Seattleites need perspective

K'reisa Cox

Blaming businesses for city’s problems could be a mistake


It is no secret that the city of Seattle and tech giant Amazon have had a rocky relationship throughout the company’s 23-year-long history.

The city blames Amazon for public issues such as rising housing costs, increased traffic, the overall spike in prices and the decrease in space across Seattle.

City-driven contentions over taxes, infrastructure and workers’ rights have resulted in Amazon making efforts to change their local image.

The best known examples of these goodwill endeavors include giving away over 5,000 bananas every day to employees and city-goers alike at free fruit stands stationed around the company’s South Lake Union campus and permanently housing 200 homeless people in one of their many new office buildings.

Meanwhile, despite officials’ complaints, the city of Seattle cooperates in the facilitation of the continued expansion of “Amazonia,” as the many blocks that make up Amazon’s campus have been dubbed.

However, there are problems that have yet to be solved within the coexistence of Amazon and the city, especially problems relating to the rising cost of housing and the traffic problems that have exploded in recent years.

Dan Westneat of the Seattle Times called Amazon a prosperity bomb in his article, “Take it from us, with Amazon you can get too much of a good thing,” warning the new potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters of the possible drawbacks of being crowned the next hub of Amazon’s incredible economic growth.

While there certainly are issues that arise with the sudden augmentations in local economies, problems that are often direct followers of the tech industry, this cannot be allowed to cloud over the clear sight of the benefits growth like this brings.

College students understand all too well the importance of sustainable economic opportunity.

With enormous amounts of debt weighing over the beginnings of our careers, a vibrant economy is not merely enticing, but rather necessary.

The fact that Amazon has given Seattle 99,000 new jobs since 2000, and has been a large contributor into making Seattle the 6th highest salaried city in the nation, a fact which is not to be overlook.

Blaming opportunity is a backwards way of thinking. Citizens’ efforts would be better spent on using their voice through the ballots to enact efficient methods of absorption and spending.

City Council has begun to recognize the need to “hit the refresh button” on Seattle’s relationship with the company, so that Amazon will “stay with us and growth with us,” as said in a letter they sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in October.

The city expressed desire to “work with [Amazon], our students, and other interested partners from business, labor, industry, colleges and universities and more” in order to continue to facilitate the growth that has allowed Seattle to become one of the most vibrant areas in the country.

I want to see the city that I love succeed. It is a city where I can move around and enjoy the fast-paced urban lifestyle that I thrive on, while also being able to enjoy the natural beauty that I need to unwind and appreciate God’s beauty.

Seattle has always been the perfect city in my mind, and continues to be so.

However, if we continue to blame businesses for our inability to adapt to a changing economy, eventually those opportunities will disappear, and with them the economic cornerstone factors that make Seattleite lifestyle so sustainable.

With any kind of success comes new issues to be dealt with.

When one finds career success, new costs and dangers always follow. The same concerns apply to Seattle’s success, and with it come the same growing pains individuals experience, but magnified into city-wide issues.

It’s time to stop taking the easy way out by blaming the change and instead focus on drawing new solutions.

City Council proposed convening with Amazon to accomplish a series of benchmarks concerning transportation, freight mobility, public safety, the gig economy (contract workers) and public education.

Finding ways for the private and public sectors to come together to create an economic culture of widespread success will be the landmark task of the 21st century, as private companies influence more aspects of daily life and governments discover that simple regulation won’t bring about solutions.

Technology is altering the American economy. Seattle happens to be a frontrunner in the race to change.

It’s time to take our head start as an opportunity to set an example for how the rest of the nation can adapt to these changes.

We have an innately good problem, which means that there is good solution out there waiting to be discovered.

Seattle needs to keep thinking forward. Finding ways to concentrate our efforts into dynamic partnerships between our leaders and our innovators will ultimately bring about the maximum amount of opportunity for people of all socioeconomic classes.