Amazon, here’s our request

Sep 13, 2017 at 10:37 am

Hey Amazon, thanks in advance if you are considering Louisville as your second North American headquarters. Your company profile is certainly impressive, and any city should be honored to gain your interest and attention.

We already have a working relationship. But before we proceed, it is important that you understand our city. As such, here are some requests we have before build here.

First, we’ve read The New York Times piece about your working conditions and culture, so it’s important you know: That won’t fly here. We’re for hard work, but we’re the “compassionate city,” which means we get to claim compassion when we feel like it — and ignore it when it’s inconvenient. But to be clear — we respect labor.

Now, let’s talk logistics. We just got done realigning our downtown and East End traffic hubs, including construction of two bridges. But, still, our downtown streets seem to close randomly, and we remain confused about how to use turn signals and fast lanes. You can understand how your 50,000 new employees could further jam up things.

So we’d appreciate it if you could bring progressive commuting strategies with you. Like... encourage new employees to live downtown, particularly those who prefer bikes and buses to SUVs.

On a related note, we’ve recently found ourselves in a dispute over whether to charge for parking at Waterfront Park. Some have even suggested raiding the funds designated for park expansion into The West End — which is a horrible thing to propose. If you could just reemphasize (per your RFP) the importance of attracting a diverse population and establishing open spaces, that would really help our current situation.

Third, we’ve got great institutions of higher education — public, private, technical, vocational... you name it. But in recent years scandals have tarnished our major public university, UofL. Thanks to caring, committed civic leaders and journalists, we’ve removed the problem.

What we need from you is to nominate the next UofL president. We need a progressive, visionary leader: Someone who understands future industries and opportunities. We are thinking Jeff Bezos, your CEO, but we are open to your suggestions.

Fourth, we’ve been hearing an awful lot about the increase in property values in Seattle. We’re not placing blame. We’re just saying we don’t want to pay beachfront prices for the banks of the Ohio River. We want you to be comfortable, but we already have an affordable-housing problem.

Finally, it’s important that Amazon understands that we in Louisville are really proud of ourselves. If it was born here, or started here… we’re proud of it. From the Kentucky Derby to Louisville Slugger, restaurants and shops, artists and athletes, we’re proud of our originals. Sometimes that makes us a little… eccentric, but we like to “Keep Louisville Weird” (We know Austin, Texas, invented that slogan first. Shhh!)

The good news for you is that we’ll take Amazon in as our own. We’ll be your biggest supporters and advocates. Somebody gives Amazon a bad Yelp review, and we will be first to your defense.

With one condition: Get your coffee from our Louisville-grown shops, not Starbucks. Sure, everyone needs the occasional fast-food fix, but instead of the mega-chains try our food trucks; instead of Papa John’s — well, bad example — but, you won’t believe the number of local pizza options here…

Similarly, we’re a college town, so leave those pro franchises in the Pacific Northwest. (Unless you’re finally serious about the NBA. Are you serious? Please don’t tease us anymore, NBA…)

And if marijuana is ever legalized, shop at our vape stores. Do you know how much we’ve invested in startup smoke shops? We’re just saying, check those out. Don’t just go on to Amazon and — oh, never mind.

Amazon, Mr. Bezos — once again, we’d like to thank you, if you are considering our city. We really are a welcoming city, and we apologize if our requests come across as needy. It is just that we have spent generations carving out the coolest, weirdest community in the Midwest (or South if you’d prefer). And in recent years, we’ve seen how a carpetbagger, such as Gov. Matt Bevin, can make us feel unwelcome in our own Commonwealth. We just want to make sure that doesn’t happen again in the future.

So if you could also make sure the 50,000 new employees are voters, we’d gladly have your headquarters here. If they’re LEO readers, that would be cool too.