The Greek American elected official explains the reason Amazon H2Q Deal failed, blaming the corporate giant and the secrecy process
New York.- By Catherine Tsounis
“Senator Michael Gianaris is the first local politician to speak,” said Dimitri Filippidis on his Tuesday morning radio program on HellasFM, February 19th. “We presented both sides of the story on the Amazon pullout from New York City. A journalist must present the truth. Senator Gianaris listened to questions and gave answers. The major point is that Amazon never sat down at the same table with the elected representatives of the Long Island City, Queens District, believes the Senator. When he asked Amazon the question ‘Would it benefit the community,’ Amazon got up and left. Senator Gianaris believes economic growth is important. Technology companies must be asked questions, not just get up and leave. Mayor Bill de Blasio has changed his viewpoint and now agrees with Senator Gianaris.” This is Senator Michael Gianaris viewpoint expressed in fluent Greek. The radio program was broadcasted to an international audience.
“My name came forth with the Amazon deal at the end,” said Senator. Gianaris “I have problems with New York giving 3 billion incentives to Amazon. Part of this amount would be writing a check direct to Amazon, not just incentives. Lies are being circulated. Google brought 20,000 jobs to New York without incentives. Why does Amazon need incentives with 25,000 jobs? From the beginning no one asked how it would affect neighborhood. Everything was secretive. No one knew for one year. Five times I asked the city what was happening. No answer. At the end they told me this was the deal. The effect on many in the community was not considered. Amazon would not talk to us in the neighborhood. They said the deal was between the Mayor and Governor.”
Senator Gianaris continued “Look what happened to Seattle. I went to this city. People said Amazon destroyed their city, with homeless people increasing. Tenants were destroyed by Amazon rising rents. Why was I blamed? For political reasons by opponents. Former Mayor Bloomberg said it was the wrong deal. Bill Gates of Microsoft said it was a mistake. I was not affected by politicians moving towards socialism (Alexandra Ocasio Cortez). I believe in our neighborhood not politics. Whoever wants to can attack me, people know I look out for the average person…I did not stop Amazon. I wanted questions and not hurt people. They left suddenly. Only 30% of the 25,000 jobs would employ local residents. This is not good.”
He said “I have no self interest in the Amazon deal; one year secret negotiations without me. I asked questions. They left. I have residents crying and saying thank you. I do not care about the Mayor or Governor’s opinion. I do my job, representing families, not allowing damage to my constituents. I want transparency, questions with no self-interest. Incentives are good for business. Never in the history of New York City were incentives given to a company that doesn’t need it. Amazon played a game with the country. Shame on Amazon! Power is now with large corporations. It is dangerous to small businesses.”
Senator Gianaris believes “New York City is doing great without the incentives to attract Amazon. The trains and school are not doing well, because of the political priorities of those in charge. We have a Democratic majority that will make motions to protect tenants and not let NYC become as bad as Seattle.” Journalist Walter Cronkite said “In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.”