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Will Pittsburgh Win The Bid For Amazon HQ2? Do We Really Want To?

Keith Srakocic
A Primanti Bros. sandwich with pastrami, french fries and cole slaw is sliced open on a table in Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The restaurant offered a lifetime 15 percent discount to Amazon employees if HQ2 comes to town.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are considered top contenders for Amazon’s second North American headquarters in a recent nationwide analysis by Moody’s. The company promised 50,000 jobs and $5 billion for investment for its HQ2 project.

The bids are in from as many as 200 cities, but Seattle, the home of HQ1, offers lots of lessons on what can go right and wrong when a behemoth company moves to town. What is Pittsburgh offering? And how have city leaders sweetened the potential deal?

Tech reporter Aaron Aupperlee of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review joins WESA development reporter Margaret J. KraussTim Schooley, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Business Times; and Joshua McNichols from KUOW in Seattle.

And later in the show...

Pennsylvania’s Congressional districts are regarded as some of the most gerrymandered in the nation, where Republicans have 13 of the state’s 18 Congressional seats despite far more registered Democrats. Two different court cases in Pennsylvania, one in the Commonwealth Court and one in federal court out of Philadelphia, are questioning the practice of gerrymandering in the commonwealth. Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing legislative and congressional district lines to maximize and perpetuate the power of an incumbent political party.

It's not a local problem—both cases may be affected by another alleging gerrymandering in Wisconsin, which is awaiting a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Cristian Farias is a legal columnist for New York Magazine and a legal editor with Radiolab’s More Perfect. He joins Mike Wereschagin, an investigative reporter for The Caucus, the weekly print-only newspaper covering Pennsylvania politics and state government.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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