Opinion:National commentary on Amazon’s HQ2

Jan 26, 2018
  • By On the Record

From a guest column in The Rome News-Tribune:

The question should be whether we want Amazon. Sure, 50,000 jobs sounds tempting. But the past tells us that most of those employees will be moved here, not hired here. It will be more people in Atlanta traffic, more consumers of interbasin transfer water, more demand that state tax dollars be used to prop up Atlanta transit infrastructure, increased housing costs, more urban and suburban sprawl into Georgia forests and farmland, more strain on landfills. Is all this focus in Atlanta really healthy for our state?

From a Jan. 18 press release by Gov. Nathan Deal’s office:

“We are excited to learn that Atlanta has been included on Amazon’s short list,” said Deal. “This has been a cooperative effort by the entire region, and we truly believe that Metro Atlanta has the talent, transit and logistics that provides the best location for Amazon’s second headquarters. We look forward to the next steps, and making sure our region remains at the top of the list.”

From an editorial in The Charlotte Observer :

Sad news on the economic development front: Charlotte is out of the running to be home to Amazon’s second North American headquarters, HQ2. This is not entirely surprising. While Charlotte certainly had the specs to appeal to Amazon’s honchos, our bid had the distinct feel of a 50-year-old putting on Adidas and a craft brew shirt to look cool to the kids. So the dream is done. It’s OK.

From a column in The Seattle Times:

I don’t have any special knowledge about where Amazon will place its second (for now) headquarters. All I can do is make educated guesses based on what Amazon said it wants and cities I know fairly well.

Thus … I laid down my top picks: Denver, Dallas, New York City, Boston and the D.C. suburbs on rail transit. Toronto if Amazon wants to hedge against Trumpism. Dark horses: Atlanta, the Twin Cities and Pittsburgh. I made the assumption that Amazon wanted to be outside the same time zone as its Seattle base, so didn’t consider West Coast cities.

From a Washington Post guest column:

There’s even evidence that companies may now come to cities who invest in their citizens, not outside investors. (New York City) Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example, made headlines when he refused to simply buy the payroll from the potential 50,000 new Amazon jobs. “We win it based on the talent of our workers and the incredible diversity of industries in this town,” he predicted back in October. “Those are the strengths you can’t buy with tax breaks.”