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Kshama Sawant
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Kshama Sawant not expected to attend high-profile meeting with Amazon

A few Seattle council members will skip a meeting with Amazon, according to an agenda obtained by GeekWire. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has been a staunch critic of Amazon, scoffing at the idea that the company’s well-paid employees feel unwelcome all the while encouraging a head tax on big business.

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When the region’s leaders sent Amazon a letter in October, requesting a meeting in response to the company announcing a second headquarters outside Seattle, Sawant’s name was absent from the list of signatures.

Amazon agreed to hold the meeting.

That meeting is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 9. According to an agenda for the meeting obtained by GeekWire, Sawant and three other members of the city council will be absent. Those from the council scheduled to attend are Sally Bagshaw, Lorena González, Council President Bruce Harrell, Lisa Herbold, and Rob Johnson. Not on the list are Sawant, Debora Juarez, Mike O’Brien, and Teresa Mosqueda.

Three of the people not attending the meeting — according to the agenda from GeekWire — are the same that refused to sign the letter in October. Mosqueda was not on the council at the time; she took the oath of office in November. Kirsten Harris-Talley, who filled the Position 8 seat, did not sign the letter.

Along with Sawant, O’Brien and Herbold pushed for a head tax on the city’s largest and most profitable employers last year. The first version aimed to tax businesses $100 per employee if those businesses earned more than $5 million a year. A second proposal would have upped that to $125 per employee on companies earning $10 million or more a year. It was shot down in November.

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The council adopted a resolution to restart the process to determine “new progressive revenues” after the initial push for a head tax failed. That was sponsored by González and O’Brien.

Of the Amazon critics, Sawant has been the most vocal. She’s demanded that the company pay better attention to working conditions and has linked Amazon to the city’s ongoing homeless problem.

“Amazon has similarly been using its monopoly power to gobble up swathes of prime Seattle real estate, and extract plum deals from the city’s Democratic establishment,” she said. “This political establishment has, in the meanwhile, overseen an explosion in homelessness and an acute crisis in affordable housing.”

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