Past year not a stellar one for Most Misguided Quotes

Past year not a stellar one for Most Misguided Quotes

By Mike Anthony

Perhaps our elected and appointed officials are getting smarter or maybe they’re just learning to keep their mouths shut as 2012 was a lean year for the Call’s annual Most Misguided Quotes of the Year column in which we chronicle the most misguided, misinformed and misleading statements of the year.

Despite the slim pickings, though, 2012 did produce a few gems.

Consider this one from Crestwood Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan in an effort to justify her decision to have private conversations with potential vendors or developers.

“I can’t rely on anecdotal evidence. I can’t rely on the Internet to get my information,” she said. “I need to have primary sources, and if somebody has a problem with me, come to me and ask me about it …”

It’s unbelievable that a sitting elected official apparently believes she can’t rely on city staff and Mayor Jeff Schlink to provide her with accurate information. Instead, she would rather trust information provided by a vendor or developer seeking to do business with the city.

Certainly, such a vendor or developer would never stretch the truth a bit.

Perhaps the most outrageous assertion during 2012 was county officials’ claim that convicted felon Dean Burns was the best candidate for the vice president of real estate and community development position with the St. Louis County Economic Council.

Dean Burns, who pleaded guilty in 1999 to transferring nearly $30,000 of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, funds to his own company in 1994, was hired in July by the Economic Council — to a position he first held in 1996.

Andrew Ruben, general counsel and senior vice president of real estate and community development with the council, who hired Burns, said his obligation is to find the best person for the job and Burns “is the best person.”

Sixth District County Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, was among those who called for Burns’ resignation, alleging “political favoritism and cronyism.”

The irony was not lost on us when Katy Jamboretz, vice president of marketing and communications for the Economic Council, said Burns’ hiring “couldn’t be any less of a po-litical cronyism story.”

It’s just a coincidence that before Jamboretz was hired by the Economic Council, she served as spokeswoman for County Executive Charlie Dooley’s 2010 re-election campaign.

Burns later resigned from the post.