On Wednesday night, KUOW hosted a fascinating conversation about a controversial question many Seattleites are asking: Is Amazon good for Seattle?
The panelists arguing that Amazon’s been good for Seattle: Maud Daudon, the former Deputy Mayor of Seattle and former president of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and Marilyn Strickland, former mayor of Tacoma and president and CEO of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
Arguing that Amazon has been bad for our city: former mayoral candidates Nikkita Oliver, an artist, activist, and attorney; and Cary Moon, an urban planner.
Here are some highlights:
» The evening started off with a poll of the audience: 56% agreed that Amazon was good for the city, 46% disagreed.
» Maud argued that Amazon being entirely good or bad for Seattle was a “false premise.” It’s more grey than that, she said. “There’s no question [that] our recent prosperity Amazon has created has benefits and challenges … The answer lies in coming together as a community to engage with this.”
» “When we think about innovation and convenience, on whose back is that innovation being built?” Nikkita asked in her opening statement. She later analogized Amazon’s growth in Seattle to the human body: “Overgrowth of our bodies is cancer. Overgrowth for our city is displacement.”
» “When we talk about the tide rising with Amazon, the reality is the yachts are rising, but the other boats are being laid out,” Cary said. “We do know that they aren’t paying enough [in taxes] because we don’t have enough for schools, not enough for transit, and we’re behind the country in mental health.”
» “Amazon is not solely responsible for every social problem in the Seattle metro area,” Marilyn said. “The challenges we see facing communities of color [like] institutional racism to redlining … to lack of generational wealth have been ingrained in our country for a long time.”
This debate was fascinating and hard — all the more reason for our city leaders to be talking about this, and for all Seattle residents to be engaged in this conversation. Want to know how the audience’s votes changed by the end of the event? Check out our video here.
Excited to get the play-by-play? Check The People’s Party livestream of the whole event or read GeekWire’s take here.
This debate was KUOW’s first installment of a new series called “That’s Debatable.” This convo was recorded live for KUOW’s Prime(d) podcast and will be rebroadcast on their station and KVRU later this month.