Antonio French

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks with reporters before the start of the presidential debate at Washington University. (Oct. 9, 2016)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time during their Sunday night debate dwelling on vulgar comments, leaked speeches, personal income tax payments and tweets of days past.

But one thing the two didn’t talk about at all during their Washington University showdown was Ferguson.

Antonio French 2016 photo
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The race to be the next St. Louis mayor is getting more crowded.

A day after St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson jumped in the contest and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced that she had filed paperwork to race money for a mayoral bid, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French revealed he too would seek to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward, speaks on Friday about his bill to cap city-based campaign contribtions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on October 7: The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave final approval to campaign donation limits for city-based offices.

The Board backed legislation that would place a $10,000 cap on donations to city offices. It would take effect next April after the city’s municipal election cycle.

The bill now goes to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's desk.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

St. Louis aldermen used a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday to blast the crime-fighting policies of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson.

"It is important that we make a distinction between criticism of the chief and the leadership and criticism of the officers on the streets," said Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward, and the vice chairman of the public safety committee. "Officers on the streets are just as frustrated. They can't say it publicly, but we hear it as aldermen."

Blues musician Bobby Rush, museum leaders and Mayor Francis Slay celebrate the opening of the National Blues Museum on Saturday, April 2, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

It was just a couple of weeks ago that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay unequivocally told this reporter that he would run for a historic fifth term.

Now, the Democratic official has changed course and won’t be running for another four years in office. And that means next year’s mayoral contest could be a free-for-all of epic proportions.

Crime plan neighborhoods December 2015
Screen capture

Shortly before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen started to debate the city’s portion of a financial package for a new National Football League stadium, Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward and Mayor Francis Slay tweeted about a new comprehensive crime plan.

Though crime and the Rams are not logically connected, they have been linked. As St. Louis Public Radio reported last week, Alderman French voted to send the financing bill out of committee after an amendment was attached that provided a multi-faceted minority inclusion plan. And he said, "I am taking the mayor’s chief of staff at her word that we will complete our negotiations on a comprehensive [crime] plan before the final vote," French said.

Alderman Megan Green speaks to reporters after Friday's Board of Aldermen meeting. The 15th Ward Democrat alleged that "bribes" were offed by a proponent of a riverfront stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A St. Louis alderman is contending that debate over a proposed riverfront stadium plan took a corrupt turn when a “loved one” was offered a political favor in exchange for her dialing down her opposition to the project.

But Alderman Megan Green’s charges are getting pushback – especially from her colleagues on the Board of Aldermen.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, left, talks with Aldermen Sam Moore, center, and Antonio French about a stadium funding deal. All three voted in favor of the proposal aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:15 Friday -- Plans for a $1 billion riverfront stadium cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a financing proposal passed out of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee. And the measure passed with a big assist from one of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s biggest detractors. The full board will consider this bill next week.

Most observers agree that Reed doesn't have a majority of the Board of Aldermen aligned with him. That means he's sometimes at the losing end of some big-ticket issues -- or he ends up supporting initiatives from Slay or other aldermen.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee expected to vote on a stadium financing package on Thursday, Alderman Chris Carter is getting pressure from unusual sources – like the general manager of his gym.

Officer Phil Green, an instructor in the St. Louis Police Academy and chief Sam Dotson present to the subcommittee on police use of force on Nov. 19, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly six months after he first asked for the authority to do so, Alderman Antonio French has started his review of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s use-of-force policies.

French's subcommittee on police use of force held its first meeting Thursday. He had originally hoped for a special committee that would study officer-involved shootings, but the legislation authorizing that committee never passed. A subcommittee can be created without a vote of the Board of Aldermen.

Dave Peacock of the St. Louis stadium task force testifies on Thursday before the Board of Aldermen's Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Dave Peacock didn’t mince any words about how important it is to get a stadium financing plan through the Board of Aldermen.

“We don’t have a plan if they don’t,” said Peacock, one member of Gov. Jay Nixon’s two-person stadium task force.

HOK | 360 Architecture

There are few fans in St. Louis quite like Ram Man.

Ram Man — whose real name is Karl Sides — wears a hat molded in the shape of a snarling beast with spiraling horns. His jersey is adorned with patches celebrating the St. Louis Rams' achievements. And his unique admiration was worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it will take more than extraordinary fan loyalty to keep an NFL team in St. Louis.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Steven Conway, D-8th Ward, expects a number of hearings on a stadium funding bill. Conway is a CPA and plans to analyze the financial costs of the legislation.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s fair to say last week produced plenty of copy about St. Louis’ proposed riverfront football stadium.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert chats with St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Nick Pistor before a judge ruled against a temporary restraining order for the city's minimum wage law.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When attorneys resume a legal fight this week over St. Louis’ minimum wage law, the atmosphere will be very different from when they first clashed in the courtroom.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert and omnipresent litigator Jane Dueker are set to resume a high-stakes legal battle on Tuesday morning. Dueker is representing businesses and business groups seeking to dismantle St. Louis’ law raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. Calvert (along with private attorneys from Dowd Bennett) is defending the statute.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie speaks in favor of his bill exempting sheltered workshops from the city's minimum wage law.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen exempted sheltered workshops from its new minimum wage law.

When the board passed legislation that is to gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to $11 an hour, they didn’t leave out sheltered workshops. Those facilities provide employment opportunities to people with developmental disabilities and often pay less than the minimum wage.

We Must Stop Killing Each Other signs are posted on the security gate of a building near where Mansur Ball-Bey was shot by police.
Linda Lockhart I St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday morning, sisters Debbie and Darlene Ball were sweeping up around the front yard in St. Louis’ Fountain Park area. Several big teddy bears were strapped to a fence at the two-family flat where police shot and killed the pair’s nephew — Mansur Ball-Bey.

Debbie Ball lives in the flat where the shooting occurred. The incident led to tense confrontations between police and residents, the deployment of tear gas and the burning of a car and a vacant home.

A focus group moderator writes down participants' thoughts on racial and ethnic relations in St. Louis, after a meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

After months of deliberation and debate, the Ferguson Commission produced roughly 200 initial recommendations — an ambitious output for an entity charged with the job of issuing a report.

But Bethany Johnson-Javoism, the Commission's managing director, said the group’s “calls to action” are purposefully aspirational.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward, listens in at a recent hearing of the Board of Aldermen's Legislative Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

An effort by St. Louis alderman Antonio French to add an additional set of eyes to police policy is running into some headwinds.

French introduced a resolution on May 21 that would create a special committee to look at officer-involved shootings between January 2014 and the end of this year and recommend changes to policy or city law. The board's rules committee held its second hearing on the measure Wednesday without taking a vote. A third hearing of that standing committee is scheduled for next week.

Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Steve Stenger
Jason Rosenbaum and Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Since St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger took office earlier this year, there have been questions about his relationship with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

They’re not just errant queries: Slay supported then-St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley over Stenger in last year’s Democratic primary — as did some of the  mayor's political organization. But both men say they’re burying the hatchet — and, at least, are using telephones to speak with each other.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers raise their weapons at a preshift meeting 3.23.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Funding to put additional police on the St. Louis streets likely won't go to voters until November.

The city's public safety committee took more than three hours of testimony Wednesday on the measures that set up the funding mechanisms for the new officers. But in the end, lawmakers took no action, which likely scuttles the hope of Mayor Francis Slay to ask voters for their approval in August.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 17, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French was one of the most visible people in Ferguson, the city and related social media, last summer and fall after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Since then, French has shifted his attention back to the 21st Ward and North Campus, an education-based community program that helps parents and students. But he’s also still active in Ferguson efforts.

march August 30 2014
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Justice’s report detailing the excesses of the Ferguson Police Department has prompted plenty of analyses and speculation about whether the town of roughly 20,000 would change its ways.

Friday afternoon, Ron Johnson of Missouri State Highway Patrol asks protester to keep the peace in Ferguson over the course of the night.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

In a special, live evening edition of "St. Louis on the Air," we discussed the grand jury's decision regarding the August shooting death of Michael Brown by police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.


St. Louis Alderman Antonio French documents a Ferguson press conference in August.
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Many protest leaders in and around Ferguson have expressed doubt that the grand jury will indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.

But St. Louis Alderman Antonio French says he thinks an indictment is possible.

“I have not given up hope that there will be an indictment,” French said. “I think the evidence warrants at least a trial. And I think ultimately that’s what the community needs in order to heal the long-term wounds.”

French does agree with the general consensus that if the grand jury does not indict Wilson there will be large-scale protests.

The Missouri Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Dysfunction in government is in the eyes of the beholder.

That, in essence, was the upshot of Friday’s Third Annual Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

What some speakers viewed as dysfunction, others saw as evidence of proper government action – or restraint.

Take, for example, the four-person panel of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers, past and present.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been nearly a year since a group called Better Together formed to look at St. Louis’ regional governance. From the outset, the organization met with optimism – and skepticism. 

Rebecca Smith/St. Louis Public Radio

A tutoring program that now serves 150 students in north St. Louis could expand to help 350 more students in the city and north St. Louis County with the help of $500,000 in federal funds awarded by the state of Missouri.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson issued on Thursday a wide-ranging apology to Michael Brown’s family — and to demonstrators who felt their constitutional right to protest was violated in the wake of Brown's death.

Pasadena Hills Mayor Geno Salvati won election to his office in 2013 without opposition. It's fairly common for mayors and city council members to get elected without opposition in St. Louis County.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

When Pasadena Hills Mayor Geno Salvati met with this reporter in April at the Ferguson Brewing Co., it was months before Ferguson became internationally known -- or turned into a hashtag.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson Aug. 20.
Office of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay

Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that his conversations with residents of Ferguson during his visit two weeks ago influenced his decision to investigate the city’s police department.

Holder says he heard directly from residents and listening sessions “about the deep mistrust that has taken hold between law enforcement officials and members of the community. ... People consistently expressed concerns stemming from specific alleged incidents, from general policing practices, and from the lack of diversity on Ferguson’s police force.”