Baraka to NYC: Back off Amazon, and support Newark's bid

Hey, New York City: Give up your bid to play host to Amazon's forthcoming second headquarters, and throw your support behind your New Jersey neighbor hoping to score the highly coveted HQ2.

That's the ill-fated message Newark Mayor Ras Baraka had for his New York City counterpart Bill De Blasio at a press event the New Jersey mayor held in his city Thursday morning.

Responding to reporters questions, Baraka said he planned to ask De Blasio to pull out its bid to Amazon, which outlines four NYC neighborhoods in which Amazon could build its headquarters and bring its promised 50,000 jobs. Then, Baraka said, he'd prod De Blasio to stump on Newark's behalf.

"We talk often," he said of the relationship between the two Democratic mayors, adding he plans to pose the question, "if New York backed away, could New York, give us a nod?"

But, the plan might be dead before Baraka even gets to ask.

"Respectfully to our friends in Newark, no," De Blasio's deputy press secretary said in a statement to NJ Advance Media.

"We are working hard to create good jobs for New Yorkers.

At the Newark event Thursday, when asked why De Blasio might entertain the idea, Baraka asked, "Why not?"

"There's nowhere for them to go in New York City. I think Newark is the place for them to be," he said, noting that he felt building in Newark was an "opportunity for Amazon to make not only an economic statement but a social statement."

De Blasio, he said, might ignore the thousands of jobs and millions of dollars on the line, and agree to supporting Newark's bid, because, "...he's social justice minded and he will understand that," Baraka said.

About 50 cities nationwide are competing for Amazon's favor. Last month, after handfuls of towns across the state expressed interest in hosting the new HQ, Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced New Jersey would only submit one bid to the company, Newark's.

The state is offering about $7 billion in breaks and incentives in an attempt to lure the online retailer. The company is expected to announce a short list of finalist cities in early 2018.

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