South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Furrer’s legal woes have a negative impact on city

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

We encourage Sunset Hills residents to attend the next Board of Aldermen meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, at City Hall, 3939 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

If the Jan. 13 board meeting was any indication, February’s meeting should be quite entertaining. Unfortunately, that sideshow comes at the expense of the city’s reputation, which already has taken some monumental hits the past several months.

At the forefront of what is quickly becoming a circus-like atmosphere is Mayor Mark Furrer, who has been charged with two felonies that stem from a July 29 incident in which Furrer allegedly hit Fenton bicyclist Randy Murdick with his car on Old Gravois Road. Furrer maintains his innocence and plans a “vigorous” defense against the charges.

Furrer’s felony charges are an issue that will be decided in court. But it’s certainly not an understatement that Furrer’s legal troubles have been more than a distraction when it comes to conducting city business at board meetings. Furrer last week seized on an issue raised by two residents — Tom Lynch and Kathy Tripp — that Ward 1 Alderman Dee Baebler somehow violated Tripp’s First Amendment rights by removing Tripp’s comments from her aldermanic Facebook page.

We believe they’re grasping at straws. Quite frankly, we can’t get very excited about allegations of censorship on a Facebook page, as elected officials routinely remove comments from their Facebook pages.

For example, Crestwood Mayor Gregg Roby states on his Facebook page, “I also reserve the right to remove any content or posts deemed to be abusive, offensive, defamatory, antagonistic or harassing in nature.”

If Furrer wants to call that censorship, that’s fine, but that would seem to be hypocritical given the fact that the mayor removed his entire Facebook page shortly after the July 29 incident with Murdick.

As for censorship, something far more troubling is Furrer’s squelching of public comment at the Dec. 9 board meeting, when he denied residents’ requests to address aldermen.

Furrer apparently is untroubled by his unprecedented decision, telling Baebler last week, “I’m sorry your little friends didn’t get to speak.”

A majority of aldermen have called for Furrer to resign, but the mayor is adamant he will not do so.

At the very least, we believe the mayor should take a leave of absence from his office until the charges against him are resolved.

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