When the City Council announced Monday that they will vote to repeal the as-yet-unimplemented head tax to address the homelessness crisis, it became increasingly clear who owns this city, and—spoiler alert—it ain't The People. It's Jeff Bezos, who didn't just grab Seattle by the balls, he removed the city's balls and built his own.
While I personally would rather live in a city where our leaders value humanity over business, unless some Macedonian teen hackers manage to take down Amazon (and here's hoping), it's time we resign ourselves to the simple fact that Seattle is Amazon's city and we're just here living in it. As Steven and Heidi wrote yesterday, "When Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the head tax on May 16, opponents of the ordinance had already begun mobilizing to repeal it. Within a matter of days, businesses raised more than $350,000 to support a referendum campaign called No Tax on Jobs." That $350,000 (which could have been used to, say, house some homeless people) was money well spent: Amazon, Starbucks, Vulcan, and the other businesses who contributed get to watch the City Council repeal the head tax without even putting it before voters. And that, folks, is how democracy works.
All this may be depressing to those residents who like to pretend that having one socialist city council member makes Seattle some kind of Scandavian utopia, but it's time to get real: Amazon owns this city and there's nothing any of us can do about it. It's done. Seattle is dead and Amazonia has risen in its place. In light of this, I propose we start addressing our problems to Amazon directly. So, instead of calling up the mayor or your city council representative when there's a water main leak or a dangerous four-way intersection with no stop signs or a tent city that you think needs handling, email Jeff@Amazon.com. Just think of him as your landlord, because he is. Here's an email I sent today:
As a boss, you probably understand the importance of a serene work environment. I'm not saying we all need Herman Miller Aeron chairs (available from Amazon for $579) to get our work done, but it is incredibly difficult to be productive when your building is, quite literally, shaking. And that, Jeff, is exactly what is happening right now at my office thanks to workers from the city, who have been drilling outside The Stranger's world headquarters for the past week (see attached image). I can't get anything done, Jeff. It's so loud I can barely hear my Dreamegg Sound Machine (available on Amazon for $39.99) and it's giving me a migraine. What's more, there is construction on the other side of the building as well, where they tore down the old Value Village to make condos for your summer interns. I know you are busy, but as landlord of this city, it's time you start taking your renters seriously. I have Prime, Jeff!!! Or at least, I have my dad's password, which I used just this morning to buy him a case of toilet paper ($28.49) for Father's Day. Now, I know the city is probably doing something important out there with their drills and their heavy machinery, but since you own this city, a simple request: Send 50 pairs of Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones ($349 each) to The Stranger HQ. They're little pricey but I'm pretty sure you can afford it. If you use Prime, the shipping is free! After that, I'd like you to do something about all the rats.
Thanks Jeff! And remember, owning a city might not always be fun, but you've made your bed. Now lie in it.