Dear Rushern,

Why you gotta be that way? We understand you're the Prince George's County executive and that you've spent two terms working to improve your county's reputation as a place to do business. We applaud you for it, and we in Baltimore have had your back in your effort to lure the FBI's new headquarters. Yet you repay us by trying to steal whatever slim glimmer of hope we have to land the Powerball jackpot of economic development that is Amazon's second headquarters?

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Prince George's joins Baltimore in competing for Amazon headquarters

Maryland's Republican governor pitched Baltimore as the best spot for Amazon's headquarters. A Democratic rival has pitched Prince George's County.

Mr. Baker, you say you believe Maryland's chances to attract the $5 billion, 50,000-employee HQ2 can only be improved by submitting multiple site proposals rather than just putting all our eggs in the Port Covington basket, as we (and, more pertinently, Gov. Larry Hogan) are advocating. Amazon would consider the Washington region and Baltimore region as distinct, you say, and Prince George's can make a better case for meeting some of the company's requirements (access to mass transit, principally) than Baltimore can.

Hogan to lobby for bringing Amazon HQ to Baltimore

Gov. Larry Hogan said he will personally ask Jeff Bezos to build Amazon's new headquarters in Baltimore.

But here's the reality. The timeline for putting together a bid is extraordinarily short — the deadline is now less than a month away. And the level of detail that is going to be necessary to convince Amazon to make such a huge decision is substantial. Applicants need not only to provide information about proximity to a well educated workforce, quality of life, transportation access and so on but also specific commitments for public and private support for the project. That's where submitting two bids for sites 30 miles apart in the same state doesn't make sense. The kinds of supports and incentives that would be necessary to make a Port Covington bid attractive are quite different from those that might bolster a Prince George's proposal, and Maryland would be much better off spending what little time it has before the deadline developing a focused, well thought out package in support of one site rather than two half-baked ones.

Amazon is also interested in seeing a clear demonstration of support from local, state and federal officials, and presenting a state unified behind one site sends a strong message that commitments will be kept over the decades this project will be developed no matter who is in office. Even if Governor Hogan had thrown his support behind a Prince George's site, the county would already be at a disadvantage on that score simply because it is part of a two-state-and-one-federal-district region. Both Virginia and Washington, D.C., are pushing their own bids, with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser appearing in a clever pitch video that ends with her asking an Alexa personal assistant where the ideal place for Amazon's second headquarters would be. "Obviously, Washington, D.C.," she/it replies.

But if Amazon pays attention to the three-way food fight over Metro funding, for example, that answer might not seem so obvious.

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That's why having Governor Hogan, a Republican, go all-in for Port Covington alongside Mayor Catherine Pugh, a Democrat, is such a powerful message. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's announcement that he would abandon a push for any of the potential sites in his jurisdiction in favor of supporting Port Covington strengthens it. Your decision, Mr. Baker, to look out for your county first only suggests the possibility of conflicts ahead over resources for infrastructure and services. Why would Amazon want to bother with that?

(As a side note, Mr. Baker, do you really want to position yourself in the Democratic gubernatorial primary as the guy who's less magnanimous than Kevin Kamenetz?)

Goldman Sachs invests $233 million in Port Covington

Goldman Sachs invests $233 million in Port Covington

We'll acknowledge that Port Covington may not be a perfect match for every single one of the criteria Amazon laid out in its eight-page request for proposals. In most of the prognostication about where the company might go, Baltimore is treated, at best, as an afterthought. But what we've got that other places would be hard pressed to match is a site that can, right now, accommodate the massive development Amazon has in mind. We don't need to lay out the timeline for Port Covington to get approval for public support because it already has it, to the tune of $600 million in infrastructure. It's got the zoning, the master plan approvals and a signed community benefits agreement. It's not just that Baltimore could use a "shot in the arm," as the governor says. It's that the city and Sagamore Development (Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's company that's building Port Covington) have already done the leg work.

(A reminder for readers: Sagamore owns The Sun's printing plant in Port Covington, for which we have a long-term lease.)

Mr. Baker, you say that if Prince George's doesn't get HQ2, you'd be delighted to see it go to Baltimore. Backatcha; if not in Baltimore, we'd love to see it in P.G. But let's face it, the odds for either Prince George's or Baltimore are really slim in a competition that has every economic development officer in the country salivating. There's no need for you to make them even slimmer.

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