Bklyn Lawmakers, Public Advocate Candidates Sound Off On Amazon Pullout

NoAmazon

Apparently, it was not true love for Amazon in New York City as representatives for the company chose Valentine’s Day to announce on the firm’s blog that it will not open a second headquarters in Long Island City.

“While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” said the company blog. “We love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture—and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The news left both NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo with broken hearts as both denounced the pullout.

De Blasio was quick to blame the multi-billion dollar company, claiming their lack of compromise was a serious obstacle in the end.

“The company had the power to make the decision, not the politicians. I think a lot of those politicians were mistaken. I think they did not value the jobs and they didn’t understand that constituents needed those jobs and we needed that revenue to keep being a city that really works to help people. But no – in the end, let’s be clear, Amazon had the power to make this decision. They had the power to come and have a conversation about things they want to address, if they were so concerned. There wasn’t a shred of dialog. Out of nowhere, they just took their ball and went home,” said de Blasio.

While, Cuomo put the break up square on local officials, who he believed ran the retail giant out of town.

“However, a small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community — which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City — the state’s economic future and the best interests of the people of this state. The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity,” said Cuomo.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley
Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Crown Heights) hailed the news as a triumph for local residents and a push back against corporate greed.

“New Yorkers were left out of the room where a deal was struck to provide billions in corporate welfare and tax subsidies to one of the wealthiest men in the world. Instead of just taking it, my fellow New Yorkers fought back and won a huge victory today with the announcement that Amazon will not be coming here. Corporate hand outs like the one offered to Amazon are wrong, especially as we deal with a crumbling transportation system and housing crisis in our city,” said Mosley.

While Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref -Brooklyn, Staten Island) condemn grassroots organizations and Queens electeds for the loss in economic potential for Long Island City.

“Nice going anti-capitalists. Taxpayers wanted a BETTER deal, not to KILL the deal. Those elected officials who fought Amazon tooth and nail without flexibility just lost more than 25,000 good paying jobs for their constituents and the people of New York City,” said Malliotakis.

Candidates running for the public advocate seat, on the other hand, differed on the loss of the deal.

City Council Member Eric Ulrich

“It never ceases to amaze me how the loud voices of a few, could destroy the chance at a better life for so many. Amazon had big plans in store for the borough of Queens, and we blew it,” said City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens Park) denouncing the surprising news, claiming Amazon would have been a positive for the borough.

They were going to invest in our future, hire locally, contribute to the community, and make the greatest city in the world even greater. I doubt the NIMBYS have another company willing to create 25,000 good paying jobs. This sets a bad precedent moving forward and will deter other companies from setting up shop in our city,” he added.

City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr.
Jumaane Williams
City Council Member Jumaane Williams

Other public advocate candidates including Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn) and Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) hailed the news as a triumph for the city.

“This is a huge victory for the grassroots activists and community leaders who spoke out with one collective voice to say no to Amazon. I was the first elected official to stand against the HQ2 deal because it ignored the needs of everyday people and prioritized one of the world’s wealthiest corporations instead. The $3 billion taxpayer giveaway was unconscionable especially in the midst of an affordable housing crisis and a crumbling public transportation system which impacts virtually every resident of New York City,” said Kim.

“Amazon’s decision shows the company isn’t ready to make the commitments that a pro-union city like New York deserves. I have been against Amazon’s plans from the start, and especially against subsidizing one of the world’s wealthiest businessmen,” said Espinal.

“After countless activists, grassroots organizers and everyday New Yorkers fought back against Amazon’s secret bargain with the Mayor and Governor, we’re proud that our message was clear: we won’t be bulldozed by the world’s richest man, who denied honest discussions and open negotiations about jobs and benefits to everyday New Yorkers. A backroom deal between the Mayor, Governor and Bezos to give away $3 billion in tax incentives and a helipad, with questionable jobs and loss of Land Use powers were never the answer,” said Williams.

Bronx Assemblymember Michael Blake

Public Advocate candidate and Assemblyman Michael Blake (D-Bronx) was more willing to negotiate with Amazon to make sure it met the needs of the community.

“I always said that we wanted a better deal,” said Blake. “We wanted guarantees of unionization, local hiring, the hiring of minorities and women, and for them not to help ICE in detaining our immigrant sister and brothers…at the end of the day, a better deal was better than no deal and all that we asked was for Amazon to come to the table and engage with all of us. It is incredibly disappointing that they are choosing to walk away instead of us coming together.”

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