A modest proposal to get Amazon’s HQ2 in Atlanta: Make stuff up

What if we just lie to them?
How to bring Amazon HQ2 to Atlanta
Just nod and smile.

Photo illustration by Myrydd Wells; Man: PeopleImages via iStock/Getty Images Plus; Atlanta: Sequoya Manns/EyeEm/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Atlanta really, really, wants to be the site of Amazon’s HQ2. We’re one of 20 cities still in the running and a top-five choice for media outlets and armchair speculators alike. The next part of the process, currently underway, involves an Amazon delegation visiting each city to determine if it meets the company’s needs. The AJC reports we may see ours before March is over.

With little time left and the competition among cities heating up, there isn’t much Atlanta can do to fix some of its more glaring, HQ-jeopardizing problems. But there’s a quick solution that might just work—deception. Misdirection. Wait, I’m not explaining it right; you know how when there’s a pothole, instead of wasting precious, rare cement, we just put a steel plate over it until someone notices? Let’s do that, but with the entire region. By hiding our foibles and only shining a light on our strengths, we should be a shoe-in for Amazon. Here are a few ideas of how we can get that sweet, sweet HQ2:

Alternate driving days
To convince the delegation that Atlanta traffic isn’t that bad, vehicle tags ending in even numbers will be permitted to drive Mondays and Wednesdays, odd numbers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Fridays will alternate. Better yet, if you need to buy something, show civic pride (and boost our region’s sales numbers) by ordering it off Amazon!

Redraw Cobb County’s borders
Work crews will be dispatched to relocate the Cobb and Fulton county markers, placing SunTrust Park and the Battery in Atlanta. If anyone questions the stadium’s location, respond by saying, “Of course its in Atlanta. They’re the Atlanta Braves, aren’t they?” Then buy them drinks at Sports & Social until they stop asking.

MARTA buses will operate new, irregular routes
Engineers have welded several buses together to create what they’re calling Transports for Residential Areas and In-town Neighborhoods. These “TRAINs” will run along GA 400, I-75, and I-85 to Fulton, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties in grade-separated, independent lanes.

The Atlanta Streetcar will smash the competition
Be wary of the downtown streetcar. It will use its raw horsepower to plow through any traffic blocking its way, allowing the delegation quick access between Sweet Auburn and Centennial Olympic Park. Should an accident occur, just say it’s a stunt for Infinity War.

Georgia’s film and television tax credits will be increased
Provided that each production donates 30 percent of their crews’ time to constructing fake buildings over Atlanta’s numerous downtown parking lots. Also we’re putting out a casting call for background extras to walk around (because we’re totally walkable!)

Atlanta United games every day
And they’ll still be setting attendance records.

Under no circumstances should the delegation drink water from DeKalb County
We know it’s probably fine, but we’re not taking any chances after last week.

Actually, make that Fulton County, too
Especially if there’s a power outage at one of the treatment plants. In fact, can someone make a Home Depot run and pick up some chlorine tabs?

Please keep all car fires to a minimum
If ANYTHING is on fire under a bridge, put it out or push it away.

We’re relocating the Gold Dome
To prevent another controversial bill from being proposed, we’re moving the state legislative chambers to a building on Peachtree. (But we’re not telling them which Peachtree.)

All Atlantans will be given a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk
Just in case there’s snow.

Speaking of snow, do not mention Snowpocalypse
It didn’t happen. And if it does, Chipper Jones will be on-call with his ATV to rescue the delegation.

Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Clayton, Forsyth, Fayette, Cowetta, and Cherokee counties will be combined into one mega-county
To reduce the Balkanization of greater Atlanta, we will all become one Fulwinde’Obbsythtonfayettakee County.

Stone Mountain will be hidden
To hide something controversial, let’s put something universally beloved in front of it. How about a Waffle House billboard?

Amazon’s delegation can meet our delegation
Instead of a few stiff bureaucrats showing our visitors around, let’s form a welcoming party consisting of Ludacris, 2 Chainz, and Killer Mike.

Hold a race around I-285
Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, hosts of Amazon’s The Grand Tour, will be granted unprecedented access to the freeway provided they attempt to race around it in rush hour traffic. A HERO unit will be on standby for Hammond’s inevitable crash.

And if you’re concerned that implementing all of this will be expensive…
Don’t worry, this is just a drop in the bucket compared with what the state will give Amazon in tax breaks if they do choose Atlanta for HQ2.