Posts Tagged ‘California’

Who Owns Silicon Valley?

View of Silicon Valley in 2012, showing major employers

Vintage 2012 view of Silicon Valley showing major employers. “Silicon Valley IT Company Topography” by Wayan Vota is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Or more precisely, who owns Santa Clara County? With the cooperation of local officials including the County Assessor, a consortium including the Mercury News has determined who owns the greatest value of real estate in the County.  Tech giants Alphabet and Apple are second and third, but the number one owner turns out to be Stanford University.

Some other important information:

Proposition 13 is mentioned, but the incentive which keeps old people in their homes which become unaffordable to most families is not explored.

Local opposition to development, preventing housing construction which might otherwise occur, is discussed.

Stanford’s existing holdings include commercial property, but their current acquisitions seem mainly to provide housing for some of their elite employees.  These people are able to buy houses at favorable prices (relative to the area), however Stanford retains the land and retains the right to buy the house back eventually. Local non-Stanford people complain, of course, but do not offer to sell their properties at a discount.

Apparently California practice is to assess all real estate, even that which is exempt.  This enables meaningful estimates of ownership even tho $13.3 billion of Stanford’s $19.7 billion in real estate is exempt.

Several local officials were interviewed.  They don’t discuss how it feels to know that your opposition, Apple and/or Google, has control of much of your communications and might be monitoring them.

Well worth a read for those interested.

 

Silicon Ocean

 

Blueseed concept proposal

Blueseed concept proposal, one of several at their site

Blueseed plans to start operation next year of a floating city, safely outside the twelve-mile limit of U S jurisdiction, where a thousand innovators can work pretty much without the immigration hassles imposed on domestic companies.  The “land” of the ocean is of course free to anyone who wants to use it, but there are big expenses in building and operating the platform.  Still, they estimate living costs comparable to those of pricey San Francisco (albeit for much smaller living space.)  If land in Silicon Valley was cheap, the ocean site would seem expensive, but it isn’t, so it doesn’t.

They’re entirely legal, or so it appears, and don’t seem to avoid Federal income tax altho California taxes might not apply.  Blueseed  “will work closely with the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection towards an agreement that follows all applicable US laws and regulations,” and it appears access will be from the California mainland so everyone not a legal U S resident will need some kind of U S visa.

But being outside U. S. territory, flying a flag of convenience, what defense has Blueseed against whoever might want to attack them? Not to worry, “pirates … don’t exist near California…” and presumably attacks by government authorities are no more likely at sea than within the country.