Friday, August 24, 2007

Harrison Square and recent Zogby polling data

In this analysis I have rounded all numbers to the nearest tenth of one percent.

I have analyzed the polling data accumulated by two recent Zogby polls of Fort Wayne residents in regards to Harrison Square and the results should scare elected officials who support Harrison Square (at least those sticking around to run in November) and it should equally intimidate those Republican and Democratic City Council candidates who have publicly supported the Harrison Square Project.

The first Zogby poll I analyzed was conducted 3/27/07 – 3/29/07 in Fort Wayne and had a margin of error of 5%. 401 “Likely voters” were asked a series of questions. Of this group of voters:
15% were self identified Democrats
64.6% were self identified Republicans
20% were self identified Independents
.5% were self identified Libertarians

The second poll I analyzed was compiled by Zogby on 7/26/07 in Fort Wayne and had a margin of error of 4.1%. 601 “likely voters” were asked a series of questions. Of this group of voters:
30.6% were self identified Democrats
41.8% were self identified Republicans
27.4% were self identified Independents
.2% were self identified Libertarians

Both Zogby polls asked the exact same question of likely voters; “do you support or oppose the Harrison Square downtown development as proposed by the City of Fort Wayne?”

In the first poll the results were:
Support the HS Project 31.6%
Oppose the HS Project 54.0%
Not Sure 14.5%

In the second poll the results were:
Support the HS Project 26.8%
Oppose the HS Project 65.8%
Not Sure 07.4%

The results show several important things that should be noted by the Mayor’s office, the City Councilmen who supported Harrison Square, the Democratic and Republican candidates for City Council who support the Harrison Square Project, and for Democratic Mayoral candidate Tom Henry who also supports the Harrison Square Project.

First is the fact that almost 5 “likely voters” oppose the project for every 2 “likely voters” who support the Harrison Square project.

Second is the fact that the number of “likely voters” who oppose the project grew by 11.8%.

Third is the fact that the number of undecided people dropped from 14.5% to 7.4%.

Fourth is the fact that “likely voters” who considered themselves Democratic showed the largest change in their opposition to the project. In the first Zogby poll 60 Democratic “likely voters” were asked about Harrison Square; 49.3% supported the project, 36.7% opposed the project, and 13.9% were uncertain. The second Zogby poll included 184 self identified Democrats; 31.5% supported the project, 61% oppose the project, and 7.5% are unsure about the Harrison Square Project.

The Harrison Square Project is very unpopular with “likely voters” in Fort Wayne and that should worry politicians and City officials; however, they really do not seem to care. The more information that is revealed to the public about the project the more unpopular it has become. At this point the voters only have one method they can use to ensure that the City of Fort Wayne stops creating boondoggles like Harrison Square. The citizens of Fort Wayne need to vote this November and they need to elect new representatives who will actually listen to their constituents.

There are several races that could well be affected by the overall level of dissatisfaction that the Zogby polls indicate about the Harrison Square project.

The most visible race is the race for Fort Wayne Mayor. Republican Matt Kelty has continually spoken against the Harrison Square Project and this should help his bid for Mayor. His opponent, Democrat Tom Henry has come out in favor of the project and I think that will hurt his campaign for Mayor.

There are 25 people currently vying for City Council; nine Republicans, eight Libertarians, and eight Democrats. All eight Libertarians oppose the project and this stance should help them connect with voters. A majority of the Democrats and Republicans support the Harrison Square Project; however, a minority oppose the project and this minority should benefit from their stance.

I think it is time that the voters of Fort Wayne take a more active roll in our community and support and elect representatives who will vote based on the desires of their constituents rather then the desires of a few real estate developers!

Mike Sylvester, CPA


Squarefinger said...

If people in my own Party will not represent me on this issue, how can I expect they are representing my interests on anything else brought before City Council. I think I may be voting Libertarian for City Council this year.

An article was written earlier this year about who benefits from Harrison Square, and it appears the premise holds that those supporting the project are financially benefitting from Harrison Square and voting their pocketbook instead the will of those they represent.

I guess that is why politics is the second oldest profession in the world, however in this instance, it is difficult to distinguish it from the oldest profession in history. (and I am not talking about carpentry).

Anonymous said...

Amen Mike,

Lets send a message on Harrison Square. Lets send a liar with 7 felony indictments to the Mayors office. That will show em.

Anonymous said...

Good gosh people! If you think the ballpark is screwed up you better look to the north of the river.

Omni is dumping on the city for millions of dollars a piece of property that is going to be cleanup nightmare. This one should be named in honor of the present mayor.

Remember it was a junkyard years ago with cars piled 50-60 feet high leaking battery acid, oils and transmission fulids into the soil. We won't even talk about the fires they had back then that resulted in water loaded with this stuff sinking into the soil.

Next Omni turned it into a recyling plant. Piles of lead pipe and other plated materials replaced the mountain of cars. The wash off and buried materials are now laying just below the surface.

So if you think we are fighting a major battle over the HS project you have not seen a thing yet...

Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

This information was passed on to me:

Harrison Square is opposed by most of our community. Recently the Department of local Government Finance voted 4-2 to recommend the bond issue for this boondoggle. The board’s recommendation will be considered by Cheryl Musgrave, commissioner of the Department of Local Government Finance, for final approval.

Contact Cheryl Musgrave and tell her you don't want this project. Send this email to everyone you know who doesnt want this project. Let her hear the voice of the public.

Her contact info is




Again tell her how you feel and tell everyone you know to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer- is it true you do NOT live in Allen County?

Someone told me you actually live in Steuben County.

If that is true- what say do you have in the matter?

Anonymous said...

She just as much say as you do. Here, on a blog accessible by anyone on the internet at any rate.

Thanks for the info Jennifer. I, my friends and my neighbors who vehemently oppose this project will contact Ms. Musgrave right away. We will be voicing our objections to and alerting her to the guarantees provided by the city which commit general property tax revenues to prop up the profits of a private corporation.

Sure, Indy did it for the Colts but Ft Wayne won't see a payoff on this boondoggle until the Wizards win the MLB World Series.

Pretty bad when a deal like this can smell stinky all the way in to the next county. - IG

Robert Enders said...

Jennifer did live in Steuben County untill she married Jerimiah Jeffrey, a US Marine and Fort Wayne resident who is now stationed in Iraq. So now she lives in Fort Wayne.

John B. Kalb said...

Thank you to Jennifer for posting the above note - and THANK YOU to everone who follows her suggestion to let Mrs. Musgrave know how we feel aboput this in our city!!! Today's message on the sign at First Wayne Street United Methodist reads, " 99% of Success is failure". That's just the way we feel at this point.
John B. Kalb

Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

As if my personal life is anyone's business.....

I have very high vested interest and stake in this community: as a business owner, a resident, and graduate of a university here, AND the proud wife of a U.S. Soldier who was born and raised here.

I pay taxes and am VERY concerned about our city AND region.

Who are you? The government?

Get back to the issue and stop the smear campaign.

Anonymous said...

John Kalb, Does your slogan apply even when the outcome you are deseparately trying to achieve will be a failure of monumental proportion for our community? John, do your kids and grandkids live around Fort Wayne? Do you want this to be a vibrant growing and succesful city or is status quo good enough?

Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

Having such an enormous project publicly developed for personal monetary gain and it being such a burden on already over-taxed residents is what the problem is.

Doing it right is what IS important.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Yes - thank you Jennifer for the e-mail address. I will be sending an e-mail in support of Harrison Square.

Rachel said...

Mike, please note that both mayoral candidates now support Harrison Square. I have heard directly from both of them in non-partisan events.

Kelty informed me that he now supports Harrison Square since it was approved by city council. It would be his responsibility (if elected mayor and now if he is eligible to remain in office, which are two big ifs) to make sure the HS funding is spent appropriately and that the mixed use development really becomes the downtown catalyst it has been envisioned to be.

If you any of you are thinking a vote for Mr. Kelty is a vote against Harrison Square you are wrong. Unless of course Kelty lied to me.

Rachel said...

My apologies on the final line, which I didn't catch before it posted.

I meant to say "if Kelty lied to me."

Only time will tell if Kelty has told me the truth about his positions on public policy.

Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

I have no doubt any politician will support it if it goes thru. Having it go thru and run correctly is what people are having a hard time with.

Angry White Boy said...

Charlotte, one has to wonder if you support it (HS) so you can have someplace to hang out that has air conditioning ;)

Rachel said...


Who's personal monetary gain? Isn't most development for the benefit of the investors? Here it's Barry Real Estate, Hardball Capital, the City of Fort Wayne and ultimately the citizens of Fort Wayne.

I think that this project has the possibility of being good for all parties involved.

John B. Kalb said...

Mr. anonymous who posted at 2:42 today. What city do you live in anyhow? I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana - which has been a very successful, very livable, very "midwesterly" (is that a word?), and very busy town. I intend, along with it looks like over 75% of our taxpayers, to see that our city administration, a bunch of redevelopment bureaucrats, and 2/3 of our legislative branch do not change
this forever!! I do have a daughter , her husband and three great young ladies, who I am very proud to say are my granddaughters,and who do live in the north part of our city.
I hope to leave them with a city that they can also be proud to live in and will do all I feel is necessary to help them achieve this goal. Do you find this at all helpful to see where I am I coming from? John B. Kalb

John B. Kalb said...

Rachel - The thing that is interesting is that the Atlanta group chose, "Hardball CAPITAL" and not "Hardball Baseball". They are first an investor of CAPITAL and then interested in baseball. That's why I do not think that we can plan on them being owners of the Wizards for very long - as soon as the new stadium is opened(if that ever happens is now in serious doubt), the Wizards will be up for sale for at least twice what Hardball CAPITAL paid for the team. Are you aware how often minor league franchises are sold - we have had three owners of the Wizards in 14 years! Remember it's CAPITAL not BASEBALL that is the operative word. John B. Kalb

Rachel said...


I don't care who owns the team. If Hardball put their money into the franchise and feel like in 2010 it's the right time to sell it, so be it.

However, I would like to think that Jason Frier would not lie to citizens of Fort Wayne. He has publicly stated his intent to continue ownership of the team long after the stadium is built. Unlike yourself, many of us have welcomed him to our city with open arms.

In the meantime, they ponied up their cash to fund a fantastic sports facility in downtown Fort Wayne, something other private developers chose not to do.

I keep waiting for your plan (not just talk of the good old manufacturing days) on how to accomplish the things that the partnership of the city and the private sector is doing at Harrison Square.

And how exactly is this project in serious doubt? I don't think the demolition crews are just tearing things down willy-nilly.

John B. Kalb said...

Rachel - Just what "cash" has Hardball "ponied up" for this project? None ,or even less to wit:
1) Their $5 million can be put in "in kind" per the agreement - that's not "cash".
2) In exchange for being the developer (with no other entity being given any opportunity to make a proposal), the state of Indiana will offer Hardball and Barry somewhere around $4 million in "tax credits" which they can sell at a discount to an Indiana corporation that does pay taxes in our state (Hardball's yearly Indiana Income Tax bill is very small compared to this amount, so they could not use this credit before it expires). So, this is cash for Hardball of about $3.5 million and right away.
Barry gets a 10 year property tax abatement on the retail and condo improvements - plus the city gives them the land for these parts of the development(which will be theirs to sell in the future along with the improvements that they add).
And last, but not least, the new stadium that Fort Wayne is giving them, on paper, the use of for 20 years with an option for 10 more, will at least double , or evan triple the selling price of the Wizards franchise when Hardball converts their interest back into CAPITAL so they can "do it" to another city as gullible as Fort Wayne.
So, where the heck do you see Hardball putting anything into the new stadium? I sure don't, and a lot of Fort Wayne taxpayers don't either.
Rachel, keep your eyes and ears open for enlightening information about how this boondoggle is going to be stopped over the next week or so. Cheers John B. Kalb

Anonymous said...

Kelty supports Harrison Square? Yes he does, whenever he is talking to a Harrison Square supporter. When he is not, well, then he is against it and will vow to stop it. Kelty is the chameleon candidate. He is whatever you need him to be and he is not constrained by the truth which makes him a very nimble politician. He is not the person that the little old lady supporters think he is.

Jeff Pruitt said...

John, I hope you're wrong about HC selling the team in short order.

If not, I have a good idea about who would be interested in buying it.

Talk about a conflict of interest...

Rachel said...


I'll look for your continued waste of taxpayer dollars in your futile efforts to stop Harrison Square. Having government employees deal with your complaints about the project is not good financial stewardship of tax dollars.

Maybe you can become like those wacko environmentalists in the West who tie themselves to trees to prevent logging. Camp out at the site to prevent further construction. It would get you great headlines.

Squarefinger said...

I think candidate Kelty's position on Harrison Square has been very consistent.

“The fate of this project is in the hands of City Council, as Mayor I, like everyone else, will have to live with any decision they make, and I won’t be able to undo it”, said Kelty. “What I can do though, is make sure the people are heard on this issue, and hope the City Council is listening.”

“Notwithstanding the fact we already have a publicly funded ballpark, I am having a difficult time understanding how paying Hardball Capital $2.35 of taxpayer dollars for every $1.00 of private investment is a good deal for the City of Fort Wayne”, said Kelty. “Proponents of the project will ask me if not this, then what? If given the kind of time the administration and City Council has had to develop this project, I know I could come up with some better alternatives, but I’m not going to make a snap decision now, that’s what’s got us into this mess to begin with. It’s not about taking a risk or making a decision; it’s about taking a manageable risk and making a correct decision. The two choices are not the same; the second choice takes into account the public interest, and requires good judgment.”

From I was able to research, his position has been pretty consistent. Of course City Council did not listen, they obviously know better than those pesky voters they are supposed to represent.

You don't get the representation you deserve, you get what you vote for.

Squarefinger said...


With Harrison Square ostensibly a done deal, what choice does any public official have but to support the project and to protect the investment of public dollars obligated by the current administration and city council.

What other choice is there?

Growing Fort Wayne said...

I completely support the HS project. So, I'd like to thank you for posting the e-mail as well. Are the majority of people who post on this blog in their 90s?

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

I support Harrison Square because I want to see the downtown revitalized, and I believe Harrison Square will be a beginning to that goal.

And, by the way, I am going to price a new furnace (mine is 25 years old - it was installed right after the Flood of '82), and it will have central air.

I am getting way too old to battle heat and humidity like we have had this summer.

Robert Enders said...

Charlotte, have you considered what the new ballpark's carbon footprint is going to be? The city is moving a popular attraction away from the population center of the city. Personally, I am more concerned with high gas prices than CO2 emmissions, but I think we can both agree that causing people to drive farther is a huge drawback.

Growing Fort Wayne,
I know my age and Mike's age, but I will guess that the ages of this blog's contributors are 41, 40, 39, 28 and 24. That puts our average age at 34.4. But even if we were nonogenarians, does that make our ideas less relevant?

growing fort wayne said...


I know a handful of nonAgenarians and most of them still use terms like "colored folks" and many seem to think that computers are some sort of fancy toys. So to answer your question, YES, I do believe that people who spend hours a day longing for the bygone days of horse drawn carriages and natural gas interior lighting have essentially stripped themselves of relevance.

Robert Enders said...

A 90 year-old today would still be have been born 9 years after General Motors was founded. He would have come of age during the Depression. Whether or not he drove a car or had lights in his house would have been due to economic circumstances rather than technological progress.

They probably think computers are fancy toys because that is what they are often used for. It's an easy mistake to make. Still, you aren't reading this blog on parchment, so you must conclude that we have acknowledged the usefulness of the silicon chip.

Anonymous said...

Some of these comments just prove the backward thinking of our city. New project are GOOD, but sometimes things DO cost money people!

Fiscal conservatism at its best...

Anonymous said...

This just in. Ms Musgrave of the DLGF will listen to you.


Anonymous said...

My favorite post was the one where if you don't support HS, you hate your grandchildren. I love that substantive argument.

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