Jan. 15, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
Amazon is raising the stakes in its campaign to get the public behind its Long Island City campus, with the company preparing to send out yet another mailer that puts the heat, this time, on State Sen. Mike Gianaris, an outspoken critic of the tech-giant’s plans.
The mailer, to be sent out in a few days time and focusing on the thousands of jobs at the company’s planned site, directs locals at the sign off to call Gianaris at his Astoria district office and “tell him to support to project.”
The mailer is the second Amazon will be sending out, and features an image of the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, with the company’s orange smile/arrow design wrapping over it. Adjoining text points to the 25,000 jobs Amazon will be “delivering” for Queens.
The other side of the mailer includes four columns that expand on the new jobs and how the company’s presence will boost Queens’ economy.
“We want to make sure New Yorkers know the details of our investment and how it benefits them,” an Amazon spokesperson said of the new mailer. “Our new headquarters will directly create 25,000 new jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs in construction, food service, human resources and retail.”
The company also said that its campus will generate more than $27 billion in new tax revenue for the state “that otherwise wouldn’t exist,” which can be used to improve transportation and schools, build affordable housing, and more.
It is unclear how many mailers will be sent out and to what areas, although the first mailer, released earlier this month and also appearing an as open letter online, was received by residents in Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnyside.
While the new mailer includes much of the same information from the prior, it is the first to directly name an elected official for residents to lobby. The first mailer called on locals to give their thoughts on the project to the City Council.
But Gianaris, who represents the neighborhood where Amazon’s is planning on building its 4 million square foot campus, brushed the upcoming mailer off and vowed to continue his fight against the Amazon deal.
“It’s ironic that Amazon wants billions of our taxpayer dollars and is spending so much to convince the people of western Queens that it is entitled to those dollars,” he said in a statement. “People will not be fooled by slick advertising.”
The state senator, who serves as deputy majority leader, has spoken out against Amazon’s plans since reports began trickling in in the days leading up to the company’s official November announcement. He was, however, among several elected officials to sign a letter of support for Amazon in the city’s bid to the company during the HQ2 search.
Gianaris has repeatedly bashed the billions in subsidies the e-commerce giant is set to receive as part of its deal with the state and the city, and denounced the negotiations process that excluded him and other elected officials.
He has also introduced legislation to ban non-disclosure agreements in economic development negotiations, like the type that made the Amazon deal possible, and another to ban insider real estate trading after reports emerged of Amazon employees buying properties in Long Island City before the official HQ2 announcement was made.
On social media, the state senator often retweets or posts anti-Amazon messages. After a Jan. 7 briefing held by the Retail, Wholesale, and Distribution Workers Union, where Gianaris and other officials were joined by Seattle council members who warned of Amazon, he tweeted that the “#scamazon deal is not a fait accompli.”
But Gianaris has been careful to voice his support for jobs and employment in the community, and does not necessarily appear to reject Amazon’s presence in Long Island City.
“If Amazon wants to come here, they should be talking about subsidizing Long Island City, not squeezing subsidies out of New York State and New York City,” he said during a rally after the November announcement.
At the same event, he later told the LIC Post: “If they want to come here, get rid of public subsidy, and then start a conversation about what they’re going to do to help the neighborhood handle the influx of people. That’s the starting point.”
The upcoming mailer nevertheless points to Gianaris’ role in shaping discourse over HQ2, which is moving through a state-run rezoning and will result in a General Project Plan for the site.
The plan, to come after a 14-month environmental and planning process, will require review in part by the State Public Authorities Control Board, which is made up of representatives including the legislative majorities in both the Senate and Assembly.
The PACB has been described as a possible avenue for detractors of the plan to gain leverage, with recent Democratic control over New York State government, and Gianaris’ role as deputy majority leader, guaranteeing that all eyes will be on the board once the plan reaches it.
Our socialist politicians including Ginaris takes his advice from the store front ministers and local PASOK supporters if it doesn’t benefit them no deal
We are hearing 25,000 jobs are coming. Can anyone be sure of that? Any economic turndown may lead to a quietly , drastically revised number. There may not be pennies from heaven anytime soon, unless you have a food truck by the entrance door.
The tax incentives that Amazon will get are “Perfomance-Based”, meaning that Amazon has to build, occupy space and hire workers in order to get the tax breaks. If Amazon hires less workers then they will get less tax breaks.
Cuomo’s already yearning bent over with his knees touching his elbows for Amazon.
The vast majority of people complaining about Amazon are about to cash in and become rich – needs to be ignored. LIC 20 years ago was nothing anyone would want to spend even 5 minutes in.
Up until 20 years ago, LIC neighborhood was the armpit of north-west Queens. Astoria, Sunnyside & East Elmhurst were always considered safe middle class neighborhoods even during the grimy era of 70’s, 80’s & early 90’s. However, LIC was a high crime neighborhood that no one went to at night unless they were looking for prostitutes or drugs.
Almost seems like a reversal…Astoria, Sunnyside, and East Elmhurst are becoming lower class neighborhoods with an increasing illegal population.
Abundance of sarcasm, in many remarks about Amazon, yet, no standing together to redirect their offices, create or strengthen laws against predatory landlords, offer training in newer tech fields to the two high schools in walking distance of the land grabbing billionaire.
What are we getting, if we don’t seek for that which we deserve? Bravo to Gianaris for X-ray vision, seeing through the screen of “jobs” to ask for more, and more reality, please.
Haters hate. Seekers receive. I will back our reps 100%.
Backstabbing, two faced Gianaris is the reason why Amazon is here.
“Bravo to Gianaris for X-ray vision, seeing through the screen of jobs”???
What kind of BS justification is that for his flip-flopping? You’ve been deceived and/or are a Gianaris cheerleader. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!
“Bravo to Gianaris for X-ray vision, seeing through the screen of “jobs” to ask for more, and more reality, please. Haters hate. Seekers receive. I will back our reps 100%.”
Sounds like Gianaris is using a fake account to support himself. Lol
Ohhh, my. The maturity of pro-Amazonians. As a 222 year veteran of LIC, one abiding caveat for tries for sanity: There is a Department of Education building that will be seized and given away to a private entity. It supplies the entire DOE–students, cafeteria supplies, the infrastructure, including bussing contracts and training for personnel. There is parking for trucks, cars–a huge property you citizens of New York are donating to job destroying entities–that dislike civil service jobs, and that use UPS to deliver–oh, and it’s an order aand delivery service. AMAZON with take those jobs, devalue the salaries, give no pension, along with the building. As a union person, I’m outraged. As a tax-paying New Yorker, I smell rats. Betraying the public trust smells. Bad.
Our Mayor and governor airily denote a building half-way into Queens in the Memorandum of Understanding–the skeleton agreement–for DOE facilities..
Yeah, sure. We’re being played and a few honest people get it.
Perhaps Seattle could offer some lessons….
Seattle is a very silly comparison.
In 1994 Seattle had a population of 550,000 when Amazon came and hired 40,000.
NYC has a population of 8.5 million and Amazon plans to hire 25,000 over 10 years.
I am pro union and very happy to hear the Amazon campus will hire 3,000 32BJ Union brothers/sisters for security/maintenance plus another 1,500 to 2,000 union construction workers for development.
As a 35 year old union worker born and raised in LIC, I am CAUTIOUSLY optimistic for Amazon. However, I am 100% against the flip-flopping politicians like Gianaris and Bramer.
We welcome Amazon and they are coming not matter what JVB and Ginnaris say. It’s a done deal. Next will be the Sunnyside Yards. Already huge drainage project almost completed and a new LIRR station being constructed with a bridge leading to Skillman Ave on 34th Street for all to see. Now JVB and Ginnaris not only have they taken tons of money from the RE interests, but more importantly from the Homeless Not-for-profit syndicate who provide the services for the homeless shelters and billing the city to the tune over $1.2 billion in 2018 to house roughly 60,000 homeless families and individuals. They own the hotels which have been converted to shelters and on top of that provide the related services, mental health, feeding, transportation, drug counseling and yoga instructors averaging between $2,200 per month up to $7,500 per month for a crappy room or efficiency apartments in roach infested buildings not fit for families and children. I don’t see Ginnaris, the Mayor, Jimmy Van Bramer crying foul about this giveaway. Why can’t they build housing with that $1.2 billion on city vacant lots and hire the homeless who can provide sweat equity during the construction in exchange for housing so they can take pride in their new homes which they help build? Jimmy Van Bramer, Diblasio and Ginnaris are corrupt to the core. They are making their friends rich on the backs of NY tax payers.
25k jobs not for the people of Queens? Qualification for the job is about skill not proximity of your residence. Stop asking for handouts because you live near an office building. Sorry, not how things work.
I can’t believe that these flip flopping politicians are against this now. Hopefully the folks who want to welcome Amazon to the community remember Jimmy VB and Mike G when election time comes around.
Even though LIC and Astoria are already on a roll, this will solidify the fact that this is one of the best places to live in NYC.
Gianaris is another useless politician lying through his teeth! First he was all for it and now he’s against Amazon bescause he didn’t get his kickback. Political theater at its best!
Amazon should show that they want to be good neighbors and invest in the neighborhood’s transit infrastructure. In its announcement, Amazon touted Long Island City’s eight subway lines, 13 bus lines, commuter rail and other robust transportation options. The current MTA Capital Program does not include any station improvements in the area, save transfer improvements at Court Square related to the (maybe?) L-train shutdown, and many of the nearby stations – particularly on the 7 line – could surely use help. In other words: what’s good for Amazon should be good for transit in Long Island City and New York.
I’ve recieved both mailers and I’m in Jackson Heights
I live in LIC. Will my rent be doubling forcing me to move? I already pay a small fortune for a studio.
Let me understand. After the financial crisis everyone was hating on the securities industry and said NYC needed to diversify away from finance. Now that we are landing one of the most powerful and innovative large tech companies, those same people are complaining? Would we rather lure Sears or Toys Were Us here with no tax credits? Why, because that Plaxall land was going to turn into giant fixed price, affordable housing towers? SMH
Common sense is not that common anymore.
Pre 2000 LIC was full of empty warehouses, shady strip joints, topless hookers and junkies. Today LIC is attracting top notch companies/jobs and now it’s a problem. HA!
i love this post, SMH my sentiments, closely resemble yours. As an artist, I care about Plaxall Gallery, and the Environmental Impact of Ama Zone, Newtown Creek toxicity, human impact. MTG
This deal will put LIC on the map! I support it. Gianaris & Van Bramer will never again get my vote!
Gianaris and Van Bramer need to keep the voters dependent on them. Progress will leave them unemployed.
Gianaris and Van Bramer are flip-flopping frauds! The fact that they NOW decided to flip against the Amazon deal makes me like this deal even more.
27 billion in tax revenue over how many years? How long will it take to get those benefits, considering they’re starting at a deficit? Putting that number out there to garner support is putting a false sense of positivity over the whole situation when it will take decades to receive that tax money – it benefits no one in the here and now. 25,000 jobs, not for the people of queens, but for transplants and gentrifiers.
Oh so “transplants and gentrifyers” are not people deserving to move to LIC Queens now? By what criteria you think we should judge who is worthy and who is not to move into LIC Queens or any other area of the country for that matter?
You are correct to proceed cautiously and look at this “gift horse.” Private privilege by the billionaire class, for the wealthy, to increase Bezos’ billions–a terrific snow job being put out there with these posts by real estate buzzards. Meanwhile Gianaris and Van Bramer get it–vulture capitalism is still anti civil society. Homelessness and working for peanuts–that’s the Bezos way.
“Dilly” aka Gianaris please stop using fake accounts to support yourself!
“Meanwhile Gianaris and Van Bramer get it-vulture capitalism is still anti civil society.”
Gianaris and Van Bramer are the reason Amazon is here. They wrote multiple letters to Deblasio strongly supporting Amazon in LIC and they were aware of the tax breaks that existed way before Amazon. Don’t believe these lying ? politicians!
Unfortunately very true
Great news, I love greedy developers like Trump. Make MAGA again!
Politicians BEHIND the times, yet again. Amazon HQ2 is coming to LIC, so are elections.
Let us not forget that it was Jimmy Van Bramer and Michael Gianaris who rolled out the welcome carpet to Amazon in 2017. It’s nice that they’re on our side now, and we can appreciate it. But they were instrumental in Amazon’s decision to move here as it appeared local representatives were in favor. It’s astonishing that the media clips are framing Jimmy and Gianaris as stalwarts against this type of deal. They both have taken a TON of money from big real estate and corporations.