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VOSD Podcast: Behind San Diego's Pitch to Amazon

On this week’s podcast, hosts Sara Libby, Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis demystify the Amazon bidding war by talking to Mark Cafferty, head of the nonprofit that put together the pitch to attract the billion-dollar business to San Diego.

Image via Shutterstock

San Diego has thrown its hat in the ring to become Amazon’s second home.

Last month, more than 200 cities in the country submitted proposals to host Amazon’s second headquarters, where the company plans to create 50,000 jobs and invest $5 billion.

San Diego offered multiple options – including Mission Valley, downtown and Chula Vista — and highlighted the region’s diverse community and proximity to the U.S-Mexico border. The city of Chula Vista even threw in a $400 million incentive package to sweeten the deal.

On this week’s podcast, hosts Andrew Keatts, Scott Lewis and Sara Libby demystify the Amazon bidding war by talking to Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the nonprofit that took the lead on putting together the proposal.

Cafferty discussed what goes into a proposal like this, San Diego’s strengths that got touted in the pitch (we’ve got an educated workforce and California is nice and sunny) and the region’s admitted weaknesses, like our mediocre transit system and a high cost of living.

Cafferty also said winning the bidding war and having Amazon open in San Diego would be good, but that it could come with some major strings attached.

“Whoever gets this is going to have to be putting in decades worth of urban planning around it,” he said. “How would you accommodate 50,000 people, and how would you build a much better, if not a world-class transit system?”

Also on the podcast, Libby, Lewis and Keatts talk about how some local families are spending $500 a year or more on San Diego Unified school bus fees. And if they don’t pay, the district refers them to a collection agency.

Hero of the Week

Our hero this week is Pat Finn. After years working at KPBS and organizing the public radio station’s Roundtable news segment, Finn is leaving her full-time gig, but will still do some freelance work.

Goat of the Week

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells gets the goat this week after claiming that nearly all homelessness is linked to drug or alcohol abuse. We fact checked his statement and found it false.

  Stream it now

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