Will the real Mark Furrer stand up?
We ask that question because after the Sunset Hills mayor’s testimony in court last week, we’re not sure who the real Mark Furrer is.
The demeanor of the man who testified during his trial on felony charges of assault and property damage for allegedly intentionally hitting a bicyclist with his car was the complete opposite of the mayor we’ve observed in office for roughly the past 20 months.
For example, Furrer testified that the bicyclist, Randy Murdick, grabbed onto his car.
“Why didn’t you just stop?” Furrer’s attorney Tom Magee asked him.
“I didn’t want to have a confrontation with the guy,” Furrer said.
But as mayor, Furrer has never been one to shy away from a confrontation and on more than one occasion, has created clashes. Consider this: In an effort to force an up-or-down vote on his contention that Ward 1 Alderman Dee Baebler was violating the First Amendment for blocking a resident from her aldermanic Facebook page, Furrer demanded of aldermen, “Do you have the guts to stand up?”
The jury heard from a mayor who testified that he calmly remarked to the passing bicyclist, “Hey man, you should stop at the stop sign.”
Yet residents saw a mayor who publicly bullied aldermen, threatened them with legal action in a closed session if they didn’t do what he wanted and, ironically, had the nerve to tell them that they were the embarrassment to the city.
The jury saw a mayor who recounted how he rode his bike to his job as a busboy at the Flaming Pit restaurant in Crestwood. Residents saw a mayor who said, “Money ain’t nothing to me,” and who took Magee to a board meeting where the attorney promised aldermen that he would make it as difficult, lengthy and costly as possible if they tried to impeach Furrer.
When Furrer testified that he would not seek re-election in April, Magee asked, “Is it because of this trial?”
“No. In a small town like Sunset Hills, of 8,800 people, I’ve had my term, and I think other people should have a chance,” Furrer testified.
Yet in October, Furrer told the Call he was still debating but would probably run again after writing in an email to Baebler, “By the way, I’m going nowhere. I look forward to my April win.”
If the Mark Furrer who testified in court had exhibited that same demeanor as mayor, we can only imagine how much less of an embarrassment his time in office would have been.