Editor’s Note: Amazon is looking for a site in either the U.S. or Canada to build a second headquarters. The list of potential locations has been narrowed from 238 to 20 cities, including Denver.
The Amazon site will offer employment to as many as 50,000 workers. There likely will be a great population surge into whichever state is chosen, heightening pressure on infrastructures, natural resources, civic institutions, and public spending.
Not every Coloradan supports the idea of Denver as the Amazon city since a large population influx could negatively impact Front Range communities from Colorado Springs south of Denver to Fort Collins north of the metropolitan area.
The following letter states reasons why Colorado should not be seen as a good location.
To Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon Corporation
Dear Mr. Bezos,
Speaking as a former Fort Collins City Councilperson, current member of the Nederland Board of trustees (in Nederland, Colo.), and a longtime Colorado resident, I understand your interest in potentially opening a facility in beautiful, sunny, mile-high Colorado, home to many outstanding communities. For various good reasons, 90,000 good people relocate to Colorado every year. Nevertheless, fiscal and social prudence would have you also consider:
- Many, probably most, new-to-Colorado residents will locate and send their children to school in very close proximity to toxic industrial sites as fracking escalates the degradation of our state. The traditional zoning laws that separate toxic industrial sites from homes and schools have been set aside in Colorado by legislative and executive branches of government heavily influenced by oil and gas money.
- Out-of-control growth has created gridlock on our highways. Our state wants to create more lanes rather than focus on mass transit and innovative solutions. Funding for essential needs has fallen far behind due to gridlock in the state capitol.
- Colorado is mediocre, at best, in its support of el/hi public education. We rank near the bottom in per capita spending on students—in spite of voters’ attempts to correct this under-investment. Class sizes continue to increase.
- Our state is choking on growth.
- As housing prices and rents have soared, there is no affordable housing along the Front Range. The number of homeless children is increasing as a result.
- Water, already a scarce resource, is becoming even scarcer as our population increases and the essential snowpack, our only water source, is decreasing as a result of global warming. Massive dams that will choke our rivers are being planned.
- Too many vehicles and, as well, methane emissions from fracking make it risky to exercise outside most summer afternoons because of ozone pollution.
- Inadequate environmental regulations are not protecting public health and safety.
You have a reputation as a caring and responsible person. I urge you to turn down all tax incentives being offered since our state and especially our struggling local community needs exceed yours. Please seek a location where your business would be a boon, rather than a burden, to the people of the state.
- New York Times: Amazon chooses 20 finalists for the second headquarters.
- USA Today: Pros and cons of the 20 finalists.
- Denver Post: What Denver offered Amazon.