Stanford GUP protest drives large turnout

The Stanford and PAUSD agreement would permit Stanford to build new housing that is tax-exempt. With more housing more Stanford residents would not pay property taxes like other Palo Alto citizens, and their children would be allowed to attend PAUSD schools. The rally on Tuesday focused on getting Stanford to pay the full cost of an average student that attends PAUSD schools and for Stanford to offer more community benefits, like safe routes to school, for expanding the GUP through 2035. Stanford has offered $4.7 billion for community benefits for housing and transportation needs and $138 million for PAUSD schools.

Protesters crowd in front of City Hall, watching speaker Jennifer Dibrienza, president of the PAUSD School Board, addresses protestors. "If students come to the district then dollars need to come with them," Dibrienza said.

The rally brought in a large amount of people for one common goal of demanding that Stanford responsibly expand under the GUP deal by helping the surrounding community. Gabrielle Conway, member of the PTA council, hopes that the number of people that showed up for the rally and the hearing will greatly affect the county supervisors' votes on the deal for all the hearings to come.

"This is a numbers game," Conway said. "We have to have two more votes. ... And if we show up, and we show that there's a sea full of faces that say education matters, then these people, the supervisors will get it."

This was the third hearing between Stanford and Santa Clara County in an attempt to reach an agreement. According to the below market-rate housing program, Stanford must build more affordable housing units for low and moderate income residents in Palo Alto.

Jose Escanula, president of Service Employees International Union Local 2007, a labor union, discussed his discovery of the below market-rate housing program and its positive impact it can have on affordable housing in Palo Alto.

"When we found out about the below-market rate program and how that could benefit a lot of our members, we decided to get involved [protesting the GUP], because this is a once in a lifetime chance to make a change for the community and any of the other members," Escanula said.

Members of many organizations attended the rally, including the Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035 and the Service Employees International Union.

Stanford sophomore Eva Reyes said that SCoPE is looking to finally hold Stanford accountable, under the GUP, for all the negative impacts it has had on the local community, specifically the impact it has had on affordable housing and labor justice.

“They [Stanford] have tried to sue the county, they threatened workers, they've done a lot of general things to make it look like they're not the bad guy, while upholding laws and institutions that are negatively impacting the local communities,” Reyes said. “We're hoping to make sure that the way they say they're impacting people is positive."

Members of the SEIU Local 2007 announce the next speaker.

County Supervisor and Paly alumni Joe Simitian speaks in support of full mitigation of the GUP deal.

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Margaret Li