Mayor Harmon calls for boycott of Amazon despite company’s investment in SLO

February 22, 2019

Mayor Heidi Harmon

Even though Amazon employs workers in the city of San Luis Obispo and contributes millions of dollars to the local economy, SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon has called for a boycott of the online retail giant. [Cal Coast Times]

“I am the mayor of San Luis Obispo and am leaving Amazon as a customer and want to call on other mayors to do the same,” Harmon stated in a Feb. 5 tweet.

Along with the tweet, Harmon posted a photo of herself holding her Amazon Prime card. In the tweet, Harmon also asked for assistance from a local business and anti-monopolization advocate on how to “amplify this message.”

About a week later, Amazon abandoned a plan to construct a secondary headquarters in New York City following stiff opposition from progressives to a deal struck between the company and the city. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district neighbors the site of the proposed headquarters, was one of the leaders of the opposition to Amazon coming to New York.

Harmon has since tweeted support for Ocasio-Cortez and has issued a statement saying Amazon is “destroying our downtowns and having a negative impact on our communities.” The San Luis Obispo mayor also said in the statement that the abandoned deal with New York City is an opportunity for everyone to consider breaking up with Amazon. [Tribune]

“Amazon’s Valentine’s Day break-up with New York city is the perfect time for us all to consider breaking up with Amazon and rekindling our relationship with local small businesses,” Harmon said. “While there may be some benefits to Amazon, it’s time to put the long term economic viability of our local community over the short term economic gains of a few.”

The online retail giant operates a branch office in San Luis Obispo. A company spokesperson told the Tribune that Amazon has created more than 130 direct, high-paying jobs in SLO County.

Amazon invested more than $33 million in the city of SLO last year alone and paid more than $25 million in compensation to its employees, the spokesperson said. The $33 million investment in the city includes spending on infrastructure, employee compensation and funds Amazon spends locally to keep the San Luis Obispo office running.

Additionally, Amazon is currently hiring for 20 positions. Many of the employees who work in Amazon’s SLO office are Cal Poly graduates in computer science who develop software for platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace and Prime.

Amazon also says its investments have contributed to the creation of 240 additional jobs in SLO, since its employees spend money in the community and the company contracts with many local businesses that have become its suppliers.


$33 Million for the number of jobs stated not so crazy, if the average software developer makes $140,000 – $150,000 per year. Then add bennies.

So I gather the mayor would prefer 350 less jobs in town? Really?

As far as rents, when you import a minimum of 4 Million illegal immigrants (which means its probably at least 6 Million) to our State; and hundreds of thousands of the top 5% on the other (H1B Visa’s); what do you expect?


Amazon’s claims of monetary benefit to slo make no more sense than our colorful mayor. $33 million for what? Who knows, but it seems preposterous. Also, their claimed compensation of $25 mil for 130 people comes out to more than $190,000 per employee average. That’s a crock. Most of the programmers are kids recently out of school, and even in the tech world probably don’t make half that. Maybe another example of corporate fibbing?


Kinda like when county employee, Cassandra DeSpain, gets ups and says she earns so little as to be able to qualify for Section 8 housing, but then we find out it only because she is using a loophole to wrongfully except the benefit and she actually makes $58,626 and $74,828 in total compensation?

nazbol gang

This is the first time I’ve agreed with the crazy Mayor of weed town. Amazon MegaCorps overburden infrastructure while paying no taxes to make up for it. Just look at Dublin. Renting a studio apartment there is now a luxury. 50,000 A year jobs mean nothing if youre paying 3,000 a month for a pot to piss in. Their warehouse workers wear electronic tracking devices to make sure they don’t take a break for too long, and are making bottom dollar. The managers count the days when they can replace the Cal Poly nerds with cheap H1B’s from Pakistan and the warehouse workers with cheap cheap illegal immigrants. “Investment”, I don’t think they are using that word properly. Amazon is a small vision of the future neo-liberal hellscape that awaits us.


Doesn’t she know that most people are struggling with the cost of living in SLO? So why not drive downtown and create emissions while trying to find a parking space. Then having to walk some distance and return with your merchandise only to find a parking ticket on your windshield because you had to walk so far to shop. And then when you get home you discovered that you could have purchased the same item from Amazon for 20% less and had free delivery the next day. Heidi oh Heidi will you ever learn anything you poor soul.


This is what dumb and dumber means….now we may not have more good paying jobs for our Cal Ploy talent pool. This is our leader…she is leading our city down a losing path!! She and the City Council needs to be replaced by politicians who really care about what is happening to our city.


When did Amazon become the whipping boy for democrats?….and why?….its as if we are headed towards a brick wall and Heidi and other elected people in California have the peddle pinned on the metal….I do not get it…is this where the rank and file democrat is today?…


I don’t live in SLO city, but someone should start a recall campaign!


Busineses are leaving downtown SLO in droves. The city needs the sales tax revenue and Heidi thinks trashing Amazon will cause people to shop downtown.

The reason people are not shopping downtown is primarily because there is no parking, and no most people are not going to bike to downtown SLO to shop. I left Bank of America because the new downtown SLO branch has ¼ the parking spaces of the old spot and about 1/3 of those spaces available are for electric vehicles only.

Instead of boycotting Amazon, why not boycott downtown SLO?

nazbol gang

Oh boo hoo no parking. Give me convenience or give me death!


I park my pickup in those spots when i go to B of A and the ones that are for some ride group, not a problem.


Doesn’t she has any actual work to do, given that she is the Mayor of San Luis Obispo?