March 30, 2005 - Crestwood citizens have one clear choice when it comes to the city's April 5 mayoral election: Re-elect Tom Fagan.
Through his service as a Ward 4 Alderman from 1993 through August 2004 and as mayor since last August, Mr. Fagan repeatedly has proved he has the leadership skills necessary to unite the Board of Aldermen and move the city past its current fiscal problems.
Mr. Fagan's opponent, perennial politician Roy Robinson, is making his fourth bid for the mayoral post and once again is waging a malicious, mudslinging campaign, making promises he can't possibly keep and leveling unfounded charges and half-truths at anybody or anything that he perceives stands in his way.
But longtime Crestwood residents should not be surprised at Mr. Robinson's disreputable campaign tactics as they date back to his two failed campaigns to unseat the late Pat Killoren, who served as mayor from 1978 to 1995. Mr. Robinson also was thwarted in his third bid for the mayoral post last August when Mr. Fagan defeated him and two other candidates to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Jim Robertson.
Mr. Robinson, who served as an alderman from 1988 to 1992, also was defeated in 1996 in an effort to regain a seat on the Board of Aldermen. Given that Mr. Robinson has not served as an alderman for 13 years, he doesn't have a good grasp of the issues facing the city nor has he articulated the specifics of his so-called "plan'' that he touts as an alternative to the general obligation bond issue the Board of Aldermen has placed on the April 5 ballot.
"I have a better idea. My plan will eliminate the $6 million lump sum and the $1.2 million in interest payments on the bonds over the 10-year life of the bonds,'' Mr. Robinson stated on his Web site. "My plan will provide funding to maintain services each year. My plan will limit the ability to spend on projects and items not needed during our financial crisis. And my plan will include police building improvements as we can afford them.''
What Mr. Robinson doesn't explain, however, is how he would accomplish his "plan.'' That's just one example of the empty promises and pledges Mr. Robinson is making. On a piece of campaign literature, he pledges, "... I will put an end (to) $830 per month auto allowances!''
Because only City Administrator Don Greer, who also serves as police chief, receives an $830 per month car allowance as part of his compensation package, we can only conclude Mr. Robinson is referring to Mr. Greer's car allowance. But that car allowance was approved by a vote of the Board of Aldermen. As mayor, Mr. Robinson can only vote in the event of a tie. Given his past history, we doubt Mr. Robinson will be able to persuade a majority of aldermen to his way of thinking.
Mr. Robinson also is opposed to Mr. Greer serving as both city administrator and police chief, despite the fact that this arrangement, necessitated by the city's current financial situation, saves the city more than $135,000 annually.
If Mr. Robinson is elected mayor, residents shouldn't expect him to be forthcoming. Since we reported in a front-page article March 10 that he would not participate in a forum the Call had planned to co-sponsor with the League of Women Voters for the two mayoral candidates, Mr. Robinson has continued to make inaccurate and misleading statements about this newspaper in his campaign literature and to other publications. We reported in our March 10, March 17 and March 24 issues that despite Mr. Robinson's refusal to participate, the forum still would take place with the Call as the sole sponsor.
But in a flier distributed by his supporters at the Call's March 24 forum — attended by only Mr. Fagan — Mr. Robinson wrote: "My primary concern is that the Call, once again deceived the people of Crestwood into thinking this would be a two-party debate.''
Given the fact that we reported in our March 10, March 17 and March 24 issues that Mr. Robinson would not attend the forum, who is deceiving the people of Crestwood? Consider this:
• "Fagan told the Call that he was disappointed by Robinson's decision not to participate in a forum ... Robinson said he also is unhappy because the Call still plans to conduct a forum at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Crestwood Community Center in Whitecliff Park. The Call will be the sole sponsor of the Crestwood forum, which will be moderated by (Call General Manager Bill) Milligan, as the League of Women Voters, the Lindbergh School District and the Call will co-sponsor a forum for Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors candidates that same evening'' — Call news article published March 10.
• "Because only Mr. Fagan plans to attend the Call's Crestwood mayoral forum, Mr. Robinson contends it will be a 'rally' for Mr. Fagan and he said he may seek some sort of legal action to prevent the forum from taking place, perhaps an 'injunction''' — Call opinion column and news article published March 10.
• "Robinson said he will not participate in a candidate forum that would have been co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Call Newspapers and moderated by the League of Women Voters. Robinson said he will not participate in the Call forum because of statements made by then-Acting Mayor Richard Breeding at the July forum, noting Breeding's comments drew a rebuke from the League of Women Voters. The Call still plans to conduct the forum at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Crestwood Community Center in Whitecliff Park'' — Call news articles published March 17 and March 24.
Because Mr. Robinson did not want to participate in the Call forum, he deemed that no one else should be allowed to hear Mr. Fagan respond to residents' questions, terming the forum a "rally'' for Mr. Fagan.
Given the great pains Mr. Robinson has taken to disassociate himself with the Crestwood Smart Growth Alliance, we were astounded to learn that the same lawyer who represented the Crestwood Smart Growth Alliance also represented Mr. Robinson in his efforts to stop the Call forum from taking place.
That's right. Mary Schultz, a lawyer who has represented the Crestwood Smart Growth Alliance and the Boegeman family, wrote in a March 18 letter to Crestwood City Attorney Rob Golterman, "I have been asked by Roy Robinson, candidate for mayor of Crestwood, to alert the city that if the city chooses to open up the Whitecliff Community Center to a political rally, like the so-called forum that will be sponsored by the Call at Whitecliff Community Center next week, that the Whitecliff Community Center might be opened to other, perhaps more objectionable speech.''
The Boegeman family, which owns the Creston Center at Watson and Grant roads, and the Crestwood Smart Growth Alliance led the effort the collect signatures for the politically motivated state audit of Crestwood. It's interesting that Mr. Robinson, the Crestwood Smart Growth Alliance and the Boegeman family all would have the same lawyer.
Perhaps Mr. Robinson said it best at the one forum he did participate in with Mr. Fagan: "... I'm not involved in Creston Center at all except I accept people's help when they're tired of all the things that have been going on in this city. If they want to help me get elected mayor, I accept. I don't care who it is ...''
We can only conclude that Mr. Robinson is so desperate to become mayor that he will do and say just about anything that he believes will propel him to the mayoral seat.
That's a stark contrast to Mr. Fagan, who has been extremely forthcoming about his positions on the critical issues facing the city and who is not afraid to take an unpopular stance.
In fact, while we don't agree with his stance on every issue, there's no doubt Mr. Fagan is the best candidate to lead the city of Crestwood into the future.
Crestwood's future is bright — despite all the gloom and doom that the group of obstructionists that support Mr. Robinson forecast. We firmly believe electing Mr. Robinson would be a giant step backward for the city of Crestwood and its citizens.
Re-electing Mr. Fagan as mayor of Crestwood is the right choice as he and a majority of the Board of Aldermen repeatedly have demonstrated they have a clear vision to overcome the challenges the city is facing and can lead Crestwood to prosperity once again.