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Harry Baals Government Center: City Afraid of National Ridicule

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By Jason Beahm on February 11, 2011 5:46 AM

How's this for weak?

Fort Wayne opened up online voting for the name of a new government center. The runaway favorite is Harry Baals, who won four terms in the 1930's and 1950's, the Associated Press reports.

However, Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy says that they probably won't name the new government center the Harry Baals Government Center because people might make fun of them. The name is pronounced like "balls" which is apparently just too much to take. For some reason that wasn't a problem back in the 30's or 50's.

It turns out that Baals decedents didn't care for the name much either, they have changed the pronunciation of the name to "bales."

But supporters say that it's silly that the mayor can't have a building named after him because some people might make jokes. The man was a well-respected mayor. And why have an online vote in the first place if you aren't willing to accept the will of the people?

Deputy Mayor Malloy isn't hearing that. "We realize that while Harry Baals was a respected mayor, not everyone outside of Fort Wayne will know that," she said 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."

At the time of publication, the Harry Baals Government Center has 17,094 votes, while the first runner up, "Thunder Dome,"  has 1,171.

"Harry served four terms and was a wonderful mayor. I don't know what the problem is,"said Jim Baals of his great-uncle. "I understand people are going to poke fun at it. That's OK. I've lived with that name for 51 years now, and I've gotten through it. I think everybody else can, too."

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