Amazon is expecteded to send out another round of HQ2 mailers to Queens residents living in Long Island City, Astoria, and Sunnyside asking their future neighbors to speak in their defense to their state representatives–or one in particular.
“Call State Senator Mike Gianaris,” the mailer demands. “Tell him to support the project.”
The mailer hits a variety of talking points, largely the same as they have always spouted: 25,000 jobs over 10 years, creating “thousands of indirect jobs,” internships and “technology and training programs.” Absent is their previous promise to donate land to build a new 600-student public school.
“We want to make sure New Yorkers know the details of our investment and how it benefits them,” an Amazon spokesperson told LIC Post, who obtained an early copy of the mailer.
The tone of this mailer is noticeably less confident than their first one, which treated the move as a done deal and explicitly referred to Amazon as “your new neighbors.” Senator Gianaris, who represents the district where Amazon’s second headquarters will be built, is the deputy majority leader in New York’s State Senate, and has been a vocal critic of Amazon’s deal with Governor Cuomo since November.
“It’s ironic that Amazon wants billions of our taxpayer dollars and is spending so much to convince the people of western Queens that it is entitled to those dollars,” Gianaris said in a statement. “People will not be fooled by slick advertising.”
The HQ2 mailer lists Senator Gianaris’ office phone number along with its call to action, hoping that constituents will lobby in Amazon’s favor for them. The Senator may expect an influx of calls whether Astoria residents support Amazon or not: the company has a history of “astroturfing,” or paying people to act like grassroots supporters. In August of 2018, the company created more than a dozen of “Amazon FC Ambassador” Twitter accounts claiming to be warehouse workers voluntarily singing the company’s praises.
The next step for the project is a rezoning and of the area set aside for HQ2 to produce a plan for construction, something Senator Gianaris has publicly stated that he will take no part in.