(COMMON DREAMS) Julia Conley, December 13, 2018
After being kept in the dark about New York’s $3 billion deal with Amazon, allowing the trillion-dollar corporation to build its new headquarters—complete with helicopter landing pad for CEO Jeff Bezos—in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, concerned New York City Council members and scores of angry New Yorkers on Wednesday angrily confronted company representatives over the plan.
At the first City Council meeting on Amazon’s so-called “HQ2,” about 150 protesters joined the mostly-Democratic lawmakers in slamming the closed-door process through which the city and state finalized the deal and the effect the corporation’s arrival will likely have on affordable housing and community development in Queens and the entire city, as New York pours much-needed funds into the new one million square foot campus.
“Despite the familiar promises, Amazon is not a good partner. Not for the cities it occupies, not for the merchants who depend on it, not for the workers it employs. The company does not seek partnership; it seeks control.” —Ron T. Kim and Zephyr Teachout
“You’re worth a trillion dollars,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said bluntly to Amazon officials Brian Huseman and Holly Sullivan. “Why do you need our $3 billion when we have crumbling subways, crumbling public housing, people without health care, public schools that are overcrowded?”
Amazon has said its arrival in New York will create 25,000 jobs for residents—a claim one protester derided as “smoke and mirrors” during the hearing—and has promised to fund a new school that would serve just 600 of the city’s school children.