“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony
It’s hard to believe, but 10 years ago the Call published its first column of Most Misguided Quotes chronicling the most misguided, misinformed and misleading statements of the year.
So looking back over the past 10 years, we’ve selected what we consider to be some of the “best” Most Misguided Quotes.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here they are:
“… You’re done. It’s my turn. Shut up.”
Former Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Secretary Dan Ottoline made this comment to his wife, Patricia, at a May 10, 2007, fire board meeting after she addressed the board. As if publicly telling his wife to “shut up” wasn’t enough, Ottoline then told the board that then-Chief Jim Silvernail should treat women with respect.
The irony was not lost on us.
During an August 2010 discussion of placing a 94-cent tax-rate increase before Mehlville School District voters, then-board Vice President Venki Palamand lobbied hard for a reasonable tax-rate increase.
But then-board member Karl Frank Jr. responded that a consultant told the board that reducing the amount of the tax-rate increase would not gain more “yes” votes.
Palamand later said, “Well, what about reverse logic? Why don’t we try for $1.30? Do we get more people enthusiastic about it … just rationally thinking?”
“I think it passes with flying colors,” Frank replied. “I think it really does get more ‘yes’ votes. I’m not just saying that. I mean, I think there’s legitimate reason to think that.”
Needless to say, Mehlville voters in November 2010 overwhelmingly trounced the 88-cent tax-rate increase placed before them.
So much for Frank’s “flying colors.”
During a September 2009 town-hall meeting, then-Crestwood Mayor Roy Robinson raised more than a few eyebrows with his remarks about how Kirkwood and Webster Groves handle animal control.
“When they pick up an animal, and it’s got a problem and they can’t handle it or whatever, they shoot it,” Robinson said. “I mean, you don’t hear anything about this, but it’s done. There’s a report made, and they shoot the animal. And that’s how they take care of your pets that get out …”
Not surprisingly, the mayor’s comments came as a complete shock to police officials in both Kirkwood and Webster Groves, who told the Call that their officers would shoot an animal only if it were dangerous and all other efforts to control it had failed.
But hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good “tail.”
Former Sunset Hills Ward 3 Alderman Keith Kostial, dubbed the “Robo Alderman,” has the distinction of repeat appearances in our Misguided Quotes columns regarding his penchant for attending more aldermanic meetings via videoconferencing than in person.
In May 2016, Ward 4 Alderman Thompson Price criticized Kostial’s FaceTime attendance, saying Kostial had an obligation to attend meetings in person, “which means being here, seeing each other, body language that you would never see on a videoconference …”
“I’ve arranged my body so you can see my torso and my body language,” Kostial later told aldermen, who couldn’t see him because the iPad was facing the audience.
While aldermen were spared the sight, the audience unfortunately was not.
In 2013 in Crestwood, rallies were conducted urging the Board of Aldermen to reconcile its differences and unite its efforts toward the redevelopment of the then-Crestwood Court, owned at the time by Centrum Partners LLC and Angelo, Gordon & Co.
Rally organizer Metropolitan Congregations United, along with some residents and nonresidents, believed city officials should have proceeded with Centrum’s “proposal” to redevelop the mall into an open-air shopping and entertainment venue — despite the fact the developer had presented more of a concept than an actual proposal.
Rally-goers waved signs urging, “Remove the Pall Over the Mall” and “Stop the Stall.” On a press release for one of the rallies, the contact people listed were then-former Ward 3 Alderman Gregg Roby and Roby crony Anne Milford.
The rallies essentially kicked off Roby’s successful mayoral campaign, as he was elected the following spring.
As for the rallies, what a great idea urging the board to enter into an agreement with a developer who came to the city with his hand out, requesting economic assistance totaling roughly $34 million to redevelop the mall and saying he couldn’t obtain any commitments from tenants until he had the economic assistance in hand.
Oh wait, isn’t that exactly what happened under Roby’s leadership as mayor and the redevelopment agreement approved by the Board of Aldermen in March 2016 with the new owner of the mall site, UrbanStreet Group of Chicago?
We hope those rally-goers saved their signs, as it certainly would be appropriate now to “Remove the Pall Over the Mall” since no tenants have been announced for the project. And in fact, UrbanStreet has the entire 47-acre site up for sale.
Former Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer provided a plethora of misguided quotes during his tenure as mayor. Consider this one from 2015 about the Board of Aldermen rejecting one of his appointments.
“Needless to say I’m sickened by my aldermen, I hope you’re proud of yourselves …,” he said. “I just cannot believe that they’ve done this to you. They are so power hungry and so greedy. To continue the cliques they’ve had for 26 years, 27 years … (Then-Ward 4 Alderman and current Mayor) Pat Fribis is the next one I’m replacing (on the parks board). This is just absolutely unprecedented, and I could just scream.”
Besides the fact that board members are not his aldermen, perhaps he’ll hold his breath until he turns blue, too.
“You don’t have to have the train come to you. You could go to the train.”
Former St. Louis County Chief Operating Officer Garry Earls made this case to us in 2007 when asked why south county residents should vote for a half-cent sales-tax increase to fund MetroLink light-rail expansion to Westport and Florissant and not south county. The proposal, Proposition M, later was taken off the February 2008 ballot when reality hit that Metro’s credibility was shot. County officials gave south county plenty of reasons in 2007 to distrust them. But this quote is the quintessential example of how out of touch past leaders in Clayton were with south county.
Former Call Staff Reporter Burke Wasson contributed to this column.