Mike O'Mara

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

Updated on Wednesday with comments from state lawmakers: In Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander’s view, what happened last week in St. Louis County was an “inexcusable” event that prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots.

The Democratic official launched an investigation into why roughly 60 polling places ran out of ballots during last week’s municipal elections. His findings largely matched up with what St. Louis Board of Elections director Eric Fey said: There were errors in a database detailing the number of ballot types needed at certain polling places.

State Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack, filed to run for the St. Louis County Council. She could pose a stiff challenge to incumbent Councilman Mike O'Mara.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

If St. Louis County Councilman Mike O’Mara wants to return to the council for another four years, he’ll have to ward off a potentially serious challenge from a fellow Democrat.

Both O’Mara, D-Florissant, and state Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray recently filed to run for the 4th District Council seat. That north St. Louis County-based district takes in portions of Florissant, Black Jack, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Riverview and unincorporated St. Louis County.

Landlord Jerry Hopping stands in front of one-story houses in Glasgow Village. Hopping has been a major opponent of a bill requiring rental property owners to get licenses.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Glasgow Village is a leafy collection of houses that’s just a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi River. It consists of stout and sturdy bungalows and an almost serene quiet during the late morning hours.

But this unincorporated north St. Louis County community is ground zero for what’s become an acrimonious political fight. Many of these one-story dwellings are rental properties, the exact type of places that will soon face tighter regulations from St. Louis County.

The St. Louis County Council approved a new version of legislation requiring owners of rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County to obtain licenses.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council revived stalled legislation requiring owners of rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County to obtain licenses.

Yet even though the legislation went through more alterations, the bill’s critics contended they didn’t get enough time to review the changes before they were adopted.

The St. Louis County Council rejected legislation aimed at regulating rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council delivered a major blow to a bid to tighten regulations over rental properties in unincorporated St. Louis County.

The St. Louis County Council spent nearly an hour hearing criticism about legislation requiring a license for rental property.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with comments from County Executive Steve Stenger - The St. Louis County Council held off on voting on legislation that requires owners of certain rental property to obtain licenses.

But even without a vote, the bill was the subject of immense criticism from a coalition of people who feel the bill is too broad and could have unintended consequences that would adversely affect victims of domestic violence.

As of right now, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger effectively has a five-person coalition on the St. Louis County Council -- including its two Republican members.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council could hold a final vote tomorrow on legislation requiring landlords of rental properties in unincorporated St. Louis County to obtain licenses. The stated intent is to ensure proper maintenance of the buildings.

But the bill is receiving pushback from landlords and some housing advocates who contend the measure is too burdensome -- and could produce unintended consequences, including potential for discrimination.

(Flickr/Creative Commons user SuperFantastic)

If there’s one constant about the sometimes-unpredictable St. Louis County Council, it’s that a bid to expand the county’s smoking ban will always be tabled. 

That’s not hyperbole. Members of the council have held Councilman Mike O’Mara’s proposal at every meeting since February 2013 – a pretty significant length of time to table a bill in any legislative chamber.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley signed an executive order on Wednesday establishing minority participation goals for county contracts. His move comes a day after the St. Louis County Council rejected bills on the issue. 

The situation showcases the escalating hostility between Dooley and a county council increasingly aligned with Councilman Steve Stenger, the Affton Democrat who is challenging the incumbent this August.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio (file photo)

St. Louis County Council members shelved bills aimed at broadening minority and female participation in county contracts. 

At issue were bills sponsored by Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City. Among other things, the bills would would set up hiring guidelines for minority and female workers on construction projects of $1 million or more. It also would have set up similar workforce goals for county procurement contracts.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council melted down on Tuesday during consideration of minority participation legislation. 

It was the latest sign of boiling election year tensions between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and members of the council aligned with Councilman Steve Stenger, a fellow Democrat vying for county executive.

File photo

The long-running saga to fill the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners ended Tuesday when the St. Louis County Council approved Laurie Westfall’s nomination to the board that oversees the St. Louis County Police Department. She is the widow of former St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall.