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The Boston Globe issues challenge to Bezos; ‘reshape our city’


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 16, 2017 | 4 min read

The Boston Globe has set a challenge to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos ahead of it announcing its choice for a US city to house its second headquarters, to help the city propser.

Amazon, Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

With just two weeks to go for contenders to put forward their ideas to Amazon as to what would make their North American city the best choice for a new second HQ, employing up to 50,000 people, the Boston Globe yesterday put forward a dramatic four-page challenge to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos:

“You asked cities like ours to think big. We should and we will. But we challenge you, Jeff Bezos, as the founder and chief executive of Amazon, to also think big , and redefine how a corporation can help shape a city.”

The Globe spelled out the problem: “We need the creativity and the resources of one of the world’s most innovative companies backing Boston as it tackles the challenges of our 21st century city: Expensive housing. Crowded roads and rails. A mixed bag of public schools that leave too many children behind.”

There was no mention in the message of Harvard and MIT and the enormous tidal wave of talent that is the biggest plus point of the Massachusetts capital.

Said the Globe, “We need you. too. to help us address a yawning gap between haves and have-nots that endangers the ret of what we do here. The tech economy has helped deepen inequality in many cities.

“You could chase bigger tax breaks and cheaper real estate in any number of other cities. But how about a true partnership that reimagines the relationship between between a city and the big companies it hosts?”

“If you choose Boston as your second home, help make our city better for those of us who already live here.”

The Globe sets out what it calls three “right-now problems .

On transportation it says bluntly, “You can’t get there from here.” The Globe claimed that getting around the city was “not for the faint of heart” and goes on, “Between the troubled T (commuter rail) and our tangled roads. commuting can be one of the most frustrating parts of life in Boston.”

Next question up was Housing. “Where is everyone supposed to live?” asked the Globe. ‘ Boston already has some of the most expensive housing in the country. “So if you’re coming, let’s get building.”

On Education, the headline was “Help wanted: Our kids, your future employees.”

The Globe wrote: “Schools already do a poor job of education many students in urban district and automation almost certainly will accelerate the inequality of opportunities.”

Thank Big, added the newspaper. The business community with Amazon at the helm should lead a fund-raising campaign tapping private and public sources to deliver $1bn over four years to invest in education and training in Massachusetts.

The Globe was clearly playing devil’s advocate to ensure that the undoubted enthusiasm for the mega-project doesn’t carry us all away. As columnist Shirley Leung notes dryly, “All this genuflecting over Amazon is a bit much.”

Still the real positive kicker is still in the tail: “With three medical schools and 13 teaching hospitals , Boston trains more doctors per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.” Also, “two 2017 Nobel prizewinners live and work here … so do two more who won last year.”

This section of the article appears under the simple heading, “Brag Box.”

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