EAST PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) – Residents staged a protest in front of Amazon’s new offices in East Palo Alto Thursday, accusing the company and city leaders for not promoting hiring in the community.
Most of the community believes residents won’t ever be on the inside of the company’s shiny new offices on University Avenue, despite the company reportedly adding about 1,300 jobs.
“It’s wrong that a community that has grown up here isn’t able to take advantage of the development when things come,” Carina Buston of East Palo Alto told KPIX 5. “And a lot of technologists are moving here and our local community can no longer afford to live here.”
The divide between the haves and have nots is only growing with Amazon’s move, according to resident Kyra Brown.
“If you look at how this building is structured there’s parking here, there’s the building itself, and then there’s this ramp in the middle,” Brown explained. “So people who work here don’t really have to interact with the community and I also think that’s a problem.”
Many members from the Real Community Coalition also called out the city. The East Palo Alto City Council allowed Amazon to sidestep a rule that requires companies to make a good faith effort to hire 30 percent of its employees locally.
In exchange, amazon has agreed to open a job center to help locals prepare for and find jobs at Amazon and in the region.
J.T. Faraji of the coalition is upset Amazon won’t give locals a shot.
“Why won’t you let us come to the plate and swing at the ball,” Faraji said.