LR told D.C. before it told city residents it wasn't going after Amazon | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 19, 2017

LR told D.C. before it told city residents it wasn't going after Amazon

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 10:18 AM

click to enlarge MAYOR STODOLA: Decked out for the spurning of Amazon. - RUSS RACOP
  • Russ Racop
  • MAYOR STODOLA: Decked out for the spurning of Amazon.
wpo.jpg
Little Rock told Amazon it wouldn't be applying as a site for a new headquarters in a full-page ad published in this morning's Washington Post, Page 7A.

It can be found on a website apparently built by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.  It says all those new employees would be a "bummer," given our current light traffic.  Our transit options fit the city perfectly, it said.  We're irresistible to others, the ad says, and adds:

"If another expansion opportunity comes up and you’re ready to join the visionaries, dreamers, romantics and the idealists who know that bigger isn’t always better, give us a call. We would love to find a way to make “us” work out."

This is called making lemonade. But why did Mayor Mark Stodola make a to-do about going after Amazon if he wasn't? Apart from an election next year, that is. Anybody with any sense knew that it was a bridge too far for Arkansas, which isn't to say, as the chamber means to emphasize, that other perfectly fine businesses are out of reach. Nor is it to say we don't have much to offer. But being realistic counts, too.

The news today is that Little Rock now has what Mayor Stodola called a "social media war room" pumping out positive stuff 24/7 about Little Rock via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so forth. Still awaiting details on cost. That's some tech development for somebody, anyway. Lance Turner at Arkansas Business says Stone Ward turned out the campaign structure in nine days, pro bono.

The website rounds up the many reasons to love LR.

The full text of the letter in the Post, chosen because it's owned by the guy, Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon.

HEY AMAZON,
WE NEED TO TALK.

It’s not you, it’s us.

We know, we know, when you originally sent out your offer for cities to send in proposals for your future HQ2, we were all over it.

After all, you’re Amazon. You’re smart, sexy, and frankly, incredibly rich. And thanks to our booming business environment, tech-savvy workforce, diverse, creative culture and flourishing downtown, there are a lot of reasons why we’d be great together.
But when we started really thinking about what our future would look like, we realized it would probably never work out between us.

You want 50,000 employees for your new campus. We have a sizable, resourceful workforce, but if we were to concentrate them here, it would be a bummer. Our lack of traffic and ease of getting around would be totally wrecked, and we can’t sacrifice that for you.

You want on-site mass transit at HQ2. Here, there are many transit options that fit our city perfectly, and thanks to our compact urban footprint, many of our residents can easily get to the office on foot, on a bike or just by a quick drive. It would be cool if we could offer that, but we simply can’t do that just to make you happy.

Amazon, you’ve got so much going for you, and you’ll find what you’re looking for. But it’s just not us.

We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks, coupled with our brains for business, irresistible.

If another expansion opportunity comes up and you’re ready to join the visionaries, dreamers, romantics and the idealists who know that bigger isn’t always better, give us a call. We would love to find a way to make “us” work out.

We wish you all the success in the world.

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