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Mosqueda: Amazon ‘needed to stay at the table’ in New York

Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. (Matt Pitman)

Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda had some pointed words for Amazon Thursday, after the company announced it was backing out of its decision to put one of its HQ2 locations in New York.

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“Perhaps they weren’t able to hear that in order for them to be in a city that values labor, and values affordable housing, and values investment in infrastructure, they needed to stay at the table and hear what the community was saying,” Mosqueda told KIRO Radio.

Mosqueda was part of a delegation sent to New York in January to share Seattle’s experiences with Amazon, and to help navigate potential issues the region would face with the company’s original plans to set up a headquarters there.

Despite creating tens of thousands of high-paying tech jobs in Seattle, Amazon’s presence in the city has been blamed for skyrocketing housing prices, increased traffic and congestion, and an uptick in wealth disparity.

Those concerns were intimated by Mosqueda and fellow Councilmember Lisa Herbold at a New York City summit arranged by unions and community groups.

“My message to them was ‘you have an opportunity to do what Seattle didn’t — you have the opportunity to change your zoning, and laws to create additional housing, to make sure there’s infrastructure to meet your workers needs now, and into the future,'” she said.

Following its decision to pull out of its plans for a New York headquarters, Amazon issued a pointed statement of its own.

While polls show that 70 percent 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.

According to Mosqueda, though, Amazon didn’t do its due diligence on investing in the local community before deciding not to set up shop in the Empire State.

“It is good for local businesses when you invest in workers and infrastructure, and they still had the chance to do that,” she noted.

Amazon does not intend to reopen its search for another HQ2, and will instead proceed as planned for expansion efforts in Northern Virginia and Nashville.

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