (Chris Clark is stooge #1,) gets elected Mountain View will become Googleville. The City will be only for the financially independent like Inks, Kasperzak and Clark. It should be noted that while on paper Clark has a job, his real job is representing employer's business interests.


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Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Mar 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

@ NotfondofGoogle,

Which small street are you referring to? If you're taking about Middlefield Road, which I live on, and which Google Busses definitely drive down, I don't think that's a small street. Same goes for Ellis, N Whisman Rd, and Fairchild Drive. If you're talking about a smaller neighborhood street, then I bet that if you brought your complaint to Google, they would stop driving down your street. If you tell me the street you're talking about, either I or some Google employee who reads the comments will follow up on it for you.

As far as Google's driving families out, I am a father of three, and am rather active in Mountain View community life, serving on several city and school district committees. I am not the only one. I don't think stereotyping other people in bulk is a proper or productive thing to do.

Disclosure: I worked for Google for four years and used to ride a Google Bus from SF to MV in 2005 and 2006.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not a Googler
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 10, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Well, I have to say that I am a little surprised that the easy shot was taken to jump on the Google-town/ville bandwagon. Honestly, some of us expected better. There are so many other large and successful companies in Mountain View involved with Mountain View-based nonprofits that provide in-kind gifts, sponsorships, and volunteer hours. But watch out! if Google does give anything... it must mean there is hidden agenda and they are buying the city -- no one else -- just them. YET, if Google does do anything at all, then they aren't being good corporate citizens and face scrutiny. Would you rather be writing a story about how a successful company calls Mountain View home and doesn't do a damn thing? Guess that wouldn't be as catchy.

As for the council vote, the examples used in the presentation were actually focused on sponsoring events. I don't think anyone would mind if a company stepped up to bring Imagine Dragons to play on a music night instead of a garage band from San Jose who is willing to play for free. That stuff costs money, and - frankly - while I wouldn't expect my tax dollars to pay for entertainment, I don't want the entertainment options to suck, either. Plus, maybe you guys could get comp tickets -- would you turn them down if they came from Google?

After reviewing the video, (link here: Web Link ) the council voted to make changes to _policy_ that would let the city _consider_ sponsorships. It does not mean that they have to accept the sponsorships in any way. And nowhere is Google even mentioned. I'm not a Googler, but really… can they get a little break? I realize that you need to sell more papers to get more ad dollars and putting the word Google at the beginning means someone might actually read it for a change, but maybe you could find a new whipping boy for a while. Plenty of other companies to choose from.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Mar 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Robert is a registered user.

This has come up before when Yahoo tried to get naming rights for Shoreline Amphitheater; Yahoo at Shoreline. That council had the courage to say no to Yahoo. I am not a big fan of Google as I see our privacy becoming non existent as they take over the world, however unless you want to live in a city like Detroit, Stockton or Vallejo, be very thankful that you have Google around to help the city fund all those things we love here in MV.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I don't see anything wrong with Google or companies leasing the rights to names to the following. Tennis Center, Swimming Pool, Gyms, playfields, or any planned park facility but not the park itself. There is nothing wrong with a Google Community Center or (private name) Tennis Center. Detroit has done it, Stockton has done it, so what makes us so special.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I dob't understand what all the fuss is about. Seems many believe that Google is solely responsible for the growth and congestion in the area, when that's not true. I'm in favor of companies that are doing well and are HQ'd in Mountain View contributing to the City.


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Posted by Cheryl
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Go Google, and other companies wanting to support community development!
Think of some great city parks--Griffith in LA, named after its donor. What about the really catchy name, Central Park in NYC--is that better in some way than "Google Park"? The name "Central" Park was probably the result of some feud about what to call it with the compromise being totally impersonal. But it didn't matter as it became a great park, whatever its name.


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Posted by David
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Anything like naming rights should be up for bid. It's very tacky anyway, but I suspect we could find other offers. Yahoo Park? Don't rule it out. Yahoo is really quite close to parts of Mountain View just on the other side of Moffett from Google. The amphitheater is where the money is. How ahout Oracle Amphitheater? Larry has plenty of money. Or maybe some other national company like McDonald's or Starbucks would go for it? Or Hooters? Or Preparation H? Maybe the people behind The Dome TV series would like to stage a period of dome coverage so it could be The Dome? Just about anything that buys a Superbowl commerical is a candidate. Why not make a Jumbotron that faces 101 and hawk a rotating series of ads on that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Mama
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 10, 2014 at 11:21 pm

The Google buses do drive down small streets, they regularly drive down Church Street, which is one lane in each direction and not built to handle large buses. Traffic often backs up behind them when they stop on Church by Park Place (in a no parking zone I might add).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr Adviceo
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:23 am

Google should be given a Free Reign to all of MV as they contribute more than anyone to MV's tax base. If you don't like it then move on and shut up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:44 am

Snipped from a an October 13th article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal. The article is worth the read.

'Google's growth pushes Mountain View limits'

Web Link

snip...

"Still, Google's dominance in Mountain View has spurred mixed feelings. Some question the real impact of Google's property tax revenue, most of which, through a quirk in the tax code, actually goes to a separate tax district to be spent in the North Bayshore; in other words, Google's tax dollars largely benefit Google's own stronghold.

City council members have also raised concerns over worsening traffic – despite the Google shuttle buses that ferry workers to and from work. Even the company's gourmet meals – a legendary employee perk – are something of a flashpoint.

"The city doesn't get sales tax from the free lunch program at Google," said Kasperzak, who nonetheless calls himself one of Google's strongest supporters on the council. "Seriously, the economic diversity of the community really is getting smaller each time they buy more space." " ...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What's in a name?
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I'm sure there are many other examples of branding a name in Mountain View. Such as Rengstorff Ave, House, Community Center, Park and Pool. Rengstorff was one of the first families to build and settle in MV. And, MV Google will be in the history books also.

I'm not happy with the way MV is getting so over crowded, in fact it is disappointing really. I try not to be bitter. I have been here for 50 years. That being said, what's in a name?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I'm against it.

Items named after Rengstorff are for historical reasons. He was one of the town founders.

It's not named Rengstorff as an advertisement for a corporation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2014 at 5:08 pm

The idea is to the sell the naming rights of the buildings, not the park, streets of historical structures. Nothing historical about the community center at Rengstorff Park or the swimming the pool.


What happens when the city will find the costs of running the pool, the community center, the tennis center and along with the park just to high. Guess we have options that are charge more, downsize or close altogether.

Witnessed all three happening in other communities.

It was Castro who gave to land for the park, not Rengstorff.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anne Infeld
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 16, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Why are we even talking about turning our civic assets into advertisements? I know it is a source of funding, but getting funding this way is a cheap trick and diminishes our pride. And if we begin to rely on that funding it will be difficult to wean ourselves off of it.

Let's just say no on this one. Corporations come and go, but Mountain View is forever.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MP
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 16, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I think it is ok that G donates money...but, why do they need their name on it?
If they really want to contribute to the community they should do it without branding.
Also, it would be great if they would start by paying their taxes, not only in MV, but also in many European countries. :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Garrett83 is a registered user.

The costs of doing any kind of remodel or construction project has risen and will rise. The tech boom that is going has more to blame for rising costs due to labour.

Not enough workers.

Boom and bust and boom cycle plays havoc with incoming taxes and the revune stream. Cities delay maintance funds so the wear and tear grows greater.

We just can't go out build like a private company.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shonuff66
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Nobody 'wants' to go to Google Park. Stay classy Mountain View.

If in 100 years the people want to name something Google Park, let those folks decide.

@Google if you want to donate a park, let the people name it... you can put up a plaque saying you donated there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Garrett83 is a registered user.

I agree park names should be left alone but I am talking about park buildings or facilities being named. No park renaming.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Council Seats Branding
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Maybe that branding policy should be extended to sponsor the chairs our City Council uses at City Hall?
Just imagine how much more transparent a vote would become if the public knew it came from say ... the Prometheus seat.


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