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  • Geebo 10:00 am on February 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , housing, , , Sammy Musovic   

    Were NY Amazon protesters paid to be there? 

    Were pro-Amazon protesters paid to be there?

    While Amazon’s decision to not put their 2nd headquarters in New York remains a contentious issue in the Big Apple at least one positive outcome came out of the controversy. At least one Queens landlord was expecting to hike rents on his properties once Amazon moved in putting currently skyrocketing housing costs even more out of reach. Long Island City landlord Sammy Musovic reportedly put $1 million into renovating his properties in hopes of an influx of new Amazon employees needing housing in the area. When Amazon pulled out, Musovic organized a protest designed to get people to boycott the online retailer. The problem was with how the protest was allegedly organized.

    Patch.com is reporting that at least two protesters were paid to attend the event after responding to a craigslist ad looking for sign holders. Now two people being paid $30/hr. to be there doesn’t sound that bad but when you take into account only 10 protesters showed up to the Musovic-led protest it may be safe to assume that others were paid as well. In their report, Patch also included a text message between one of the protesters to one of the organizers and a video of protesters receiving cash for their services.

    While there is no law against paying people to carry signs for you, it does certainly damage the credibility of your objection. However, since Musovic took out a million dollar loan to make the renovations there is a distinct possibility that he may raise rents anyway to try to recoup his loss which in turn may the local housing market even more volatile as I’m sure there are people living in his properties already struggling to make their rent. It seems that once New York, both the state and the city, decided to engage in the Amazon HQ lottery it was doomed to have a negative impact on the city no matter what Amazon’s decision would have been.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , housing, , , Queens   

    Amazon dumps New York on Valentine’s Day 

    Amazon dumps New York on Valentine's Day

    In 2017, online retail leader Amazon announced that it was searching for a city to host its second corporate headquarters dubbed HQ2. Amazon’s initial headquarters in Seattle would remain while the new headquarters would potentially host up to 40,000 new jobs wherever Amazon ultimately chose to build it. In November of last year, Amazon finally decided on putting HQ2 in New York City, specifically Long Island City in the Borough of Queens. That was until yesterday when Amazon announced it was withdrawing from the deal due to local opposition.

    Many local politicians and residents opposed the new Amazon headquarters claiming that not only would the jobs go to those from outside of the area but it would also put a strain on an already crumbling infrastructure. Most importantly opponents to the new headquarters were concerned that the influx of Amazon employees would make the local housing crisis even worse. Those who were in favor of the new headquarters touted the tax revenue that would be brought into the city and the state and that would bring even more companies with more jobs and revenue to New York.

    However, the housing crisis question is one that can’t be ignored. In Amazon’s own hometown of Seattle, many local residents blame Amazon not only for rising housing prices but also disrupting old neighborhoods that for generations were well within the financial grasp of the middle class. Silicon Valley is an even more bleak example of how giant tech corporations have affected local housing markets as the San Francisco Bay area has been priced out of reach for almost all except the tech elite and the revenue generated by these companies does not seem to be providing many benefits to locals.

    What do you think? Did the residents of Queens make a mistake in driving Amazon away or were they justified in trying to protect their neighborhoods?

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on March 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , housing   

    Facebook accused of discriminatory housing ads 

    Facebook accused of discriminatory housing ads

    It appears that Facebook is trying to fend off controversy from all sides these days. Not only is it facing lawsuits over the data they’ve been allegedly collecting from Android users, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify himself before Congress over the purported Cambridge Analytical data breach. Now to compound matters for Facebook, they’re being sued for allegedly allowing certain demographics from seeing certain housing ads.

    Four fair housing groups are suing Facebook claiming that their ad program allows groups such as single parent families, disabled veterans and minorities from to be excluded from seeing housing ads based on users likes and groups. According to the complainants, they created a phony realty firm and Facebook had a preset list of options of who could be excluded from being shown the ads.

    Choosing from a list of preset options, the fictitious landlord was able to exclude people with interests in the “National Association for Bikers with a Disability,” “Disabled American Veterans,” “Disability.gov,” and “Disabled Parking Permit.” Facebook estimated that the ad would reach 1.2 million people, the group reported.

    Facebook denies the charges and says the lawsuit has no merit, however, this isn’t the first time Facebook has come under fire for discriminatory ad practices. Late last year they were accused of allowing job ads to be shown only to a certain age group.

    For all intents and purposes, Facebook is a monopoly as they virtually have no competition in the social media space. If they continue to engage in such practices like they’re being accused of, how long will it be before the government decides to either heavily regulate them or break them up? Considering the unchecked power they wield it can’t come soon enough.

     
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