Posted by admin on February 8, 2011
A former Indiana mayor who won four terms in the 1930s and 1950s is proving less popular with modern-day city leaders, who say they probably won’t name a new government center for him because of the jokes his moniker could inspire.
Harry Baals is the runaway favorite in online voting to name the new building in Fort Wayne, about 120 miles northeast of Indianapolis. But Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy said that probably won’t be enough to put the name of the city’s longest-tenured mayor on the center.
The issue is pronunciation. The former mayor pronounced his last name “balls.”
Supporters said it’s unfair that the former mayor can’t be recognized simply because his name makes some people snicker. But opponents fear that naming the center after Baals would make Fort Wayne the target of late-night television jokes.
“We realize that while Harry Baals was a respected mayor, not everyone outside of Fort Wayne will know that,” Malloy said Tuesday in a statement to The Associated Press. “We wanted to pick something that would reflect our pride in our community beyond the boundaries of Fort Wayne.”
An online site taking suggestions for names showed more than 1,000 votes Tuesday for the Harry Baals Government Center. That’s more than three times the votes received by the closest contender.
What do you think? Would you scratch Harry Baals?