The news surrounding Amazon’s second headquarters was just breaking yesterday afternoon as Mayor Jenny Durkan wrapped up a press conference following a less-than-ideal federal police reform hearing. First, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon would not choose a single city for its second headquarters, but rather split its promised 50,000 extra employees between two different cities. Then the New York Times confirmed the WSJ’s scoop and added that New York City and a suburb of Washington, D.C., would get the highly sought after offices.
Durkan had a confident retort ready when asked if she thought the idea of Amazon splitting its HQ2 into two offices was good for Seattle.
“I call those branch offices—that would be good news,” Durkan said.
Amazon’s announcement over a year ago that they would establish a second headquarters that is a “full equal” to their original headquarters in Seattle was seen as a snub of the city. Bezos even said the company was “excited to find a second home,” which really hurt the feelings of Seattle’s rich white people. Many people blamed our Socialist City councilmember for scaring Bezos away, others said we should castigate ourselves for being too hard on Bezos (those people forgot we already don’t charge an income or a capital gains tax in this state). Bruce Harrell, the president of our City Council, even signed an executive order officially applying Seattle to be Amazon’s HQ2, which was pretty embarrassing and made us seem like someone taking a breakup especially poorly.
But now it seems like Amazon was just being the power-playing and conniving capitalists that Seattleites already know the company for. They just appear to be extracting the maximum amount of corporate welfare while providing the bare minimum in return. Each divided HQ2—do we call these HQ2A and HQ2B?—will now only get half of the promised 50,000 high-paying jobs. And neither will truly compete with Seattle’s stature in the company, as was originally feared.
Amazon has yet to confirm the news and it’s still unclear if both HQ2A and HQ2B will each get an entire set of Bezos’s balls like HQ1 in Seattle, or if Bezos will plant only one of his large round balls in each city. We’ll stay tuned, but for now our Mayor thinks this is good news.