• Local leaders meet behind closed doors with Amazon


    On Friday, Amazon showed civic leaders around its headquarters and welcomed members of the Seattle City Council, including Sally Bagshaw.

    After Amazon started looking elsewhere for a second headquarters, Bagshaw spearheaded a letter to the company saying "we would like to hit the refresh button."

    Amazon invited all the people who signed Bagshaw's letter to discussions about Seattle's affordability, transportation, education, and business environment.

    Business and education leaders were also invited, but not the public or the press.


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    KIRO 7 asked Bagshaw if the public's business was being done behind closed doors.

    "That is such a wonderful question to ask," she replied. "What I'm hopeful is that we have this conversation, establish relationships, then bring the meetings back here to City Hall."

    Toby Nixon of the Washington Coalition for Open Government noted that five of nine council members were on Amazon's list of participants: Bagshaw, Rob Johnson, Bruce Harrell, M. Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold.

    KIRO 7 only spotted Bagshaw, Johnson and Herbold arriving.

    Nixon says the attendance of all five might have violated state law.

    "They're having a pretty significant discussion that's of great public concern and to say they're just going to have that meeting in secret is not consistent with the spirit of the Open Public Meetings Act," Nixon said.

    City Councilmember Kshama Sawant said, "The public should find it troubling that elected officials, who have been elected by votes of ordinary people, are having a private meeting with billionaire interests."

    King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski attended Amazon's meeting, but said it should have been open.

    "I believe the public and the press to the extent they want to watch and report out, we all benefit by that," Dembowski said.

    Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan planned to send a top representative from her office.

    A spokeswoman for the mayor said she did not know if Durkan had met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, or other top company executives, since taking office.

    >> Read more about the HQ2 short-list decision here.

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