Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez cheers as Amazon reportedly reconsiders NY HQ after fierce opposition

Amazon sign Modal Trigger Getty Images
Kelvin Reese | 11 February, 2019, 01:59

The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, reported that Amazon executives have had internal discussions to reassess the situation in ny and explore alternatives, citing two people familiar with the matter.

"The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in New York don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming", an anonymous source familiar with internal discussions told the newspaper, reports the NY Daily Times.

The fact that there has been no procurement of office space and no approval of the promised incentives would make a withdrawal of the NY option relatively easy.

Days later, the State Senate nominated NY senator Michael Gianaris, a vocal opponent of the Amazon deal and a representative for the district where its new headquarters is slated to be, to the Public Authorities Control Board, which ultimately has to approve the Amazon deal in order for it to go forward.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who campaigned against the subsidy package, celebrated the news that Amazon may be reconsidering the whole deal.

In response, Amazon would say only that it's engaging with small business owners, community leaders and educators, pointing to its pledges to fund high school computer science classes and contribute to job training. But the only South Side site to which the Amazon team returned for multiple site visits was the South Loop mega-site known as "the 78". This week, the State Senate recommended the appointment of Sen.

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New York City lawmakers who weren't intimately involved with the "HQ2" bid to bring in Amazon have been sharply critical of giving billions in taxpayer dollars to the world's most valuable corporation, so it can add to an already existing presence in the region. "If they stop Amazon from coming to NY, they're going to have the people of NY to explain it to".

While all of that is happening, Amazon floated this pullback from NY, citing how "welcoming" politicians in Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee have been in handing over public money for its site locations.

However, the proposal was criticized by residents and local government officials, such as State Senator and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, and others, who felt the deal was pushed through behind closed doors without local input or City Council approval.

"If Amazon does not come to NY, it's because of the political opposition".

"If somebody says to any New Yorker, 'I'll give you $30 billion if you'll give me $3 billion back, ' the answer is 'yes, of course, '" Gov. Cuomo recently said of the deal. Since Amazon announced its plans, homebuyers had signed 132 contracts in the neighborhood as of February 3, his data show, up from 40 signed in the same period a year earlier.

Last November, Amazon announced that it had selected New York City and Arlington, Virginia, as the locations for its new HQ2. It recently hired a public relations firm in NY and started looking for a "senior community affairs manager" to focus on building a positive partnership with community groups, local stakeholders and nonprofits. "He made a secret deal with Amazon".

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