Cuomo talks to Bezos, trying to win back Amazon
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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who was displaced by Amazon's decision to withdraw from his plans to come to New York City, is working furiously behind the scenes to lure the company back, even connecting to Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder. Make a personal pitch.
The governor has had several phone calls with Amazon leaders, including Mr. Bezos, over the past two weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the bet. In these conversations, Mr. Cuomo said he would navigate through the company's Byzantine process.
Mr. Cuomo does not offer a new place, but guarantees for project support, one person said. Amazon leaders gave no opinion that it would reconsider.
The management also learned that an open letter was arranged for publication in The New York Times on Friday, and also urged Mr. Bezos, the company's CEO, to reverse the course and build the Campus in Long Island City, Queens.
The letter was signed by supportive unions, local businesses, community groups, and selected officials, including representatives of Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, a top democrat and Carolyn Maloney, where the district includes the Amazon area, and former mayor David N. Dinkins.
The letter said that Mr. Cuomo "will take personal responsibility for the project's state approval, and mayor de Blasio will work with the governor to deal with the social development process."  To date, at least the company has shown no sign of reconsidering its decision to leave the deal, where Amazon promised to create up to 40,000 in Long Island City in exchange for a $ 500 million government grant and state and city tax breaks. finally had been over $ 2 billion.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined a comment request.
The conversation between Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Bezos seemed to have been the first time the two had spoken at any time about Amazon's plans for Queens, or about the company's sudden decision earlier in February to interrupt the project among noisy opposition.
Since the deal fell, Mr. Cuomo has argued for the public and privately that support for the project was and remains far more widespread than it may have worked.
"I think Amazon should have lived and fought the opposition," Mr. Cuomo said in a radio interview on Tuesday. "There was a vocal minority opposition. Seventy percent of the population supports Amazon." He quoted this message to Amazon leaders during their talks, according to one of the peoples with knowledge of the exchanges, who both asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations. .  The campus was supposed to be half of what had been called a second headquarters of the company; The other half, with about the same number of jobs, is still scheduled for a Virginia suburb of Washington.
But Amazon met vocal opponents – which included local groups, some unions and political activists animated by the surprising victory of representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – from the moment they announced their plans for queens in November last year. Three months later, with no end in mind for the persistent political pressure and negative attention, leaders decided to pull the contact.
Those who are familiar with the company's thinking have insisted that the decision to leave the New York City Plan had been based on a mix of factors, including the high opposition and the lack of signs it would decline.
The ad, an open letter to Jeff Bezos that was to appear on a full page in Friday's newspaper, is aimed at combating the notion that opposition to Amazon was widespread, claiming that a "clear majority" of New Yorkers supports the company.
"We know that the public debate that came with the announcement of the Long Island City project was gross and not very inviting," reads the letter, paid by the New York City Partnership, a prominent business group. Governor Cuomo will take personal responsibility for the project's state approval, and mayor de Blasio will work with the governor to handle the community development process. "
The collaborator Kathryn S. Wylde said that the letter had been aimed not only at Amazon but to insure technology companies in general that New York City welcomed its businesses:" Yes, it is aimed at Amazon in the hope that they will reconsider. There is also a message to the broader industry. "[GovernorOfficeworkedwiththebusinesscommunityonhowtosendthismessage"saidWyldeandtheresultwastheletter
Many of you who signed up for the letter – including public housing managers, trade unions such as Local 32BJ in the Service Employees International Union and the Building and Construction Trade Council in New York – supported the agreement all the time. The most vocal opponents were not among the signatories. a statement. "Otherwise, the city that never sleeps is prone to becoming a victim of a Luddite-induced sleep." One thing that has changed over the past two weeks: Andrea Stewart cousins, the Democratic majority leader of the state senate, drew his nomination by Senator Michael Gianaris to the unclear governmental government control post, which would have given Gianaris, representing Long Island City, the opportunity to vote down the development project for Amazon when it came to the board in a year.
But Mr. Cuomo refused to appoint Gianaris – or to formally reject him. And so last week, Stewart-Cousins chose another Queens representative, Leroy Comrie, to sit on the table, a person who would be more likely to get the governor's approval.