Indiana Pundit


Friday, April 28, 2006

Lowdown: Brown vs Irving

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

Will Marla's stance on Consolidation win her more votes or will voters see the stance as ingenuine?

How much will the personality/professionalism issues that she and fellow commissioner Bloom are perceived as having weigh in on voter's decisions?

Has Brown been able to convince voters he won't consolidate for the sake of consolidation?

Someone once told me that the city/county councils act like a "good old boys club" where they seem to rubber stamp everything without I've heard comments along the same line from others. Does his endorsement by county council give off the perception he is part of that club.

Campaign summary
Brown has done a decent job of being a first time candidate. Marla spent most of the campaign on defense. She had the chance to go on offense when Mayor Richard came out for consolidation. She needed to be aggressive at that point. That aggressive campaign style never materialized.

Reader poll results:
Brown 74%
Irving 26%
81 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that Marla would win. It appears that Brown has the edge but its not the lead shown in the reader poll.

Lowdown: Republican Sheriff

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

Who will voters think can best manage the department?

Campaign summary
Fries started campaigning 3 years ago while the rest of the field began 6-9 months ago. All the candidates in this race have done a good job campaigning. Its been fun to watch. The time factor end up being the biggest difference between the campaigns.

Reader poll results:
Foster 10%
Fries 78%
Griffith 7%
Keesler 5%
165 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that Fries would win. I'm sticking to it. The rest of the candidates would make fine sheriffs. Unfortunately for them they went up against a good candidate with a campaign machine. It will be a race to see who comes in second.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

On Tracy's Thoughts

Tracy Warner gave his thoughts on Tuesday's city council meeting and the topic of consolidation. I thought his take had some good points. (link). I could only take issue with the statistic in one of his points. They are a bit misleading.

"The idea of combining many of the finances and operations of city and county government makes sense. About 250,000 of Allen County's 342,000 residents live in Fort Wayne -- nearly 75 percent. Today's editorial and legal advertisement on property tax rates show the many, many layers of government in the county. "

According to the 2004 estimate by the U.S. census bureau Allen county consisted of 342,168 people. Tracy got his estimate right for that. However, the estimate for Fort Wayne is only 219495. That is 65% not 75%.

Here is what Tracy didn't include in his point
The difference in percentage may only be 10% but it is compounded by other numbers. The per capita income for residents in the city is $18,517. For the unincorporated part of the county it is $27,446. That means that Fort Wayne is only responsible for 55% of the per capita income of the county . (link)

Per capita income is part of the formula used to determine some taxes. Itis also an indicator of income tax and property tax values.

Residents in the unincorporated areas use less public services than those in the city. One fear is that consolidation will move the tax burden to them to cover the gap posed by the population estimate and tax revenue in Fort Wayne though they would not see the usage of the services they were paying for.

Lowdown: County Council 4

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

The consolidation issue is where these two disagree. How important is it to the voters in the 4th county council district?

Campaign summary
Both campaigns came out of the gate slow. Warner has done a lot of grassroots work. Miller's efforts haven't been too visible until the last week or so.

Reader poll results:
Miller 23%
Warner 77%
47 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that Miller would win. Warner has out campaigned him and is respected in the Aboite community as a businessman. His position on consolidation should give him a shart edge against Miller in the unincorporated parts of the county. Warner should win but it won't be the landslide predicted in the reader poll.

Lowdown: Indiana House 85

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

Do voters think Worman can be an effective long term incumbent or are they willing to pass this up to wait for when Pond retires?

Campaign summary
Both campaigns have done a lot of meet-and-greets and other grassroots means.

Reader poll results:
Pond 65%
Worman 35%
40 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that Pond would win. I don't think Worman has been able to rally enough voters into believing Pond needs fired.

Blogging on the Reporting on the Blogging about the Reporting on the Blogging

Just playing with Leo Morris. He's got a title for a post he just couldn't resist. (here)

I couldn't resist either.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lowdown: 3rd Congressional Democrats

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

There is really only one question that will determine the winner of this one. Who do voters think has a better chance at unseating incumbent Mark Souder?

Campaign summary
Both campaigns have been low-key. Other than a couple of debates and some yard signs there isn't much to report.

Reader poll results:
Boyd 26%
Hayhurst 74%
43 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that Hayhurst would win. His status as a long-time city councilman for Fort Wayne has given him the exposure and credibility he needs to earn the spot opposite Souder on the ticket this fall.

Error Alert

The News-Sentinel 2006 Primary Election insert from Wednesday's paper had two errors in it.

It labeled the GiaQuinta-Paddock and Pond-Worman races as races for state senate. They are running for state representative positions.

Councilman Glynn Hines Endorses Paddock

Geoff Paddock has been endorsed by Fort Wayne City Councilman Glyn Hines. This is potentially just as important as GiaQuinta's endorsement by Mayor Graham Richard.

Hines is the only minority on the city council. His district consists of the southeast side of the city. He is a well respected member of the African-American community. The endorsement could cause a sizable shift in the race for the 80th state house seat. Only an endorsement by Reverend Michael Latham could cause a larger shift from the African-American community.

Something worth watching because of the recent endorsements is what happens to the unity of the Democratic party. It is unusual for Democratic incumbents to make endorsements to candidates in the primary.

Interview with News-Sentinel

Here's the NS article as published.( article )

The following is the unedited interview with Ryan Lengerich of the NS

1. I would be remiss if I didn't ask, why do you remain anonymous?

Remaining anonymous allows the content of the blog to stand on its own. People will sometimes have a preconceived notion about the opinions of people without investigating them firsthand. Do you think it adds or takes away credibility from your blog? It can do either depending on the situation. It sometimes limits the depth of the content and in turn the credibility. More importantly its credibility is reflected through the interaction of its readers. A political blog has no credibility if it doesn't have any readers.

2. Are political blogs swinging votes or do those who check them already have their minds made up?
It depends on the presentation of the blog. Some present a single ideology and will attract mostly viewers of like minds. Those sites don't change people's opinions very often. A more balanced approach with less partisianship attracts a diversified readership. When readers of diverse interact with each other they create a greater opportunity to sway people with their opinions.

3. Do enough people get political news from blogs to make them a force in local politics?
Political news is only as good as the source. Readership is driven by the quality and uniqueness of the writing. The more readers the more a force blogs can become in politics.

4. Have blogs relating to politics in Fort Wayne peaked or is this almost a trial run for what we should expect years into the future?
No. Its just getting ready to move into a new phase. Several incumbents/ candidates are realizing the capability of blogs to allow them to communicate with their constituents. A year ago there were only one or two. Now there are about a dozen with more planning to do so in the general election.

5. How many hits do you receive on your blog in a given day/week? Who is reading it and how do you know who is reading it?
Indiana Pundit gets about 2000 hits a week. But its only been around for about three months and is still growing its readership.

All the local campaigns visit the blog. My readership is as diverse as the supporters of Tina Taviano to the backers of Congressman Souder. Even a couple of guys by the names of Tracy Warner and Leo Morris have commented and/ or linked to the site.

There are several ways I can identify my readers. Commenting, email, cross links from other sites, and notes passed to me through third parties tell me who my visitors are. Blog readers are not a passive group. When I did yard sign reviews all the photos that were used came from viewers from across the county.

6. Blogs give readers the chance for instant and in some cases unfiltered comments. Is this beneficial or dangerous for readers and voters?
It is usually beneficial. It gives the podium to anybody who wants it and allows them to speak their mind. The diverse readership of the site keeps things in check.

7. Is the first primary/general election where local blogs have made an impact (if they have at all) or has this been going on for years? What accounts for the rise locally?
Its all about the ability to actively participate in the political process. People can learn about candidates and politics as well as express their opinions on the direction of government.

8. National political blogs have taken to breaking news rather than simply commenting on published reports. Is that happening in Fort Wayne and should we expect more of that in the future?
Yes. Every blogger has a unique circumstance and opportunity in their blog. It allows them to find certain things that are not covered by anywhere else. My site deals with demystifying the tactics often used by campaigns as well as a policy review.

9. If I am a canditate in next week's primary or November's general election, convince me I should care about what bloggers say about me or my opponent?
There are several reasons. First, more and more voters read blogs. They also have the ability to take what they read on the internet to other voters in the real world. . Bloggers may say things that a candidate needs to know but may otherwise not find out. Finally, things we say are being picked up more and more by popular media.

10. Any other comments?
Political blogging is about many things. Its about _expression, interaction, learning, and public service. The future of political blogging ultimately depends on whether the author/ editor of the blog enjoys what they do. I see a lot of people who love t do this and will continue to do it for a long time.

Lets Make a Deal

It appears that Phyllis Pond has made several deals in order to keep her post. I have learned from multiple credible sources that she has pledged her support to three seperate candidates promising each that she would back their candidacy when she decides to retire if they chose not to run against her in this primary. That could happen as early as next year.

One of those potential candidates is none other than the sister of her current opponent, Denny Worman. If this is true one would have to wonder if it was intended to mix the support of the Worman/ Lightfoot clans and weaken the threat posed by her current opponent.

The Lowdown: Democratic Sheriff

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

Were Mike Joyner's grassroots effort strong enough to overcome the aggressive campaign of Taviano?

Can Taviano neutralize Joyner's visibility as a spokesman for the FW police department?

How much will Taviano's alternative lifestyle affect voter's decisions?

Campaign summary
Taviano has had a more visible campaign while the Joyner campaign relied more on its neighborhood grassroots program.

Reader poll results:
Joyner 58%
Roach 22%
Taviano 20%
119 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that Joyner would win. Taviano has worked hard enough for me to reconsider that prediction. I have seen poll results (legitimate polls) that go either way. With such conflicting results I can't decide who will win the primary. I'm calling this one a toss up.

Message Board for Yard Sign Lost and Found

After the primary campaigns will spend a lot of time searching for their yard signs. Inevitably some are missed. To help campaigns with this issue Indiana Pundit will put up a message board for readers to report where signs are still standing.

This should help those things disappear faster. I'm sure all the campaigns would thank you for all your help.

How this will work:

Include location, and name of campaign
example format:Found. Ken Fries sign at the corner of Lima Rd and Coliseum blvd by the Rollerdome.

Once the campaign has collected the sign in question post something like this.
example: Collected. Ken Fries sign at the corner of Lima Rd and Coliseum Blvd.

When a campaign has verified that they have collected the sign the comments referring to that particular sign will be erased so as to keep things orderly.

Campaigning to the Dead

There are a couple of campaigns who have placed their signs in graveyards. While this is not technically wrong it is in bad taste.

Have some respect for the deceased.

Yard Sign Review - Roger Wilson

With this review Indiana Pundit ends its marathon of yard sign reviews. There have been 28 reviews in all. I'll be happy when I don't have to look at any more of them.

50 x 50 scanability. It passes. I would like to recommend that you don't use script fonts such as that used in the first name. It takes a little longer for the voter to read and they may not have enough time to process the word before they have passed the sign.

Clean. Its clean. This sign isn't cluttered.

Uniqueness. Nothing we haven't seen before.

Color. There is only one other campaign using this color and that campaign used the purple as the background. The uniqueness of the color selection makes it stand out from a crowd.

Grade B+

Related story:What makes a good yard sign

Kessler, I mean Keesler Sign Review

50 x 50 scanability. It passes. It has nice thick lettering that make it easy to read.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The yellow star breaks up the monotony of the red, white and blue colors.

Color. RWB. There are too many signs with this combination. Only the star saves it in this category.

Grade B+

Related story:What makes a good yard sign

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Virtual Forum between Bill Brown and Marla Irving

The fact that no debate came into being has been a hot topic of discussion throughout the primary. Thanks to technology and the candidates' own campaign materials and statements we are able to provide you with a short forum where the views of the candidates can be provided side by side for comparison.

I would also like to thank Mike Sylvester for providing us with his interview with Marla Irving (Full Interview).

Consolidation of local government is a hot topic once again. Where do you stand on the issue?

I do not think we should consolidate just to consolidate. I believe that we should reorganize those services where there is a savings to the taxpayers. I look at statistics and comparisons and I ask the professionals in charge of the related County and City Departments for their professional opinion on an issue by issue basis.I feel that I have been very open to consolidation.

I feel that the County has been a leading force in favor of consolidating certain functions and that the County is waiting on Fort Wayne to respond to The County’s proposals.

I believe responsible and effective government happens when services are integrated and efficient.

In short I believe in cooperative government, not consolidation just for the sake of consolidating. Speaking with local citizens every day convinces me that people want their leaders to be cooperative and seek better solutions. They want leaders that will listen to them and understand their point of view. The diversity of the people in Allen County makes listening and learning a big job, yet from that process the knowledge gained can be transformed into energy and ideas that will drive good government and positive outcomes.

What do you bring to the table for the issue of economic development?

My background in business development and community service enables me to relate to a broad range of individuals.

I believe in solving old problems with new ideas and creative ways to retain jobs and develop new business opportunities in our community.

As a board member for the Fort Wayne - Allen County Economic Development Alliance, as co-chair of the Downtown Fort Wayne Revitalization Task Force, and in my efforts to develop a joint County-City Comprehensive Development and Land Use Plan, I have learned much about what we can do to retain and attract the businesses that serve as the economic engine of a thriving community. We should develop these strategies from an employer’s perspective. Knowing what companies are looking for with regard to infrastructure, labor, financing, and amenities will allow Allen County to be selective in pursuing economic development opportunities.

What other issue do you rank as being important for a County Commissioner?

The rapid rise of information technology has led to innumerable changes in the way we do business. The best of these changes allow citizens to access services where and when it’s convenient for them, while also allowing for efficiencies in government. When these converge, everyone wins. Allen County has firsthand experience with the benefits that information technology can bring to taxpayers. Our most recent success is making Commissioners meetings available via podcast, allowing constituents—including those without cable television—to listen to them at any time. We also developed a new Allen County website that has attracted more than 300,000 visitors since its launch in 2002, providing them with a number of convenient features, including the ability to pay taxes online. We will soon add yet another website enhancement: online permit payments. By harnessing the power of the Internet, we are putting government in a rightful position as a servant to the people, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There needs to be an emphasis on integrity, professionalism, and civility in the Commissioner's office. I will bring professionalism to my conduct worthy of the office I hold.

I have a passion for contributing to the common good with hope and optimism for the future. Allen County needs people who are dedicated to serving.

News-Sentinel to Run Story on Local Political Blogs

Look for a story on local poly-bloggers in tommorrows News-Sentinel. Ryan Lengerich interviewed your's truly as well as other local political bloggers for the story.

More on this story tomorrow.

The Lowdown: Bloom vs Buskirk

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

Did Bloom underestimate the value of Buskirk's campaign.
Did Buskirk prove he can do a better job than Linda.

Campaign summary
Buskirk has campaigned hard for more than a year. His being in front of the voters for for thatlength of time will have an impact on a lot of voters. Remember, he was the lead vote getter in the county council at-large race. Bloom's campaign has been virtually non-existent except for the last few days. (related stories 1 , 2 )

Reader poll results:
Bloom 39%
Buskirk 69%
64 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that Bloom would walk away with the win. Buskirk has out worked her. I'm going to agree with my viewers and change my prediction. Buskirk wins by a narrow margin.

Opportunity Missed

There was something that caught my eye in relation to the development of the revitalization plan for the Southtown mall area. The opportunity to revitalize the shopping center across the street was missed.

A stop light was added on US 27 to the entrance of Menards and the future Walmart. But its location prevents it from connecting to the shopping plaza across the street. Had the developers simply moved the intersection 50 yards to the south it would have opened up better access to the other shopping center and given an opportunity for cross traffic between it and Southtown Center.

Graham Needs Walmart

It wasn't too long ago that the Richard administration was touting the job growth for Fort Wayne because of the revitalization of the Southtown Mall Property. Since the opening of Menards the administration has made no reference to the project.

I am of an inquiring mind so I drove to the home center to see if I could figure anything out. Since I'm writing about it you can be sure found a few things that made me go hmm.

First, when you walk into the store and look around you will see that the staff tends to have the feel of retired factory workers coming in from the county south of the location more than intercity workers commuting from the north.

Second, the customer base is eerily similar to the makeup of the staff.

The south side of Fort Wayne is not seeing the economic rewards from Menards that the Mayor promised. Without a sizable number of intercity employees economic revitalization can't happen. Mayor Richard needs Walmart to do what Walmart does to put money in the economy of south Fort Wayne.

The Primary Lowdown: Indiana House 80th District

Here is what will determine this race on May 2.

Did Paddock get enough voters to realize they are voting for Phil rather than Ben?

Did GiaQuinta prove to voters that his legislative agenda can be accomplished as easily as Paddocks?

Does the Mayor have enough pull in the 80th district?

Campaign summary
Paddock outraised GiaQuinta and was able to get his platform out to the public early. GiaQuinta had to play catch up for a while. GiaQuinta's grassroots movement went in to full swing and has outdone Paddock's.

Reader poll results:
Paddock 81%
GiaQuinta 19%
52 votes cast

Final Thoughts
My early prediction was that GiaQuinta would win based on the long legacy of his father. This should be a tight race between two quality candidates. I will stick to my guns and say GiaQuinta will win.

Yard Sign Review - Marla Irving

50 x 50 scanability. It passes. There is one note to this point. Voters go to the polls looking for the last name not the first. Always emphasize the last name.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. Its Marla. How more unique can you get.

Color. Normally I would say a red sign is not a good choice of color. However, in this case she pulls it off because it is a deeper red than is found on any other campaign.

Note: This is a simplified version of the billboard and exhibits continuity between the two. (link to story on billboard)

Grade B

Related story:What makes a good yard sign

Monday, April 24, 2006

Yard Sign Review - Doug Adelsperger

50 x 50 scanability. It passes.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The name requires that the sign be of a wide width for readability.

Color. The unique width of the signs outweigh the color combination in this case. They could be in any color other than RWB and still stand out from the crowd.

Grade A

Last-Minute Mailers

We've all come to expect last minute postcards from candidates in the waning days of their campaigns. They are as much a fixture in politics as yard signs. Most everybody tosses them away without ever reading them. So what good are they?

Even though people throw them away like junk mail they still leave an impression with a targeted audience. They have become a must do in a campaign because of a single fact.

  • Last-minute mailers create a prisoners dilemma for both candidates fighting for a single position. Should both candidates do a mailer there is minimal increase*.
  • There would be no increase should neither candidate do a mailer.
  • Should only one put out the mailer it increases that candidate's turnout by 5-7% while doing nothing for the candidate who didn't put out a mailer.

Its obvious to see why most campaigns put out a mailer. They have a lot to gain by doing it and just as much to lose if they don't.

* a candidate can receive a boost when both put a mailer out if one of them does something stupid in their mailer. But usually the content of the mailers will only cause a marginal increase for one of the candidates

Yard Sign Review - Mary Wysong

50 x 50 scanability. It passes.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. Only the color.

Color. This is one of 2 signs to use this color combination. The other uses the purple for the text. It stands out from the crowd.

Grade B+

Yard Sign Review - Guy Griffith

50 x 50 scanability. It gets the essence of the information the campagin needs to send. The candidate's name and position seeking.

Clean. Its clean.


Color. I think this is the only red/ white combination in the area.

Grade B+

Yard Sign Review - Denny Worman

50 x 50 scanability. It passes in daylight.

Clean. Its clean.


Color. I don't recommend using earth tones such as the evergreen. It melts into the landscape to easily.

Grade C+

Assessing the Assessment Story

The Journal Gazette had a story about assessment problems in Cedar Creek township. It implies Tom Yoder is incompetent in the township's assessor position.

The story brings up some good questions about what is going on in Cedar Creek property taxes. But the timing of the story smells like the newspaper is interfering with the primary for that position.

This was not a "breaking-news" story. This was a story that could have been told at any time in the past month. Had it been as little as two weeks ago it would have allowed the public to investigate whether this is a bigger problem or one that is solely Mr. Yoder's. By waiting until the week before the primary the newspaper did the public a disservice by not allowing that process to happen.

Mr. Yoder was quoted by saying that this was probably a county-wide problem due to understaffing. But that angle to the story does not appear to have had any followup.

Due to the timing and the incomplete investigation into the matter one has to wonder if the newspaper is trying to railroad Mr. Yoder.

Conspiracy Theory Busted II

We've all heard about a brown van pulling signs, or signs for this candidate and that disappearing. There are many who think it is the opponent of their favorite candidate who is pulling down signs. Want to know whats happening?

Some have been blown away by the wind.
Some have been pulled by mowing crews.
Some have been stolen by supporters of a campaign in an unofficially capacity.

Most have disappeared because they are tired of them. Look around. The disappearance of signs has not been selective. Its been wholesale. The more signs floating around the quicker the public loses patience and indiscriminately snarfs them.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Better Eat Your Wheaties

Next week is the final week for campaigning before the primary. There will be a deluge of stuff hitting the airwaves, radios, and your mailbox.

It will be a busy week here at the Pundit. So stay tuned.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

On Public Speaking Skills

As a candidate you can have all the right answers and have great ideas. But not having the confidence to speak in front of large groups of people or the media can hurt you more than anything.

Its a skill that can only be taught to a point. The rest is developed through sheer practice and repetition.

At last night's debate I thought Mike Foster held his on on the issues. But there were times when his voice faltered and his confidence seemed to slip. This hurts Mr. Foster even more considering the position he is seeking is envisioned by many as one of strength and confidence.

Straw Polls Closing

The straw polls available on Indiana Pundit will be closing this weekend. If you haven't participated yet and have a desire to, do it now.

Will Graham Richard Run in '07?

Mitch Harper recently interviewed Mark GiaQuinta and he was quoted on the subject of Graham Richard going for a 3rd term.

"I have the sense Graham may not run again."

Most people I've spoken with aren't sure what to think about it. Here are a couple of theories of my own.

  • Graham wants to keep Republicans guessing as to what he's up to. They can't create a strategy if they don't know if he will run.

  • Local Democrats are thin on quality candidates. Especially for one that as highly profiled as the mayor's office (their best candidates have gone Republican on the ticket). Graham may run if his party can't field a quality candidate.

Geoff Paddock is a name I've heard thrown out as a possibility should he lose to Phil GiaQuinta in the primary for the 80th House seat.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You Got It Here First

News 15 ran a story on the vandalism and stealing of yard signs. I wonder where they got the idea for the story?

For those of you who are new to this website, this is a topic that IP raised over a week ago and has been carried on by our readers.

The credit goes to the readers that have contributed information on the topic.

Yard Sign Review for Mike Joyner

50 x 50 scanability. It passes in daylight. It is marginal in night due to black as the primary color.

Clean. Its clean.


Color. This combination works is an inverted version similar to Marv Hoot's sign. I don't like black as the primary color in a sign.

Grade C+

Yard Sign review for Gaines

50 x 50 scanability. It passes.

Clean. Though the name is displayed prominantly, the tag line at the bottom doesn't work. Its too small for reading.

Uniqueness. Nothing

Color. RWB. Boring.

Grade C

Political Pundits of News 15

Last night on the news Channel 15 had former Mayor Paul Helmke and former Democratic Chair Brian Stier give their insight to the upcoming primary.

Helmke thought that the absence of visible campaigning by Linda Bloom was not a weakness because of her experience and the fact that she has been on the ballot for various posts for many years. He thought she would defeat Roy Buskirk.

Stier thought that Tina Taviano has campaigned harder and will win.

On Helmke's comments
He's right that Bloom's lack of campaigning is not a weakness. But her lack of campaigning gives of other impressions. It comes off as lazy, and out of touch with voters.

Campaigning is more than getting yourself elected. Its a time when people who normally don't come in contact with elected officials get to do so. An incumbent who isn't campaigning sends a message to those people that the opinion of voters doesn't matter.

While Bloom's lack of campaigning isn't a weakness it certainly can cost her the election. Especially when her opponent is campaigning hard. Never let your opponent outwork you.

On Stier's comments
I agree with him that Taviano appears to have outworked Mike Joyner in the bid for the Democratic Sheriff's nomination. However, I have seen a grassroots effort in African-American community that has quietly been gathering support for Joyner. Turnout in these area has been traditionally low. But with a minority candidate it can do strange things.

Neither candidate has strong support outside the city limits. Taviano appears to have a slight edge. In the city Taviano is beating Joyner in the 5th district area with Joyner beats her in the 6th. The candidate who will win will be the one who takes areas that are better known as Republican strongholds. While there are a lot of Democrat votes to be had in those areas. They just have to find them.

This race will be tight. I'm still not sure if Taviano will beat Joyner. But I will say that her campaign appears to have earned the victory should she get it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Random Thoughts on Signs

Mitch Harper left a comment on the Consipracy Theory Busted Post. It was too long to leave as a comment and too informational to not publish. So as a compromise Mitch is doing an unscheduled guest post here.

Random thoughts on signs -"Pssst...hey, I saw some people I think must be from the (insert name of candidate you oppose) campaign pulling up and trashing the signs of (insert name of candidate you are supporting) and (random name of a candidate for some other office so as to be not so obvious you are spreading a rumor to damage the candidate you oppose)."

Some variant of this theme is heard every campaign year. All candidates are mentioned by the time it is done.

Its corresponding comment is "Psst...I saw the signs of (insert name of candidate you despise) and (insert name of candidate you know your listener despises) being put out together at the same time . "

Yard signs have always been a part of modern campaigns. However, I would tag the modern historical mass use of yard signs along roadways (as well as in yards) from the first Quayle for Congress campaign in 1976.

It was extraordinarily effective when one candidate did it. Other candidates began to model the use of mass signs starting in 1978. It seems to increase every year.

While the general public has little tolerance of the "spectacle" of 20 signs massed at an intersection - it has struck me as somewhat odd that primary voters and various pundits within the media and within the parties use the signs as a measurement of the health of the candidates' campaigns.

Prior to 1976, candidate signs were in use but not to the extent one sees today. Those were also the waning days of posters being affixed by staples to wooden telephone and light poles, obviously not something admired by utility linemen. (I use "linemen" in the historical context of the times -"lineperson" is somewhat awkward.)

Use of wooden utility poles was widespread in the decades preceding the '70's. The few candidates who affixed signs to wooden utility poles after 1976 were generally marginal candidates. Indeed, the code of sign use is so strong that candidates whose posters appear on light poles are automatically adjudged to be marginal by political observers.

Wooden utility pole use is now relegated to persons posting signs for amazing weight loss or garage sales.

Speaking of marginalia - I will leave to others to discuss the use of wire frames vs. wooden stakes.

I will note, however, that for those candidates using wire stakes to post signs - please instruct your volunteers removing signs after primary election day to remove both the sign and the wire frame. Folks whose task it is to mow the right-of-way want to avoid having the wire become either a dangerous missile or something that will damage lawnmowing equipment.

Mitch Harper -FWOB

Monday, April 17, 2006

Taviano Yard Sign Review - Color Matters

This is a perfect example of how color can make or break the effectiveness of a yard sign.

50 x 50 scanability. The green passes but the white fails. There is not enough contrast. I'm not sure the white sign passes a 30 x 30 scanability test.

Clean. Both versions are clean.

Uniqueness. nothing to say about it.

Color. A golden rule for yard sign colors: The background and text must be opposite hues. One must be light and the other dark.

Note: Though the plastic signs are cheaper and waterproof they are less durable. I recommend using a heavier stock.

Green sign: Grade A White Sign: Grade F

Robert Stellhorn - Sign Review

50 x 50 scanability. It passes.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. I don't know how effective it will be but he has his nickname on the sign.

Color. The combination works and has not been duplicated by other campaigns.

Grade B+

(I know I didn't give anything in the review that would suggest that it shouldn't be an A. It is an effective design I just am not convinced it is an A.) I'll put out more details on my decision when I can articulate what bothers me about the design)

Leo Morris Gets it Right

Leo Morris made a good analysis on perception and reality in politics. It is recommended reading material.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Conspiracy Theory Busted

Just for the Record has a first-hand account for how some of the yard signs have disappeared.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Did Graham Shoot Himself in the Foot?

Yesterday IP reported on how Graham Richard's endorsement of GiaQuinta was more about early campaigning for himself than it was for supporting a candidate for the 80th House seat. In the JG Nikki Kelly interviewed Geoff Paddock about the endorsement. (report)

“I have known Graham Richard for 30 years and when I talked with him about this campaign he said he was going to stay neutral and I took him at his word,” he said.

Paddock said he talked with Richard specifically about the campaign twice and was assured both times the mayor would not endorse a candidate.

The real test for Graham will come on Monday when campaign finance reports come out. If Paddock has the same support for his current campaign as he has for his school board campaign then Graham could take a financial blow in next year's mayoral race.

Paddock has some big name backers as listed on his last CFA filing. If Graham broke his word with Paddock, many of Paddock's backers may withhold funding for the mayoral race next year. This would be a stern reprisal to the mayor who will already face an uphill battle to retain his position next year.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Brown Flunks on Website

Now we've been generous on the grading scales at times when it comes to yard signs and websites. Out of all the grades given there had not been an F. That is until today.

The grade on Bill Brown's website (post) had been a D- because of several content and design factors. But sometime in March the site had gone down for maintenance and had never emerged.

If a campaign finds the need to redesign their website in the month prior to the primary or election, then they might as well not have one. This is a crucial period where voters are searching for information to compare candidates.

When a potential voter finds that a candidate's website is not accessible they come away with views on the candidte that the campaign would rather not have. The voter may feel that the candidate lacks follow-through, professionalism, and desire to be the elected official for the office he or she seeks. They are also less likely to search for more info about the candidate and they are more prone to ignore subsequent solicitations by that candidate's campaign.

Websites are quickly becoming less of a luxury for campaigns and more of a necessity. To neglect this aspect of your campaign can cost you the election.

Motives for endorsement

At FWOB, Mitch reported on the progress of GiaQuinta's campaign. This included an article on his endorsement by the mayor of Fort Wayne.

GiaQuinta will benefit because the mayor is popular among voters in the 80th district. But the mayor didn't do it because he likes GiaQuinta or that he is Mark's boss. His endorsement came after polling showed GiaQuinta had a sizable lead. He wanted to endorse a winning candidate.

Does that mean he would have endorsed Paddock had the polls shown him to be winning? No. Due to his previous relationship with the GiaQuinta family he would not have endorsed anybody had Paddock been winning. Endorsing Paddock would have burnt some bridges that he will need later.

The mayor's true intentions were to work his own campaign for '07 without declaring his candidacy. He got a jump on the next mayoral race by getting his face on a mailer in an area that he will need to win handily in order to stave off the potential challenger in Paul Helmke.

Graham knows that the most active part of the 80th district is where Helmke is most popular. He also knows that Helmke has the ability to take moderate Democrats in that area. Graham can't win next year's election if he loses any of the Democrat base.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

GiaQuinta's yard signs

50 x 50 scanability. The viewer's focus is immediately drawn to the "vote yes" section rather than the name.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The design in the "vote yes" section is creative.

Color. Color selection stands out.

Note:The grade for this is soft because the sign has been out for years and has had accrued scanability through repetition. It only fails 50x50 scanability with new residents. Otherwise it would have been a C+.

Grade B

Ken Fries - Yard Sign Review

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. This is reminiscent of Dr. Crawford's City council signs just in a different color.

Color. The yellow helps it stick out.

Grade A

Sign Review - Bill Larsen

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The no social security logo is unique. However, this has thwarted Bill's attempts at establishing himself beyond a one-issue candidate. Also, the website sounds more associated with an anti-drug campaign than a congressional campaign.

Color. RWB. Need I say more?

Grade C+

Yard Signs for Roger Gump

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. Nothing to note.

Color. This is actually neon orange though it looks red on most computers. It sticks out above the crowd.

Grade B+

Insert Candidate Name _____(Here)

This is the design for Darren Vogt, Cal Miller, and Paula Hughes.

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The uniqueness about this sign is not in the design itself but in the fact that three candidates have teamed up to make a single campaign.

Color. You already know what I think about RWB signs.
Grade B

Monday, April 10, 2006

Have Things Changed?

Not too long ago FWOB and Indiana Parley held reader polls to see what kind of support each candidate had. Those were early results. As we get closer to the campaigning often causes the political winds to change.

Starting April 11 Indiana Pundit will hold polls for the following offices.

Republican and Democrat Sheriff's races
County commissioner races
Democratic Congress 3
County Council 4th District
Indiana House District 78
Indiana House District 80

Dirty Politics vs Going Negative

When most people hear the terms dirty politics and negative campaigning they assume it is the same thing.

Negative campaigning is where a candidate criticizes the opponent on qualifications for the job, performance on that job, personal ethics, or their stance on issues. It must have direct correlation to the candidate and the position for which they are campaigning.

Dirty politics takes things to personal level. Invlolves critizing the candidate's family, creating rumors and presenting them as fact (lying), using intimidation tactics on the opponents supporters, and vandalism/ theft of their opponent's campaign material.

Usually this is more rampant near the end of a general election. However, due to several heated primaries there are those who are losing their heads and compromising themselves and the candidates they represent.

Dirty politics does not belong in Allen County politics. I have reports from credible individuals not associated with any campaigns who have been witness to all of the above dirty political tactics. I myself have seen some of it. It appears to be escalating beyond the norm.

This is the only warning to all campaigns. STOP. Should we at the IP observe a continued escalation of this kind of behavior by campaigns the names of those campaigns continuing to use dirty (not negative) campaign tactics will be exposed. We will not discern between the supporter acting alone or official actions of a campaign.

PS: Some forms of dirty politics are actually illegal.

Due diligence?

Tonight at 5pm is the county commissioner's meeting where the public can ask questions concerning the issue of consolidation. At 7pm is a candidate forum in Grabill.

While this could be a coincidence I question whether the scheduling of this feedback meeting by the commissioners. By having the Q&A session at the meeting it gives the appearance of due diligence on the matter. But by creating a scheduling conflict for those who have the most questions about the matter smells rotten.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Absentee-Voting Dates

This is a Public Service Announcement.

Location: Allen County Election Board office in Room 119, 602 S. Calhoun St., Fort Wayne

April 3 to April 28, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
April 22, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
April 29, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
May 1, Monday, 8 a.m. to noon

If you are voting by mail, all applications must be received by midnight on April 24.

If you are voting by traveling board, applications are accepted between April 20 and noon on May 1.

The Art of the soundbite

Too many candidates these days don't use the art of the soundbite to their advantage. It doesn't seem like a big thing, but it can truly work wonders for a campaign. Candidates so often want to tell everyone everything they plan to do down to the detail. For the sake of my last few brain cells, the redwoods, and all humanity don't succumb to the temptation.

The rules to a soundbite
  • Use only 1 topic
  • Make it a short sentence or phrase
  • Make that sentence simple
  • If asked a question make it relevant to that question
Why you should use soundbites
  • It acts as a teaser to engage the voter into the campaign
  • The media is more likely to seek you out if you are known to give good soundbites

Use a soundbite anytime you are asked questions by the media, when you address voters, and at the beginning of a speech. If they want more info they will ask you for it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fort Wayne Projects

In the last five years Fort Wayne has seen many changes including (but not limited to):
  • Coliseum expansion
  • Grand Wayne Center
  • downtown library expansion
  • courthouse greenway

Now there is talk of relocating the baseball stadium and building a new hotel downtown to be added to the list. Fort Wayne needs upgrades to make it attractible to visitors and residents. But these things come at a cost.

I am posting this question to my readers. Is the city (and county) making the right decisions by embark on these endeavors? Can we afford them? Do we need them? What are they missing?

What officials say often has an effect on voters

These are quotes by various elected officials that have been cited by local news media in the last couple of days.

John Crawford: "Sometimes in order to get anything done, we just have to barrel ahead."

This statement is not having the effect city councilman Crawford was expecting. I've listened to many people about the comment. There are basically two interpretations of the quote that I've heard. First is that it sounds like FW city council acts before it thinks in order to keep momentum hoping that they can fix anything they didn't anticipate as it arises. Second I've been told that it sounds like they make the mistake of seeing action as progress. Action for the sake of action is not progress. Overall though, Crawford is too popular for this to have any serious harm to himself.

Terry McDonald " It goes on to say that, "each and every city, town, township, unincorporated village, farmers, Amish, fire districts, minority groups, and any other affected party must be at the table and must have an equal vote and voice."

Comments like that go farther than the borders of New Haven. Could McDonald be laying groundwork for a county position? With unrest in New Haven concerning all elected officials he might have something up his sleeve.

Graham Richard "I'd like to see a new government with one elected chief county-wide executive and one county-wide elected body."

This one doesn't hurt Graham, but it does hurt consolidation supporters. Residents in the county fear that FW would rule the county in a Unigov situation. Graham's comment entrenches that line of thought even further.

Marla Irving: "I think the notion he (Richard) brought up is exactly what is city government. They have an executive, the mayor, and an elected legislative body, the city council. So, is that reforming our community, or is that just taking city government and making it go border to border?"

While her public image is still hurting, this comment might save her in May. Before this comment was made rural residents weren't sure where she stood on the issue. I'm not sure she knew until the county council backed her opponent. This should put a halt to any slip in votes in the county.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

100 People Who Make Allen County and Fort Wayne Great?

While Mitch wants feedback on who is messing up Fort Wayne and Allen County (link), I wanted to see who readers think are making the biggest positive impact in our area.

There is a lot of good happening in our community. It just doesn't get the press that the bad news gets.

Quoting Mitch quoting Mr. Tully "Feel free to include the names of politicians, celebrities, lobbyists and, gulp, columnists. Or anyone else."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Yard Signs for John McGauley

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test. Maybe make "county recorder" smaller to let the name dominate the sign more.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The name extending beyond the color border is unique.

Color. This works well. Just a reminder about fading.

Grade A

Yard Signs for Fred Warner

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. Without anything unique it just blends in with the rest.

Color. How many times have we seen signs that look so similar to this.

Grade B

Yard Sign Review - Alyn Biddle

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The way the name floats from the bottom left to the top right is nifty. I caution future candidtes on this technic. It can be difficult to pull off. Both the name and the text style have to lend themselves to it.

Color. Doesn't stand out. But the way the name is presented helps it to hold up against the rest.

Grade B

Yard Signs for Marvin Hoot

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. Nothing to report.

Color. The color stands out from others. This color fades even faster than the orange used in Bill Brown's signs. But that isn't as much of a factor since this race ends in May.

Grade B+

Signs for Mike Sylvester

50 x 50 scanability. It only passes this test because the candidate's last name is at the top of the sign and take up the whole width.

Clean. There's too much stuff on the the sign. I would have gone with just the candidate's name, office, and the graphic. Keep your platform for other things.

Uniqueness. Sylvester the Cat is unique and helps with remembering the candidate's name. This may be a copyright infringement though.

Color. The color is fine as the other signs are using a deeper blue or compliment it with a yellow.

Extra. Don't like the two different side thing. People will have to look at the sign twice as many times to remember the campaign than they would had it been the same on both sides.

Grade C+

Yard Signs for Bill Brown

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. Nothing to report here.

Color. Going with earth tones is not a good idea because it causes the sign to blend into the surroundings. Imagine how hard it would be to see this sign in the fall against the falling leaves. He could have still gone with orange but not with brown. One caution with using orange as a primary color for a yard sign is that it will fade.

Grade B+

Yard Signs for Mike Foster

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean except for the word "Republican". having a word straddle different colors doesn't work. This would have worked more effectively had it been at the top border for the blue.

Uniqueness. While a lot of signs in this year's primary use a star as a graphic or in their background, this sign is the only one to incorporate it into the name of the candidate.

Color. The color choices don't allow it to stand out to its fullest capacity.

Grade B+

Yard Sign Review - Geoff Paddock

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. Nothing really unique except how the star is designed. Not all that creative but it gets the job done.

Color. This color scheme is similar to Ken Fries yet different enough so as not to be confused with that campaign.

Grade B+

Yard Sign Review - Stacey Lopshire

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. Its clean.

Uniqueness. The only thing different on this sign is that the head shot sits behind the word "Assessor" and in front of her last name.

Color. This sign illustrates the danger of using a photo and having a white background. The contrast on the white is fine but the first part of the word assessor is muddied a bit by her wardrobe.

Grade B

Yard Sign Review - Roy Buskirk

This is the same design as his council signs. That continuity helps Roy a lot by basically allowing his current campaign to act as an extension of his last one.

50 x 50 scanability. It passes this test.

Clean. This is kind of weird to say about a white sign but he needs to make better use of white space. It would be less crowded without all the little gadgets on the top row.

Uniqueness. The flag and GOP markers he used are unique to this election cycle, but are they needed considering that they cause the sign to be too crowded.

Color. It has plenty of contrast. More than 50% of yard signs in a single cycle will use this color combination.

Grade C+



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