Guest opinion: Menlo Park should welcome Facebook
Silicon Valley is home to countless companies that not only provide us all with inspirational, beneficial products and services, but employ thousands of the most talented, driven people from around the world. I have the rare opportunity to represent a region where so much truly life-altering technology has been developed.
I would include Facebook among the elite in the Valley. They have fundamentally transformed the way we communicate and share information with one another. Facebook has been at the heart of revolutionary political and social change movements in the Middle East, altered the way we stay in touch with the people in our lives, and provided all of us a new voice to share our opinions and ideas. With over 800 million active users, Facebook is the world's largest social network and an incredible economic success story.
As a sign of the vitality of this region, Facebook has moved to a new campus in Menlo Park. In order to complete this process, Facebook needs to secure a development agreement with the city of Menlo Park. Good faith discussions are under way and I encourage an early resolution, which the City Council will discuss April 17. Menlo Park has a rare opportunity to write a historic chapter in California's economic story by allowing Facebook to create thousands of new, family-waged jobs in our community.
Pending approval of the development agreement with Menlo Park, Facebook plans to add 6,000 new jobs at the site of the former Sun Microsystems campus. From support staff to high-tech engineering positions, these are the kind of jobs that every community covets.
There are clearly compelling reasons to support Facebook's presence in the community related to its upcoming IPO that will provide California with billions of dollars in new revenue, in addition to the short-term local benefit in construction jobs and spending as the new campus is being developed. I believe that the greatest benefit and what should be commended above all else is what I believe to be an honest commitment from Facebook to be a good neighbor.
Facebook has pledged new investments in local schools, nonprofit programs, and community infrastructure improvements. Facebook should be expected to be a good neighbor, but cannot be held accountable to fix all of our problems. I encourage all who are part of the ongoing conversations about the future of our community to start from this premise — our community is stronger with Facebook as a member than without it. Now is the time for us to come together to welcome Facebook's plans for growth to ensure our state and community can continue to benefit from the historic economic story that is Facebook.
Assemblyman Rich Gordon represents Menlo Park and other Peninsula communities in the state Legislature.