Looks like Seattle's elected leaders are not taking The Stranger's advice.
Five members of the Seattle City Council have signed on to a letter saying they want to "hit the refresh button" with Amazon. First reported by the Seattle Times, the letter begging Amazon to stay and grow here in Seattle is also signed by county council members, state lawmakers, and port commissioners.
"You have heard mixed messages from our community, whether it stems from comments in our local newspapers or comments from elected officials who have differing views and positions that are less than collaborative," the letter reads. "This does not leave a good taste in anyone’s mouth. Those of us who are signing onto this letter want you to know we have heard you. We also want you to stay with us and grow with us, both in Seattle and with our sister cities across the state."
Seattle does not plan to submit its own bid for Amazon's second headquarters, but is supporting a regional proposal. In their letter, local leaders list all the ways they hope to woo the massive corporation with a well-documented anti-tax agenda and an admitted lack of interest in expanding in the Pacific Northwest to please, please not forget about us. The proposals in the letter are mostly unreadable, buzzword-filled mush but some of them hint at a willingness to use public resources to help the company.
The group proposes a "joint task force that will use data to drive results on topics such as transportation, freight mobility, safety, public health investments, educational opportunities and more." They invite Amazon to be part of that task force and promise to include other businesses and representatives from education, labor, and government.
Through that group, they want to:
• Talk some more about traffic: The letter proposes convening "IT innovators" and representatives from local transportation agencies to address congestion. "The city can also dedicate planners to work on the project," the letter reads. "Let’s work together to map out the current commute patterns of your employees and identify potential infrastructure and transit solutions."
• Deliver shit to people's doors faster because apps: The letter writers promise to include Amazon, UPS, and Fed Ex in an effort to "creatively solve" problems for delivery trucks. "We can look to our IT innovators to help with apps to schedule delivery times and reserve spaces on our streets," the letter reads.
• Make South Lake Union less welcoming for homeless people: OK, to be fair, what they actually say is: "Let’s develop a plan that increases security through CPTED principles (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design), and increases positive activation on the sidewalks and streets." But what we know is this: Environmental design intended to prevent crime often translates to design intended to prevent loitering which often translates to design intended to make sure those of us with houses don't have to see the thousands of people living on the street.
• Figure out the gig economy: According to the letter, 33 percent of workers are now in "non-standard employment," including working as independent contractors. That means they don't have the same labor rights as full-time employees. The letter writers say they "would like to work with you, other employers, employees and contract workers to establish new policies around fair work, schedules, and livable wages." Sounds great! Even better? Amazon doesn't need to wait for the city to "work with" the company to do this. The company could start by using its position to improve the lives of the contract workers who protect its Seattle campus right now.
• More STEM education: The elected officials say they want to expand students' access to internships and curricula for science, technology, and engineering as well as the arts.
"These ideas are just the beginning," the letter concludes. "We want to be your partners and reset the creative and economic environment in South Lake Union as well as for neighborhoods across our city and region. Our ears are wide open and we look forward to hearing from you."
Notably absent from the love letter's signature line: Seattle City Council members Kshama Sawant, Mike O'Brien, Kirsten Harris-Talley, and Debora Juarez.