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Gehry project ‘a rare treat’ Planning Commission kicks off permit process for Facebook’s west campus By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer



come to town?” Ms. Yu then reminded everyone that the city needs to consider what benefits may be derived through the project’s development agreement, cautioning that “we don’t want to get so excited because it’s so shiny ... that we get distracted and forget benefits for our city.” Two areas she had in mind: Direct revenue, and planning for a population bump in already overcrowded schools as Facebook employees have kids. Unfortunately Ms. Yu will not be in town for the negotiation process — Sept. 24 was her final meeting as a planning commissioner; her family is moving out of town, according to city staff. The notion of payments to make up for a lack of sales tax revenue arises at an interesting time. Commissioner Vince Bressler asked during the Monday night meeting whether Facebook would be selling products in the future, although at the time there wasn’t an answer. However, three days later the social networking giant introduced “Facebook Gifts,” a service allowing users to give each other real goodies such as chocolate or stuffed animals. Will that trigger sales tax revenue? A Facebook representative said that will depend on

ove was in the air at the first public review of Facebook’s proposed new west campus design — a sprawling office in a forest envisioned by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry. The 433,555-square-foot building would perch on top of approximately 1,540 parking spaces, and blend into the landscape by incorporating groundlevel gardens that wind their way up to a rooftop terrace. The goal is for the 22-acre Constitution Drive site to resemble a forest as people drive by on the Bayfront Expressway, according to Facebook. The west campus would accommodate 2,800 employees, mainly engineers. During the Sept. 24 Planning Commission meeting, community members and commissioners alike hailed the design. “It’s a rare treat to have a project like this,” said Commissioner Henry Riggs. Fellow architect Peipei Yu, a member of the Planning Commission, shared the excitement, but wanted more. “When I first looked at it, I thought ‘it’s not Frank Gehry enough!’” She urged Facebook to play with the idea of technology popping out of nature. “If you’re going to have Frank Gehry come to town, why not really have Frank Gehry

Stranger than fiction RUSHDIE continued from page 3

growing threat to the world and human freedom from religious extremism and intolerance. He described events over the last few decades, including the campaign to execute him, as “modernity turning on itself.” In the late 1980s, there were enough modern tools — telephones, faxes, air travel — for extremists to cross national lines in pursuit of a perceived enemy. Even before the “information age,” the threat followed him, he said. “Had there been what we have now, this

thing would have been more severe, much more difficult to come out of it.” Mr. Rushie noted that 13 years after the fatwa was issued, the world saw another example of the use of advanced tools used against modernity: Religious extremists “took the modern — a jet plane — and turned it against another icon of the modern — the skyscraper — (in the service of) a medieval idea.” The author is troubled by the trend toward self-censorship and governments’ timidity in the face of intimidation by religious extremists and “bully

Election forum on supervisors’ race Shelly Masur and Warren Slocum, the two candidates vying in the Nov. 6 election to represent District 4 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, will take questions in a one-hour League of Women

Voters’ forum starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the San Mateo Library, 55 W. 3rd Ave. District 4 includes Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood City and the unincorporated communities of North Fair Oaks

where the gift ships from, since the company has partnered with vendors who stock the items. In some cases the tax will be factored into the price. The California Legislature has pushed hard for taxes on online purchases, and Amazon recently began collecting sales taxes from California residents. The development agreement for the east campus included a one-time payment of $1.1 million as well as incrementally increased payments over 10 years starting at $800,000 annually, commitments to funding community programs, and other niceties such as local bike trail improvements. Facebook will likely try to negotiate a smallerscale agreement for the west campus — and appears to have some support for that within the community and commission. JobTrain Executive Director Sharon Williams praised the social networking company’s efforts to follow through. Very often when a client announces they’ve gotten a job, it’s at Facebook, Ms. Williams said, and “they’re taking great pride in the opportunity.” She also pointed out that a landmark Gehry building itself will be a community benefit, an observation that several commissioners agreed with. The city will formally commence negotiations after the Oct. 30 council meeting, according to the staff report. A

R EAL E STATE Q&A by Gloria Darke

How to take full advantage of today’s record low mortgage rates Q. I’m both surprised and pleased by the further drop in mortgage rates. How can I make certain I get the lowest rates possible, even if the FED offers further cuts before my loan funds? – T. O. A. Dear T.O, Better be prepared. As you probably know, because of the financial disruptions that have taken place in the last few years and the tightening of credit, you need to be organized. To make certain you don’t end up at the bottom of this very long application line, I would advise submitting complete paperwork and don’t lie on your application. Be sure to bring your pay stubs (preferably 1 month), your last two years W-2’s and two months bank statements (all pages, not just the first page) to verify your income

For answers to any questions you may have on real estate, you may e-mail me at gdarke@apr. com or call 462-1111, Alain Pinel Realtors. I also offer a free market analysis of your property.

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boys.” In his memoir, he writes: “As to the battle over ‘The Satanic Verses,’ it was still hard to say if it was ending in victory or defeat. The book had not been suppressed, and nor had its author, but the dead remained dead, and a climate of fear had grown up that made it harder for books like (Mr. Rushdie’s) to be published, or even, perhaps, to be written.” Whether or not Mr. Rushdie is still in danger from extremists bent on carrying out the 1989 fatwa is not a settled question. But precautions are still taken. The hundreds of people who walked through the doors of Kepler’s before last week’s event had their bags searched by two security guards at the entrance. A

and Oak Knoll, and has been represented by Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson for 14 years. The candidates must reside in the district, but run county-wide. Write to Ellen Hope at or call 839-8647 for more information, including transportation to the forum.

and assets. If you are self-employed you need to have two years tax returns to submit and a current profit and loss statement. This is only the basic documents needed. Additional information and disclosures may be needed so be prepared to send more documentation if requested. The longer you delay getting the bank your information, the longer the process will take. Finally, make certain your lender will both lock-in your rate and allow it to adjust down should rates drop even lower. Now you have covered both possibilities. TIP: Put yourself in the lender’s shoes. Lenders are swamped and working overtime. Anything you do that increases the lender’s burden will hinder a speedy approval. The application process can’t start until everything is complete.

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The Almanac 10.03.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the October 3, 2012 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 10.03.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the October 3, 2012 edition of the Almanac