A coalition of groups concerned about the impact of, or outright opposed to, the selection of Arlington as a secondary headquarters for Amazon will hold a community forum on Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at Central Library.
“Listen to Arlington and community organizations,” Roshan Abraham of Our Revolution Arlington, one of the sponsoring groups, asked County Board members on June 16.
Abraham came to the meeting seeking assurances that County Board members would attend the event, but received none from the five members.
Our Revolution is an outgrowth of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Other sponsoring organizations of the June 21 event include the Arlington Green Party, Grassroots Alexandria and the regional chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
County Board Chairman Katie Cristol praised the “thoughtful concerns” of the groups, but said Amazon has not released a group of finalist communities so there is not much more to share with the public.
“We don’t have any new information to report,” Cristol said.
And board colleague Christian Dorsey said critics of the Amazon sweepstakes were wrong to think deals are being cut behind closed doors.
“The impression there is something we are holding back [from the public] – that is absolutely not the case,” he said of Amazon’s thought process. “We don’t know anything about it.
More than 230 communities formally expressed interest in becoming Seattle-based Amazon’s “HQ2” location. The 20 making the cut as the first round of finalists include three in the local area – Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and Montgomery County, Md. – along with communities that include Denver, Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Toronto is the lone prospect outside the United States.
County Board members have noted in the past that before any economic-incentive pact is approved, the County Board must hold a hearing and take a public vote. Critics retort that such votes are pro-forma and would come far too late for the public to have input.