It seems that if Google wants to avoid the moniker of "The Evil Galactic Empire," it would quit trying to make Mountain View into Coruscant from the Star Wars movies. Why does a company whose products rely on distributed, diverse systems architectures advocate a monolithic, totalitarian-looking construction style for its corporate headquarters, and try to funnel all of its employees into one small area? I know it appears Apple is building the Death Star in Cupertino, but that's no reason to follow the same pursuit.
Saw Mill Court
Work with the Milk Pail
There was an "elephant in the room" at the City Council's study session on Merlone Geier's Phase 2 public spaces for San Antonio Shopping Center. One Project for Public Spaces recommendation was to build public activity around a produce market. The plans showed this market at the corner of Pacchetti and California. The photo example was of one at Stanford Shopping Center.
Why did Project for Public Spaces not recommend coordinating public space with the adjacent Milk Pail Market? It probably has a lot to do with the fact that it was the developer, not the city, paying the consultant, and likely narrowing the scope of what the Project for Public Spaces was able to evaluate. Why did council members not bring up this concept? Several public commenters did. Plus, over 700 signatures were already submitted petitioning the council to require Merlone Geier to provide shared parking with the Milk Pail to keep it in business.
What will it take for the council to pressure Merlone Geier into working with the community, instead of allowing it to steamroll its own agenda through?
Google needs to build housing
OMG, is Google psychic? Are people finally listening to me?
Since I first moved to Mountain View in 2012, I've been watching how the predatory landlords have continued to exploit the influx of Google incomes by jacking rents beyond what normal working-class folk can pay. I've been saying that if Google wants to prove it is the socially conscious and socially moral company its PR presents it to be, Google would leverage its stratospheric wealth and influence into building a Google housing complex to remove Google salaries from the surrounding rental markets and force the landlords to drop the rents back down to levels that everyday workers can afford.
The Google-Facebook-Apple generation is supposed to be the quintessential socially-correct generation, or at least that's the propaganda. Well, let's see these mega-corps put their money where their professed ethics and morals are and build quality housing for their legions of employees.
Whether it's called GoogleTown or GoogleVille or my favorite, Googletopia, it's time to teach the landlords a lesson in common decency and remove high-tech paychecks from the rental markets of Silicon Valley. Most young people working for these companies come from working-class families, and they need to think about the fact that their own parents and siblings would be forced out of Silicon Valley by the criminal rents being charged. Where do all the people who wash dishes in restaurants, make beds in hotels, clean bathrooms for the public, serve Google employees food, fix their cars and their plumbing, babysit their kids and pets, and do all the truly important tasks that keep any city running, live when rents are many times more than they earn in a month?
Jeffrey Van Middlebrook,
A Gathering Place for People
I'm so excited that chess players, I mean, chess tables, are featured in the new San Antonio Phase 2. Usually when an advertiser wants to add some class they will show cheap chess pieces set up wrong on a chess board. But here they are trying to lure chess players, so we know that Fred Kent and Merlone Geier are sincere. Chess players in the square will make it a truly public place, since they won't buy much. But we have to get this right. Ditch the large chess pieces, and the tables should be spaced properly to allow a crowd to gather around a fantastic chess game. Half the tables should be in the afternoon shade from the buildings, or better yet shade from trees! Especially flowering trees that show Merlone Geier cares, and not blah no-maintenance evergreens. Chess players love trees, but not so much the birds in them.
A community will quickly form — if you've never seen chess in New York's Washington Park, get the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer," a wonderful family film. I suppose some tables can be used for backgammon, but they will bet on their games just to make them interesting. The chess community may also attract diverse undesirables, i.e. people who don't buy things at higher-end shops. But what the hey, it's going to be a great place. When the square attracts a mime and musicians on conga drums, then we'll have lift-off.
The facilities in the square sound fantastic, the Jumbotron is a stroke of genius. Half the time it should show the exciting chess game on table No. 1. The other half of the time, it should show the kids in the play area, so that parents can see their kids as they shop. The remaining half of the time, it can show high definition pictures of merchandise in the stores. When it's time to close, the Jumbotron can switch to video of the City Council debating the Jumbotron.
And about reducing the number of lanes on San Antonio Road and the El Camino Real, I am reassured that this is well thought out, since it will redirect the traffic jams into Los Altos and Palo Alto. Clearly, Fred Kent and Merlone Geier understand Mountain View's sensibilities in holding up projects in Detroit and Los Altos for us to emulate.