Friday, July 8, 2016

If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 28

This is part of my 2017 Platform for Mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina.

This is why the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite will never bring an automobile manufacturer to our area.

You see, despite what our current leaders would like you to think, no one locally has the skills necessary to do these jobs and none of our schools are teaching them.

But it might be we could get an auto factory the same way the small German town of Neckarsulm (current population 27,296) got their first auto factory in 1905. You see, they began producing bicycles in 1886, motorcycles in 1901 and by 1905 NSU became one of the car companies that through a series of mergers and acquisitions is called Audi today. Audi still produces cars in Neckarsulm in 2016 employing 15,900 workers

And you can bet they didn't build a megasite to do it.

The vast majority of communities with auto manufacturers never built a megasite in order to get an auto factory and to date no megasite has been the deciding factor in any car company choosing any particular location anywhere in the world.

After all, why would they want to pay a bunch of commercial real estate middle men

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, when Volkswagen opened their plant there in 2011 it was in an old ammunition plant, not a new megasite. And did I mention that unlike Greensboro and Randolph County, Chattanooga actually has a port where freight including new cars, can be shipped across oceans? But more importantly, Chatanooga has numerous nearby steel mills. Greensboro, Guilford County and Randolph County have no nearby steel mills.

Let's see you sail a ship or a barge loaded with steel up Climax Creek to the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.

The auto industry began as a baby and the cities where it was born grew up with it. If Greensboro wants an automobile manufacturer or any other large manufacturer that can employ thousands then we must first birth that baby rather than trying to steal some other mother's child.

Maybe it's cars, maybe it's something else, but we won't "attract" it to come here. Not with every other city in America doing the same thing and many of them with much fatter wallets. But if we put our heads together we just might be able to birth a healthy child of our own.

Statewide there are already 12 to 18 empty megasites (depending on who is counting) finished and competing for that one auto plant. Nationwide there are known to be at least 180 empty megasites all waiting on the next automobile factory. And in many of those states they are willing and able to pay far more in incentives than North Carolina can afford to pay.

If I am elected Mayor of Greensboro I will make every effort to see to it that child is born. As a matter of fact I'm already bouncing around a few ideas of my own and would love to hear yours. What is it that Greensboro needs to start making right here at home? What will people buy? I'm leaning towards the first American Made mopeds since the 1980s but you might be more inclined to make spatulas. Whatever it is, we must birth that industry here, care for it, raise it, and see to it that it grows up big and strong.

After all, that's how Greensboro was built the first time 'round and so far nothing else that has been tried has worked.

Come back for If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 29. In the meantime you can read the rest of my platform at Billy Jones for Mayor of Greensboro, 2017.