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Generic, Gentrified, Expensive 

Last week's cover story took a hard look at the region's bid for Amazon's HQ2 and asked if we really wanted it. Commenter JTt emphatically does not. "Raleigh-Durham has a population of about two million," JTt writes. "We're looking at a potentially 5 percent increase from this single thing alone in the span of a few years. What do you think is going to happen? 

"Any city that gets this is irreversibly transformed. It is too big not to. Personally I love Raleigh. I don't think I would like Raleigh-Amazon at all. Massive traffic. Out of control housing prices. Even more clear-cut subdivisions with fifty of the exact same house. Do we have fifty thousand skilled laborers sitting around doing nothing all day, waiting for a job? Of course not. So a lot of that is new residents. Also the fifty thousand new people [doesn't include] all the other people for supporting jobs at restaurants, hotels, other services, etc. It's probably seventy-five thousand to one hundred thousand new people. Bump that to 125,000, including kids and spouses. 

"I'm for growth, but you have to consider what such a big hit would do. I like the growth of my family—but I'm not about to adopt octuplets. Regional leaders need to ask themselves what their purpose is, what their role is, and what they are working toward. Is it economic growth as fast as possible and as big as possible at the expense of all else? Or is it slower, more gradual growth while maintaining the culture, flavor, and uniqueness of the region? 'Cause all of that will be gone."

Mark Neill argues that concerns over Amazon's impact on Raleigh are overstated, because that impact will be spread throughout the Triangle: "While much of this is a valid concern, almost all of the analysis done on the impact of adding fifty thousand above-average-salary people (and whatever families that includes) was done before Amazon clarified that, by Raleigh, they meant the RTP area, and it seems to make the assumption that all fifty thousand people will, for some ridiculous reason, live in Raleigh proper.

"It's more likely that Amazon sites in RTP, but even if they are in Raleigh proper, a significant number of those people will choose to commute, and live in Garner, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, and Wake Forest. I'd be surprised if more than 60 percent of the new jobs would choose to stay in Raleigh itself."

Drawing on his experience in Seattle, Jeffrey David Zacko-Smith writes that "Anyone who thinks Amazon coming here is all good is a fool. First, I saw what they did to Seattle (resident from 1995–2008)—generic, gentrified, and expensive (of course, other tech companies contributed to this as well). Second, what pay is associated with the fifty thousand workers being added? We have low housing inventory under $400,000, and builders/developers are only building at that price point and above for some odd reason (homes over that—especially $500,000 and above—are sitting on the market)."

Finally, commenter LT looks askance at a story in last week's paper on why you should forgo Dry January: "Don't you dare shame people for making decisions about getting their alcohol use in check because of someone else's bottom line. This article is ridiculous.

"As a clinician, I can tell you that it is indeed recommended for regular drinkers to take a serious abstinence period. It tells you something about your relationship with alcohol; it gives your tolerance a chance to recover. You don't feel the same at week one, two, or three. January is a good time for people because it is when people reassess. And they aren't making resolutions they won't keep, just doing a realignment. Some people discover that they need to stop altogether. Some people expand their non-drinking activities and keep them up. For whatever reason, they do it, it is their right. If you want to advocate for service workers, how about focusing on the living wage and health care?"

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