You have this paragraph:
"The social network has been lobbying to build more housing in the region, which Silicon Valley cities, worried about traffic and preferring a commercial over residential tax base, have fought against. In East Palo Alto, Facebook has invested $18.5 million into the Catalyst Housing Fund, an affordable housing initiative; the company has set a goal to grow the fund to $75 million."
Followed by this paragraph:
"East Palo Alto’s residents have long felt disempowered against change brought by tech leaders like Mr. Zuckerberg. A 2.6-square-mile town where one-third of the school children are homeless, it has stood as a sign that Silicon Valley’s wealth might not spread to those beyond its tech campuses."
If Silicon Valley’s wealth is not being spread to those beyond its tech campuses it's not for a lack of trying.
• Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are putting a lot of money into the local community and feel like they are going above and beyond their obligations in that regard
• various hardships that the local community has suffered and is suffering over the recent years are directly and visibly linked to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, and therefore they feel like Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have and are continuing to harm them, not help them
The article seemed to be taking pains not to claim that any of the following were true, or that their opposite was true:
• Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are wrong to feel that they are going above and beyond; they should instead be contributing to the local community more and/or differently
• the local community is wrong to feel that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are doing more to help than to hurt them; in fact, they have no right or claim to getting more from, or even what they currently get from, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg
It sounds like you think it's clear that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are contributing plenty enough to the local community. I'd be interested in learning why you think it's so clear that they needn't be doing more or different things, in spite of the local community's reported continued hardships.
Well, can't they enact taxes if they wanted to?
Hence, gaining a right to more money from Facebook.
Personally, I don't think any level of government should be beholden to charity from cooperations. Schools, infrastructure, and other things that make up a desirable community are not free, taxes is the tool to finance them.
That didn't work out too well when Zuckerberg tried it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-newark-schools-p...
Other reporting tells a different story: while rising-star politicians loved seeing their names in headlines next to big numbers, the effort was catastrophically disconnected from the local community. Unlike public money, private money needed no public review, so the effort was launched like a surprise attack on the local teacher's union; the million-dollar community-engagement campaign's centerpiece public forums drew hundreds of residents who volunteered to help their local schools, who never heard back; the superintendent appointed to carry out the effort was an outsider from California who at one point got a unanimous vote of no confidence by the school advisory board (with no effect because "advisory"); that superintendent spent $3 million on an international consulting firm to develop a plan to redistribute students in the school system so that the neediest students don't end up in the worst schools like they usually do, but then couldn't answer basic questions from parents when the plan was finally revealed. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/05/19/schooled
Such a narrative would instead suggest that Zuckerberg should focus on more community engagement, rather than on consolidating more control over schools he wants to be better.
Instead we should properly tax the billionaires, and then elect public officials who value public education, so they can figure out how to improve schools with the advice and help of all of the local stakeholders.
But a lot of the rich folks’ education initiatives (including Zuckerberg’s, probably) turn out to be more about gaming the tax code and sometimes immigration laws (with a bonus of good PR) than really helping the schools out. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/06/...
As an added bonus (more relevant to the Koch brothers than Zuckerberg perhaps), charter schools help break teachers’ unions and destroy the public education system, which has a big knock-on political benefit for Republicans who want to undercut a major base of Democratic party support.
I do not blame people who care wanting to work around this system.
Agree.... But workarounds won't scale.
So you're saying that Zuckerberg should run for president? I understand that what you are suggesting will be effective, I just don't see how that translates into something that Zuckerburg should do.
Assuming Zuckerberg is honest in his intention on his education initiatives, Fixing the tax code would be noble for someone like him, but would pit him against other billionaires and would likely be a decades long detour on his immediate goal. Secondly, I don't see how he could suddenly influence general voting populace to suddenly care about education (save for propaganda delivered via facebook (maybe unethical), or going into politics (who wants Zuck to be POTUS))?
As I understand it, you seem to be arguing that the problems are not Zuck's to solve, and therefore he shouldn't try (or his piles of money will cause more harm than good).
Zuckerberg should focus his attention on running his business in an ethical and civically minded way (a lot of low hanging fruit here if he wants to critically examine and do something about Facebook’s sometimes negative effects on people’s lives, news media, and on civic institutions in general), and should not try to single-handedly decide the future form of public institutions.
If Zuckerberg wants to put his money to good use as a private citizen, he should donate it to a charity with a successful track record and expert leadership instead of trying to exert personal control in a field he knows nothing about or turn everything into a personal PR stunt, or he should spend his effort on lobbying against unlimited anonymous spending in political campaigns, probably the most civically corrosive recent trend in American politics.
It's a similar story with education. Education in the US is deteriorating rapidly. And so why exactly would you want to rely on people who are experts in this system? We tend to ignore that a system is little more than the individuals that make it up. The reason US education is failing is because the individuals who we currently consider have assigned 'expert' status to, clearly do not know what they're doing.
Experience is something that should be valued, but not all experience is created equally. I have a rather worse than negative view of Zuckerberg, but I would vote for him before almost any establishment politician. Einstein referred to insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. And by that account, I think we have a national epidemic of insanity.
US education is deteriorating rapidly in places where undermining it and breaking it down has been prioritized by a handful of billionaire political donors, for example recently in Kansas and Wisconsin.
The most important first step toward fixing such problems is to pull the unaccountable, unlimited, anonymous money out of politics, and replace it with proper campaign finance regulations. Next we can try to guarantee every citizen the franchise, make our voting process saner and more auditable, and work on reducing computer-driven gerrymandering.
That's the conventional argument of course. But it's pretty clear the one party wants to govern, and one wants to "strangle the beast" (that is literally the policy).
It seems to me that people want government to govern, but not waste money, and they are fine with politicians who aren't captured by interest groups.
Neither party really wants to do anything except further their own power. Maybe one of the most clear examples of this is the TPP. It was going to be one of the biggest corporate handouts in American history, and it was being spearheaded by a democratic president who ran on a platform of trying to remove k-street influence (special interest/big donors) from politics. And while the democratic party put token opposition up, when it came time to for congress to vote away their right to amendment or debate of the TPP - they lined up and made sure he got the votes. It's all a charade.
Finally, a functional government would actually be dysfunctional. Our entire political system is built on checks and balances that means even a small voice in congress has the ability to stop actions from being carried out. The problem is we don't actually have a dysfunctional government. They are doing exactly what they're intending to do - carry out corporate and special interests with 0 hesitation, and then mostly flub about the rest of the time.
Counter example: Trump.
I think your argument is a perfect summary of the conventional progressive view. I'm progressive and very sympathetic to the argument you make.
But I think there's a lot more going on in politics than this neat narrative spells out.
I pulled out the Trump thing, because it's a great example of a person who spent a lot less than his opponents but won anyway.
https://www.vox.com/2016/2/9/10941690/campaign-finance-left (which was written prior to Trump) has a lot more details on this.
To pull a quote: research on lobbying suggests that lobbyists are not the omnipotent power brokers that voters sometimes imagine them to be. Further, it suggests that insofar as they matter, they matter for reasons that are hard to regulate away.
I think campaign finance is important, but more than that I want to see progressive candidates win.
I don't think the nihilist argument that "politics is broken" is correct. Nor do I think there is anything which implies an inherent conflict of interest in politicians. A pro-NRA candidate will be supported by the NRA, and if they win they will listen to people they already know. The same with a pro-environmental issues candidate.
This isn't simply being beholden to special interests - there is a strong interdependence between the group and the candidate and it runs both ways.
Moving my kids from public school to a charter was the second best thing we ever did for them. The difference in the quality of their education was immense.
Breaking public school unions would be the best thing we could do for public schools. There is ZERO justification for tenure at the school teacher level.
The primary way that charter schools juke their stats (to the extent they are able – often their outcomes are just objectively mediocre) is by selecting out a collection of students likely to be successful and kicking out the rest. Of course, there is a spectrum, and some charter schools (just like some regular public schools) are quite successful.
Valuing “public education” means that you value education of the broad citizenry, instead of only valuing education for your own kids and screw everyone else.
If or when that fails, you try another. This is another.
Disclaimer: Saying public schools have a spotty record isn't insulting people who work in or love public schools. Objectively, property values correlate with school quality for a reason. And high property values make quality schools more expensive, especially for the poor, but the profits are captured by landlords, not the school system or the general fund of local government. Point being, this isn't a personal, us-versus-them fight.
When the political leadership of my beloved former lunchtime basketball grounds of East Palo Alto tries to claim they didn't take the RV Park for the school, they immediately contradict themselves.
"She added that the flood-prone street would be rebuilt for the school, so the R.V.s would have had to move in any case."
And you known Chan-Zuckerman was behind it. Eminent domain should never be allowed to be used for one business, even a non-profit school, to take the property of another. It should only be used for the highest public purposes, and only with fair compensation.
Though I find it interesting that this is the only thing you've posted here. To both boast about your own lifestyle, and to deride someone else's. Not really HN worthy behaivour tbh.
Of course, it's sad -- mostly for the people who work so hard and have to deal with such adversities.
Living in an RV park with waste water issues isn't the solution though. I feel sorry for every human suffering, including the 25,000 children under 5 that will die today unnecessarily.
Life is brutal and I blame the big tech companies, billionaires and those creating the systems for failing to build a better world. But Mr. Bonilla's mistakes in his life are his own and only him and his wife can solve their problems. Engendering victim mentalities isn't going to change anything.