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Taking on ‘Bezos’ bullying,’ Sawant’s March on Amazon will start on Capitol Hill — UPDATE

Sawant below the Amazon Spheres at a rally last week

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:

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!”

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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42 thoughts on “Taking on ‘Bezos’ bullying,’ Sawant’s March on Amazon will start on Capitol Hill — UPDATE” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. This is so gross.

    At least she admits this tax is for affordable housing and will do little to help homelessness.

    I thought that was what the housing levy was for, but you know, it gets confusing, I guess?

    • Ella,
      I just was at a meeting in Ballard and met several people that plan on attending the march to express our opposition of socialist policies and Sawant in general. You should join us!

  2. Sure, Kshama. Turn the lens on Amazon, and away from the city government’s utter failure to use the massive increase of funding we’ve had over the past few years to have any measureable impact.

    It’s always just “just one more levy! Just a few more million and we’ll solve it!”

    Just look at the rapidly retreating promises of the billion dollar Move Seattle levy. “Oh! We underestimated! Sorry! But hey, here’s another levy to bridge the gap! And we know this one will be the one to solve it all, for realsies!”

  3. “ is it appropriate to call Bezos a bully?“

    Gee, I dunno. Is it appropriate to call Savant a parasite?

  4. The city has invested $671M to pay for city retirement plans. These dollars are invested in Amazon.

  5. Better that than another increase in property tax…

    Also would be good to see Jeff step up and start doing some charitable work with his vast fortune.

  6. How bout NEITHER trying to soak businesses NOR a property tax? This is a bad idea for the same reason voting yes on every property tax levy is a bad idea. Look what’s happened there– One after another after another. They never end, as long as we keep passing them. RIght now they’re working on yet ANOTHER property tax levy while they scheme how to treat Amazon and other big businesses like ATMs. Bezos is doing exactly the right thing– cutting this off before it gets started. If they roll over for this, the Clowncil will be back with another soaking of businesses the same way they keep coming back again and again for property tax levies. This no way to run a city– or a State. We need an income tax.

  7. Great to hear all the indignation at charging Amz – but a short while back the city decided that everyone that scrapes by hosting people in airbnbs should pay $15 / night toward affordable housing. So that was ok, but not this ?

  8. Just because people think Sawant is a blowhard with her head up her ass does not make them “haters,” as this blog seems to suggest in it’s introductory comments. We have generally been way more restrained in our criticism than the council member and her supporters have been with theirs. This is a devisive politician who shares credit with no other elected officials, and habitually offers the wrong solutions to the problems she encounters. It will be a happy day when she departs the stage.

  9. How about we AUDIT the corrupt SHARE/WHEEL and LIHI for all of the money they have squandered in “helping” the homeless. It’s in their best interests to keep homelessness going to line their own coffers. We – the taxpayers – have HAD ENOUGH of the Sawant grandstanding and overall corruption at City Hall. Search for “Anatomy of a Swindle” for the full story on the corrupt homeless service providers

  10. I know – right?

    Recent contributions by Amazon to communities across the United States include:

    1 Green Planet, Electronics and computer recycling – Seattle, WA
    ACCEL Schools – Phoenix, AZ
    Alliance for Education – Seattle, WA
    Altru Cancer Center – Grand Forks, ND
    America SCORES – Seattle, WA
    American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, Overnight lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers – Lexington, KY
    American Legion Gerald C. Daniel Post 37 – Fernley, NV
    American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis – Indianapolis, IN
    American Red Cross of Cumberland Valley – Carlisle, PA
    American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula – Wilmington, DE
    American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley – Bethlehem, PA
    American Red Cross, Greater Chattanooga Area – Chattanooga, TN
    American Red Cross, Bluegrass Chapter – Lexington, KY
    American Red Cross, Mid-Dakota Chapter – Minot, ND
    American Red Cross, North Central Region – Fargo, ND
    American Red Cross, Northern Nevada Chapter – Reno, NV
    American Red Cross, Pioneer Chapter – Coffeyville, KS
    American Red Cross, Seattle/King County Chapter – Seattle, WA
    American Red Cross, Silicon Valley Chapter – San Jose, CA
    American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter – Phoenix, AZ
    American Red Cross, Virginia Capitol Region – Richmond, VA
    American Red Cross, West Virginia Region – Huntington, WV
    Arizona Centers for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills (ACCEL) Schools, Special education programs – Phoenix, AZ
    Art on the Fly Festival – Seattle, WA
    Art with Heart, Art therapy programs – Seattle, WA
    ArtsFund – Seattle, WA
    Bachman Academy for children with learning differences – McDonald, TN
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of America – Philadelphia, PA
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound – Seattle, WA
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass – Lexington, KY
    Bluegrass Community Foundation – Lexington, KY
    Bluegrass Community and Technical College – Lexington, KY
    Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program – Beverly Hills, CA
    Books from Birth Foundation, Early childhood education- Nashville, TN
    Boys and Girls Clubs of Coffeyville
    Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware
    Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis
    Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix
    Boys and Girls Clubs of San Bernardino, CA
    Boys and Girls Clubs of Truckee Meadow
    Camp Korey, Camp for children with serious and life-altering medical conditions -Carnation, WA
    The Caring Place Youth Development Center – Allentown, PA
    Capitol Hill Clean Sweep – Seattle, WA
    Cascade Drum Corps Northwest – Seattle, WA
    Center for Wooden Boats – Seattle, WA
    Centerstone – Seattle, WA
    Central Area Motivation Program – Seattle, WA
    Charity: Water – New York, NY
    Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society – Calhoun, TN
    Charlestown Indiana Little League – Jeffersonville, IN
    Chattanooga Area Food Bank – Tennessee
    Child’s Play Charity, Toys and games for children in hospitals – Seattle, WA
    Children of Bellevue Reach Out and Read – New York, NY
    Civitan Club of Cleveland, HandiPark for children with disabilities – Cleveland, TN
    Clarks Creek Elementary School – Plainfield, IN – Seattle, WA
    Community Violence Intervention Center – Grand Forks, ND
    Communities in Schools – Seattle, WA
    Concerned Parents of Hazleton, Programs for English as a Second Language (ESL) students – Hazleton, PA
    Delaware KIDS Fund – New Castle, DE
    Denise Louie Education Center – Seattle, WA
    Desert Mission Food Bank – Phoenix, AZ
    Dress for Success – New York, NY
    EdVenture Children’s Museum – Columbia, SC
    Ellen Hines Smith Girls’ Home – Spartanburg, SC
    Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County – Seattle, WA
    Equal Justice Works – Washington, DC
    Estrella Youth Sports – Phoenix, AZ
    Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance – Seattle, WA
    FamilyWorks Food Bank – Seattle, WA
    FareStart – Seattle, WA
    FC Lehigh Scholarship Programs – Allentown, PA
    FeedMore – Richmond, VA
    Fernley Little League – Fernley, NV
    Fiorenza’s Food For Friends, Meals program – Chester County, PA
    Fogelsville Elementary School Read-A-Thon – Fogelsville, PA
    Food Bank at St. Mary’s – Seattle, WA
    Food Bank of Delaware – Newark, DE
    Food Bank of Northern Nevada – Reno, NV
    Food Lifeline – Seattle, WA
    Friends of the Historic Truckee Canal – Fernley, NV
    Girls Inc. of Chattanooga – Chattanooga, TN
    Gleaners Food Bank – Indianapolis, IN
    Glen Forest School for children with learning differences – Columbia, SC
    Goodwill of the Upstate – Spartanburg, SC
    Grand Forks Parks and Recreation Foundation, Scholarships for Kids – Grand Forks, ND
    Habitat For Humanity – Huntington, WV
    Harvest Hope Food Bank – Columbia, SC
    Hamilton County STEM High School – Chattanooga, TN
    Helen’s Hope Chest – Mesa, AZ
    High Road School – Wilmington, DE
    Hire America’s Heroes – Redmond, WA
    Hiring Our Heroes – Columbia, SC
    Hoboken Charter School – New Jersey
    Honor Flight Network Veterans Program – Columbia, SC
    Hope Center, Emergency shelter, food and clothing for homeless people – Lexington, KY
    HopeLink, Social Services – Seattle, WA
    Huntington Area Food Bank – Huntington, WV
    Huntington Boys and Girls Club – Huntington, WV
    Huntington Habitat for Humanity – Huntington, WV
    Indiana National Guard Relief Fund – Huntington, IN
    JazzEd – Seattle, WA
    Jordan Thomas Foundation, Services for children with traumatic injuries – Chattanooga, TN
    Kentucky School for the Deaf – Danville, KY
    Kids Helping Kids Book Drive – Seattle, WA
    Kinds In Need of Defense (KIND) – Washington, DC
    Lake Union Park – Seattle, WA
    The Learning Center, Special education services – Lexington, KY
    Lebanon Little League – Lebanon, TN
    Lebanon Special School District, Special education services – Lebanon, TN
    Lex-Care, Inc., Diaper Donation Program – Lexington, KY
    Low Income Housing Institute – Seattle, WA
    Macungie Farmers Market – Macungie, PA
    Make-a-Wish Foundation of Alaska and Washington – Seattle, WA
    Market Foundation, Social services programs – Seattle, WA
    Manchester High School – Chesterfield County, VA
    Mary’s Place – Seattle, WA
    Mercy Corps – Seattle, WA
    Millennium High School Band Booster Club – Goodyear, AZ
    Morningside Academy, Programs for students with learning differences – Seattle, WA
    Museum of History and Industry – Seattle, WA
    National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) – Washington, DC
    Neighborhood House, Social services programs – Seattle, WA
    Northwest Center Foundation, Services for children and adults with disabilities – Seattle, WA
    Northwest Harvest – Cherry Street Food Bank – Seattle, WA
    Northwest Immigrant Rights Project – Seattle, WA
    Northwest Literacy Foundation – Seattle, WA
    NPower Northwest, Technology services for nonprofits – Seattle, WA
    Officer David S. Moore Scholarship Fund, Purdue Foundation – Indianapolis, IN
    Operation Homefront of Arizona – Phoenix, AZ
    Operation Homefront, Tennessee/Kentucky Chapter – Fort Campbell, KY
    Operation Homefront of Washington State – Seattle, WA
    Orange Grove Center, Services for adults and children with developmental disabilities – Chattanooga, TN
    Pacific Science Center – Seattle, WA
    Page Ahead – Seattle, WA
    PATH, Global health programs – Seattle, WA
    Pawmetto Lifeline, Pet rescue and adoptions – Columbia, SC
    Parkland High School Baseball Booster Club – Allentown, PA
    Plymouth Housing Group – Seattle, WA
    Powerful Schools, Literacy programs – Seattle, WA
    Rainier Scholars – Seattle, WA
    Rainier Valley Food Bank – Seattle, WA
    Read to Succeed – Murfreesboro, Tenn
    Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington and Alaska – Seattle, WA
    Rutherford County Food Bank – Murfreesboro, Tenn
    Rutherford County School District – Murfreesboro, Tenn
    San Bernardino Library Foundation – California
    San Bernardino Operation Phoenix – San Bernardino, CA
    The Salvation Army, Western Territory – Hazleton, PA
    Seattle Aquarium – Seattle, WA
    Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation – Seattle, WA
    Seattle Children’s Museum – Seattle, WA
    Seattle Children’s Theatre – Seattle, WA
    Seattle Humane Society – Seattle, WA
    Seattle Music Partners – Seattle, WA
    Seattle Parks Foundation – Seattle, WA
    Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee – Nashville, TN
    Shunpike – Seattle, WA
    Social Venture Partners, Mentoring program for innovative non-profits – Seattle, WA
    Soldier’s Best Friend -“ Phoenix, AZ
    South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind – Spartanburg, SC
    South Carolina State Museum Foundation – Columbia, SC
    South Mountain Little League – Phoenix, AZ
    Special Olympics Arizona – Phoenix, AZ
    St. Joseph’s Children’s Home – Louisville, KY
    St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital – Memphis, TN
    StandUp For Kids, Homeless youth programs – Seattle, WA
    StolenYouth – Seattle, WA
    Sumner Food Bank – Sumner, WA
    Sumner’s Toy Box, Sumner Police Department – Sumner, WA
    Taylor County Schools, Special education services – Campbellsville, KY
    Taylor County Middle School Backpack Program – Campbellsville, KY
    Technology Access Foundation, After-school programs for computer literacy – Seattle, WA
    Technology Alliance, Technology education and research – Seattle, WA
    The First Tee of Chattanooga – Chattanooga, TN
    The Learning Center – Lexington, KY
    The Luzerne Project – Hazelton, PA
    Toys for Kids – Campbellsville, KY
    Toys for Tots – Tennessee
    Treehouse, Programs for foster children – Seattle, WA
    United Way of King County – Seattle, WA
    University District Food Bank – Seattle, WA
    Upper Macungie Township Run/Walk for Parks – Breinigsville, PA
    USO of South Carolina
    Virginia Federation of Food Banks – Richmond, VA
    WATCH D.O.G.S. Seattle Chapter, Anti-bullying – Seattle, WA
    Walker Valley High School – Cleveland, TN
    Washington Global Health Alliance – Seattle, WA
    Washington State Parks Foundation – Seattle, WA
    Washington Talking Book and Braille Library – Seattle, WA
    West Valley Arts Council – Phoenix, AZ
    Whitestown Fire Department – Whitestown, IN
    Whitestown Lions Park – Whitestown, IN
    Wilson Central High School Band Boosters – Lebanon, TN
    Woodford County High School Project Graduation Fund – Versailles, KY
    Women’s and Children’s Alliance, Domestic abuse services – Boise, ID
    YMCA of Central Kentucky – Lexington, KY
    Young Urban Authors Program – Seattle, WA
    Youth in Focus – Seattle, WA
    YouthCare – Seattle, WA
    Zionsville Lions Park – Zionsville, IN
    Zionsville Little League – Zionsville, IN
    A full list of where Amazonians volunteer would include just about every community in every country where we have employees—here are just a few organizations our team has helped out recently:

    HandsOn Bay Area
    Martin de Porres House of Hospitality
    Lytton Gardens Senior Center
    Peninsula Humane Society / SPCA
    Toys for Tots
    Food Bank of Northern Nevada
    Habitat for Humanity
    STAR Academy
    St. Mary’s Food Bank
    Pat Tillman foundation
    Girls Who Code
    World Association of Children and Parents
    Ethiopia Reads
    Relay for life
    Habitat for Humanity
    Roots Young Adult Shelter
    Leukemia Lymphoma Society
    Salvation Army
    CISC (Chinese Information Service Center)
    Citizens Crime Watch
    Red Cross
    Bethany Community Church Shelter
    Girls on the Run of Puget Sound Club Northwest
    Seattle Works
    Seattle CoderDojo
    Mountain to Sound Greenway
    Northwest Harvest
    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    Mary’s Place Seattle
    Tri-City Union Gospel Mission
    Pasco Animal Shelter
    Trios Hospital
    Northern Nevada Food Bank
    Salaam Cultural Museum
    Arab Center of Washington
    Millionair Club Charity
    United Way
    Big Brothers Big Sisters
    Washington JJRA
    Friends of the Phoenix Public Library
    Food Lifeline
    Smile Power
    Echo Glen Children’s Center
    Civil Air Patrol
    Air Force National Guard
    Einstein Elementary
    Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington
    Turkish American Trade Association-NW
    Northshore Community Church
    Jubilee Reach
    City of Bothell Civil Service Commission
    Seattle International Film Festival
    Schools for Salone
    Fisher House
    FIRST Robotics Team #3588 (Lindbergh High School)
    Junior League of Seattle
    Rebuilding Together
    Literacy Source

    • Thanks Amazon PR team, but this doesn’t really make up for the way Amazon has upended the lives of Seattle residents. Bezos has said many times that he doesn’t believe in philanthropy and if you add up these donations, it’s a paltry sum considering the billions in Amazon profit which are made possible by the resources and infrastructure which Amazon continues to exploit at our expense. Take some responsibility, pay your taxes and stop enabling Bezos’ unquenchable greed.

  11. Well to do Microsoft wife living in Leschi becomes firebrand socialist – it’s an odd thing really.

  12. Sawant is more interested in making news than serving constituents. I emailed her 3 time about an issue I had with the city and never ack I even existed.

  13. Please vote her out. Why would a council member attack and drive away a business who brought employment to the area? She needs to see what Socilaism did to the country of Venezuela. It debistated it.

  14. Most companies Amazon’s size have similarly long lists. Seeing the amounts given would give your big pile of spam more meaning in this debate.

  15. I’d expect it.

    If you haven’t noticed, the percentage of Capitol Hill voters who work for Amazon is on track to increase a wee bit since the last election.

  16. I was initially a supporter of Sawant, but now very much regret my vote.

    She is a blowhard who, to echo another commenter, perpetually grandstands and gives the wrong answer to literally every problem she encounters.

    It’s time to recall Sawant asap.

  17. To be honest, I’m not exactly super thrilled any of the behavior here, but I’m not surprised. And on this issue, I think Sawant has been acting like a bully too – does anyone else agree? For example, I know she led a “Tax Amazon” rally; but did she lead an “End Homelessness” rally too? Personally, I’m frustrated because it seems like this has become less about addressing homelessness and working on solutions, and more about Marxism and attacking capitalism. If the council passes this ordinance, I hope Mayor Durkin vetoes it. Maybe that would get us to a more comprehensive solution around affordable housing and homelessness.

  18. I guess I’ll ask the bigger question here… Where is the accountability for all these half assed decisions made by our council members? Where is all this money going and how much is ACTUALLY making it down to the homeless that it was intended for in the first place? Let’s convene another blue-ribbon panel or do another UW study to find out…. hundreds of thousands pissed away to someone’s buddies or cronies. Years wasted “studying the issue”, How many more 6 figure jobs can this predicament create before the public realizes that HOMELESSNESS IS BIG BUSINESS! (We don’t really want to solve it and lose all this money)
    Would love to see how the 200 million was spent in King County last year making the problem worse.
    When Amazon pulls up stakes and moves out because our city is so hostile to them and takes the THOUSANDS of (much better than living wage) jobs with them, (not fulfillment center but office and tech jobs) does Sawant lose anything? Amazon may not pay a huge amount of tax revenue directly, but they drive BILLIONS into our economy every year. (Housing, Construction, Service Industry, durable goods, Automotive, Retail and yes even BIKES!)

  19. I believe voting for this Head Tax will be as being a mistake for the City of Seattle as not voting for Forward Thrust 40 years ago.

  20. Sorry, to correct myself, Forward Thrust was 50 years ago. With regard to this blog, where exactly are those “cut and paste” comments? It would certainly make it easier to post. Or were you perhaps remarking on the river of boring political cliches that pour forth from Ms. Sawant whenever she gets her hands on a loudspeaker?

  21. Yes, we hate Kshama Sawant. What citizen could be a fan of her divisive race-baiting politics. Join the facebook page “Recall Kshama Sawant” and let’s get her out of office soon!

    • Read the article above (from King5) about last year’s recall effort, and you’ll see they specifically mention that all the Facebook pages and online petitions won’t do s**t to getting her recalled. It will be an almost year-long lawsuit which will then (if we’re lucky) end in being *allowed* to collect enough signatures to force a special election. The # of signatures needs to = 25% of ALL voters who voted for candidates citywide. Then a special election is held just for district 3. That’s hard enough.

      The “Sufficiency Hearing” has to prove her activities have been negligent and not in keeping with her office. She gets to defend herself in court against that charge (let’s pause here to reflect on how nauseating it would be, to have to listen to THAT grandstanding). Anyway, it’s a tough bar to prove her activities weren’t just not to the liking of lots of constituents in her district, but that they’re not consistent with the responsibilities of her elected office. It’s an extremely high bar to prove, and it will take a long and expensive effort. It might shave one year off her office. If it wins.

      • Isnt she and all the other Council members up for re-election in 2019? That would be the quickest way to remove her from office.

  22. The head tax would cost Amazon a measly 1 hour of revenue. Companies should pay for the harm they cause. Bezos should man up. I’ll be at the march.

  23. I’m so tired of Sawant. She claims she wants more housing but is protecting her Central District single family home from being upzoned.

    She is the ultimate NIMBY hypocrite. Everyone else should change but her. What a joke.