Pat Dolan

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.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

For the most part, the St. Louis County executive’s contest between Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream is sucking up most of the electoral oxygen on the county’s political scene. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s the only contest with  significant consequences. Incumbent Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, is seeking re-election against Republican committeewoman Jennifer Bird, the only county council race in a competitive district.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The few long-time regulars at  St. Louis County Council meetings may be longing for the legislative body's customary 10-minute meetings after the past few weeks.

That’s because in recent weeks, the meetings have turned into lengthy – and often bitterly hostile – clashes between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and most of the council. But it's more than just legislative melodrama; a coalition of five council members (out of seven) have managed to block quite a bit of Dooley’s agenda.

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.

(via Flickr/photohome_uk)

The "Complete Streets" legislation under consideration on the St. Louis County Council still faces plenty of roadblocks to final passage. One of the sponsors, Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, held up the bill again last week, which he’s done since late November, and announced he wants to rewrite parts of it.

Dolan also said that he’s going to meet with groups affected by the bill and come back to the matter early next year.

(Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio)

It may be fair to call legislation that the St. Louis County Council approved Tuesday the “School Picnic Protection Act.” 

OK, that may be a bit of an oversimplification. But proponents of the move to exempt some school events from county permits say the measure is just common sense.

“They’re not big fundraisers. These aren’t big auctions and things,” said Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights. “They’re bake sales and car washes and the like. Basically it hadn’t been enforced for a long time. And all of a sudden it was starting to be enforced."