Bending over for Boeing:
April 19, 2001 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Bending over for Boeing: What does it mean when your city will spare no expense in an effort to impress a few corporate suits?
posted by aladfar (21 comments total)
Not only that, but it seems the newspaper is in on it too. I haven't seen that much brown-nosing in a while.
posted by pnevares at 10:52 AM on April 19, 2001

Bear in mind that this isn't going to bring many jobs to the city. It's just the corporate offices that are moving, not the manufacturing facilities. Nonetheless, the Chicago brass (as well as their counterparts in Dallas and Denver) are doing everything they can to woo Boeing executives.

Which is all well and good, but it seems we don't approach other (and far more important) issues with the same fervor. To me, this is rather vexing . . .
posted by aladfar at 10:53 AM on April 19, 2001

Allegedly too, there is talk of a $100k/head bonus coming from the state should Boeing move here. They really should've just given them some cheesecake and deep-dish... you know, treat it like a Super Bowl bet. Chicago might not have the right space we need, but that Lou Malnati's sure is good!, etc.
posted by hijinx at 11:07 AM on April 19, 2001

"What does it mean when......"

It means they want to attract high profile businesses. What's the problem here? If you want to live in a place that doesn't attract business to generate taxes, jobs, PR etc., I think Chicago might be the wrong place to live.

Perhaps a small town in Montana would be more to your liking?

Or am I missing the point?
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:10 AM on April 19, 2001

Has anyone else noticed that there's been a huge number of stories over the last several weeks, both here and elsewhere, concerning the evacuation of Seattle following the Dot-Com bust. Is this the transition period between Fraiser and Dark Angel? Should we be sending out Michael Moore? Will there be someone selling 'sea otters for pets or meat'?
posted by Perigee at 11:30 AM on April 19, 2001

It's happened before, in 1972 and at least again in 1993. I'm dying to find a picture of the billboard in '72 that said "Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the lights?"
posted by jessamyn at 12:08 PM on April 19, 2001

Separating management and labor is not going to help Boeing build better planes. The managers in Chicago are going to lose touch with the goings-on at the factory floor, resulting in production delays and increased costs. An us-vs-them mentality will take hold, and within two years they will be coming back.

Seattle should have insisted that if they want our airplanes then they have to take our football and baseball teams too.
posted by jeffbarr at 12:12 PM on April 19, 2001

Cities should bend over backwards to attract employers. In Boeing's case, it's 500 top executives (who will spend money in Chicago and thus help local economy) plus about 1000 supporting jobs (at least). That's not bad at all.
posted by Witold at 12:20 PM on April 19, 2001

I agree with Witold -- this is not a bad investment for Chicago. Lots and lots of high-paid executives, and a world-class company, when Chicago has been losing top corporate headquarters for a while now.

Also, Chicago is the headquarters of United Airlines and a major hub for American ... makes sense for Chicago to invest a little more to really cement its position as the capital of the aviation industry.
posted by MattD at 12:23 PM on April 19, 2001

I don't think it's a bad investment at all, and I agree that Chicago should pursue high profile companies. For better or for worse, they're what make a city a city.

My problem is that Chicago, and the state of Illinois is making this a HUGE priority. If this much effort and attention to detail was given to the problems of education, gang violence, and homlessness, I'd be living in a much better city.
posted by aladfar at 12:27 PM on April 19, 2001

Yes, but how much should they invest? How much will they give up in tax breaks and wining/dining costs just to SAY that they cemented Chicago as an aviation hub.

And being able to SAY this, what will that matter? Chances are that it really won't bring in that much more money in relation to the investment made. So how will this better the life of Joe Schmoe whose Housing Project was just closed down?...says the bleeding heart.

Situations like these are great for taking a small (albeit characteristic and perhaps chronic) problem making it seem like a caricature of a big fat tycoon stepping on a poor little skinny guy's back. It's not a huge deal, but it certainly paints a picture in broad strokes.
posted by thebigpoop at 12:34 PM on April 19, 2001

Separating management and labor is not going to help Boeing build better planes. The managers in Chicago are going to lose touch with the goings-on at the factory floor, resulting in production delays and increased costs. An us-vs-them mentality will take hold, and within two years they will be coming back.

I think you're missing the point of the move, jeffbarr. They're moving because their customers want the Boeing brass closer to their own headquarters. United Airlines is based here in Chicago, and American uses O'Hare as a hub as well. I believe that was the deciding factor in the other two cities as well (I know American's headquartered in Dallas - which airline is in Denver?). If having senior management separated from the factory floor is going to wreak as much havoc as you seem to think it will, I'd suggest Boeing doesn't have senior management, they've got a bunch of guys who micromanage too much...
posted by m.polo at 12:46 PM on April 19, 2001

Its just so much fluff, Chicago isn't going to "grab you" like Daley says as much as the unbeliavable sweetheart deal thats going to cut it, not opera music either. I don't see this having to do with jobs nor money, just a weird need for corporate prestige.

Does it really take eight people to write this kind of story?
posted by skallas at 12:57 PM on April 19, 2001

Seattle has bent over for Boeing for so long we're now mistaking getting off our knees for getting knocked down. Boeing doesn't pay property taxes, they get tons of exemptions on regulations -- believe me, no Washington State legislature has tried to take on Boeing. And that sort of treatment is the real red carpet they'll expect in their new city -- not a children's choir.
posted by argybarg at 1:01 PM on April 19, 2001

Jessamyn, here's the infamous billboard from 1971.
posted by shinybeast at 4:31 PM on April 19, 2001

Geez, and I just moved from Florida to the Seattle area (Bellevue, to be specific) in late February. Good thing I haven't unpacked most of my stuff. <grin>
posted by Danelope at 11:13 PM on April 19, 2001

As a recent immigrant from Chicago to Seattle I find the whole matter amusing. Almost the next day after Boeing annouced that they were leaving I saw a t-shirt in the window of a store on Pike street "Boing Going Gone!"

I've considered returning to Chicago and even have a friend that is urging me to come back. I suspect that it's just that he wants to continue to grind my Dark Eldar army with his damn Dark Angels.
posted by john at 11:39 PM on April 19, 2001

no Washington State legislature has tried to take on Boeing

That's not going to stop just because they move their corporate HQ. What gives them that kind of clout is their manufacturing job base, and they'll still be a major regional employer even after this move. In fact, they'll have far more clout here in the Seattle area than in Chicago, unless and until they become a major employer in Chi-town.
posted by kindall at 2:39 AM on April 20, 2001

That's why they're leaving, kindall. They've milked Seattle for all its worth and are looking for corporate welfare elsewhere.
The economy diversified after the Boeing Bust in the '70, so even though there will be some impact-It won't be the same.
posted by black8 at 3:02 AM on April 20, 2001

The latest: IL Gov. Ryan will let Boeing not pay property taxes for twenty years, costing the state $50 million.

Yes, keep throwing money at 'em!
posted by hijinx at 4:48 AM on April 20, 2001

My point is, they will continue to milk Seattle, as well as Chicago. They'll milk Seattle by threatening to move all the jobs to Chicago. They'll milk Chicago by promising to move all the jobs to Chicago.
posted by kindall at 5:18 AM on April 20, 2001

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