Hazel Erby | St. Louis Public Radio

Hazel Erby

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger celebrated a narrow victory over Democrat Mark Mantovani.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At the end of a primary campaign that featured pointed attacks and biting television ads, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger used his victory speech to emphasize a need to come together.

Stenger barely held off businessman Mark Mantovani, who has yet to concede the race after falling about 1,100 votes short in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. It was a contentious and expensive affair that put Stenger’s dismal relationship with the St. Louis County Council in greater focus. He alluded to that seemingly endless acrimony near the tail end of his address.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is refusing to go along with legislation providing raises in the Justice Center — which includes the jail.

At issue is whether nurses that work in the Justice Center should get raises from a half-cent sales tax known as Proposition P.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Councilwoman Hazel Erby to the program.

The University City Democrat represents the council’s 1st District, which takes in a number of municipalities in central and north St. Louis County. Erby represents most of Ferguson, and she was a key figure in the aftermath of the shooting death Michael Brown in that city in 2014.

A child looks at one of two grizzly bear cubs at the St. Louis Zoo in September 2017.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the St. Louis County Council are placing an one-eighth of one cent sales tax on the November ballot to benefit the St. Louis Zoo.

While proponents of the measure believe it could enliven a part of the county that’s struggled economically, others believe it places too much of a burden on residents already shelling out property taxes to fund the zoo.

State Rep. Courtney Curtis, left, and St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby speak a news conference last year. Curtis is sponsoring "right to work" legislation aimed at construction unions, which he contends haven't done enough to bring minori
File photo | Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:45 p.m. on Monday with formal filing of lawsuit.

After filing closed on Tuesday, Missouri Democrats were jubilant about attracting scores of candidates to run for House and Senate seats.

But some are fuming over one person who didn’t get a chance to file.

The St. Louis County pet adoption center in Olivette. March 22, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

UPDATED March 28 with lawsuit:  St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger says he is committed to an “exhaustive search” to find a new director for the county’s animal shelter.

Stenger fired former director Beth Vesco-Mock earlier this month because of what he says was “inappropriate behavior.”

“Racist or discriminatory behavior is not going to be tolerated by this administration,’’ Stenger said in an interview. He declined to be specific, but referred to a hearing that the council held last month on problems facing the shelter.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger take questions after announcing their support for a task force to examine government spending.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 12: With the Missouri General Assembly slated to convene in a few weeks, the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis is scrambling in case state lawmakers decide to intervene in the region’s long-standing debate over a possible merger of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

The St. Louis County Council voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of a resolution -- signed by at least 50 area municipalities -- that opposes any sort of  statewide vote on the matter. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen could face a similar request shortly.

Links 2 Health, a mobile health screening unit, is providing services at four north St. Louis County Metro transit centers. December 1, 2017.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

A mobile health screening unit will begin providing services on Monday at four north St. Louis County Metro transit centers.

 

Links 2 Health was announced Friday during a ceremony at the Wellston Transit Center.

 

The program is a collaborative between the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and Bi-State Development to bring the mobile unit to transit riders in north St. Louis County.

 

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green takes the oath of office during an inauguration ceremony at City Hall in April. (2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Darlene Green first became St. Louis’ comptroller in 1995, making her the most politically powerful African-American woman in the region. Twenty-two years and seven elections later, she’s still in office, and has lots of company, putting St. Louis on the leading edge of a national trend.

Bob McCulloch is sworn in for another term as St. Louis County Prosecutor in 2015.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The St. Louis County Council gave Prosecutor Bob McCulloch — with unanimous consent — a retirement-pension boost last year. That same council might take it away.

The council will begin hearings Tuesday on a bill to do just that, with several council members contending that County Executive Steve Stenger mislead them last year. He denied that charge and said his adversaries on the council knew exactly what they voted on, deepening the rift that’s been exposed in recent months.

Councilman Mark Harder's (left) bill aimed at replacing two bridges in western St. Louis County sparked a war of words between councilmembers and County Executive Steve Stenger.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger always was going to have a hard time getting along with most of the St. Louis County Council. After all, the county voters filled the majority of those seven seats with people who have longstanding disagreements with the Democrat.  

That expected acrimony has come to pass in the form of a dispute over replacing bridges, prompting some council members to question Stenger’s ability to effectively communicate with them.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard told St. Louis Public Radio that St. Louis' governmental structure is woefully inefficient.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard hinted that next year’s legislative session could “shake up” the St. Louis region, especially if lawmakers back plans to combine St. Louis and St. Louis County or merge county municipalities.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Joplin Republican’s proclamation to St. Louis Public Radio elicited a mixed response. Some are willing to have the legislature help pare down the region’s cities, police departments and fire districts. Others, like Vinita Park Mayor James McGee, are not happy at the prospect of the state making wholesale changes to St. Louis’ governance, as opposed to St. Louis area residents.

The St. Louis County Council met for the first time this year on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is facing his most potentially adversarial County Council since he took office two years ago.

But the Democratic, countywide official is optimistic that he can work together with the seven-member legislative body – and avoid some of the pitfalls that bedeviled his predecessor.

Michael Brown Sr. stands at the back of the Ferguson Community Center's event space during the public comment portion of a 2016 Ferguson city council meeting.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the presidential campaign began in earnest, it’s become fairly common for candidates to allude to the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.

But according to officials that represent Ferguson, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has visited the city since announcing their presidential bids. And with both candidates set to debate Sunday at Washington University, some of the city’s elected leaders say it’s time for Trump and Clinton to see the town for themselves.

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey was suspended without pay on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners suspended its top official, a move that comes after dozens of polling places ran out of ballots during this month’s municipal elections.

After the four-person election board went into closed session on Tuesday, it voted to suspend Democratic director Eric Fey for two weeks without pay. Commissioners also suspended elections coordinator Laura Goebel without pay for one week. The board did not exert any punishment against Republican director Gary Fuhr.

paper ballot voting places
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Updated as story develops: St. Louis County’s municipal elections got off to a rocky start on Tuesday, with many polling places quickly running out of ballots. An appeals court extended voting until 9 p.m., but the decision came late. Shortly after 5 p.m., Circuit Judge Maura B. McShane denied a request to extend voting. In a hand-written order, the presiding judge in the county said "the court denies petitioners' request and doesn't believe it has authority to extend the hours."

In an email, Eric Fey, Democratic director of the St. Louis County Board of Elections, said, "Any ballots cast after 7:00 pm as a result of the court order will not be counted tonight."

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Update with response from Municipal League - The umbrella organization for the cities, towns and villages in St. Louis County are turning thumbs down on a proposal by the county executive that could lead to loss of control over their police departments. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger wants municipal police departments to hit certain training, hiring and operational benchmarks. And if they don’t meet them, his administration could effectively force cities to contract with other agencies.

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

The leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County say their administrations are tackling the big issues that were highlighted in the Ferguson Commission report.

The commission’s nearly 200-page final report showcased substantial racial, economic and social divides throughout the St. Louis region and provided dozens of policy recommendations. Many of the report’s suggestions require action from the Missouri General Assembly, but some could be implemented by local governments.

St. Louis County Police form a line in front of protesters on Tuesday. They were put in charge of securing protests on Monday when St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger called a state of emergency.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10 a.m. Friday with lifting of state of emergency. On a cloudless Tuesday night on West Florissant Avenue, the mood was relatively calm. A few dozen protesters, onlookers and media milled about on a parking lot – a far cry from chaos that struck the thoroughfare on Sunday night.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, wants to raise the county's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council has sided with County Executive Steve Stenger by firmly killing off a proposal to increase the county’s minimum wage to $15 within five years.

The bill’s sponsor, Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, failed to get a “second’’ from any of her four colleagues when she attempted to bring up the measure for discussion.  As a result, the bill died.

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