I just completed an interview with News Channel 15 about the (beware of oncoming case of the giggles) Harry Baals Government Center story. My take is:
1. It’s funny. Even Jimmy Kimmel thinks so. And if you don’t think it’s funny, you probably need more laughs in your life.
2. The best thing Fort Wayne can do is to laugh right along with everyone else. You don’t want to be the only person who isn’t in on the joke. Trying to change the subject by insisting his name is pronounced differently, or by saying it’s too city-centric (and thereby leaves out the county) just makes it more likely that people will laugh at you, not with you.
3. No, I don’t think the City should choose the “Harry Baals Government Center” name. If Harry were alive today, and someone gave him the chance to change his name, I think he’d opt for a do-over. It’s probably best that Fort Wayne do the same.
One more thing: there’s an important takeaway in all this about today’s communication environment. It’s never been easier to share your ideas, so you have to be careful when you ask their people their opinion. And you can’t criticize them for answering the question you asked. If you hand them a microphone, you can’t complain when they say something you don’t like. So if you ask “What should the community call the new government building at 200 E Berry?” you need to be ready for these to be the top two suggestions.