Google sought confidential agreements with San Jose City Council

SAN JOSE — Several San Jose City Council members and staffers at City Hall have signed non-disclosure agreements with Google to discuss the tech giant’s plans to build a massive corporate village near Diridon Station.

According to emails obtained by the Mercury News, Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, her chief of staff, Frances Herbert, Councilwoman Dev Davis’s chief of staff, Mary Anne Groen, and David Low, the mayor’s communications director, signed the NDAs.

A number of other people at City Hall, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, received emails in February 2017 asking them to sign NDAs. Low said by email Wednesday that Liccardo had signed the agreement.

City Attorney Rick Doyle said during a phone interview he thought around 10 people in total had signed the agreement.

NDAs are not at all unusual in real-estate dealings, but some have questioned whether city officials elected by and accountable to the public should be signing them.

“I’ve never heard of that,” said Bob Staedler, former real estate manager for the city’s now-defunct Redevelopment Agency.

“We’re outraged,” said Salvador Bustamonte, executive director of Latinos United for a New America and a member of the group Silicon Valley Rising. “This smacks of a smoke-filled backroom deal.”

The prospect of bringing Google to downtown San Jose has sparked backlash among some residents and businesses concerned about skyrocketing property values and gentrification.

But signing non-disclosure forms are “becoming common,” Doyle said, particularly with tech companies interested in developing property in the city.

People who received the NDA were provided a link to accept the agreement online.

The 11-point agreement says in part, “A party (the “Discloser”) may disclose to the other party (the “Recipient”) information pertaining to the Purpose that the Discloser considers confidential (“Confidential Information”)…Recipient must use a reasonable degree of care to protect Confidential Information and to prevent any unauthorized use or disclosure of Confidential …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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