Officials offer no shortage of misguided quotes in 2014

Past year provides plethora of Most Misguided Quotes

By Mike Anthony

2014 was anything but a lean year for the Call’s annual Most Misguided Quotes of the Year column.

In fact, we were overwhelmed by the number of candidates for this column, in which we chronicle the most misguided, misinformed and misleading statements of the year.

Throughout 2014, Crestwood officials gave us much fodder for this column, starting with Ward 4 Alderman Mike Vincent.

Vincent, who was appointed by former Mayor Jeff Schlink April 16 to the seat vacated by former Alderman Dan Tennessen’s resignation, had many memorable quotes last year, including this one: “… Repeatedly, the Apostle Paul encourages all to do good to others. Paul encourages us to serve humbly and reminds everyone that they should never malign the good name of other people …”

Vincent’s comments would appear to be do as I say, not as I do, as he later had no problem repeatedly maligning one of his own constituents, former Ward 4 Alderman Steve Nieder, at Board of Aldermen meetings.

Then we have City Administrator Mark Sime, whose father-in-law is very proud of his military service, as he should be. In August, Sime’s father-in-law, Jim Furlong of Chesterfield, outlined specifics of Sime’s 26 years of military service and called him “a true hero.”

Nothing odd about that, right? It’s too bad that the vast majority of those attending the Aug. 12 meeting were unaware of Furlong’s relationship to Sime.

When the Call asked Sime if Furlong is his father-in-law, Sime answered after a long pause, “Uh, yes.”

When asked if he thought it odd that his father-in-law addressed the board, Sime said, “… I would have to ask: Why would it be odd?”

During 2014, Crestwood aldermen have debated at length whether the city is transparent. Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding is all for transparency, but believes there’s no need to make information available to residents when they can just make a public-records request for it and wait for up to three days for a response.

During a discussion of whether to post bills on the city’s website, Breeding disagreed with Ward 4 Alderman Mike Tsichlis’ assertion that the issue was “a no-brainer.”

“… You call it a no-brainer. I think that’s degrading everyone else’s opinion. You wanted my opinion. You asked me before for my opinion, I’m giving it to you. It seems like a lot of time, space, energy when someone could request this and get it. I don’t see the non-transparency you’re discussing …,” he said.

The new Sunset Hills mayor, Mark Furrer, also provided ample candidates for this year’s column.

The mayor was set to be arraigned Wednesday — after the Call went to press — on two felony charges that stem from a July 29 incident in which Furrer allegedly hit Fenton bicyclist Randy Murdick with his car on Old Gravois Road in Sunset Hills. Furrer maintains his innocence and plans a “vigorous” defense against the charges.

A majority of Sunset Hills alderman have called for Furrer to resign or take a leave of absence, but the mayor has said he will not step down. Aldermen have also attempted to advance efforts to impeach Furrer, but have been unsuccessful.

Ward 1 Alderman Dee Baebler has alleged that Furrer threatened aldermen by telling them in closed session, “I will go after each of you personally, I will go after your family and friends. I will bankrupt you, I will cause you to miss work and go to depositions, I’ve got deep pockets. And I will do everything I can to drag this out as long as I can.”

But Furrer disputed Baebler’s account of the closed session, saying, “I said I would sue them, not bankrupt them.”

Well, that’s certainly reassuring.

Furrer’s comments get even better: “… I said I’m going to fight it, I’ll sell my house, I’ll spend every dollar. I told them money ain’t nothing to me.”

Apparently, neither is good grammar.

Then we have the issue of Furrer initiating a study of outsourcing the city’s Police Department, as outlined in a memo by Police Chief William LaGrand. The outsourcing issue raised quite a stink, ultimately leading to alderman unanimously adopting a series of resolutions recommended by the Police Advisory Board in support of the Police Department, its officers and LaGrand, including restoring LaGrand’s personal use of a city car and clarifying that outsourcing police would require a public vote by aldermen.

Before the issue reached the board, Furrer said anyone with concerns about the Police Department should have talked to him, but no one did.

“Shame on (the police board) for not bringing it up to me — I can’t stand these babies,” he said. “If they have a question about a rumor, for God’s sake, why don’t they ask me like a man? I’m man enough that if I heard something, I’d ask the person who asked it — these people have no spine at all.”

Furrer’s remarks sound like they were made on a grade-school playground.

St. Louis County Library officials rankled south county residents with their decision to move the Tesson Ferry Library from its longtime location in Green Park to a new $16 million building at the Gravois and Musick intersection across from Grant’s Farm in Affton.

And library officials showed some stunning originality in selecting a new name for the library — Grant’s View.

Library Director Kristen Sorth told the board in August, “As you know, the location will be overlooking Grant’s Farm, so it has a view of Grant’s Farm.”

Library officials apparently spent as much time deciding on a name for the new library as they took listening to residents’ concerns about moving the building.

That’s all the space for 2014’s Most Misguided Quotes. But rest assured, we’ll be listening for candidates for 2015’s Most Misguided Quotes of the Year.