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(Full disclosure: I’ve written three short e-books for Amazon’s Kindle Singles program — you should read them — and occasionally get Seinfeldesque “Super Terrific Happy Hour“-size double-digit penny checks from them.) None were more enthusiastic than civic cheerleader-in-chief Mayor Kenney. and Canadian city (even places such as Tulsa — really?But in a shocking and completely unexpected development, Philadelphia turned out to not the only North American city to see itself as the perfect mate for Amazon. ) announced that it would be bidding, aggressively, for the Amazon HQII.Do we really want to screw over the city’s long-suffering schoolkids and working-class taxpayers for the kind of deal that would make the world’s second-richest man even richer?You know what city isn’t bidding for Amazon’s 50,000 new jobs? Maybe that’s because skyrocketing rents and condo prices and the din of non-stop construction have ruined neighborhoods in what used to be one of the most livable middle-class cities in America. In Philadelphia, gentrification and rising rent-and-home prices have certainly been an issue, but nothing like what they’ve seen in places such as Seattle or San Francisco.Having said all that, I’m not against Philadelphia wooing Amazon — but on our terms.
All to win a competition based not on what Bezos can do for you, but on what you can do for Bezos (currently the world’s second-richest man, just behind Microsoft’s Bill Gates, with a reported net worth of billion). Yes, we do, according to a lot of my Twitter pals, even those who normally tend to be cynical about the power of massive corporations and billionaires such as Bezos but who immediately jumped on the Amazon-to-Philly bandwagon.
And while the city has two ideal sites for an Amazon campus on paper, in reality the Navy Yard desperately needs the subway link that officials have dilly-dallied over for years, while the Schuylkill Yards between 30th Street Station and Drexel University doesn’t even have the giant platform that it needs to be built atop.