Council to vote on Google recreation facility on burrowing owl habitat Other Issues, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Sep 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm
This Tuesday the City Council will vote up or down on a 6.5-acre recreation facility that's got nearly every activity a Google employee could want. The rub is that it sits on foraging habitat for the rare burrowing owl.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 24, 2010, 4:50 PM
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Sep 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm
YES - Whatever happened to "...without doing evil"?
And... as usual its the antics of the well-to-do [the haves & have mores] that seem to continually disregard the "pattern-which-connect" in an effort to serve their private interests. Why doesn't Google build something that serves the larger community including the natural denizens who make their home in the area of the proposed site?
Prediction: 1) Google has money. 2) Mountain View City council PAYS attention to those who have money. 3) Google's proposed recreation site will be approved.
Posted by USA, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm USA is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Random idea -- put sod on top of a nearby Google building. It would keep the building cooler and provide a place for the owls to burrow without interference from dog and other predators. Put some webcams on the roof and turn it into a public relations plus instead of a minus.
Posted by LeDude, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm
USA, I like the out of the box thought, but burrowing owls have a very very very strong drive to be at or beneath ground level at most all times, not just on something flat. You simply can't reprogram millions of year of evolutionary behavior like that.
Posted by Hardin, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2010 at 6:13 pm
The spotted owl is native to the area and continually being affected by the growth of the Valley. A previous employer that I worked for also had the same issues with developing a research and development center in Sunnyvale, where the owls were present.
I'm hoping Google continues its policy of being a good neighbor and finds a solution for accommodating these animals, while still getting their building constructed.
It appears that the owls are capable of inhabiting new areas, provided that the proper accoutrements are in place to encourage them to move.
Posted by Victor, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2010 at 6:50 am
The owl can survive and adapt if given the chance by the people of Google and the people of Mtn. View. Shoreline Park owls are hanging on with a minimal effort by the city. Google could do better. My "vote" is for the owl. vlm
Posted by Whosit, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2010 at 9:09 am
Google employees have enough. This owl species has been around a lot longer than they have and will outlast even Google. If this company had a conscience they would find another field, but I wouldn't count on it.
Posted by USA, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2010 at 10:39 am USA is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Alright, since we are talking about how we can spend Google's money, how about this plan -- Put the solar panels on poles in the parking lot like giant umbrellas to generate power for electric cars and provide shade for all cars. Put sod on the building to insulate the buildings and provide putting greens and fields for other sporting activities. Put a fence around the owl area with poles spaced wide enough to let animals in and out but stop humans and dogs. Build an observation deck on the edge of a nearby building so employees can watch the animals. Add some webcams on the deck so everyone can see. Does that cover everything?
Posted by Hardin, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2010 at 10:50 am
I think there's room for compromise and for win/win. In a way, its fortunate that Google is the company involved. They have the financial means and culture to provide a progressive solution that would work for their business interests and for the environment.
Achieving that in this location would be an example and precedent for other companies to follow, when they are faced with balancing environmental issues with corporate interests, and reinforce what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable in Mountain View.
Posted by ignorance kills, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm
How many of you have actually read the reports associated with this development? The ONLY people that spoke out against a few small details of the plan were the Audobon Society. It's not going to adversely affect the owls and even if it did, have you ever heard of property rights? The site was already approved for a 117K square foot building. You should be happy all they want to do is build recreation facilities.
Posted by giveMeABreak, a resident of another community, on Sep 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm
The inside term at MV city hall is "getting run over by the Google bus" . Don't expect anything other than a rubber stamp on this one.
I mentioned the following after the Hiveplex article. It's a bit off-topic but might be of interest to you all...
Check out the flight operation at NASA Ames, besides being the most grotesque carbon footprint joke ever, is also seriously sticking it to the tax payer.
When Google struck a deal with NASA to use the airfield, they agreed to host research flights on their aircraft and pay $1M rent per year in exchange for the use of a VERY large hangar, refurbished of course, and takeoff/landing rights. At this point they now have a 767 (with two master suites including plasma screens and spa tubs), a 757, three Gulfstream 5s, an Alpha Jet, and a Jet Ranger helicopter. Here's the kicker--- they are allowed to buy fuel at military rates -- that's ~$3/gallon less than commercial rates. So every time fuel up that 767, they save $60,000! That's one aircraft, one flight. How long do you suppose it takes them to make back that $1M in rent? Not too bloody long -- guess NASA's arithmetic skills have lagged a bit since the Apollo days. Oh, and unlike every other airfield, NASA does not charge them any tax when they bring on new flight hardware to install (like when that 767 needs a new engine). Makes it a pretty economical place to do maintenance.
Oh and those research flights? Turns out that because of the FAA type certification on the Googles large aircraft, they cannot be modified for research. So, still waiting on those research flights.
Posted by someone, a resident of another community, on Sep 29, 2010 at 12:36 am
I'm impressed with the residents of MV for standing up for the owls. Not many communities care this much about the environment. Ironically, Google is not so ubercool in its own town. Wonder if the owls agreed on the mitigation measures. Too bad the owls could not have property rights...Even if at this particular site does not mean the end of the species...have you heard about habitat fragmentation and its adverse effects?
How about the city's golf course animal "issues"? Some just want to see the sterile grass with no other form of life other than humans on it.
Posted by Peter, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm
It is very popular to just dismiss Google and very popular to side with the owls, but get real people. We pity some cute owl while we eat the flesh of animals each day. The hypocrisy is staggering!!
You also throw Google's "do no evil" at them every time they do something not to you liking. I think you all have been watching Fox news too much and have all caught the "sensationalize the hell out of the story" bug.
Posted by espe, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm
It is quite interesting the fact that Google is considered sustainable (bee hives, goats roaming, solar panels, green programs, etc..), and when it comes to biodiversity of species that are already there(like those owls), they just do not care.
If you relocate the owls, they won't survive, connect with more owls, reproduce.... the whole chain will be broken.. moving the owl is not a solution, is just an evilish patch.
Is Mountain View THAT green? Is Google THAT sustainable?
Posted by jupiterk, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm
Why don't Google use the city council or the whole performance arts center to enjoy barbecue and leave the owls to live their lives without these google nerds stomping on those grounds? Given a chance and some extra money and clout, city council will do anything to be in the good books of corporations so that they can pursue oppts with Greedy and unethical corporations like Google?
I would rather see Google get out of Mountain view or disappear from the face of the planet.
Posted by Jes' Sayin', a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm
The "don't be evil" motto never defined exactly what evil is. Of course nobody, not even Hitler, ever thought of themselves of being or doing evil. Thus by definition Google will never be evil from their own perspective.
Posted by Hardin, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm
This isn't about Google.
If any other company wanted to develop this same piece of land, the same issues would exist. The fact that Google is involved just makes this issue "news worthy", and as evident in many of these posts, attracts a contingent of people more interested in bashing Google, than addressing the real issue at hand:
Balancing the interests of humans and animals, and learning to share. As much as Google or any of us need to learn to adapt to our environment, so will Nature adapt to our presence, if we move carefully and thoughtfully.
The other issue here is property rights. Within certain limitations dictated by local governance, we all have rights to the property we own. Google is no exception. Instead of disregarding their right of use of the property, it is more productive to negotiate reasonable use that can benefit all parties involved, including the owls.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm
Yep, this is about Google and the sclerosed mind-set that plagues our society. And yes it is about Google one of the most influential corporations on planet earth. And yes, it about calling attention to partial-arch thinking that continues to defend such corporate antics by refering to "property rights." Think about it... somehow the concept of "property rights" makes it OK to disregard the larger pattern-which-connects us to the burrowing owl to Google to the rest of the world and back to us again... etc. Enough already!
Posted by What, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Sep 30, 2010 at 7:07 am
I find it strange how this article receives more comments then news regarding gang members stabbing someone near a park. The council should be happy to approve this Google development and get back to dealing with true issues of hiring more officers that can protect the citizens and keep the dogs on leash around the owls.
Posted by Espe, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Sep 30, 2010 at 10:24 am
What, you say"The council should be happy to approve this Google development and get back to dealing with true issues of hiring more officers that can protect the citizens and keep the dogs on leash around the owls."
See? You have missed the whole point... if there are no owls, they won't need to hire more officers to protect them and so on...so, no jobs either.
And, yes...it is something that concerns Google and all the other companies that keep developing the Valley and disrupting the original ecosystems.... connectivity has been a huge issue lately.... Mountain View is one of the few spots where Californians can see this nice and beautiful owl.. Do you want to loose it as well?
Are you aware of the endangered species that we have in Mountain View... Check it out!
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Oct 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm
Agreed - money does talk! So what is it saying? When you hear money talking, what do you hear? Do you hear the person/corporation appealing one's narcissistic desires e.g. (a) I want, I want, I want, or mine, mine, mine? Or (b) do you hear a deep consideration of values, what is good not only for oneself, but for other people and the rest of the planet?
Does (a) tend toward exclusivity, narcissism, and possibly sociopathy?
Does (b) tend toward inclusivity, mature, and moral/ethical?
Posted by Bob Power, a resident of another community, on Oct 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm
This council is thoughtful and forward-thinking. Residents of Mt. View are fortunate to have an intelligent council who consider environmental issues thoroughly. As this Burrowing Owl population rebounds, your children will thank them.
Posted by Christine, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Oct 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm
We need to let our Council know we appreciate their leadership on this issue. It was a unanimous vote for the owls - and the Council stood up to Google - way to go! Mayor Bryant, Vice Mayor Siegle and Council members Macia and Abe-Kobe were especially good at the meeting.
We are getting terribly out of step with nature as the years pass, so I was grateful to see a balance here. Thank you to Ms. Kleinhaus from the Audubon Society for her help as well.
Posted by Don, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Oct 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm
Mountain View City Council emphasized the importance of Burrowing Owls to the City's environment and quality of life. Mayor Ronit Bryant and the current council members are true leaders in their commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the remaining population of burrowing owls of Shoreline. Google owns the land and has the right to develop it, but City council told them to do it with sensitivity to the Burrowing Owls.
Posted by Michael, a resident of another community, on Oct 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm
It's a reassuring experience to read a story about a City Council that tries to safeguard the little critters that we've pushed into a few corners of where they used to thrive. I don't have that sort of Council in the city where I live and, believe me, it's a depressing experience to have to read about their environmental numbness.
Mountain View residents should be rightly proud of their Council.
Posted by Marti, a resident of the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood, on Oct 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm
I appreciate the leadership of our City Council on the burrowing owl issue. It was a unanimous vote for the owls - and the Council stood up to Google. Mayor Bryant, Vice Mayor Siegle and Council members Macia and Abe-Kobe were especially supportive at the meeting. I attended these meetings and saw the council in action. Thanks council, for standing up for our owls. Yes, Google owns the land and has permission to build there. The ball, so to speak, is in their court.
Posted by Dale Pike, a resident of another community, on Oct 4, 2010 at 6:44 pm
What I do not understand is why Google and now Shoreline Park who are also going to build an Athletic Fields Site adjacent to the Google site could not have shared the cost and just made one site instead of two sites so close together. How much development of the last remaining open space in Mountain View do we need.
You can have an athletic field site at any location however, burrowing owls are very specific to only certain locations. Where is all this money coming from with the present recession?
Posted by Solarman, a resident of another community, on Oct 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm
Years ago, my neighborhood too had burrowing owls. Then the city of Santa Clara came along and developed all the space or paved it into a giant parking lot. They said they installed plastic tubes for the owls, but I never saw the owls again. Soon, this former owl habitat will be the site (if they can raise the money) of the new SF 49ers stadium.
I think the Mayor and council members of Mt View deserve praise for their efforts to protect the owls.
Posted by Dorothy, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm
Our city council members, particularly Mayor Bryant, Vice Mayor Siegel, and council members Macias and Abe-Kobe have a shown a commitment to helping burrowing owls and improving their habitat in requiring Google to mitigate the loss of habitat their development will cause. I hope to see them continue to improve and expand habitat so that the Shoreline population will increase. What a shame it would be if our local population, one of the very few remaining in the area, were extinguished.
Posted by Laurie Bechtler, a resident of the Stierlin Estates neighborhood, on Oct 6, 2010 at 4:57 pm
I'm a Mountain View resident and birder and I love to watch Burrowing Owls. Unfortunately there aren't many places in the SF bay area where they are doing well. I appreciate the efforts of Mayor Ronit Bryant, Vice Mayor Jac Siegel, and Council members Laura Macias and Margaret Abe-Kobe to consider the owls' welfare when voting on development issues.
Posted by Thom, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Oct 6, 2010 at 6:51 pm
"Google owns the land and building this parkfor there workers is good. On the owl if we want save close up Shoreline Park to the public and everything else."
I think this may have been wrotten by a Google employee. I've lived here since 1971 and seen corporations move in and build outrageous buildings that cove a neighborhood block, then moce leaving the buildings open. I've seen this great little city lose orchards to make room for a YMCA, and I've also seen Castro Street go from family friendly 7 days a week to a place I hate walking at night.
So, you're saying let them take away one more thing this City has the hoards of people visit yearly?
I again say that this council needs to say 'no' to Google.
Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community, on Oct 6, 2010 at 10:05 pm
To Thom. I was born in Mtn View in 1964, still have family and friends. Lots of place lost businesses or stores. The Y you talk about I do remember that orchard, use to pick the fruit of trees, more people use the Y then that orchard. Businesses come and go, things change. beside if we want to keep companies let's build bigger buildings and taller and keep Shoreline as a dump and the Duck Club
Posted by Rudy, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Oct 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm
A few years back NASA eradicated the entire Fox and coyote populations at Moffett Field, to protect the burrowing owls. This allowed the other Bird populations to boom, unchecked and a couple years after that happened a military plane hit more than 70... that's not a typo SEVENTY pigeons during a landing. It almost cost the crew of 8 their lives. Did NASA shutdown habitat areas to preserve human life? No.
Then we find out that Google Execs get to fly their corporate jets out of Moffett... one of these jets is a toy... a jet fighter trainer. This was in exchange for "research' that the Google planes would provide. These may seem unrelated but in a way they are not. These two examples contrast how In the first case the birds take priority, with NASA, over human life. In the second case NASA allows Google and their executives enjoy access and services denied the rest of the 'little people'.
Now Google gets another pass on the burrowing owl habitat that the military guys didn't get. Sure one is Federal and the other is Municipal but in these examples I see only dollar signs.
How about the Mountain View Voice do some real Journalism and report the "Science" that Google research has enriched? No one could actually define it a few years back. Has NASA and Google bothered to take the time to 'make up' a new science that shows how Google planes gather data that regular planes can't? Did they think we would all forget? I smell a BIG rat named "Fraud". Additionally, I'd be curious about Googles campaign contributions... especially here in our local area.
Posted by "Just Think About It", a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm
There are many posts by residents regarding this issue. The majority of them are against Google putting in this recreation facility. The City Council will approve it. Who do you think they represent? Your chance for making a change is near. Vote for the individuals running for the City Council who represent you........"Just Think About It"...
Posted by Mr Advice, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm
I'm sick and tired of geese, owls, and other protected species that prohibit dogs from running loose or forbidden. Look what the #%&*@ geese have done to Shoreline Park every square inch is covered with geese poop. It's disgusting and unsanitary.
Posted by Peter, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Oct 11, 2010 at 9:24 am
Re: Just Think About It-
Just because the majority of these comments are against it doesn't mean tat the majority of Mountain View is against it. Ever hear of the "Silent Majority?" Also, surely you must realize that a small percentage of MV residents actually post on here. Just Think About It, needs to Get With The Program!