Steve Jobs Tells City Sopranos No!
by Charles Goyette: Obama
Gets It Half Right
consumer electronics company, has outgrown its headquarters in Cupertino,
California. It wants to build a bigger, better campus. Thatís when
the shakedown started. You know the kind: "What are you going
to Ďgive backí to the community?"
Thanks to the
success of iPods, iPhones, iTunes, iPads and Macs, Appleís headquarters
building in Cupertino is woefully too small. So the company bought
some nearby land and in early June co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs
went before the City Council to unveil plans for the new headquarters.
Itís an innovative design that looks like the mother ship has landed
right there in Cupertino, a ring shaped building around a huge central
courtyard area. The new headquarters will accommodate 12,000 employees,
up from only 2,600 at its present campus.
a project that any city would love to have. The park-like campus
increases the landscaping at the location by 350 percent, almost
doubles the trees on the site, and reduces the surface parking by
After his presentation
of the stunning project, the very first question from the very first
council member was, "Whatís in it for us?"
making innovative and life-enriching products that serve the needs
of millions of people and being the largest taxpayer and premier
employer in the city isnít enough; what else can we shake you down
businesses dealing with thousands of governments at all levels run
head on into these rackets. Itís like dealing with Tony Soprano:
"Thatís a real nice expansion plan you got there. Itíd sure
be too bad if something happened to it."
In other words,
what can we extort from you in return for approving your project?
How about a big donation to some officialís favorite cause, or why
donít we make you pay for some bad public art, chosen by committee
with no taste? In Appleís case it was, "how about giving us
all free Wi Fi?"
should be repeated whenever these shakedowns start. He said, "You
see, Iím a simpleton. Iíve always had this view that we pay taxes
and the city should do those things. Now if we can get out of paying
taxes, Iíd be glad to put up Wi Fi."
Or as Jobs
said to the Cupertino city council in so many words, "We can
always sell off the land, take our little company, and go somewhere
the shakedown attempt dead in its tracks. Clearly, we need more
CEOs like Jobs.
have been packing up and going somewhere else for years now as they
seek to escape shakedowns. After all there is always another state
mobster at the door wanting taxes, creating regulations, demanding
inspections, setting wages, mandating benefits, restricting business,
controlling hiring, and imposing costs. Maybe it will take a further
slide in American living standards and the squeeze of a higher unemployment
rate for the people to wake up and put a stop to the Tony Soprano
© 2011 Charles Goyette
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