Hazel Erby

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.
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.

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

Weeks after St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger appeared to shut the door on a minimum wage increase, his chief rival on the county council is angling to bring the issue back into the forefront.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby said in a press release on Monday that she has requested legislation increasing the minimum wage in St. Louis County. The University City Democrat said that she wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, saw several of her bills go down in defeat on Tuesday. The council typically approves most of its bills without stiff opposition.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council defeated several bills sponsored by one of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s harshest critics -- highlighting the ongoing friction between Stenger and Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City.

Typically, the council approves most of the bills that come before it. Any disagreements are usually worked out before meetings – and it’s fairly rare for the council to reject bills outright.

But on Tuesday, the council killed several of Erby’s bills. They included:

St. Louis County parks department director Gary Bess dealt with an embezzlement scandal during his tenure as St. Louis parks director.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Gary Bess isn’t the type of person destined to be sequestered in a corner office. 

Bess spent nearly four decades in the St. Louis parks department – including 18 years as director. He developed a reputation as a personable manager who worked hand-in-hand with employees. (He’s also renowned within local politics for his colorful sport coats.)

Three of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's appointees were approved by the St. Louis County Council. But Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, questioned his pick for parks director.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

During his first St. Louis County Council meeting as chief executive, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger saw three picks for top positions within his administration approved without difficulty. 

But at least one council member raised concerns about Stenger’s pick for the county’s parks director.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger delivers his inaugural address on Jan. 1, 2015. Stenger is coming into office with an ambitious agenda to change St. Louis County government -- and the legislative alliances to help him out.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger came to prominence by being a critic. 

From his perch as a county councilman, Stenger aimed unrelenting salvos at then-St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. That served as the backbone of a campaign that ultimately ousted Dooley in a Democratic primary — and narrowly outflanked state Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, in the general election.

Steve Stenger holds his baby girl Madeline Jane as wife Allison looks on while taking the oath as the new St. Louis County Executive in Clayton, Missouri. Federal Judge Ronnie White administered the oath to Stenger.
Bill Greenblatt, UPI

With his county still coming to grips with the tumultuous aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, Steve Stenger was officially sworn in Thursday as St. Louis County executive.

Flanked by his wife Allison and holding his daughter Madeline, the Affton Democrat became the eighth county executive in St. Louis County’s history. He said during his two-page inaugural address that business as usual in the county was over.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley speaks to reporters after Tuesday's St. Louis County Council meeting. The departing county executive contends that efforts to paint him as "corrupt" had racial overtones.
Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s political adversaries used a subcontract for the county’s police lab as campaign fodder, the Democratic official saw it as more than just a run-of-the-mill attack. 

Dooley said the attacks were part of a racially motivated effort to make him look corrupt – a tactic he said is an effective way to discredit black politicians. He went so far as to call county prosecutor Bob McCulloch a “liar” who played the “race card” and county executive-elect Steve Stenger as a dutiful patsy that perpetuated an untruth.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Within minutes after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury did not recommend that Darren Wilson face indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown, reactions from area politicians came quickly. 

Before and after the grand jury’s decision was made public, area officials made clear Monday night that they understood the stakes.

Steve Stenger celebrates a victory.
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

A day after his narrow victory, St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger says he’s “certainly willing to extend an olive branch’’ to those fellow Democrats who had opposed his election.

But that said, Stenger made clear Wednesday that he expects those critics — many of whom were African-American officials in north St. Louis County — to do their part as well.

“We saw political motivations of all sorts, and we need to set them aside,’’ Stenger said during a wide-ranging interview on St. Louis Public Radio's Politically Speaking podcast.

African-American elected officials announce that they endorse Rick Stream, a Republican, for St. Louis County Executive. 10/1/14
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

For some in both camps, the decision of a group of African-American Democratic officials to endorse Republican Rick Stream for county executive boils down to one word:

Payback.

Berkeley Mayor Ted Hoskins said as much when he explained at Wednesday’s news conference — which featured about two dozen north St. Louis County officials — that Stream’s conservative views and legislative votes aren’t the issue.

officials at a sept. 17 news conference
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In a warning to area Democratic leaders, a number of north St. Louis County mayors and other African-American elected officials announced Wednesday that they’ve formed a political coalition aimed at increasing the clout of minority voters.

“Recent events have shown that our voice has diminished,” said St. Louis County Council chair Hazel Erby, D-University City, who served as spokeswoman. “That ends today.”

Erby said the coalition is “serving notice that we are not going to support candidates just because they have an insignia of a donkey behind their name.”

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby to the show.  

The University City Democrat recently won re-election to the council's 1st District, which encompasses 38 municipalities. Erby's district includes Ferguson, the scene of more than two weeks of turmoil, unrest and international media attention

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council authorized up to $1 million to be spent to help Ferguson residents pay for expenses incurred during nearly two weeks of unrest.  

Without opposition, the council authorized the county to spend up to $1 million to help Ferguson residents who felt the impact of riots and looting. For more than two weeks, the city was under almost constant turmoil after Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown earlier this month.

University City resident Marquis Govan has been going to St. Louis County Council meetings for three months. He made a speech before the council last Tuesday about the turmoil in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The turmoil in Ferguson drew the attention of some powerful people. Everybody from state legislators to the President of the United States spoke out about Michael Brown’s death and its aftermath.

While Marquis Govan doesn’t have a fancy title, the 11-year-old has some poignant ideas about the conflict. The University City resident has a ravenous interest in politics – and plenty to say about what’s going on in Ferguson.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

When Antonio French noticed social media activity bubbling up about Michael Brown’s shooting death last weekend, the St. Louis alderman got in his car and drove to Ferguson. 

What he said he saw was striking: Police from neighboring municipalities had formed a “human shield” around the scene. Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, was screaming and crying over not knowing what happened to her 18-year-old son. And Brown’s body was still in the street after being shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

For all intents and purposes, Tuesday’s St. Louis County Council meeting was uneventful. There were no major bills considered. And the face-to-face meeting between former Democratic county executive rivals didn’t happen. 

But this meeting was first time the council met since a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. And the 18-year-old’s death loomed large over the proceedings.

“This issue will be a test for all of us,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. “The world is watching and we need to get it right the first time.”

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

In the west St. Louis County contest for the open 7th District seat on the St. Louis County Council, Ballwin Alderman Mark Harder has received the endorsements of a number of Republican heavy-hitters, including retiring Councilman Greg Quinn and state Auditor Tom Schweich. 

But his chief rival for the GOP nomination – Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul – believes that support may backfire and help Paul, who embraces his own renegade image after he beat back an impeachment effort in 2013.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

After weeks of acrimonious debate, the St. Louis County Council gave final approval to three bills on Tuesday aimed at broadening minority participation for county contracts. 

But St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said he will veto one of the bills, contending that a provision prompting certain contractors to have apprenticeship programs would shut out minorities and women.

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