FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM FEBRUARY 21, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 83
Fight to get Amazon back
As my plane cruised
towards Turks & Caicos
for a winter break with
my children, I heard the awful
news that Amazon had backed
out of their plans to open a headquarters
in our beloved borough
of Queens. How shocking on
many levels !
We must not give up on
Amazon. We must fight to get
I rarely use this space for political
talk, but my life has revolved
around advocacy, as it’s the reason
for ownership of my media
When my daughter, Lara, my
first born, turned blue in the
nursery just minutes after her
birth, my life changed forever!
My husband and I had to
become fighters for her — getting
services for a child who
would forever be developmentally
a three-month old.
Over the ensuing years, we
fought the Willowbrook Wars,
marching, picketing and finally
suing the state and federal
government over the maltreatment
of Lara and others at
Willowbrook State School on
It was a cub reporter in the
early 70s named Geraldo Rivera
whose unstoppable spirit and
passion covered the story of
the abuse that was going on at
Willowbrook. It brought to light
the problems we faced there.
We won and Willowbrook was
closed, and today, group homes
for the developmentally disabled
exist all over our great region.
We won the fight.
I feel now that misguided political
operatives are abusing their
power. I call them operatives
rather than leaders because they
are so misguided, so short-sighted
and so selfish!
State Senator Michael
Gianaris, City Councilman
Jimmy Van Bramer, City Council
Speaker Corey Johnson and
Ocasio-Cortez were outspoken
in their opposition to the
Amazon project. But they didn’t
think of the next generation —
they only thought of themselves.
Between myself and my late
husbands, Murray and Stu, we
have 8 children and 15 grandchildren.
I’m invested in making
sure their lives can flourish.
I know if a city doesn’t grow,
My son and my business partner,
Josh, and I have grown our
media company from my living
room with one newspaper
to today having 75 media outlets
with offices in Queens, Brooklyn,
the Bronx, Westchester and Long
Island because that’s how you
survive and thrive. My success is
the success of my 175 employees.
Then there’s the trickle down
effect. Each employee supports
shops, restaurants and medical
centers. They join social clubs
such as the local Rotary, Kiwanis
and Lions Clubs, or participate
in nonprofit or religious organizations
located near our offices.
The community in general
thrives because I have learned
that a strong business community
makes a strong community overall.
Amazon is more than a successful
company. It’s the future of
our great borough, our city and
For me, it’s so simple: It’s jobs
building careers, and then more
jobs with each employee adding
to the fiber of our hometowns.
My business colleagues on
Long Island were looking with
delight at the prospects of
Amazon helping their communities
I have friends in small businesses
on Vernon Boulevard in Long
Island City who have been hanging
on by their fingernails. Business
has been challenging but they love
the community and have stayed,
but struggled, to survive.
Amazon was to be their lifeline.
It’s so sad to see political people
I had admired take a “my way
or the highway” stand on this
project. There were not interested
in negotiating. They just
wanted the deal off the table to
make their own deal.
Maybe the mayor and governor
should have included
the opponents in more discussions.
After all, opponents of the
project such as Gianaris, Van
Bramer and Johnson had originally
signed on to a letter inviting
Amazon to our great city.
Despite Amazon’s withdrawal,
we can’t give up on the power of
a company any city would want
because of what it brings to our
My plea is that we all fight back
and find a way to bring Amazon
back to the greatest, the most
diverse place on earth. We need
them and they need us.
After all, my business success
is based on the premise,
“When the client says no, the
So let’s begin again. Failure of
this project is not a option for me
or my children.
Governor Cuomo, make it
your legacy to get Amazon back.
Be the leader you are and don’t
fold — fight!
tweet me @vschneps
Governor Cuomo, fight back!
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