From Angie Sullivan in Nevada, where the rich play, kep taxes low, and are privatizing the public schools:
“Some of the most wealthy people in the world live in Nevada.
What do billionaires and business people do for fun in Nevada?
Reform public education of course!
What do Casino Tycoon Elaine Wynn, Amazon.com Jeff Bezos, and Zappos Tony Hsieh have in common? Teach for America and ALEC inspired education reform. The return on investment model should be applied everywhere!
All this experimentation with public education – without research or time tested results , wouldn’t bother me so much if the situation were not so financially dire in the State of Nevada. Last in the nation in funding, huge at-risk populations, and limited funds to siphon for billionaire fly-by-night ideas.
Did you know that Nevada will vote on a 2% tax on businesses earning $1 million or more in November 2014? This has our education reforming billionaires really twisted. Nevada is one of the few states that does not tax corporations. This attracts billionaires who are adverse to paying . . . anything.
Did you know that Jeff Bezos the founder and CEO of Amazon.com has a warehouse outside of Fernley, Nevada in the desert?
Did you know that this ecommerce company pays taxes based on location of warehouse?
Did you know that Amazon.com has a history of union-busting and treating labor poorly to maximize income?
Did you know that Amazon.com is a known tax evader and does all it can to not pay its fair share?
Did you know Jeff Bezos belonged to ALEC and ALEC aided him with his Amazon.com loopholes?
Did you know that Jeff Bezos is really excited by charter schools, privatization and union-busting? Bad news for public schools.
Did you know that Amazon.com bought Zappos?
Did you know that Tony Hsieh is the founder and still works at Zappos – which is now located in downtown Las Vegas – revitalizing the area?
Did you know that Tony Hsieh is involved with Teach for America and plans to continue to bring at least 1,000 TFA to Vegas?
Teach for America are young and excited but they aren’t trained to be teachers – unless you think a few weeks is enough. 150 Teach for America were hired in Vegas at the same time 1400 fully licensed Teachers were pink slipped resulting in union-busting.
Did you know TFA mingle with Zappos employees, even going on spring break trips and retreats together?
Did you know that Victor Wakefield, Executive Director of Teach for America, is married to Nevada State School board member (former TFA) Alexis Gonsalez-Black, Zappos?
Did you know that Elaine Wynn, Casino Tycoon, and Tony Hsieh, Zappos donated heavily to the Nevada State Election Campaigns of Alexis Gonsalez-Black and Allison Serafin? President Elaine Wynn, Alexis Gonsalez-Black and Allison Serafin who all have connections to big money and Teach for America sit on the Nevada State Education Board. Hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars spent on unpaid board seats — one has to ask . . . why?
Did you know that during the last legislative session the NV assembly prevented TFA from receiving additional tax payer funds for its non-profit. And TFA then went to CCSD and asked for additional funds – this was rejected. And then TFA went to the City of Las Vegas – and received money from the city . . . unprecedented “education funding” to a cash flushed non-profit? Public Schools recently endured one billion in budget cuts but there is money for this?
Did you know that Teach for America is becoming a major political player and national campaign contributor – as a non-profit?
Did you know that Governors in other states refused to give TFA money because they had so much? $350 million in net assets.
Did you know that education philantrophy makes a nice non-profit tax shelter.
Did you know that Elaine Wynn is President of the National Non-Profit Communities in Schools- which declares an unbelievable and most likely unprovable – drop out prevention (return on business investment) success story?
Wynn donates hundreds of thousands across the nation to Communities in Schools – she is so kind!
And her international $135 million giving to Macau was even cause for investigation! The SEC called the gift suspicious; More suspicious is Wynn’s appointment by the Governor of Reno to the Nevada State School Board while being investigated?
Does anyone see a pattern with these business oriented billionaires and their plans for public schools? When public education is a large portion of the state budget and you are a billionaire partially because of sketchy business practices and tax dodging . . . it makes sense that you want to distract everyone by reforming public schools instead of paying your fair share and funding schools adequately.
Nevada needs the community to vote for the TEI in November 2014.
The high rolling billionaires need to pay their fair share this time around instead of coming up with “great education ideas” that don’t work.
Notes and Links:
Amazon is required to collect the tax only in states where it maintains a physical presence, such as a warehouse. But Amazon now is supporting the bill, which has passed the Senate and is pending in the House. State sales taxes no longer pose a real threat to Amazon; with an emphasis on same-day shipping, the company is building distribution warehouses across the country and would have to pay the tax anyway.
The Bezos Family Foundation — whose board includes Bezos, his parents and other family members — gave more than $11 million in 2011 to an array of national organizations such as Teach for America, Stand for Children and the KIPP Foundation, according to tax filings. The foundation also gave grants to scores of individual schools around the country as well as several charter school chains, including Uncommon Schools, which operates schools in New York and Massachusetts.
1600 Newlands Dr E
Fernley, NV 89408
Fulfillment and Warehouse Centers
We receive, pack, and ship tens of millions of items from our global network of fulfillment centers.
* New Castle, Delaware
* Coffeyville, Kansas
* Campbellsville, Kentucky
* Hebron, Kentucky
* Lexington, Kentucky
* Fernley, Nevada
* Red Rock, Nevada
* Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
* Carlisle, Pennsylvania
* Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
* Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
Close of facility in Red Rock, Nevada – Fernley still opened
Amazon are Union Busters
Amazon have a little-reported, but undeniable record of preventing their work force from unionising. In 2001, Amazon.co.uk hired a US management consultancy organisation, The Burke Group, to assist in defeating a campaign by the Graphical, Paper and Media Union (GPMU, now part of Unite the Union) to achieve recognition in the Milton Keynes distribution depot. It was alleged that the company sacked four union members during the 2001 recognition drive and held a series of captive meetings with employees.
Tax dodging and union busting
Amazon’s workplace practices have come under fire in recent years. News outlets have detailed everything from the exhausting nature of warehouse work (employees can walk as much as 15 miles daily) to ambulances waiting outside a facility to collect workers who overheated because of a lack of air conditioning. Warehouse workers in Germany have walked out several times over wage issues. Some later traveled to Seattle to picket in front of Amazon’s headquarters.
Read more: How Amazon Crushed the Union Movement | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2014/01/16/how-amazon-crushed-the-union-movement/#ixzz2tHJIic4x
Purchase of Wasington Post
Bezo’s Politics called into questions
Donations to keep from being taxed
Family big support’s of charter schools
Donations on both sides of the aisle.
Donation to gay marriage equality
Donations to various candidates
Donations to defeat taxes
But what has not made news is Bezos’ careful activism on behalf of big business and some of the richest Americans. In 2010, a coalition of Washington state public interest groups, teachers and socially minded wealthy Americans like Hanauer and Bill Gates Sr. supported Initiative 1098, which would have established the first-ever income tax in the state. If passed, the initiative would’ve established a tax on adjusted gross income for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and $400,000 on married couples or domestic partners. By taxing high-income Washingtonians, the initiative would also have allowed for a reduction in property taxes and the expansion of certain business tax credits.
Amazon has also taken heat for its membership in ALEC—the American Legislative Executive Council—a corporate-funded group that backs right-wing politicians. ALEC also drafts and promotes laws like those that effectively disenfranchised large numbers of minority voters, the “Stand Your Ground” legislation that has resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and a number of other people, and the anti-union laws brought to national attention by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
And Amazon was behind the curve in withdrawing from ALEC, lagging well behind companies such as KFC, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Intuit, McDonald’s, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods. Most of these companies left ALEC more than a month ago, when revelations about its role in “Stand Your Ground” gave renewed momentum to demands that corporations leave it.
But then, ALEC has treated Amazon very well. It has defended the “Amazon loophole” that allows online sellers to avoid charging sales taxes the way other businesses do. This unfair advantage has given Amazon a lot more clout against neighborhood bookstores and retail book chains—clout it has used to drive many of them out of business.
Bezos is a libertarian who reportedly exults in the fact that Amazon’s loophole prevents the government from collecting taxes. He appears to exemplify a certain kind of Internet or computer entrepreneur—call them “digital libertarians”—who can be visionaries in technological and cultural ways and yet blind to social and economic realities.
Privatization and Union-Busting
There’s one area where Bezos has been hyper-active, but it is largely unknown to the general public: education reform. A look at the Bezos Family Foundation, which was founded by Jackie and Mike Bezos but is financed primarily by Jeff Bezos, reveals a fairly aggressive effort in recent years to press forward with a neoliberal education agenda:
• The Bezos Foundation has donated to Education Reform Now, a nonprofit organization that funds attack advertisements against teachers’ unions and other advocacy efforts to promote test-based evaluations of teachers. Education Reform Now also sponsors Democrats for Education Reform.
• The Bezos Foundation provided $500,000 to NBC Universal to sponsor the Education Nation, a media series devoted to debating high-stakes testing, charter schools and other education reforms.
• The Bezos Foundation provided over $100,000 worth of Amazon stock to the League of Education Voters Foundation to help pass the education reform in Washington State. Last year, the group helped pass I-1240, a ballot measure that created a charter school system in Washington State. In many states, charter schools open the door for privatization by inviting for-profit charter management companies to take over public schools that are ostensibly run by nonprofits.
Other education philanthropy supported by the Bezos Foundation include KIPP, Teach for America and many individual charter schools, including privately funded math and science programs across the country.
But will Bezos’ interest in changing education policy affect his control of the Post? Only time will tell.
The most troubling part of Amazon’s record, as it might relate to Bezos’ ownership of thePost, is Amazon’s December 2010 decision to shut down WikiLeaks’s server access after the group published a trove of State Department cables. Robert McChesney, citing Amazon’s move to pull the plug on WikiLeaks, released a statement today condemning the sale.
Tony Hsieh – Zappos
acquisition closed on November 1, at a valuation of $1.2 billion (based on Amazon’s stock price on the day of closing). Our investors at Sequoia made $248 million. Our board was replaced by a management committee that includes me, Jeff, two Amazon executives, and two Zappos executives. As CEO, I report to the committee every quarter, and Zappos is responsible for hitting revenue and profitability numbers. But unlike our former board of directors, our new management committee seems to understand the importance of our culture — the “social experiments” — to our long-term success. In fact, one Amazon distribution center recently began experimenting with its own version of Zappos’s policy of paying new employees $2,000 to quit if they’re unhappy with their jobs.
The acquisition closed on November 1, at a valuation of $1.2 billion (based on Amazon’s stock price on the day of closing). Our investors at Sequoia made $248 million. Our board was replaced by a management committee that includes me, Jeff, two Amazon executives, and two Zappos executives. As CEO, I report to the committee every quarter, and Zappos is responsible for hitting revenue and profitability numbers. But unlike our former board of directors, our new management committee seems to understand the importance of our culture — the “social experiments” — to our long-term success. In fact, one Amazon distribution center recently began experimenting with its own version of Zappos’s policy of paying new employees $2,000 to quit if they’re unhappy with their jobs.
Four years ago today on July 22, 2009, Amazon.com finalized an agreement to acquire Zappos.com for $807 million. Since both of these internet-based retail companies have a global reputation for their customer-centric missions and associated fanatic customer loyalty, the union of Amazon and Zappos was logical, expected, and controversy-free. By all reports today is an anniversary of AmaZappian bliss for leaders Jeff Bezos and Tony Hsieh, who have both been busy leveraging their success over the past four years.
As Zappos prepares to relocate to downtown Las Vegas, its growing list of investments in the area now includes more than $1 million to lure dedicated teachers to the area’s schools.
Teach For America, which trains teachers to work in schools that serve children from households in poverty, will receive a donation of $300,000 from the company and $1.2 million from CEO Tony Hsieh.
Allison Serafin, a special consultant to Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones, also went through Teach For America’s program after graduating from Texas Christian University in political science and social work.
“It completely changed my life,” Serafin said. “I was able to see firsthand through the experience of teaching my sixth-graders that the students were brilliant and capable.”
Serafin, who works by contract with the School District, called Teach For America one of “many excellent partners who share the same commitment to students … and a commitment that all children can achieve.”
Zappos Spring Break – Teach for America
What is it?
The Teach For America – Las Vegas Valley & the Zappos Family of Companies Alternative Spring Break is intended to spark bold, new innovations that expand opportunities and close the achievement gap in the Las Vegas Valley community. Applicants will submit a response to one of three challenges being posed via video by three Las Vegas Valley corps members. Twenty five students from across the country will be selected and will be invited to join Teach For America- Las Vegas Valley, the Zappos Family of Companies, and Las Vegas Valley community leaders for an all expenses paid alternative spring break trip to the Las Vegas Valley in March. Programming will be Monday to Friday (with travel on Sunday, the 18th and Saturday, the 24th) and will include travel, all meals, activities, and housing, which will be with current Las Vegas Valley corps members. Participants will continue the spirit of social innovation and tackle community, school, and business challenges in Las Vegas with the Zappos Family of Companies, Teach For America corps members and staff, and other Las Vegas Valley community leaders.
According to a 2009 USA Today article, Teach For America has been criticized by opponents who claim that the program replaces experienced teachers with brand-new employees who have had only five weeks of training during the summer and are brought in at beginners’ salary levels. John Wilson, executive director of the National Education Association, sent a memo in May 2009 stating that union leaders were “beginning to see school systems lay off teachers and then hire Teach For America college grads due to a contract they signed.” Wilson went on to say that Teach For America brings in “the least-prepared and the least-experienced teachers” into low-income schools and makes them “the teacher of record.”
Fixing Cities: Fixing the world
For Hsieh, though, this was part of the appeal. Transforming downtown Vegas would “ultimately help us attract and retain more employees for Zappos.” For the city itself, it would “help revitalize the economy.” More important, it would “inspire,” a word Hsieh uses often. Hsieh closed his presentation at the faux log cabin high above the desert with the sort of fact he seems to always have on hand: up to 75 percent of the world’s population will call cities home in our lifetime. “So,” he concluded, “if you fix cities, you kind of fix the world.”
1,000 Teach for America Core Members
But now, he has to build the neighborhood. Much of the plans are already in the works. Plans are being finalized for 21,000 square feet of “co-working” space along the lines of General Assembly in New York. The small business development team is exploring building a back-office technology platform that the mom and pop shops can share to handle accounting, inventory, payroll and the like. Hsieh has made a $1.5 million deal with Teach for America to bring 1,000 core members and alumni to live and teach in the area. He is talking to the creators of the Burning Man festival about supplying art to the neighborhood. Party buses? He and his team are in the process of acquiring and revamping a dozen. Oh, and Hsieh is also part of a group trying to buy the Las Vegas 51s, the farm team; cue the new stadium plans.
There remains but one question for us to answer, dear reader: is there a way for the tax payers of Nevada to increase their stake in the excellence project that is Teach for America? Good news again. In his state-of-the-union address, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced that the state is ponying up $2 million to bring still more TFA recruits to the Sagebrush State. Of course not everyone here is rolling out the welcome mat for the excellence express. Take the residents of Towne Terrace, a down-at-the-heels apartment complex in downtown Las Vegas, purchased by Zappos magnate (and Alexis Gonzales-Black employer) Tony Hseih who dreams of repopulating the entire area with more than 1,000 TFA corps members and alum. Except that the residents of the Towne Terrace made it exceedingly clear that they had no interest in being evicted to make way for excellence. Oh well, next time…
In addition to this week’s activities and the recruiters’ conference in May, our local TFA team has more excitement to look forward to in the very near future. They’ll be welcoming their new corps members for induction week during June and will be relocating their offices to Downtown in July.
Holacracy Implementation Team
Las Vegas, Nevada (Las Vegas, Nevada Area) Human Resources
$50million in education initiatives? Downtown Projects
Victor Wakefield ( married to Alexis Gonzales-Blavk) TFA Leadership Nevada
Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers to Las Vegas is an important aspect of Downtown Project’s education initiatives as it partners with Teach for America. “The largest ingredient in school quality, just like in urban success, is human capital—the talents of the teachers,” writes Glaeser. It’s a sentiment echoed by Victor Wakefield, executive director of Teach for America-Las Vegas Valley.
Nevada funding for cash flush TFA
Elaine Wynn Chair National Communities in Schools
Mrs. Wynn has been a member of the Communities In Schools’ board of directors since 2000, assuming the Chair position in 2007. Under Mrs. Wynn’s leadership, the organization has focused on data-driven results, including the release of a five-year, third-party evaluation, a return on investment report, and annual program results demonstrating that the organization’s cost-effective model is effective in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
Kazuo Okada, a co-founder of Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) who is locked in a legal battle with his former partner Steve Wynn, accused the company of making a “suspicious” $135 million donation to a Macau university.