California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at the opening of the country’s first federally and state-run community vaccination site during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Los Angeles , California, February 16, 2021.

Mike Blake | Reuters

California Governor Gavin Newsom cited a recent wave of tech IPOs and Google’s upcoming San Jose development project as examples of a return to California, as a campaign to recall and complaints from departing residents draw attention to the state’s problems.

Google General Counsel and Vice President of Global Affairs Kent Walker joined local and state officials including Newsom as he signed California’s Bill SB7 at an event in San Jose. The law changes zoning to allow for denser housing and speeds up the state’s environmental review process for construction projects, which would include Google’s. offers mega campus in San Jose.

Newsom and officials thanked Walker several times during the event. “Kent, thank you for pointing this out – this bill is about investing in the state of California,” Newsom said at a press conference in San Jose on Thursday. “This bill is about our return. This bill is about our renewal.”

“Being here with Google and the incredible private sector investment, along with the faith and dedication to the future of this city, region and state, is exactly where we want to be and that’s why we are here, ”Newsom said, adding that he chose to“ celebrate ”in person instead of a Zoom call originally scheduled for Friday.

The law comes as reviews say the state is losing its grip on technology due to high housing costs and poor governance, which were exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic. The state has also experienced an increasingly hostile climate with forest fires and drought. A recall effort against Newsom recently collection enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

When asked by the press about Californians out-of-state migration, Newsom pointed to the tech industry, IPOs, Google and the high density of engineers, researchers and scientists.

“Eat your heart, all these other states,” Newsom continued. “The state has had 99 IPOs since the start of the year. We had record venture capital last year in the state of California. We are the leading state of innovation in the United States. “, did he declare. “Those who write our obituary – they’ve done it every seven to ten years – get it wrong time and time again, and again, they get their current assessment wrong.”

Google chief legal officer and vice president of global affairs Kent Walker spoke at a signing of Bill SB7 in San Jose, Calif., Alongside Gov. Gavin Newsom.


California startups raised $ 84.2 billion in venture capital funds last year, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Google promised to spend $ 7 billion on data centers and offices in the United States in 2021, particularly in California where it has multiple campus sites.

Thursday’s event also comes a week ahead of city council next week’s decision to approve Google’s massive South Bay. Campus in partnership with the city of San Jose called “Downtown West”. The 80-acre downtown San Jose campus will have more than 20,000 employees and a portion of it will be allocated to residential and public spaces, including what it hopes will be one of the largest sites in the city. public transport of the country. The company recently added $ 200 million in the benefits of the community to help the transaction.

“As we begin to bring our employees back to our offices statewide, nationwide, we look forward to investing more in California,” Google’s Walker said Thursday. “We want to invest all over the United States, but we have a special love and affection for California and we are convinced that California can enable the next generation of innovation. We are on the right path to economic recovery and look forward to working with all of them. from you in the years to come. “

Newsom highlighted the housing development proposed by Google, which will include a project of 4,000 housing units, 25% of which will be designated for “affordable” housing. He also said the sustainability characteristics of the campus are examples of a solution to “Mother Nature’s challenges” in the state.

Now watch: The tech drain in California: how big is it and what can be done to reverse it?

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