Sun’s article clouds some facts on Amazon’s TPA venture
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 26th August 2018
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“Hi, my name is Jeff Bezos, and I am one of the richest men in the world. Help me become even richer.” (Photo credit/Business Insider)

 

After reading the article in The Baltimore Sun about Tradepoint Atlantic announcing that Amazon is in the throes of opening it’s newest “fulfillment center” at the TPA site, one might think that Christmas has come early to eastern Baltimore County.

At least that is the spin that the Sun is trying to sell.

Although the article is well written and comprehensive in some areas, the paper blatantly chose not to mention the actual players in the ownership issue of TPA, as evidenced in this quote:

A joint venture of the Illinois-based liquidation and redevelopment firm Hilco Global and local investment company Redwood Capital, Tradepoint Atlantic is reshaping the 3,100-acre property that for generations was home to Bethlehem Steel.

In response to that misinformation, we remind you that the Post has continuously written about the real owners of TPA. In fact, the below photo features one of the primary owners, Jim Davis, who happens to be the cousin of Baltimore Ravens principal owner Steve Bisciotti.

 

Jim Davis is featured in the front row, the second from the right. (Photo credit/TPA)

 

And yes, folks, both of those gentlemen are wealthy to the tune of billions of dollars.

Another interesting article dealing with TPA’s ownership appeared in the Baltimore Brew.

You won’t see those names featured below in the Sun article. As the old saying that goes, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

 

(Photo credit/Forbes)

 

Let’s take a look at another rather perplexing quote from the Sun:

… and agreed to spend at least $50 million on environmental cleanup as part of the site’s redevelopment. In addition to Amazon, Tradepoint is also home to a FedEx distribution center, an auto importing operation run by Pasha Automotive and a recently completed warehouse for Under Armour that will be used to fulfill online orders.

The reporter also mentions the logistical operation of Under Armour as a tenant of TPA when in reality this is not the case as the Post reported in this particular article.

According to the Maryland Department of the Environment, TPA has only spent $7 million out of the total of the $48 million set-aside for the cleanup efforts.

Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler was mentioned in the article as well:

Now the vision of Kamenetz, who died of cardiac arrest in May, is coming to fruition, Mohler said.

Now regarding the vision of the former, now deceased County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, that perception may be in the form of an optical illusion. Some estimates pertaining to the cleanup of the former Beth Steele site could go as high as $1.5 billion. Now in addition to those costs, if you add in the additional dollars pertaining to infrastructure upgrades, such as roads, railways, and dredging, just to mention a few of the potential tax burdens here is what taxpayers are looking at. TPA’s ultimate goal is to become the largest logistical hub on the East Coast. In order to accomplish that the estimates are, after the privately held enterprise builds-out, the final tally could be $1 billion or more.

From those grandiose visions, it would seem that the late County Executive envisioned corporate welfare deals at the expense of the middle-class taxpayers.

After all the propaganda from The Sun, let’s take a look at the reality of this so-called deal with Amazon that has made the politicians giddy as they trumpet their announcements about the great success this will bring to the owners of the former Bethlehem Steel site.

Consider Governor Larry Hogan’s $8.5 billion in tax incentives being offered in an effort to lure Amazon’s Corporate Headquarters to the state of Maryland an one can clearly see we are not talking about – pocket change.

Now, for those of you that think Governor Larry Hogan is truly looking out for the middle-class taxpayers, here is an eye-opening article that appeared in the Washington Post that further supports our position:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will soon introduce legislation that would require large employers such as Amazon, Walmart and McDonald’s to fully cover the cost of food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal assistance received by their employees. The goal, he says, is to force corporations to pay a living…

The voters we want to ask Governor Larry Hogan some tough questions regarding that little ditty.

Some of the below information may shock you.

An article published by the Los Angeles Times provides the real story about Amazon, avoiding the pipedreams and propaganda. According to that article, the median income of an Amazon employee is $28,446. That figure, aggregated out, is one dollar short of the proposed Maryland minimum-wage of $15 an hour.

That leads to the next revelation of the plight Amazon workers have while trying to earn a living wage. Another article appeared in Newsweek with the following quote:

Amazon employs over 6,000 workers in the state, according to the report that looked at data from August 2017. In that month alone, 700 workers received benefits, meaning that one in every 10 of those locals were beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The report revealed that Amazon warehouses also receive significant state and local subsidies.

Folks, it only gets worse from there.

Another study actually looks at the impact of Amazon on a local jurisdictions like Baltimore County. What is interesting about the county’s financial commitment to this boondoggle is that the MTA bus route provides an equation for the success of TPA. That equation is “cheap land + cheap labor = $$$ in the pockets of TPA and our councilman, Todd Crandell.”

Councilmen Crandell has played a significant role for TPA. First, he removed all community input into TPA matters by introducing legislation 86 – 15. In addition, he supports TIF financing for TPA, once again at the expense of the taxpayers.

Campaign data reveals that TPA has donated $4,000 to Councilman Todd Crandell’s coffers.

Think about this for a moment. If the labor for the TPA site is coming from Baltimore City, then the taxes deducted from the workers’ paychecks go to Baltimore City, not Baltimore County.

So this benefits us how?

Amazon also likes to dip its toes into the corporate welfare pool, as evidenced by this quote from MarketWatch:

The Economic Policy Institute’s report suggested that job losses in other industries is the reason no new net jobs are created overall after an Amazon fulfillment center opens. And Amazon’s detrimental effect on retail jobs alone might explain that dynamic.

One final issue before we close this latest chapter. The Baltimore Sun endorsed Johnny O for Baltimore County Executive.

To even things a bit for this political race, here is a little ditty involving the political landscape in Baltimore County.

It appears that Johnny O received $5,250 from TPA according to campaign finance records. Remember, the Democrats outnumber Republicans in Maryland by a 3 to 1 margin.

Do you think TPA is looking ahead to the next politician who will allow “pay for play?”

 

Two Progressive Democrats who are progressive with our tax dollars. Photo credit/Facebook

 

We stand by our motto: “You read; you decide.”