Politicians point fingers after Amazon ditches NYC headquarters
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Thursday blamed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s secretive process that brought Amazon to New York City for the company’s stunning decision not to come.
“This is proof of why it is so important to have an inclusive and transparent process from the beginning. It is unfortunate that rather than engage in productive discussions about a major development, Amazon has decided to leave New York,” Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) said in a statement.
“This process was clearly flawed and did not include the affected community nor their legislative representatives until after the deal was signed.”
She added: “This was not the same process that was followed in other areas including Virginia and that is clearly why this deal failed.”
Amazon decided to split its “HQ2” expansion in two, with New York City initially winning half of the promised 50,000 high-paying jobs and the remainder going to a new suburban Washington, DC, campus.
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Despite protests from local community activists, it was Stewart-Cousins’ skepticism about the deal that put the agreement in initial jeopardy.
She nominated a vocal Amazon opponent, state Sen. Mike Ginaris (D-Queens), to an obscure board that had the power to kill the Amazon deal.
The City Council’s top Democrat, an Amazon opponent, also joined in the chorus celebrating the deal’s end.
“I look forward to working with companies that understand that if you’re willing to engage with New Yorkers and work through challenging issues, New York City is the world’s best place to do business,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who led the grilling of Amazon and city economic development officials at two different hearings. “I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent.”
He added, in a dig: “I know I’d choose mass transit over helipads any day,” a reference to the helicopter pad the company was authorized to build at its new site.
Queens state Sen. Michael Gianaris, Amazon’s fiercest critic, kept hammering the company.
“Amazon is more interested in shakedowns that constructive dealings with the community,” he said.
“This shows they would have been a bad partner. They would have been a bad neighbor for my community and New York state. … Instead of negotiating they took their bat and ball and walked away.”
An Amazon supporter, City Councilman Erich Ulrich (R-Queens), warned that Amazon’s decision won’t go unnoticed by other major companies thinking of coming to the city.
“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! 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 said.
State Senator Michael Gianaris speaks out after Amazon pullout
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