TUCSON – News stories in the local Tucson media put a positive spin on Amazon’s announcement that it is building a 270,000 square foot “sortation” center near the Tucson airport, which will create hundreds of jobs paying a starting wage of $15 per hour.
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry said, “Amazon’s newest location, adjacent to the Tucson International Airport, will bring new jobs to the airport area, a key employment zone in our region. This is a testament to the advantages Pima County has to offer as a logistics hub.”
As will be shown momentarily, this is Huckleberry hokum.
First, as background, Huckleberry is the highest-paid county administrator in the history of mankind and has ruled his fiefdom longer than the Ming Dynasty ruled—a slight exaggeration.
It’s no exaggeration, however, that the City of Tucson has a poverty rate twice the national average, along with the crime, blight, and lousy test scores that come with poverty. Tragically, the poverty is largely due to decades of shortsighted, provincial, one-party governance by both the city and the surrounding county.
A staggering 36% of the Tucson metropolis is unincorporated Pima County. That’s six times greater than the 6% of the Phoenix metropolis that is unincorporated Maricopa County.
A big part of Huckleberry’s power base, the 36% is an amorphous blob without a soul, a center, or any defining character. Such a lack of incorporation is better suited for sparsely-populated rural areas than urban/suburban areas, as the former doesn’t need the same level of services and amenities as the latter.
Badly deteriorated roads in the county and city reflect decades of deferred maintenance. They are a testament to the ridiculousness of Huckleberry’s comment about the county being a logistics hub.
Huckleberry doesn’t seem to realize that when Amazon adds jobs, brick-and-mortar stores lose jobs. Just what metro Tucson needs: an increase in the number of vacant storefronts.
Nor does he seem to realize that Amazon has fulfillment and sortation centers in just about every large metropolitan area, or that the typical sortation center is 800,000 square feet, according to the company’s website. At 270,000 square feet, the new center in Tucson will be considerably smaller.
Does Huckleberry realize that Amazon will be bringing 5,000 jobs to Nashville? Has he given any thought as to why Nashville is more prosperous than Tucson and more attractive to Amazon? Or is he too provincial to ask such questions?
Amazon’s high-paid jobs are at its 18 tech centers, one of which is in Phoenix and none of which is in Tucson. Jobs at even higher pay levels are at its main headquarters in Seattle and its new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
Tucson wasn’t on Amazon’s radar as a headquarters location, just as Tucson isn’t on the radar of other big corporations. Why? The answer can be found in demographics.
The median household income in Arlington is three times greater than the median household income in the City of Tucson; 74.1% of adults in Arlington have a bachelor’s degree or higher, versus 26.6% in Tucson; and only 15.6% of Arlington residents are Hispanic, versus 43% in Tucson.
This reveals the dark secret of corporate executives and their hip techies and other knowledge workers who virtue-signal about their racial enlightenment and their concern for the poor. The secret is that they prefer to be among their own social class.
The City of Tucson’s demographics would look better to corporations if the city had annexed the surrounding county long ago because the higher income and education levels in the suburbs would’ve brought up the averages for the city. But Hokum Huckleberry would’ve had to give up part of his fiefdom.