Agreeing on Amazon

I genuinely have next to no interest in the legacy media of the Old Pueblo, especially the Star. But yesterday’s closure of I-10 prompted me to pull up every media outlet I could conceive to find out what on earth precipitated that disaster. (To those hospitalized, I extend wishes for a speedy recovery; to the family and friends of the soul that passed in that collision, I offer condolences.)

While hopscotching from website to website to see if anyone in town had information, I stumbled onto two editorial pieces in the Star: Sarah Gassen asking “Why do we always assume the worst about each other?”, and Tim Steller noting that “Tucson just isn’t an Amazon HQ town.” I could take Gassen to task for her tendency to assume that conservatism in our town has as its only fuel some malevolent intent. But she raises a point. And I can offer an answer: When we in the middle and on the right have been burned again, and again, and again by the leftist politics of this town and the cronyism that fuels the political machine, we have developed a learned reaction to what the leadership says and does.

Which is where I turn to Steller’s concern, also quite valid. And–are you sitting down for this?–I agree. Funnily enough, his piece even agrees with what James T. Harris said on the air last week! We have consensus! Tucson is decidedly not an Amazon HQ town.

Where we differ, however, is in welcoming the opportunity to improve and become such a town.

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To date, we have failed to sustain daily flights to New York. We have failed to improve infrastructure. And we have abjectly, miserably, deplorably failed to wrest even a modicum of power from the sinewy grasp of the Huckelberry/Bronson waste machine and the moneyed interests who empower it.

The scale of an Amazon headquarters-level operation could be a plenary and rapid game-changer for Tucson, improving wages, driving our economy, and–yes–leaving the current Board of Supervisors and City Council vulnerable to replacement. Now, I don’t pretend that the Bezos team members are conservatives, but I do believe that a rising tide floats all boats; breaking the stranglehold of the existing political cabal on this area could afford all of us an unstifled voice.

Sending the saguaro is shameful and a waste of a majestic, beautiful desert sentinel. But, Sun Corridor, feel free to send me. I’d be happy to plead the case for Tucson and cast a Tucson headquarters as an opportunity for a social justice-minded company to take a town ripe for knowledge transfer from a competitive university, and yet, a town suppressed, and use the company’s might to create a better standard of living in that town. I would absolutely provide my résumé–once Amazon opened up job applications, not while trying to woo the company–as would myriad other denizens of the desert who long for better opportunity without having to sever ties to this unique place.

So, rather than assume the worst, I’m going to ask outright: What is your worry, folks? That Tucson might grow? That your chums in office would fall out of power? That you yourselves wouldn’t be able to adapt in a changing city?

Tucson isn’t an Amazon HQ city today, but it could–and should–be tomorrow. The arms of the saguaro aren’t the only arms open to welcome Amazon to Tucson: Mine are, too.