Environmentalists fighting Cisco’s $1.3 billion campus

The Associated Press
Monday November 13, 2000

Group looking to collect almost 28,000 signatures 


SAN JOSE – A group of environmentalists and homeless advocates is trying to halt Cisco System Inc.’s $1.3 billion campus development in Coyote Valley. 

A group called People for Livable and Affordable Neighborhoods says it will try to collect 27,732 signatures by Dec. 12 to get a referendum on the ballot and kill the massive expansion project. 

“This is a huge project, and citizens should have the right to vote on it,” said environmentalist Ernest Goitein. “It shouldn’t be left to politicians, who are vulnerable to pressure.” 

If voters reject Cisco’s 688-acre project at the ballot box, the city’s approval would be nullified. 

Grass roots organizers and opponents of the Cisco campus project say it would have a devastating impact on traffic and drive up housing prices. 

A Cisco spokesman says the company is set to begin construction on the project this winter and the company’s business partners are banking on the signature drive coming up short. 

“Hopefully, there won’t be enough signatures, so that won’t be an issue,” said developer Steve Speno. 

PLAN sued San Jose earlier this week, contending the city was obstructing the petition drive by failing to give them the documents necessary to initiate the effort. The city handed over the documents, settling the case in a matter of days and extending a deadline for the petition to be turned in. 

Donors to the plan to halt the Cisco project include the Committee for Green Foothills and the Sierra Club. Zoe Kersteen-Tucker, president of the Committee for Green Foothills, said residents in outlying areas around San Jose would also be affected by Cisco’s massive expansion campus. 

“The Cisco project has far-reaching regional consequences. It will exacerbate the almost-gridlock situation we already have and open the floodgates to sprawl to the south,” Kersteen-Tucker. 

Cisco placated critics recently by donating $3 million and help raise $97 million more for open-space preservation efforts. 

The Sierra Club and Audubon Society still opposed the expansion, saying it would threaten endangered animals such as the red-legged frog and worsen air quality through increased traffic.