Anti-Amazon protesters in Arlington County, Virginia were outraged Saturday after the county board dismissed outright their concerns over the corporate giant’s decision to build a headquarters in Crystal City—voting unanimously to approve $23 million in tax incentives for the company.
The 5-0 vote followed hours of testimony by Amazon representatives, supporters, and opponents of the plan, with critics arguing that the trillion-dollar company has no need for financial incentives and that its presence in Crystal City will negatively impact lower-income residents and public services.
One resident, Chelsea Yu, called attention to Amazon’s actions in its current hometown of Seattle, where in addition to contributing to skyrocketing housing prices, it has actively fought against a corporate tax that would have funded affordable housing.
“You claim Arlington is a place for all, for immigrants, for equality, [and] clamor for the attention of a company that does the opposite,” said Yu. “Never have I seen a company so reviled by the city it occupies.”
Opponents also decried Amazon’s work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop facial recognition technology and said that its presence in Crystal City would accelerate gentrification, which has already pushed many Black and brown residents out of Arlington County.
Arlington Co is already pushing people of color out! It is one of three counties w at least 100k residents nationwide that have seen decline in black and brown people, with an increase of white population. #StopGentrification #ForUsNotAmazon pic.twitter.com/kxPBp0jDJ3
— LaColectiVA703 (@LaColectiVA703) March 16, 2019
Protesters held up signs reading “Schools and housing for us, not Amazon” and “Advocate for us, not Amazon.”
Arlington #Amazon “public” comments break along economic lines. The 1% is in favor of the 1%.