FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM NOVEMBER 22, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 27
oped letters & comments
The case for Amazon HQ2
BY GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO
Th e Amazon transaction is an historic transformative moment
for the entire New York City region. I have done enough development
work during my career to know there is no large development
project that is accomplished without controversy: especially
in a city like New York and especially in this polarized, hyper-political
While I appreciate the ideological and political points of view, we
must still govern and analyze based on facts. In fact, given the current
political turmoil, it is more important than ever.
Several cities across New York state and over 238 cities across
North America competed for the Amazon headquarters and the
Long Island City proposal is the only NYS project that was selected
as a fi nalist.
Th is transaction is a lightning rod for the political rhetoric on
both extremes. Th e extreme conservatives and the socialists both
now vehemently oppose “incentives” for Amazon, which is one of
the most profi table companies in the country.
Nothing in the Amazon transaction is new. Th e tax incentives we
provide for single business transactions are usual and typical and
have been operational for decades. Th ey are long-standing programs
supported by both Democrats and Republicans in both the
city and the state.
Nor are tax incentive programs unique to New York. Every state
off ers incentives to attract businesses and we are in a constant competition
with other states and nations to attract and keep good
businesses. One could argue that in a perfect world no city or state
would be legally allowed to off er incentives and there would be no
competition for individuals or businesses. True.
But this is not a perfect world. Our state is in an intense daily
competition with other states and, indeed, other countries.
On the other side of the extreme, the socialists argue that we gave
a $1 billion grant to one of the richest men in the country and that
we should have given that money to the poor and the needy. Once
again, it is a politically appealing argument; but also, it is once again
We give Amazon nothing and their revenues give us approximately
$900 million annually. If Amazon does not employ 25,000
New Yorkers, we lose $900 million.
Th ey also argue that we should let Amazon come to New York
but provide no incentive. However, without the incentive Amazon,
which owes duties to its stockholders (including the New York
Pension Plan) would not come to New York and would not bring
their revenues or jobs.
Th e essence of the Amazon competition was that they were shopping
for the best economic benefi ts. Amazon could have located all
employees in Virginia or gone to Newark — just across the river —
for a larger incentive: a $7 billion incentive package and a giant revenue
loss to New York.
As for the local offi cials who now oppose the project, many of
these same individuals signed a letter supporting the application
for the same location knowing full well it was a national competition
in which states and cities were putting together incentive packages.
Th ese same offi cials voted and authorized the long-standing
economic development programs deployed in the Amazon transaction.
It is pure political posturing.
Mark my words, come election time, when the opponents of
these politicians side with the businesses and residents who are
benefi ting from the Amazon infusion, these same politicians will
fi nd a way to change their position once again. Political winds blow
strong in New York, but they also shift rapidly.
I applaud Mayor de Blasio for acting responsibly as a government
offi cial rather than catering to a convenient political position.
I appreciate the anxiety of the neighboring community. Any large
development will cause disruption if steps are not taken to mitigate
these issues. However, the answer for a smart society is not to stop
growing but rather to manage the growth and its consequences.
Th e reaction by some on the extremes to the Amazon transaction
is merely a sign of the times — and the times are troubled. Political
polarization tears at our social fabric. But when the lens of public
offi cials is fogged by political expediency, bad decisions are made.
My father used to say, “We campaign in poetry but we govern in
prose.” Th e essence of this saying was that during campaigns political
rhetoric soars for the aspirational and the perfect. However, in
government, we must deal with facts and reality.
Th is Th anksgiving is truly a
time for an expression of gratitude
for the great response of
our voters who put their emotions
and sense of outrage at the
results of the last presidential
election into constructive action!
During these last two years,
we saw the reality of our worst
fears when changes taking place
in our Congress and presidential
orders taking away our basic
freedoms which we thought
were sacred. New gains in women’s
rights and human rights
were being threatened and also
But in January of 2017 and
again in January of 2018, women
gave their answers in the largest
Women’s March ever recorded
in the U.S. and around the world.
Th is anger and outrage was
channeled into constructive
action and, on Nov. 6, resulted
in the largest number of women
members elected to Congress,
governors of states, and members
of legislatures. Th e result,
the pollsters say, of women voters
across the country organizing
to register and pull out the
vote as well as running for offi ce
How welcome and needed is
the sweet taste of victory. But
we have to get back to the planning
and follow-up and continue
to engage women and all voters
about our issues to see that
they are implemented.
Our Center for the Women of
New York is proud of our “Take
Action” philosophy and we were
not only among the fi rst organizers
of the Women’s March
in Queens, but we boast of our
members who went out and did
the one-on-one door knocking,
telephoning and literature distribution
to educate the voters
about the issues to see that they
get implemented. We encourage
all who feel empowered by their
actions to join with us at our
next meeting to decide on how
to move in a positive direction.
Ann Jawin, Center for the
Women of New York
Another Thanksgiving is
here for the joy of many. It is a
time for good food with family,
friends and all those we hold
most dear to our hearts.
It is a time to be thankful for
all that we have. But it is also
a time to think of those in the
most need this holiday season.
Th e act of kindness is in desperate
need to those who have
very little. Please give to local
food pantries, soup kitchen and
those civic and faith-based organizations
that help the needy.
Now I’m not asking others
to do what I don’t do myself. I
try to walk the talk. I’m grand
knight of St. Anastasia Knights
of Columbus Council #5911 in
Douglaston. My council donates
turkeys to the Little Sisters of the
Poor a Queen of Peace Residence
in Queens Village.
We also give to the St. Aloysius
food pantry in Great Neck. And
on Nov. 11, Veterans Day,
we ran a blood drive for St.
Anastasia Parish, which brought
in 58 blood donations. Which
we call the gift of life.
So please give what you can to
help the many in need and not
just around the holidays but all
year round where the need never
seems to end. God bless you all
this holiday season.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,
Glen Oaks Village
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of this newspaper or its staff .
WORK FOR LOCAL
Th ere are opportunities to
increase capacity and service by
running subway trains and buses
more frequently off peak, mid-day,
evenings, overnight and weekends
(“Primary concerns over how
LIC transit will handle Amazon
infl ux,” Th e Courier, Nov. 15).
Th ere is always equipment
used primarily for rush hour
peak service that is available
to provide additional service
during off peak hours. It is a
question of fi nding millions of
dollars more to cover operating
costs for additional service.
Give Amazon naming rights
for Long Island Rail Road’s Long
Island City station in exchange
for fi nancing station, signal,
interlockings and other capital
improvements which would
aff ord increased LIRR service.
Extend eight of 14 LIRR trains
currently terminating at Hunters
Point during the morning rush
hour to Long Island City. Turn
trains around to provide reverse
commuter service. In the evening
rush hour, start seven of
12 trains from LIC instead of
Establish new off -peak, midday
and evening service between
LIC and Jamaica. Use underutilized
Jamaica Station tracks 4
and 5 and extend this route to
the Belmont Park station. Th is
could also serve the future
Islanders Belmont Arena scheduled
to open in late 2021.
Reopen the LIRR Lower
Montauk branch closed in
1998 including interim stations
between Jamaica and LIC. Run
a simple two car scoot service
reconnecting LIC, Glendale,
Middle Village, Richmond Hill
Larry Penner, Great Neck