Fact, fiction not clear-cut for mayor of Sunset Hills

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Mayor Mark Furrer fancies himself a “change agent” for Sunset Hills.

Furrer was elected mayor in April 2014 as a write-in candidate, defeating incumbent Mayor Bill Nolan.

Furrer launched his write-in campaign for mayor two weeks before the 2014 election, sparked by his opposition to a proposed QuikTrip development off Interstate 270. At that time, the Sansone Group was under contract to purchase two commuter lots at the intersection of Kennerly and Weber Hill from the Missouri Department of Transportation, or MoDOT, in exchange for $1.03 million and building MoDOT a new 9.5-acre lot at Rahning Road and Highway 30.

In media reports, Furrer characterized the proposed QuikTrip development as some type of secret deal that city officials were trying to slip under the table, apparently for some nefarious or self-serving reason.

That wasn’t the reality, though, as the issue dated back to July 2012 when the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously during a public meeting to approve a cooperation agreement between the city and Sansone.

During a public meeting in December 2013, aldermen voted unanimously to extend the agreement with Sansone until Jan. 10, 2015.

That hardly qualifies as a backroom deal, but why let the facts get in the way of a good story, especially when you’re seeking office? Apparently Furrer’s bogus claims resonated with voters as he proclaimed to a TV reporter after his victory, “The QuikTrip and the commuter proposal ignited a fire that I rode in on.”

While Furrer gave the impression that his write-in campaign for mayor was a grassroots effort, once again the reality is much different.

In fact, Furrer hired a political consultant, Show Me Victories, to assist him with his campaign. Furrer paid the firm $3,671.92 on March 26, 2014, according to campaign-finance reports. Show Me Victories was so proud of its work that it tweeted congratulations to Furrer on his win.

Although Furrer considers his victory a mandate for change, we disagree.

Winning by 165 votes with the aid of a political consultant is hardly a mandate. While Furrer has made many changes during his first year in office, the vast majority of them haven’t benefited Sunset Hills or its citizens.

Unfortunately, Furrer has almost another year left to serve — plenty of time to inflict more damage to the city and its image. But, as we’ve noted before, the odds of Furrer being elected to a second term are slim to none.