Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Local Opinion

Make Fort Wayne city to be envied

"I do not think I suffer from “Indianapolis envy” as suggested by Associate Professor Mark Crouch in his column, “Few will benefit from Harrison Square” (Oct. 1). I greatly admire what that community has done to improve the economic environment for its citizens, but I recognize Fort Wayne is not Indianapolis.

I am also reluctant to take issue with a learned associate professor of labor studies on the wisdom of public-private investments or their effects on the community.

I do know that when my wife and I chose Fort Wayne over Indianapolis 35 years ago, it was because Indianapolis was truly a “blue collar, minor league” town. I do not know whether it is accurate that Fort Wayne has now become such a community, but if so, I think the issue is – is that what we are satisfied with being? Indianapolis was clearly not and is now the object of envy of many people in many communities.

Ten years from now, I hope some communities complain about suffering from “Fort Wayne envy,” our children have job opportunities beyond the blue-collar market, and our learned associate professor can focus his research on a growing, prosperous and envied labor market.

Kimmell is corporation counsel for the city of Fort Wayne."


Amen said...

"Ten years from now, I hope some communities complain about suffering from “Fort Wayne envy,” our children have job opportunities beyond the blue-collar market..."

John B. Kalb said...

Joe - You have got to be kidding - all this accomplished by tearing down a perfectly usable baseball stadium and building another? What contribution is the new playing field to your vision? Our "leaders"(?) are going to Chattanooga this week to see how they are doing their downtown improvement - and they didn't have a downtown baseball stadium! This thing was ram-rodded down our throats and we would sure like to know WHY? The low-paying jobs that will be moved, not created, with the new location of the stadium plus minimum wage service positions in restaurants and retail sales will not, just like Chattanooga's experience, create the "beyond blue collar job opportunities" that you envision.
All that you want can be accomplished WITHOUT TEARING DOWN MEMORIAL STADIUM! Just open the opportunities up instead of "single-sourcing" this project. (Plus, DO ACTS LEGALLY!) John B. Kalb

Anonymous said...


Your enthusiasm is to be commended, but what is it that you don't understand about the concept of re-building the economic and cultural heart of the city in the downtown area instead of being sprinkled like parsley flakes around the outskirts of the town?

You make one fallacious argument after another, and then back them up only with hyperbole and distracting legal gripes.

Do you just hate baseball, or do you literally just not understand the idea of revitalizing the core of a community? It has to be one of the two. Either that or you're just a really bitter guy.

Anonymous said...

John- Look this up. Bellsouth Park
201 Power Alley, Chattanooga, TN 37402. I do believe this ball park was key to their Downtown Redevelopment. Do we forget that the ball park is just a start to greater things in the
future. Also, note this from chattanooga.com

The Chattanooga Convention and Trade Center is a state-of-the-art facility that has recently been expanded. Public entities and private citizens worked together in recent years to build the 20,000 seat Max Finley Stadium. In keeping with the beauty of the area, the city has developed an extensive greenway system which includes 5 miles of constructed river walk beginning downtown and meandering through the historic art district and several parks. What better way to experience the feel of the city than to take time to enjoy the downtown sights, shops and restaurants: all of them within walking distance. The city supports a downtown shuttle fleet of zero-emission electric buses - manufactured in Chattanooga - for visitors wishing to park-and-ride. In this city, you don't have to drive your car unless you want.


John B. Kalb said...

Anonymous at 12:46 PM today: So legal gripes are distracting? Is that why the city adminisration has not paid attention to the laws governing their recent activities?
Would you please pin down the "fallacious arguments" that I have made recently?
As far as baseball, I have been a fan of professional baseball since about 1945 when my family lived in Lakewood, Ohio. I was for 4 years, a member of the Indian's "Knot-hole league". With my aunt, I attended most day games at Cleveland Stadium. I also attended, again with my aunt, two of the series games back in 1948 when the Indians defeated the "Boston" Braves before they moved to Milwaukee and then to Atlanta. I saw Bobby Feller pitch games, saw Larry Doby break the American League color barrier - saw the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons come two straight years to Elk's Field in Lakewood and walk away with the "World Champianship of Softball". I sold Popcorn,Peanuts and Krackerjacks at Elk's field. Personally met Lou Boudreau, Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and others from the Indians when they came to see the "farm boy who could pitch a softball at 90 miles per hour" when the Pistons were in town.
No, I don't hate baseball.
I also do understand the idea of renewing the core of a city. I am for all that is planned for Harrison Square but not the ballpark - If we didn't already have Memorial Stadium, I would be all for one at HS. (I was one who could not understand the city's turn-down of all overtures to build a stadium way back in the 1990's)
I am not "just a bitter guy". My wife says I am getting to be a bit crabby as I am getting older but I like to think it's just that I am "wiser".
John B. Kalb

Anonymous said...

Ok, John, have it your way.

Fallacious arguments:

"You have got to be kidding - all this accomplished by tearing down a perfectly usable baseball stadium and building another?"

This argument is a fallacy because it completely neglects all other aspects of the project. It also fails to acknowledge the reasoning behind moving the Wizards downtown: 200,000-300,000 pedestrians moved from a bubble in the Northern part of the city to the downtown area.

This thing was ram-rodded down our throats and we would sure like to know WHY?

A VERY hyperbolic response, Mr. Kalb. The preparations for this project have been underway for YEARS, which would make it the longest, slowest "ramrod" of all time.

"The low-paying jobs that will be moved, not created, with the new location of the stadium plus minimum wage service positions in restaurants and retail sales will not, just like Chattanooga's experience, create the "beyond blue collar job opportunities" that you envision."

Did your Magic 8-Ball tell you this? Do you know what the prerequisite is for all these "low paying jobs?" CUSTOMERS. There have to be people with money to pay for the goods and services provided by these "ill-paid" people. Do you know what happens when people with money spend a considerable amount of time in a certain geographic location? MORE people show up to help relieve them of their money. Once a substantial commercial base has been established downtown, more people with money will begin to find the merits of living and working down there. And yes, my Magic 8-Ball and my Post-graduate work in urban economics told me that.

All that you want can be accomplished WITHOUT TEARING DOWN MEMORIAL STADIUM!

No it can't. It really, really can't. If I may be hyperbolic for a second as well, "If the stadium deal dies, the rest of the project will go down in a fiery explosion like the Hindenburg, and we'll all die!"

Mr. Kalb, do us all a favor and go fight breast cancer, or leukemia, or stand up for civilian freedom in Burma. There are things in this world that actually deserve the attention of such a dedicated guy. WHy you chose this issue to focus your passion we can only speculate, but certainly other better options for your time exist.

Shuffleboard in Sarasota, for example...

John B. Kalb said...

OK,Anonymous 10/10/07 10:35 AM:
Why do you insist that "all other aspects of the project" cannot happen without moving the baseball stadium?
The 200,000 to 300,000 (a wild guess)visits (not discrete individuals) to ball games at this stadium will result in just that- that number of attendees at a baseball game - nothing more - nothing less!
Preparations for this project have been going on for years? Well:
1) Vision 2000 suggested a "family-oriented sports facility" in downtown in 2000.
2) Downtown Blueprint mentioned a : "Sports Corporation Project" with no details in that report in 2002
3) Blueprint Plus in their final report on 10/14/05 made the first mention of a new baseball stadium, "Evaluate the feasibility of relocating a mixed-use baseball stadium downtown" by a private, public, and civic downtown redevelopment organization. (They also recommended a new hotel be built NORTH of the Grand Wayne Center). The Baseball Plus Group was appointed by our mayor with the charge to "evaluate" this idea.
4) The Blueprint Plus final report, July, 2006 stated, " that the city develop a new minor league baseball stadium in downtown Fort Wayne".
So the baseball stadium downtown idea is just over a year old - and the report of Baseball Plus resulted in:
5) the organization of a group in Atlanta calling themselves "Hardball Capital" They were apparently organized specifically to:
a) Buy the Fort Wayne Wizards (which were for sale)
b) Take up the offer of Fort Wayne to spend lots of tax money to build a state-of-the-art new stadium for the use of their baseball team, at no charge.
c) To proceed to attempt this in other cities with minor league baseball teams where city governments could be so convinced.
d) To then (and this is yet to come) sell the Wizards at a very impressive profit, plus sell the other parts of Harrison Square that they would own - moving on, as all "capital-intensive" developers do, to the next city in line - leaving Fort Wayne with all the obligations for which they pledged to be responsible. Then we are under the direction of real estate brokers, construction companies, high-paid lawyers, outside consultants, liberal academiams, and stuck-on-themselves politions.
The "Customers" you are referring to with money to spend are already here spending that money at existing retail establishments all over our town. I agree that they are not now downtown doing this but YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET THEM TO SPEND DOWNTOWN because of a stupid baseball stadium! Ask any woman in the area that "if you could buy in downtown Fort Wayne the variety of items you desire, would you shop there?" The vast majority will answer, "Why would I do that? It's farther away than Glenbrook or Jefferson Pointe or Georgetown or et al or et al AND I don't have to pay to park, parallel park,or walk a distance where I could be personaly endangered. (Maybe you should have taken some post-grad classes in Criminal Justice where you are told to "avoid situations")

And just why can't all that you desire be done without a new stadium? Has anyone ever been given the chance, with all the incentives - tax abatements, TIF funding, CEDIT funding, CREeD funds, etc.? NO! And I would like to know why not! This whole thing is beginning to smell worse each day.

And last, since when is an "anonymous" person qualified to tell me what to do with my time? I assume that your last sentence fragment was a dig at all the elderly in our fair town "Go away (to Sarasota) and leave us alone"
Well, you wouldn't even exist if not for your own elders - so grow up and join us. John B. Kalb

Anonymous said...


Your blindness is stunning.

The "wild guess" is no more than an estimate of the pedestrian traffic that would be generated by Wizards Games. How would you have any idea what people WON'T do when they're downtown for a game? Are you basing this on what you PERSONALLY won't do? Who cares? What exactly would draw businesses and tenants downtown if no catalyst project was underway? NOTHING.

You have spent months spouting your "boondoggle" and "blah blah blah" all over any medium or outlet that would have your gobbledygook, and it's getting tiresome. You prove time and time again that you lack the foresight to be able to comprehend anything more than what you have personally witnessed. Let's weigh a few differences.

You have gone on record as saying that Fort Wayne needs more industrial jobs. We need to build things. I'm sure Harvester's hay day is what you are thinking of, when every blue collar schmuck got $20 an hour just to prop up a broom. Sorry cousin, that's not coming back. Fort Wayne is overrun with blue collar BS and a bunch of Kalbites sitting around yearning for days past is doing nothing to fix the problem.

You make reference to "ask any woman where she wants to go shopping" or whatever, and frankly, I can't help but think nobody actually gives a damn. For years, people have been fleeing to the suburbs thanks to Glenbrook. It decimated the city-center and the farther people run from the commerce, the faster the commerce runs to catch up with them. What exactly is wrong with trying the reverse philosophy to stop Fort Wayne from encapsulating all of the communities that surround it? Fort Wayne already cannot afford its sewer system or to keep its roads decent with maintenance, so as the sprawl continues, there will be more need for resources and less money. The tax dollars NEED to be dumped in the core of the city, not sprinkled around the outskirts of town.

The problem is that you have no desire to understand anything beyond your own opinion. The people that keep egging you on are doing you no favors, they are preventing you from actually learning about urban planning and economics. You obviously have no problem digesting statute, so maybe it's just that you are more of a "black and white" kind of guy instead of being in the gray area with most people.

The idea is to make downtown viable again. Why don't you explain YOUR ideas for making downtown fun and desirable? Oh wait, you have NO suggestions that you've offered, only contempt for everyone else's ideas. That is NOT helpful, it just makes you come across like a callous old prick (which I have on good authority you are NOT actually).

Thanks for proving my point on the reaallllly reaaaallllllly slooooooow ramrod metaphor.

And finally, YOU sir, have made your age the topic of conversation thanks to your snide comments about Harrison Square just being a "playground for young professionals." Forgive me for playing off that which you yourself instigated.

FYI, I choose to post anonymously because of the rampant character assassination I have witnessed in the Fort Wayne blogs. I will not make my name or my family cannon fodder for some of the creepy a-holes that blog. If I ever see you in person, I'll introduce myself as long as you are in a good mood. :)

John B. Kalb said...

Wow - I must have really hit a nerve, anonymous. So you are a person "in the gray area" who "doesn't give a damn". Well I think you are trying to live well in the wrong city! I am sorry that you can't always get your own way. I guess that's it. John B. Kalb

Scott said...

That like the pot calling the kettle black.