Post Register (Idaho Falls, ID

Post Register (Idaho Falls, ID)
January 5, 2014

Fuhriman's shallow footprint
Section: Opinion
Estimated printed pages: 2
Article Text:
In the early hours of Sept. 13, what must have been Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman's greatest
fear played out on a large stage. Then, with a few words and one gutsy vote, Fuhriman
transformed that awkward scene into one of his most admirable political moments.
The occasion was the vote on a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance. Following a long and
emotional debate, the City Council vote resulted in a 3-3 tie. For only the second time in his two
terms, Fuhriman's vote would decide the issue.
For a moment he floundered and referred to the memory disorder that prevented him from
seeking a third term. Then, Fuhriman composed himself and cast a vote that provided a level of
legal equality to all Idaho Falls citizens and brought the city into the 21st century.
In some ways, however, that moment when he struggled -- and in fact the last two years of his
administration -- tell us as much about the man and how he was regarded by folks living in the
city he grew up in as the vote he cast.
When Fuhriman acknowledged his memory disorder, there was no groundswell to oust him.
People admired him too much for that. Post Register reporter Christina Lords' Nov. 28 story,
"Memories of a mayor," captured that perfectly.
To know Fuhriman is to like him. That's because he genuinely cares about people, wants to help,
needs to do good. Put Fuhriman in a room filled with people and warmth radiates from him. His
decency is genuine, not the fabricated political kind that can be sniffed out a mile away.
Fuhriman was not a man who could use his bully pulpit to inspire change. He was never going to
steer the Tom Campbell, Linda Milam City Hall ship anywhere but the course they set. He had
missteps. Not keeping a campaign promise to form citizen committees to dig into budgets was a
mistake. The forgotten bongs in the basement (leftovers from his days as a DARE officer) were
embarrassing. And his willingness to be led by division directors bit him more than once.
But Fuhriman's mistakes were never rooted in malice. His lack of public policy depth wasn't a
strategy. There was nothing contrived about him.
The tie-breaking vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance, transferring control of the Police
Department from Kent Livsey to Steve Roos and resurrection of Memorial Drive are the policy
highlights of Fuhriman's two terms.
His footprint is a shallow one. But, Fuhriman did the best he could and, unlike far too many
politicians, knew when to walk away. He will be remembered as a competent mayor and a good
Enjoy retirement, Mayor Fuhriman. You've earned it.
Corey Taule
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