Winning hearts and minds
NYC loves Amazon
Despite the loud opposition coming from local elected officials, it seems area residents are ready to roll out a welcome mat for Amazon, according to a new poll obtained by The Point Tuesday.
A staggering 80 percent of Queens registered voters, and 77 percent of those who live in the 12th State Senate District -- which includes Long Island City and Astoria -- approve of Amazon’s plans to establish its second headquarters in Long Island City, according to the HarrisX poll commissioned by Amazon. Nearly 7 in 10 registered voters across NYC support the deal.
Nearly 80 percent of surveyed city residents think it’s very likely or somewhat likely that Amazon’s HQ2 will raise the city’s property values and boost the city’s economy, although a majority of them also think the cost of housing might increase, and worry about the strains on public transportation. Across the board, a majority of every age group, every ethnicity, every political leaning, and all educational backgrounds, approves of Amazon’s plan.
Here are some other specific findings:
-- 68 percent of New York City registered voters believe that it’s very or somewhat likely that Amazon’s HQ2 will help make New York City an East Coast tech hub
-- 58 percent of New York City registered voters believe that it’s very or somewhat likely that Amazon’s HQ2 will raise the tax revenues New York needs for education, transportation, and other vital services
-- 56 percent of New York City registered voters believe that it’s very or somewhat likely that Amazon’s HQ2 will create new opportunities for local and small businesses
Interestingly, the poll oversampled the 12th State Senate District, which is represented by State Sen. Michael Gianaris, a vocal opponent of the Amazon deal. Of the 901 survey participants, 170 were registered voters from Gianaris’ district.
The results are, of course, good news for Amazon. But whether they give Gianaris -- and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer -- any pause in the anti-Amazon drumbeat remains to be seen.
Randi F. Marshall
Trouble shipping this Amazon order
Talk about a tale of 2 cities.
Last week, the Virginia House spent nine minutes discussing Amazon before voting to give the company a package of subsidies for a new headquarters the company plans to build in Arlington. The State Senate already had approved the deal.
But in New York, every step of Amazon’s effort to bring 25,000 jobs to Long Island City seems to be a battle, one that’s getting uglier by the day. The latest salvo came Monday, when State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins appointed State Sen. Michael Gianaris as her representative on the Public Authorities Control Board, which could have the power to approve - or veto - parts of the Amazon agreement.
The board is supposed to look at such deals from the standpoint of whether there’s adequate funding to build the project. It includes five members: a representative of the governor, and representatives from the majority and minority of both the State Senate and the State Assembly. But the Senate and Assembly majority seats on the board each have veto power, so politics sometimes seeps in. The last public example: the West Side stadium. Then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver placed himself on the PACB board and killed it.
Interestingly, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized the board’s move at the time, saying it would stop the economic growth of a neighborhood. But Tuesday, Bloomberg had a different tone about the Amazon deal, criticizing the tax-incentive package the company is being offered.
Gianaris, meanwhile, has been a vocal critic of the Amazon deal, and recently refused to even sit on the Community Advisory Committee that’s been formed to work on the plans.
But he didn’t hesitate to embrace his nomination to the Public Authorities Control Board - although Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo still has to approve the choice. And on Monday, Gianaris didn’t mince words when he told The Point how he’d approach the deal from a seat on the PACB. Spoiler: He’s not neutral.
“The deal that was reached was a bad deal with a lot of gaping holes in it,” Gianaris told The Point. “What’s before me right now is horrible.”
Gianaris said he didn’t see a way to change the deal or renegotiate it to make it better, either.
“The deal needs to be reset back to zero,” Gianaris said.
Doesn’t quite sound like the red carpet rollout Virginia is offering.
Randi F. Marshall
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Patton moves into the Patterson
Follow this Mad Libs entry: in a Twitter argument involving New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman, Trump housing official Lynne Patton, and an account named Truth that is followed by Anthony Scaramucci, some news appeared. Patton said she’d be moving into public housing on Feb. 11 “for an entire month” (she also asked Haberman, a New Yorker, to join her).
Patton, a former aide to the Trump family who is now a regional administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, promised last year to move into New York City Housing Authority property, apparently to highlight truly deplorable conditions there.
That plan was delayed due to the government shutdown, but it now seems to be back on. HUD spokeswoman Olga Alvarez told The Point that Patton would be moving into the Patterson Houses in the Bronx and staying with a family there.
The plan is to stay with one family a week, perhaps in other locations as well.
“She’s a guest, sleeping on an inflatable mattress in the living room,” Alvarez wrote in an email.
It’s the latest stunt by Patton, who has also maintained a vocal and sometimes informal Twitter account through which she criticizes NYCHA and defends her boss.
No word on whether her prospective hosts might get a break on rent.