AOC/NY dems pick a fight with Amazon's Bezos over Queens headquarters

catkinZ8a

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other New York Democrats pick a fight with Amazon and Jeff Bezos over HQ2 in Queens

  • Queens Democrats including Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are criticizing Amazon's plan to open offices there, even as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo cheer the move.
  • The criticism sets up another potential political fight between Amazon and anti-establishment politicians as it expands its reach across the country and globe.
  • It is unclear what concrete action officials will take to push back against Amazon, though a state assemblyman plans to introduce legislation to cancel the subsidies the company will receive.

Democrats from New York's Queens borough slammed Amazon's plan for offices in the area, setting up a potential political fight with one of the world's most powerful companies.

The criticism came even as Virginia lawmakers largely welcomed the e-commerce company's decision to open up another facility outside Washington, D.C.

Amazon announced plans Tuesday to split what it calls its second headquarters between Long Island City in Queens and Arlington, Virginia. The company says it will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs in the two areas. Amazon will get more than $2 billion in what it calls "performance-based direct incentives" from state and local governments.

Local Democrats, with a few high-profile exceptions, swiftly criticized Amazon. They raised concerns about cost of living increases, a potential lack of benefit to local community members and state tax incentives going to a large corporation rather than residents. The response sets up a political clash for Amazon — a company that has had no shortage of battles with officials as it extends its reach across the country and globe.

Rick Loomis | Getty ImagesAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses the crowd gathered at La Boom night club in Queens on November 6, 2018 in New York City. With her win against Republican Anthony Pappas, Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress.

Democratic Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will represent parts of Queens and the Bronx starting in January, said early Tuesday that her future constituents raised concerns about the Amazon offices. In a series of tweets, she called it "extremely concerning" that Amazon would get tax breaks "when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less."
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez✔@AOC · Nov 12, 2018We’ve been getting calls and outreach from Queens residents all day about this.

The community’s response? Outrage.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez✔@AOCAmazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.

Ocasio-Cortez expressed concerns about the project pushing working-class people out of Queens. She wrote that "we need to focus on good healthcare, living wages, affordable rent" and that "corporations that offer none of those thing should be met w/skepticism."

"Lastly, this isn't just about one company or one headquarters. It's about cost of living, corps paying their fair share, etc," she wrote in another tweet. "It's not about picking a fight, either. I was elected to advocate for our community's interests - & they've requested, clearly, to voice their concerns."
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez✔@AOC · Nov 12, 2018Replying to @AOC We need to focus on good healthcare, living wages, affordable rent. Corporations that offer none of those things should be met w/ skepticism.

It’s possible to establish economic partnerships w/ real opportunities for working families, instead of a race-to-the-bottom competition.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez✔@AOCLastly, this isn’t just about one company or one headquarters. It’s about cost of living, corps paying their fair share, etc.

It’s not about picking a fight, either. I was elected to advocate for our community’s interests - & they‘ve requested, clearly, to voice their concerns.
9,3329:20 PM - Nov 12, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacy

Two other Democratic lawmakers who represent Queens also criticized the company. In a joint statement, state Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said "it is unfathomable" that New York would offer Amazon billions of dollars in incentives when "our subways are crumbling, our children lack school seats, and too many of our neighbors lack adequate health care."

"Too much is at stake to accept this without a fight," they said. "We will continue to stand up against what can only be described as a bad deal for New York and for Long Island City."


It is unclear what action the lawmakers can or will take to modify or scrap the project. Last week, Democrats won back the New York Senate, giving the party unified control of state government and potentially increasing the chances of legislative action related to Amazon.

State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who represents parts of Queens, plans to introduce legislation to cancel the Amazon subsidies and redirect the tax breaks to student debt relief. It is unclear how much support the measure could draw.



https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/13/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-and-new-york-democrats-criticize-amazon-hq2.html

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elvis

Yes, I thought about starting a thread about this the other day. O-C's big mouth (and it really is humongous) is going to land her on her derriere.


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jerzeegirl(9b)

Making fun of her mouth is all ya got. Just like your fearless leader. I can see your a deep thinker, elvis.

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numbersjunkie
yeah Elvis, we thought Trump's big mouth would do him in too....but then...

at least we're not a bunch of sheep.
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foodonastump

I could argue either way. It’d be good for me. Not for others:

  • It’s estimated to create 25,000 to 40,000 jobs over the next decade, with an average salary of $150,000
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Becca Reese

Amazon has done extensive analysis in several other locations. Cut bait and bring 25,000 jobs to someplace that welcomes them.

AOC's got to keep her constituents on the government dole.

Priorities.

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Jenn Dinosaur-Mom(5)

The way Amazon went about deciding where to locate their 2nd HQ could and should have been done better, but the fact that cities/states were falling all over themselves trying to sweeten the deal in hopes that Amazon would come to their area and bring with it some needed economic boosting for decades to come..it's a perverse system and corporations keep using it because it works for them to do so.

Where will the workers live, how will they impact the area - especially the people already living there who likely will be displaced with yet more gentrification (the fancy word used for when you want to but shouldn't say your business plan is "making things super expensive to get rid of the population whose needs we don't plan to concern ourselves with because we want to add more luxury condos and starbuck's locations".)...As if traffic conditions and housing costs aren't already terrible, gentrification sweeps in, eliminating the unique characteristics and community to replace them with more of the same bland and overpriced offerings that can be seen in many major metros around this country.

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blfenton

The articles in the OP are from November. AOC isn't the only person voicing a concern about the location of Amazons new location.

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Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real

Presumably many NY politicians who represent the people were already consulted on this matter, hence the deal that was struck.

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Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real

I live in an area with a tremendous jobs to housing imbalance. I will take that over having the opposite.

As for the tax incentives, clearly the politicians believe there will be more money in their coffers with Amazon, than without. It makes sense to me. OTOH politicians make all sorts of crazy deals with sports teams over stadiums where I think their logic is totally flawed, so I am not totally consistent on this ;-)

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judeNY_gw

The deal does not have universal support. 25K jobs in NYC is no big deal and certainly not worth the incentives they were given. If Az really wanted to be here, NYC itself is enough of an incentive and doesn't need massive incentives. And his own heliport!!

Let them take their jobs to an area where it will make a positive impact overall, which is not NYC. Just the strain on public transportation is enough to reject it. Then there is housing for 25k. And those incentives come out of my pocket and could be better spent on any number of necessary infrastructure projects. DiBlasio and ACuomo pulled a fast one. Overall poorly thought through

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sunflower_petal(5a)

"Democratic Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will represent parts of Queens and the Bronx starting in January"

Hmm, the OP seems like old news based on that snippet.

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dockside_gw

If anyone wants to know what it's like to have an Amazon headquarters in their city, they should come to Seattle and talk to residents there who are not Amazon employees. The cost of housing has skyrockted and the cost of living also. It's getting that no one can afford to live there unless they make $150,000 a year. I read about a week ago that the average income in Seattle is $80,000 annually, but the average income of someone buying a home is $120,000. I hate going to Seattle now - roads are clogged, prices are high and everything now seems geared toward those $150,000 income people. And, homelessness is bad - I think Seattle is 3rd in the nation of homeless people, many of whom can no longer afford the rents. And people who own their homes and have owned them pre-Amazon are being taxed out of their homes. It's not a pretty picture, IMO.

Of course, all that affects people in the suburbs and exurbs. My nephew, who lives in Everett, (30 miles north of Seattle) posted a photo on Facebook of a trashy looking house with two bedrooms in a town about 45 miles north of Seattle listed for half a million dollars.

Those cities that weren't chosen should thank their lucky stars.

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blfenton

Vancouver put in a bid and fortunately didn't get picked. We have enough problems with housing prices. Amazon is opening a tech office for 3000 employees but that's doable.

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cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)(zone 7, Northern VA)

Well, I certainly wish someone had opposed the choice of Arlington (Crystal City), VA for one of the two new headquarters.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Why? ^^^^^

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cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)(zone 7, Northern VA)

Zalco, I am not happy with their tax breaks, the probable changes in our soon-to-be-formerly charming area (too much gentrification going on already and will continue in order to supple homes for the influx of folks), and the disregard the powers that be are already showing for the fragile environment (wetlands being destroyed to build new metro station).

ETA: Of course, Bezos could surprise me and become an environmentalist and put money into non-profs to support our less well-off citizens.

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

I am sure some of you were in Brooklyn some twenty years ago. If you go to Brooklyn today, you can see incredible developments. Yes, gentrification, and high rents. Poor people got pushed out.

Likewise, Long Island City, Queens was a dump. Nothing there but dusty factories, until CitiBank built their Queens headquarters there. Things started to change.

NYC generates billions of tax income from these areas.

There is a reason why every state, city, country tried so hard to lurk Amazon to come to them.

dcarch


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studio10001

I would think their situation might be a bit different in NYC. The talent pool is already there, so housing may not be affected as hard. A local hiring quota would be a detail worth tax incentives. Long Island City could still use some gentrification, to my mind, so if more housing results from the many derelict business properties, that would be good for Queens. I also don't understand what she is saying about a living wage - the average salary is reported at 150,000 - decent even by NYC standards, and roughly what would be needed to qualify for rent of a better one bedroom on the East Side. If I had a new job w Amazon, I'd want a modernized building, not an Astoria walkup. I think it possible the locals may just have the wrong end of the stick on this one.

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Jenn Dinosaur-Mom(5)

I want to go back and visit Vancouver in Washington state again. I have some family there, but it has always been so pretty, green, rainy...

When we sold our SoCal house it was a bidding war - and that's for a place that wasn't going to be some big corporation headquarters, just a close to the beach townhouse in a HOA that we knew we needed to up-size from. On the border of LA/OC counties and perfect for the professional young couple we sold to. She'd been looking for units in the HOA to come up for sale for at least a year by then, I think, plus she had everything set as far as financing goes and that was as much why we accepted her offer as the amount - we had a neighbor who had people in a bidding war only to have the winner hit some sort of block as far as their financing, so she had to go through putting it back on the market and so forth.

As far as how things turn out in cities where big companies decide to HQ or establish significant operations...I always wonder what will happen if the company goes bust, has to scale back everything and move operations abroad where it's cheaper, you know, things that are possible with businesses. Will these new companies in their new regions end up being like the manufacturing companies in the rust belt, the mine companies in various parts of the country, even the auto industry in Detroit...? Meanwhile the poor people will be living in cars, motor homes and motels after the costs of living go beyond their means and relocation for a better job surpasses their education level? If teachers, firefighters, police officers can't afford to live in the area they work (or at least in a reasonable commute distance!) - such as what we're seeing in California, Oregon, and Washington, there's just no way for those working for near or close to minimum wage (if every immigrant - legal or undocumented - were to disappear today, the housing and cost of living would still be out of many people's reach).

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studio10001

Well, again, I think NYC can -and does - absorb that kind of loss better than some. As mentioned by j, 25,000 jobs isn't as extreme there. In the case of Detroit, it wasn't a single business that created what we see today, it was an entire industry that hollowed the city out. The existing talent pool in NY makes it simpler for any business to move in without bringing an entire workforce with them. That makes a huge difference in the effect the new business can have on real estate. If your workforce is already housed, there is much less change to the housing market. A particular neighborhood may begin to trend, which is something that happens in NY continually. ( Meat Market district, anyone?) If and when Amazon leaves, it doesn't leave poor people behind, it leaves white collar workers and executives, who can be easily reabsorbed into the job market. The kind of blue collar workers that you are thinking of have, for the most part, protections against their rents being raised willy nilly. Some buildings may convert to co-op to take advantage of their location, but that,too, is something that happens as neighborhoods trend throughout the boroughs. I think Amazon could be a better fit in LIC than in most places in the country.

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Ziemia(6a)

Not enough current matters for "How dare they?" outrage?

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Olychick

Amazon pretty much ruined Seattle. For every job they create 2 people move in from elsewhere to try to get those jobs. There is no longer affordable housing, the sky is barely visible because of all the highrises going in; old, lovely established neighborhoods are being ruined to allow multiple occupancy buildings to be built from property line to property line - virtually no set backs; traffic is close to the worst in the nation, as is homelessness.

Question growth. It's not all it's cracked up to be and those jobs are not going to go only to current residents.

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studio10001

Granted. And I hope somebody did (question), as the move will have a ripple effect on neighborhood businesses as well. My only point is that if they do stay, I don't think the changes will be as darkly felt as they were in Seattle - or Virginia, for that matter, where the housing market is already tight, and the talent pool more dispersed. NYC is a very different beast. But, we'll see. In any event, I hope it works out well for the city, whatever they decide to do.

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Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real

How are companies to grow and people to gain employment if everybody wants his or her community to remain unchanged?

We moved to SV in 1996. We could not afford a dog house there, but my husband went to grad school there and we found productive, fulfilling work, eventually being able to afford a nice house. What should young people do when they start out their careers? Move to cities with no jobs? Growth is necessary, or people cannot thrive.

I don't think it's my right to live in the city I choose. It's an economic reality whether I can afford it or not. Should life change and my town experience more growth forcing me to move, then that's the way the cookie crumbles. I think as a society we should absolutely help those who are in the most precarious positions. It's appalling to see people with service jobs living inter cars in my area. The market is failing to offer jobs that pay enough to live here PLUS our local governments block high density housing near transit centers- our governments block additional housing in general, complaining about too many jobs and not enough housing.

I could go on and on about this. Cities change and evolve. We have to make room for the younger generation to get jobs and live. No community can be preserved in amber.

WRT to tax breaks, I have no idea of why cities bend over backwards to offer those kinds of incentives to employers- especially not well developed cities with no "need" for the new jobs. Detroit offering incentives I get. NYC, Arlington, Va, I don't get.

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GOD

Congress woman tries to protect her constituents.

Right wingers flip out again.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Venice was already mostly gentrified when Google and Snapchat showed up. Now the situation is much worse for those who managed to have (somewhat) affordable housing. (Air BNB is also a culprit.) The owners of the ramshackle cottages on minuscule lots in Dog Town are thrilled with the multimillion property prices. The small cafe owners on the boardwalk can no longer afford the rents.

Dog Town is no more - welcome Silicon Beach.

The area that was known for its poets, artists, Beats and bohemians has been greatly transformed.


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catkinZ8a

GOD

Congress woman tries to protect her constituents.

Right wingers flip out again.

___________________-______________________

Wrong a gain, god.

It's dem governor Cuomo slamming the dem NY senate for bucking the Amazon deal. More infighting in the dem party.

Amazon Deal Meets New Resistance as Cuomo and N.Y. Senate Clash


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and newly emboldened Democrats in the State Senate appeared headed for open warfare on Monday over a plan to bring Amazon to New York City after the Senate leader named a critic of the $3 billion deal to a state board that could scuttle it.

Mr. Cuomo could reject the pick, though doing so could create a protracted standoff with the Senate leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and her fellow Democrats. Already, the battle lines were hardening on Monday as Mr. Cuomo’s office reacted angrily to Mr. Gianaris’s appointment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/04/nyregion/amazon-hq2-board-veto.html

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foodonastump

Well they’re out. I’m disappointed.

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GOD

I'm not surprised, it was an arrogant and selfish choice. There's a critical housing and transportation shortage in Queens, not to mention ongoing gentrification, schooling crunch, etc.

With all of Amazon's billions ( and the 3 + billion they were going to receive from the state) they could easily turn a place into a mecca, rather than trying to take over a mecca.

And undemocratic? Amazon was exempted from most land use regulations/reviews.. and the city gov't was cut out of the process.


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Zeus

Re Seattle - we almost moved there in 1988. My husband grew up there and had fond memories. After he was discharged from active duty he accepted a job in Seattle. We packed up 3 kids, two dogs, a truck and drove from NJ to Seattle. After 6 weeks we knew it was a mistake for us. The traffic was awful and we were struggling to find an affordable place to live. Locals were upset with the migration of people from CA and Microsoft, which had raised prices and clogged the roads. So - we packed the stuff back up, quit the job, and took another job in Maryland. It was quite a busy and stressful 2 months!

So - the changes are not just caused by Amazon. The changes that occurred from 1975 to 1988 were the start.

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Kitchenwitch111

I really don't understand why a city like New York would give the richest company in the world any financial considerations or tax breaks.

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

"I really don't understand why a city like New York would give the richest company in the world any financial considerations or tax breaks."

Good business?

This is a very sad day for all Queens home owners, workers and businesses. A once in a life time opportunity bubble just burst for them by crazy politicians.

A few people I know in Queens cried. They were hoping the doubling in their home value would finally allow them to do repairs and perhaps retire soon.

“Amazon’s decision to withdraw…will go down as one of the biggest debacles in New York State history.”

—Long Island Association president and CEO Kevin Law

Long Island was poised to reap enormous benefits from the move, which would have brought a flood of new high-wage jobs, business development, and much-needed tax revenue to the entire region.

Two-thirds of Long Islanders supported this move because they knew it would be good for them, their families, and their pocketbooks.…I urge Amazon to please reconsider their decision.

—Laura Curran, Nassau County executive

What would Harlem be without gentrification?

Remember slizzy Time Square before businesses moved in? Jersey City in NJ?

There will be no money for subsidized housing, infra-structure, -------------.. Many areas in Queens will remain depressed.

Guess which party people in Queens and Long Island will be voting for the next election?

I am beginning to suspect that AOC is a closet Trump supporter.

dcarch


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jerzeegirl(9b)

Amazon is ditching NY. I can't blame them. I used to work in LIC. That would have been a hard place to have a world headquarters.

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foodonastump

doubling in their home value would finally allow them to do repairs

How’s that work?

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

I am not sure what's your question. About home value? About home repairs?

dcarch

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foodonastump

About having money for home repairs because your home value goes up.

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

I had a house which had a somewhat not very good roof. I decided not to replace, just patch.

Then someone bought the house across the street, demolished it and built a fancy big mansion. More than doubled the previous house value. That also push up my house's worth. So I replaced my roof.

dcarch

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Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real

dcarch7, I have always thought AOC was with Trump ;-)

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Becca Reese

I really don't understand why a city like New York would give the
richest company in the world any financial considerations or tax breaks.

It's the same dance and handshaking that cities, counties and states do with every business they want to attract.

25,000 job opportunities gone and all the multiplier jobs that would have been generated. All that disposable income to support other businesses, gone. All the tax revenue, gone.

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

"dcarch7, I have always thought AOC was with Trump ;-)"

No one has worked harder than AOC to get Trump re-elected.

dcarch

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HU-314079856

As a resident of Seattle since I was 5 and of the area since I was 2 I object to the statement that Seattle is "ruined". It is still a vibrant, energetic city with lots to see and do. Yes, it has growing pains but I still love it here. Both my kids and their families live here. All have benefitted from living here. Wouldn't live anywhere else.

Well maybe the south of France.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

"It's the same dance and handshaking that cities, counties and states do with every business they want to attract."

Maybe it's time that ended.

NY is not the middle of the boondocks. Multi-national corporations should not need multiple-billion dollar incentives to locate there.

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