The next major free speech event at Cal Anderson Park? It will target Seattle’s largest publicly traded company and one of the largest employers of Capitol Hill residents in the city. UPDATE: A representative tells CHS the rally is now slated to take place at Seattle Central.
District 3 representative Kshama Sawant — go ahead and get your cut and paste CHS anti-Socialist Alternative comments ready, haters — and the Affordable Housing Alliance are organizing a Saturday, May 12th March on Amazon:
The march comes as a threat of an Amazon construction halt has thrown the proposed Seattle business tax for a loop.
“Amazon, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, threatened to halt construction of a skyscraper if our movement succeeds in forcing the Mayor and City Council to tax big business to build affordable housing,” organizers write. “This is extortion, and we must stand up to Bezos’ bullying. Having made a profit of $1.6B in the first 3 months of this year, the tax will be pocket change for Amazon.”
“We must stand up against Amazon’s bullying! We cannot allow them to continue putting corporate greed before the rights and well-being of their workers and the cities they reside in!”
Media: Is it appropriate to call @JeffBezos a bully?
Me: When the world's richest man holds thousands of construction jobs hostage coz he doesn't wanna pay pocket change tax for affordable housing? Yeah, that's a bully. We need social housing & union jobs https://t.co/zGZ4jf4fQJ
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) May 7, 2018
While others on the Seattle City Council have been relatively shy about the tax’s implications for specific companies, Sawant has referred to the effort as “Amazon tax” from the outset.
The proposed tax from the council’s Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold aims to raise at least $75 million annually to address the twin crises of affordable housing for the city’s most vulnerable people, and the increasing number of people living unsheltered. It comes in two parts: an ordinance that enacts the tax, and a resolution that lays out the spending plan. The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce will hold a business-focused roundtable on the tax proposal Friday.
Cal Anderson Capitol Hill, meanwhile, continues to be a stronghold of Seattle First Amendment activity as the starting point for yet another rally and march. Area merchants have weathered enough of the events that they met earlier this year with the chamber and city officials to discuss existing resources to help mitigate the impacts from the marches and rallies on small businesses. UPDATE: A Sawant spokesperson said it wasn’t necessarily pushback from area businesses that precipitated the move to Seattle Central, saying her office received “some positive feedback from folks in the movement” indicating “they like that location better.”
Amazon shares finished at $1,600.14 on the day, up 1.21%. Its market capitalization now stands at $772.07 billion.
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