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Desert Hot Springs mayor reacts to mention of city in leaked Amazon memo on PR strategy

A leaked internal memo from Amazon posted online this week outlines the company's strategy for growth in Southern California in 2024. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Amazon planned to grow its influence in Southern California through a plethora of efforts that include burnishing its reputation through charity work and pushing back against “labor agitation” from the Teamsters and other groups.

The memo was shared by warehouse worker advocacy group Warehouse Worker Resource Center. News Channel 3 reached out to Amazon, but has been unable to independently verify the memo's authenticity.

Among the goals mentioned in the 8-page document is an effort to improve its public perception surrounding environmental and labor practices, as well as shaping public policy to support its interests.

Part of that process involves a push to "continue to build hyperlocal relationships in cities" where Amazon is opening facilities. The memo mentions continued support for a planned Amazon warehouse in Desert Hot Springs by "earning trust with the Mayor of Desert Hot Springs through a comprehensive deployment of CE {community engagement} support."

News Channel 3 spoke to Mayor Scott Matas about his thoughts on being mentioned in the company memo.

"I read the memo. I'm assuming most corporate companies talk about community engagement. What they want to do to be good partners in communities, so I didn't read too far into it," according to Matas. He added, "I don't know why they singled me out. There's five councilmembers that they would have to impress over time to really support our community, but either way, I'm looking forward to having their company in our community."

The memo also highlights Amazon's pursuit of strengthening relationships with "organizations who can be vocal advocates for Amazon such as Palm Springs Unified School District Foundation."

News Channel 3 reached out to PSUSD for comment, and a spokesperson confirmed PSUSD's only relationship with Amazon, "other than a few times when Amazon has reached out to donate to a school or program directly, is our Foundation."

In a statement, PSUSD's Foundation Director Ellen Goodman stated, "I have never seen and am unaware of this document. The Foundation has never been contacted by Amazon to discuss these strategies nor is the Foundation aware of these efforts."

Watch News Channel 3 at 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. tonight for more on this report.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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