Trending: Jeff Bezos, can you take my return? Inside one of the most unusual Amazon annual meetings ever
Amazon HQ
Amazon says hello from Seattle, and lots of places are saying hello back. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Plenty of cities across North America waved their civic hands in the air on Thursday when Amazon announced its intent to build a second headquarters, complete with massive workforce, somewhere outside of its hometown.

“Pick me, pick me!” said Toronto, Philadelphia, Nashville, Austin and every other place from sea to shining Seattle. How many of those places have a viable chance to land the tech whale remains to be seen and will supposedly depend a lot on the pitches that are made to the company.

But the internet is certainly not waiting around to judge those who are so eager to be judged.

The heftiest conversation on GeekWire is happening on John Cook’s story about the six cities that he thinks might have a legitimate shot. Hundreds of readers have commented, and they’re making sound arguments for how specific regions of the country — Midwest! East Coast! — or locales make the most sense. Others are just arguing about whether Pittsburgh is a better place to live and work than Cleveland.

Richard Florida, an urban studies theorist at the University of Toronto, had a very interesting tweet stream that could leave backers of Washington, D.C.’s chances feeling emboldened. Over the course of 26 tweets, Florida revealed his sleeper picks (Detroit, Pittsburgh, Austin) and top-tier contenders (Toronto, Chicago) and then dispatched them all in favor of the nation’s capital.

From the dense and transit-served urban center to the fact that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post and a $23 million home there, Florida said a D.C. HQ makes strategic sense. It also might just make political sense.

Bezos house
The former Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., scooped up by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. ( Photo)

We saw lots of folks mentioning Detroit in various circles. GeekWire’s real estate and development guy Nat Levy, for one, puts it at the top of his list. The Motor City would certainly be a sentimental favorite for those who like the Midwest option and get depressed over images of cities that have been hardest hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures and the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, is “very excited” and planning a “very strong pitch,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

But an opinion piece in that same newspaper said the city “shot itself in the foot” when voters rejected a ballot proposal to fund significant transit upgrades in the metro region. Amazon doesn’t want its 50,000 high-paid employees sitting in traffic.

“This is what irrelevance feels like,” the piece began. Ouch.

The most original pitch online showed up on Craigslist of all places, where the case for Boulder, Colo., was made in the mw4mw section of the classifieds site, under the headline, “Alexa bring me a multi-national conglomerate to satisfy my everything.”

“Healthy lifestyle is a plus, so bonus points if you own your own chain of health food stores,” the ad read, in a nod to Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition. “Abrazos y Bezos,” it signed off, beautifully.

And finally, calling Amazon’s multinational audition “disgusting” and proof of what extortion of public resources looks like, Splinter said in a headline that Amazon’s next headquarters should be in hell.

Jeff Bezos
LOL! Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (Oscars Photo / via ABC live stream)

Hamilton Nolan writes:

They are in essence conducting a giant beauty pageant in which desperate municipal governments attempt to offer them the most lucrative possible package of public resources. This is not unlike a rich man standing up in the midst of a crowd of beggars and yelling, “Who will massage my feet for the lowest price?”

Whichever city “wins” Amazon’s headquarters will do so by ceding to the enormously powerful company money that should, by normal laws, be going into the public till, to build schools and roads and pay firefighters and do things that support everyone. Instead that money will support Amazon and its shareholders.

Good luck, everyone!

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