J.R. Smith has confirmed, via Twitter, that he is joining the Knicks.
The impending signing of the free agent shooting guard was first reported on the Daily News’ website on Thursday.
It is unclear if Smith will be available for Friday night’s game against New Orleans, the team that originally drafted him. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks offered Smith a two-year contract worth $4.3 million. The deal would also allow Smith to opt out of the contract on July 1.
The Clippers were the other team Smith was considering but Los Angeles was only offering $450,000 for the remainder of the season.
Smith, out of New Jersey, began the season playing in China. Early Friday, Smith, who uses the Twitter handle @TheRealJRSmith wrote: “New York Knicks It Is!”
A few hours later, Renaldo Balkman tweeted that he had been released by the Knicks in order to create a roster spot for Smith.
The Knicks would neither confirm nor deny that a deal had been finalized. But when asked about Smith’s role, Mike D’Antoni said on Friday: “I haven’t really thought about it. We’ll see but that’ll be a hurdle we’ll get over. Obviously, he’s a talented basketball player and you can always use talent. But basically it’s not going to change up a whole lot what we’re doing.”
Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/smith-confirms-twitter-joining-ny-knicks-shooting-guard-reportedly-signs-two-year-4-3m-deal-article-1.1024459?localLinksEnabled=false
So Chris Brown is back in the news again making headlines for taking his Grammy criticisms response(s) to Twitter in a rather not-so-elegant prose.
While both tweets have since been deleted, everybody knows that in the tweet-er sphere there’s no such thing as “deleting” because there’s no real Twitter graveyard. Whatever gets tweeted, not only goes viral immediately but also instantly gets published everywhere — especially if your name happens to belong to American Royalty class known as Hollywood Celebrities. Let’s not forgot we live in a high-tech world where information gets disseminated and plastered all over cyberspace faster than the blink of an eye.
But back to Chris Brown and his Twitter outburst. So Brown blew a fuse because country singer Miranda Lambert along with other stars sent out tweets expressing their repugnance at the producers of the Grammy Awards for allowing the RB singer to perform onstage not just once but twice.
Lambert’s tweet read: “Chris Brown twice? I don’t get it. He beat on a girl. Not cool that we act like that didn’t happen.”
Of course we all remember the big scandal that shocked the nation exactly three years ago post-Grammy Awards, when Brown beat up his then-girlfriend Rihanna and was arrested on assault charges to receive five years of probation and a restraining order to stay at least 50 yards away from the (now) ex.
What I want to know is why people are making such a fuss about Brown’s arrogantly defiant Twitter reply and use of foul language? If anything the singer is remaining consistent with the personality traits he’s continuously been displaying before the public eye since the infamous Rihanna incident (exploding into a rage following his “Good Morning America” interview and his “alleged” homophobic rant in a Las Vegas club breaking a bottle). And Chris Brown’s post-Grammy tweets are shocking and offensive to us because?
It’s amazing to see how opinions have been categorically divided on this issue since the media made it a hot topic. Some, endorsing the “everybody deserves a second chance” mode of conduct, say give the man a break and leave him alone, while others fancy more the “once a woman-beater, always a woman-beater” philosophy.
I can certainly understand both sides but coming from a PR perspective I would argue that either way Chris Brown comes out a winner because we’re clearly wasting our air time and print space talking and writing about him. I believe it was Madonna who once said “bad publicity is better than no publicity” — my point exactly! And the bottom line, in my opinion, is that the real problem is not Chris Brown but Rihanna. Until she fully embraces more of the role model position many people certainly expected her to take, and stops making “nice” comments about him, applauding his accomplishments and (allegedly) frequenting/dating him again, Chris Brown will continue to rally supporters and score live performances at The Grammys.
If you ask me the real question is not why Chris Brown was allowed to sing live twice at The Grammys, but rather why was he allowed to sing at all… period!
For an award show celebrating the BEST in music, shouldn’t the BEST get to go onstage? Surely we don’t give out Oscars to people who can’t act, do we?
Chris Brown is no singer (unless auto-tune is the new definition of the word), and certainly not an amazing performer, much less a good entertainer. I’m sorry but seeing some guy on stage jumping up and down humongous cubes while emulating trademark moves from Michael Jackson and semi-singing to a track is not what I call talent. That’s what I call a pretty damned good cardio workout!
Having said that, while Brown certainly didn’t re-invent the wheel, he was not the only so-called recording artist who should have been banned from stepping foot on the stage. I won’t go into the Nicki Minaj beyond absurd and cacophonous performance, but seriously has the music industry completely lost its mind?
With the exception of a few genuinely exceptional artists in the likes of Adele, Jennifer Hudson, Bonnie Raitt, and Kelly Clarkson, The Grammy Awards this year was nothing more but a televised public display of plain and simple mediocrity.
Personally I am one to believe that “real” talents, sadly, are now endangered species on the brink of extinction. Instead we get a bunch of clowns performing who knows what on stage, singing obnoxious one-liners, and collecting exorbitant amounts of money for it because people (including I) are stupid enough to tune in and watch.
Where have all the “true” artists gone? Certainly, “in a hopeless place”!
Follow Mona Elyafi on Twitter:
By Jordan Press and Mark Kennedy
OTTAWA — The House of Commons has launched an investigation into who is behind a Twitter account that has been exposing the personal details surrounding the divorce of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
Meanwhile, after a stormy session in question period Friday, during which a senior cabinet minister accused the NDP of being responsible for the Twitter attacks, the New Democrats insisted they had now become the victims of “unfounded allegations.”
Although the Ottawa Citizen report didn’t link the IP address to any particular party, the Conservatives took the report as an open opportunity to go on the attack in the House of Commons.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called the Twitter account a “nasty, dirty, Internet trick,” which he blamed on the NDP. Baird also called for the party to support an investigation.
“It is a little bit rich for a New Democratic Party member of Parliament to stand in this place and talk about attacks and talk about personal information,” Baird said. “Not only have they stooped to the lowest of the lows, but they have been running this nasty Internet dirty-trick campaign with taxpayers’ money.”
Foreign Minister John Baird speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons Friday. Baird called for an investigation to find out who was behind the Vikileaks Twitter account.
The NDP and Liberals both denied their parties were involved, but the Tories suggested there is, at least, enough evidence to suggest that a political hand was typing out the tweets.
The developments occurred as it was revealed in the Commons that Toews planned to ask for a formal investigation — something that had already begun in the office of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer and other parliamentary officials.
A Toews spokesman said the letter was to be sent Friday.
The political fracas came after an Ottawa Citizen investigation traced the Twitter account to a House of Commons IP address.
“If you want to come out and attack me personally and say that I’m not a nice person, that I’m a bad person, I’ve got horrible sins on my chest, that’s fine. But don’t use the anonymity of government resources to do that,” Toews told CBC Radio in an interview for the program The House that is to be aired Saturday.
Immediately after question period, NDP MP Chris Charlton rose to deliver a statement to the House.
She said that Baird had made an “unfounded allegation” by claiming the NDP is “responsible for a campaign to expose the details of the private life of the minister of public safety.”
“As we have said over the last number of days, we are not interested in any details of his private life,” said Charlton. “His public statements are troubling enough.”
Charlton said the House of Commons information services branch had confirmed the IP address in question was “public and could belong to any user from any political party or any member of the House administration in the parliamentary precinct.”
“I call on the minister to table in the House any evidence that he may have to back up his unfounded claim,” she said of Baird. “And if he doesn’t have such evidence, I would like him to immediately apologize and withdraw his statements unconditionally.”
Government House leader Peter Van Loan said in the House of Commons there is “certainly a prima facie suggestion” for the inference that the NDP is involved because the IP address in question was used to strengthen Wikipedia pages in favour of the party.
“I should hope that they would step forward and take responsibility,” Van Loan said of the New Democrats.
Outside the Commons, New Democrat MP Jack Harris said it was “not an NDP campaign” and that the connection was a result of “media speculation.” Harris denied NDP involvement, but wouldn’t say what steps the party has taken to ensure no New Democrats were involved.
“We’re not going on a witch hunt and we don’t want anyone else to either, frankly. This is about whether or not the government is doing the right thing by introducing legislation that’s going to allow wholesale interference with the privacy of Canadians,” Harris said. “This is a total sideshow and we’re not going to get involved in it.”
Liberal MP Wayne Easter said he was “confident” his party was not involved in the Twitter feed and that the person — or people — responsible could have come from anywhere, even outside the House of Commons.
Easter said he didn’t condone the posting of information and even questioned whether the posting of publicly available information could be considered illegal.
“The way that Vic Toews went on in responding to the questions that you’re either on his side or you’re on the side of the pedophiles is — was very inappropriate. And so there was an immediate reaction and it came out on the Internet,” Easter said.
“In a way, it is deserved. If you’re going to — if you’re going to attack people the way that Vic Toews attacked people, then some of that’s going to come back at you.”
The VikiLeaks30 tweets began late Tuesday night and were posted directly in response to the introducing of the government’s Internet surveillance bill.
The legislation requires Internet service providers and cellphone companies to install equipment for real-time surveillance and will create new police powers designed to access the surveillance data.
The bill also allows for warrantless access to some subscriber information.
The Ottawa Citizen used digital-tracking tools to examine the origin of the VikiLeaks30 account to a House of Commons IP address — which is akin to a digital fingerprint, providing a unique identifier for every Internet account.
An email was sent to the writer of the VikiLeaks30 Twitter account, containing a link to a website. The website was monitored by the Citizen and only the author of VikiLeaks30 had the address of the website.
About 15 minutes after sending the email, VikiLeaks30 opened the link and visited the page, leaving behind an IP address that belongs to the House of Commons.
The Citizen used three separate Internet services that track and identify IP addresses to confirm the location of the address. All the services identified the address as belonging to the government of Canada — and specifically, the House of Commons.
While it was impossible to say who was actually using the address without a full-scale investigation by the House of Commons, a trace of the IP address showed it was also used by an employee of the House to post comments on a website for fans of the musician Paul Simon.
When the Citizen reached the employee by phone Thursday, the unidentified employee said he frequents the Paul Simon website, but denied he had anything to do with the VikiLeaks30 Twitter account.
With files from Vito Pilieci, Ottawa Citizen
Originally published: February 17, 2012 1:33 PM
Updated: February 17, 2012 2:11 PM
RAPHAEL SATTER (Associated Press)
Quick ReadBritish student gets 8 months in jail for ‘sophisticated’ breach of Facebook security
(AP) — A British student who stole sensitive information from Facebook’s internal network was sentenced to eight months in prison Friday in what the prosecutor said was the gravest case of social media hacking to be brought before the country’s courts.
Prosecutor Sandip Patel said that Glenn Mangham, 26, had hacked into the social networking giant’s computers from his bedroom in the northern…
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We have seen the past, and it doesn’t work.
Over the past few weeks, Facebook has been rolling out Timeline, its effort to remake its members’ profile pages into scrapbooks that, like nearly everything published on the social web, is told in a reverse chronology. While redesigns always inspire grumbling, the discontent seems particularly strong this time — 70 percent of users surveyed say they just don’t like it, and Facebook’s own blog page announcing Timeline is filled with complaints in the comments.
At first glance, Timeline looks interesting — a retrospective of an online life. But soon enough, there’s plenty not to like. And the biggest problem isn’t that Facebook scrapped the elegant sparseness of the old profile page for a cluttered interface, or that many users will — yet again — need to reset their privacy settings, or even that, once you switch to Timeline, you can never go back to the old page.
No, the biggest problem with Timeline is that it feels like a mean prank Facebook is playing on its users. It confronts them with the unpleasant reality that the sum total of lives preserved by social media is not just mundane but inauthentic, devoid of what gives meaning to the very thing it’s meant to catalog: life.
The press billed Timeline as a kind of scrapbook. But it actually couldn’t be further from one. A scrapbook preserves symbols of moments with deep emotional value. Facebook is an accidental diary of our procrastinations — the games, political rants, lolcats and memes that distract us in the moment but lose meaning even after a few days. If a scrapbook holds the memories of our lives, Facebook preserves the background noise. Timeline makes this all too painfully clear.
Facebook, however, has big plans for Timeline, which is why it’s not letting anyone escape from Timeline’s clutches. Timeline is the front-end user interface for Social Graph, Facebook’s grand plan to create a social platform for the Web itself. Users will share and discover video, music and other content on any number of websites and mobile apps, and their Timelines will act as a central clearinghouse for all of it.
Facebook knows the social web is fragmenting. And it wants to be the glue that holds it all together. So it’s offering dozens of Timeline apps that will share with your friends (and automatically preserve in Timeline) even more trivial minutiae: what songs you heard, what food you ate, what news stories you clicked on, what products you bought or coveted, etc.
This is great news for sites like Foodspotting, Pinterest, Payvment and even dinosaurs like MySpace and Yahoo. All have integrated a third-party app into Timeline and enjoyed a boost in traffic. It’s also great news for Facebook advertisers, who can pay Facebook to prominently feature in news feeds any posts mentioning their brands or products.
The genius of Timeline is that it lets Facebook monetize word of mouth. But it comes at the cost of turning our conversations into commercials. Rather than designing Timeline to better reflect the more meaningful moments of our lives, Facebook is making it a chronology of consumption.
And that is why I suspect no one on their deathbed will use Timeline to remember the good times. The more social Facebook tries to be, the less intimate our interactions on it become. The moments we remember the most are the ones with the greatest intimacy — in our families, our work and our friendships, or even in caring for strangers.
There’s no reason why social media can’t allow for an online interaction that has the intimacy of, say, a dinner party with friends. But Facebook isn’t moving toward that useful goal — it’s moving in the opposite direction, turning our lives into opportunities for product placement and our wishes and desires into ads.
Timeline clearly isn’t working for the majority of Facebook users, although in the end it may not matter. Many will grow inured to it in time, as they have with all of the other controversial changes the company has introduced over the years.
And even now the broad dissatisfaction doesn’t matter to Facebook, its partners and its advertisers, which are the true beneficiaries of Timeline. Forget all of Mark Zuckerberg’s high-minded rhetoric about social missions and the Hacker Way, Facebook’s true mission is to train its users to consume conspicuously and, in doing so, turn friendships into marketing venues.
In a few weeks, Facebook will begin to roll out Timeline for brand pages. Already some politicians have set up Timelines, notably Newt Gingrich and Nicolas Sarkozy. Both of those men opted to omit any mention of their previous marriages. And soon enough, we may all be selectively editing our own Timelines, grooming an online persona that’s more public relations than authentic self.
And why not? In the online world Facebook is creating, it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between people and brands.
PHOTO: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces Timeline, a new feature for Facebook, during his keynote address at the Facebook f8 Developers Conference in San Francisco, September 21, 2011. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
17 February 2012
Last updated at 14:44 ET
A software development student from York who hacked into Facebook has been jailed for eight months.
Glenn Mangham, 26, had earlier admitted infiltrating the social networking website between April and May 2011.
Mangham, of Cornlands Road, York, had shown search engine Yahoo how it could improve security and said he wanted to do the same for Facebook.
Sentencing Mangham, Judge Alistair McCreath said his actions could have been “utterly disastrous” for Facebook.
Alison Saunders, from the Crown Prosecution Service, described the case as “the most extensive and flagrant incidence of social media hacking to be brought before British courts”.
Prosecutor Sandip Patel rejected Mangham’s claims, saying: “He acted with determination, undoubted ingenuity and it was sophisticated, it was calculating.”
Facebook spent $200,000 (£126,400) dealing with Mangham’s crime, which triggered a “concerted, time-consuming and costly investigation” by the FBI and British law enforcement, Mr Patel said.
The prosecutor told Southwark Crown Court in London how Mangham had “unlawfully accessed and hacked into the social media website Facebook and its computers in April to May last year from his bedroom in Yorkshire”.
Mangham had ultimately stolen “invaluable” intellectual property, which he downloaded on to an external hard drive, said Mr Patel.
Facebook discovered the infiltration during a system check even though the defendant deleted his electronic footprint to cover his tracks.
Mr Mangham’s defence lawyer Tom Ventham had said his client was an ethical hacker who had a “high moral stance” and Yahoo had “rewarded” him for pointing out its vulnerabilities previously.
He added that when Mangham was arrested he made “copious” admissions to police about what he had done.
Passing sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath told Mangham his actions were not harmless and had “real consequences and very serious potential consequences” for Facebook.
“You and others who are tempted to act as you did really must understand how serious this is,” he said.
“The creation of that risk, the extent of that risk and the cost of putting it right mean at the end of it all I’m afraid a prison sentence is inevitable.”
Mr McCreath said while he acknowledged that Mangham had never intended to pass on any of the information he had gathered, nor did he intend to make any money from it, his activities were “not just a bit of harmless experimentation”.
“You accessed the very heart of the system of an international business of massive size, so this was not just fiddling about in the business records of some tiny business of no great importance,” he said.
A spokesperson for Facebook said they “applauded” the work of the police and Crown Prosecution Service in this case, “which did not involve any compromise of personal user data”.
They added: “We take any attempt to gain unauthorised access to our network very seriously, and we work closely with law enforcement authorities to ensure that offenders are brought to justice.”
The co-founder of Twitter said as more people share the details of their lives online, there are more risks for that information to be misused or passed out without their authorization.
Twitter was criticized Wednesday when it was revealed the company stored the contacts of iPhone users for a period of 18 months, if they used Twitter to search their iPhone contacts for Twitter accounts. Apple also was under fire because the company freely gives application developers access to iPhone contacts.
Biz Stone left his daily duties at Twitter last year, and wouldn’t comment on the specific incident. However, he said such events will continue in a world where so much information is shared.
“I think inevitably when we share more, we’ll see more value in that sharing, but we’ll also make more mistakes. That just seems obvious to me,” Stone said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I anticipate many more hiccups for mankind and social innovation.”
He said, however, companies pay close attention to their users, and when they are upset about a policy, it is often changed very quickly.
“These large-scale systems that have millions of people using them tend to be selfpolicing,” he said.
He added that’s why he doesn’t feel governments need to set limits on what companies can do with personal information.
For its part, Twitter announced Wednesday it would change its user agreement to make its practices more clear. Apple said from now on, it will require companies to get explicit permission before accessing contact lists.
Stone added, however, technology is evolving so fast that perhaps soon there will be better tools to manage personal information.
“I was speaking with a young entrepreneur recently who came up with a tool that when you share a piece of media, it disappears after 10 seconds, never to be seen again,” Stone said. “Maybe things like this will become popular, and maybe information won’t exist forever.”
Stone said he believes if governments set limits to the Internet, it can discourage innovation. In the U.S. last month, there were wide protests when Congress attempted to pass two anti-piracy laws known collectively as SOPA and PIPA. The bills were later shelved.
In Canada, the government has introduced a copyright bill, and another bill known as the Lawful Access bill that would force telecommunications providers to monitor the activity of their users, and to pass on personal information to police when requested. Both those laws have been met with harsh criticism from net neutrality activists.
Stone said he’s confident the free Internet will prevail in the end.
“I have a feeling that enough people will be able to come up with enough examples and reasons why openness encourages innovation and why we really need this at a time when we are looking to create more jobs and a more robust economy,” he said. “I’m optimistic the right thing will prevail.”
A surreptitious cyber-investigation has found Tweets leaking the public safety minister’s divorce proceedings coming from a House of Commons computer.
The mysterious account, called vikileaks30, began tweeting Tuesday evening, with unflattering information purportedly from court documents relating to Vic Toews’ 2008 divorce.
An Ottawa Citizen investigation linked the account to a House of Commons IP address – a unique numeric code used to identify a computer on a network - after emailing the account with the address of a private website monitored by the Citizen. The account holder visited the link minutes later, leaving a trail back to the House computer.
Sun News’ Kristy Kirkup has more on this developing story.
February 17, 2012 8:44AM
SAN FRANCISCO — Buying ads on Twitter is about to get easier for small businesses as the online messaging service adds a key piece to its moneymaking model.
Twitter is unveiling a long-awaited automated system that will enable advertisers to manage their marketing campaigns and budgets without having to deal with sales representatives.
Before Twitter opens the system to all comers later this year, the self-service approach announced Thursday will only be available to advertisers who accept or use American Express cards
To get the ball rolling, American Express Co. will buy $100 in Twitter ads for each of the first 10,000 qualified businesses in the U.S. that sign up at http://ads.twitter.com/amex . The ads, which Twitter calls “promoted products,” will begin appearing within the flow of users’ messages in late March.
Flipping the switch on self-service advertising is the latest sign of Twitter’s ambition to build a powerful online marketing vehicle in the mold of Internet search leader Google Inc., by far the Web’s most profitable company, and online social network Facebook Inc., technology’s fastest-rising star.
It marks another stepping stone toward an eventual initial public offering of stock from Twitter, which has attracted more than 100 million users since its creation nearly six years ago.
The timetable for Twitter’s IPO remains a mystery, although CEO Dick Costolo said in an interview Thursday that the company’s decision won’t be influenced by how well Facebook fares in its stock market debut this spring.
“I don’t look at what other companies are doing,” he said. “We don’t think in terms of building this company for a particular IPO date. We are trying to build this company for the long term.”
The company, which is based in San Francisco, isn’t in desperate need of capital, having raised at least $700 million last year.
Twitter also probably needs a little more time to prove its financial chops. Last year, Twitter generated ad revenue of about $140 million, according to the research firm eMarketer Inc. That compared to $36.5 billion at Google and $3.2 billion at Facebook. This year, eMarketer expects Twitter to sell $260 million in advertising, helped in part by the new self-service platform.
The automated system will be similar to Google’s. Advertisers will be able to specify how much they are willing to spend, pick the cities or regions where they want their ads to appear and write their own commercial messages, which will be confined to Twitter’s 140-character limit per tweet. Twitter will only charge for ads that get a user response, such as when a viewer decides to follow the business, retweets the message or clicks on a link.
Selling ads through a self-service system will test Twitter’s ability to prevent bad actors from polluting the atmosphere with spam and scams. It’s a problem that still plagues Google, which has gotten into trouble for showing ads for from unlicensed pharmacies and other shady operators.
But Twitter’s self-service ad system seems less likely to encounter trouble in the early going because only small businesses that have already been vetted by American Express will be allowed to participate during first few months, said eMarketer analyst Debra Williamson.
Twitter is allowing self-service advertising after about three months of tests with a small group of hand-picked small businesses.
Twitter has been easing into advertising to ensure the commercial messages don’t spoil the ambiance of service that has been likened to a town square teeming with wildly divergent observations and conversations.
The response to the ads so far has been mostly positive, Costolo said, helping to convince him that the privately held company can open up its revenue spigot even more without facing a big backlash.
“I have every expectation that we will be able to scale this very rapidly,” Costolo said Thursday.
Twitter ads paid off for Glennz Tees, an online merchant in Austin, Texas, that has been testing the self-service marketing system. The company’s December sales more than doubled from the previous year, said CEO Walter Stokes. In another sign the ads resonated, Glennz Tees’ followers on Twitter have more than tripled to 22,000 during the test phase.
The key, Stokes said, was just doing two or three ads per week. “We didn’t want to go overboard with it because we didn’t want to annoy people.”
Click photo to enlarge
When Menlo Park officials sit down with Facebook representatives in the coming weeks to negotiate an agreement that would allow the social networking company to expand, they’ll likely try hard to avoid making their requests for community benefits sound like a Mafia shakedown.
Although the company is not threatening to unfriend Menlo Park any time soon, Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman told the city council Tuesday night it may choose to eventually leave if the negotiations go nowhere.
“I believe the discussions over the next few months will prove to be the seminal critical conversations that will determine whether or not Facebook will move forward with our plans to plant our long-term roots in Menlo Park and become deeply imbedded in the community,” Ebersman said.
Ebersman added that he hopes the city has “appropriate, considerate expectations” about what it believes Facebook should provide.
“It’s our sincere hope that we and the city council can find the right balance to meet the city’s needs and Facebook’s needs as well as the needs of the city’s neighbors in East Palo Alto,” he said.
From their responses, council members made it clear they’re not interested in scaring away the media titan with unreasonable demands.
Council Member Rich Cline agreed that perhaps the city’s initial expectations have been somewhat on the high side. “I think we need to put on our reality hats a little bit here. It’s a great
opportunity, but it’s not going to save everybody’s lives, give everybody a job and create every single road that has wide lanes for people to ride down. This is a work in progress.”
Mayor Kirsten Keith duly noted that the city is in an envious position since Facebook decided to move out of Palo Alto to stake its headquarters at the old Sun Microsystems campus at the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road.
“The company could have chosen to go somewhere else, and some cities offer tax credits and other incentives to actually pull businesses in,” Keith said.
Council Member Andy Cohen showed that he got it too, saying he hopes the city doesn’t “screw it up” with Facebook by asking for too much.
“It’s not a matter of demands and the deep pocket coming up with what everybody wants,” Cohen said. “It can’t be done that way.”
What prompted the comments was the council’s planned discussion about the kinds of community benefits Facebook could provide in exchange for eventually employing about 6,600 people at its newly leased headquarters, called the East Campus. Facebook moved the last of its 2,000 employees there in December but needs the city’s permission to accommodate more than the 3,600 Sun was allowed. It plans to ultimately have 9,400 employees after opening a West Campus across the Bayfront Expressway at the former Tyco Electronics site, which the company bought.
In separate discussions the past several weeks, the planning commission and city council have produced a wish list of public benefits they hoped Facebook will finance, everything from improving bicycle routes to landscaping the Bayfront Expressway to supporting local schools to helping provide affordable housing to subsidizing Flood Park’s maintenance are on the list.
In addition, the city expected to seek an undetermined amount of ongoing payments from Facebook to make up for the sales tax it’ll miss out on since the company isn’t a direct retail operation. A fiscal analysis done for the city notes that the business-to-business sales tax generated by Sun Microsystems totaled $431,000 to $827,000 a year, amounts that similar Silicon Valley companies could bring.
By the end of Tuesday’s discussion, council members had agreed to pare down the list to priority benefits, such as in-lieu dollars for lost sales tax revenue, support for affordable housing and local schools, and bike route improvements.
Email Bonnie Eslinger at email@example.com.
Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_19983976