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Rantz: Seattle council members on mission to sabotage Amazon in NY

The full Seattle City Council in 2018. (KIRO Radio file)

Anti-Amazon activists in New York flew two anti-Amazon Seattle council members to their state to help them sabotage the company’s HQ2 expansion. Reasonable New York lawmakers should push back as hard as humanly possible.

Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda, both instrumental in the disastrous, failed Amazon head tax, are going to New York to offer lessons and mistakes they learned from Amazon’s expansion here in Seattle. Only, all the successes happened despite their meddling, and all the mistakes were caused by the City Council. They have nothing to offer activists in New York who are, as it turns out, as dangerous as the council members they’re hosting.

As reported in The Seattle Times:

Economic-impact studies cited by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration suggest Amazon’s expansion could generate more than $27.5 billion in additional tax revenue over 25 years, and Seattle’s economy has soared along with Amazon’s ascent.

But the summit’s sponsors are against the subsidies and want politicians in positions to block or delay those incentives to learn about the “dark underbelly of the story of Amazon in Seattle,” said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a membership organization of immigrants and people of color that advocates for low-wage workers and renters.

There is no “dark underbelly” to be told; certainly not by reasonable people. While Herbold and Mosqueda may blame Amazon for the city’s woes, they ought to look in a mirror.

Blaming Amazon

Amazon is chiefly blamed for housing costs and traffic congestion. The problem with the scapegoating: Amazon is not responsible for raising the cost of housing, nor did they create the mind-numbing traffic congestion.

Housing costs went up because the city didn’t properly plan for the growth Amazon would bring to Seattle. That’s not Amazon’s fault. Rather than allow for more development, city leaders made development more costly and would stop developers from building too high. Consequently, we hadn’t seen a supply that met the demand, and rent went up. It’s basic economics 101, which few on the council understand. Now that the demand is dwindling and supply is increasing, we see rents going down. Funny how that works.

Traffic congestion, while easy to blame on Amazon, is as bad as it is because of bike-activists in the council pushing the Seattle Department of Transportation into taking away already-busy car lanes, turning them into sparsely used bike lanes. Seattle is one of the leading cities pouring money into bike lanes, while bike commuting goes down. Scores of Amazon employees live near their offices, walking or taking transit to work. The council (and mayor) have purposefully made it harder to drive in the city, fueled in-part by environmentalist views, and have the audacity to blame Amazon.

Two clueless council members

According to the Times: ‘”We weren’t proactive about it and we’ve seen the consequences,’ Mosqueda said, citing a homelessness crisis and infrastructure needs.”

Yike! Amazon is to blame for homelessness, too? Of course, it’s not. It’s one of those bumper stickers you throw out there hoping against hope that it’ll mask the fact that they’ve made the problem worse by consistently ignoring root causes of homelessness, all so they can virtue signal and tell us how heroic they are for caring about the homeless, while being quite content that they camp out in a park in the dead of winter.

“No corporation should be able to flex its muscles … and put public-policy makers in a position where they can’t govern,” Mosqueda told the Times.

The problem is Mosqueda doesn’t know how to govern; she’s an activist in a position of power that she can’t quite figure out how to yield. And she’ll bring her ineptitude — alongside Herbold — to a state in desperate need of adults, not children upset when they can’t force their will on a population.

Herbold and Mosqueda weren’t invited to New York because they have ideas to make HQ2 work; they are there because they share the same extremist views as their hosts. And while, hopefully, smarter leaders in New York will prevail on dealing with Amazon, one benefit of their trip to New York? It’s a day or two where Seattle won’t have to deal with their destructiveness.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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