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August 20, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Superb example for Seattle businesses
In my July 14 op-ed piece in The Seattle Times, “Building a Bicycle Renaissance in Seattle,” I specifically called on Seattle’s business community to support improvements in cycling conditions as evidence of their commitment to environmental sustainability, public health and the economic future of Seattle.
Thus, I was pleased to read on the front page of The Times that Amazon is investing in both protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) and improved bike parking. [“Amazon goal: safer, easier cycling,” page one, Aug. 16.]
Amazon has given a superb example for other Seattle firms, both large and small, to follow. It is now time for the rest of Seattle’s business community to step up to the plate and show they really care about the future of Seattle and the environment.
This is especially true for Seattle’s corporate giants, but even smaller firms can play an important role by providing good bike parking for their employees and customers. Heath-care firms have a special responsibility to promote active travel modes like bicycling, which promote public health while reducing health costs.
I hereby challenge the responsible business community of Seattle to follow Amazon’s example of investing in bicycling for daily travel. Although I live far away from Seattle, in the New York City metro area, I plan on increasing my purchases of Amazon products as a thank-you for their support of bicycling.
John Pucher, professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
May 10, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Act might not benefit brick-and-mortar stores
Although I do quite a bit of online shopping, I don’t shop at Amazon.com [“Internet sales-tax bill backed by Amazon passes Senate,” Business, May 7]. In fact, at least 90 percent of my online purchases are for items that are not available in any brick-and-mortar retail outlet in Seattle or Washington state. For that matter, some of my purchases are from online retailers that are outside the United States. The question of paying sales tax (or not) doesn’t enter into my purchase decisions.
So what is “fair” about an online retailer with no physical presence in Washington selling items that are not available from any “Main Street” retailer in Washington and collecting and returning a sales tax to Washington? The sales tax collected should be submitted to the state in which the online retailer is located.
My prediction is that this bill will possibly put a lot of online retailers out of business, without benefiting these brick-and-mortar retailers much at all.
Jim Stewart, Seattle
March 12, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Seattle’s progressivism may not be global
The recent protest that took place in South Lake Union at the headquarters of Amazon.com should serve as a reminder to us all that Seattle may not be as “progressive” as we like to believe. Protesting Amazon’s refusal to negotiate a union-wage contract with its currently nonunion workforce in Germany, the protesters implicated Amazon of less-than-standard working conditions in its Germany-based warehouses [“Battle escalates between Amazon, German labor,” Business, March 5].
While the particulars of the working conditions are presented in different lights from different sides of the story, the bigger picture to focus on is the mere possibility that the economic upswing we feel here as Amazon maximizes its bottom line, could in fact be perpetuating the exact opposite effect across the globe.
Seattleites are quite progressive on a micro scale — as can be seen by the careful consideration and pride we put into deciding whether to recycle this or compost that. But do we truly stop and think how our regional businesses, companies that many of us (or our family members and friends) may work for, significantly impact, for better or worse, the lives of others around the world?
–Jessica Muhm, Seattle
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