St. Louis County Council | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Council

Members of the Fannie Lou Hamer Democratic Coalition stand with businessman Mark Mantovani, in back, at an endorsement event on May 5, 2018.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Several dozen Democratic African-American officials in St. Louis County are endorsing businessman Mark Mantovani for county executive — and opposing incumbent Democrat Steve Stenger.

“We need a person who’s going to work for all the people in St. Louis,’’ said Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy at an event Saturday at Mantovani’s new regional campaign office in north St. Louis County.

The group, known as the Fannie Lou Hamer Coalition, is pledging to help Mantovani in the August Democratic primary for the county’s top post. There is no well-known Republican seeking the job.

Kali takes a swim at the Saint Louis Zoo.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council is close to placing a sales tax hike on the November ballot to pay for improvements for the St. Louis Zoo.

While council members appear to want to let the voters decide, the one-eighth of one cent sales tax could face sharp questions later this year — especially since only St. Louis and St. Louis County directly pay for the attraction.

Two grizzly bear cubs arrived at the St. Louis Zoo in the summer of 2017.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters may be asked to put more tax money into improving the St. Louis Zoo.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray introduced a 1/8th of one cent sales tax increase at Tuesday’s council meeting. If County Council members put it on the ballot, St. Louis County voters would decide on the measure on Nov. 6. The tax would add about 12 cents to a $100 purchase.

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

Missouri’s recently-enacted donation limits don’t affect county and municipal candidates, which means contenders for, say, the St. Louis County Council or county executive’s office can take contributions of unlimited size.

That could change, if some members of the council get their way.

St. Louis County Councilman Mark Harder
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back St. Louis County Councilman Mark Harder to the program.

The Ballwin Republican represents the council’s 7th District. It takes in a number of large municipalities in St. Louis County, including Chesterfield, Wildwood, Ellisville and Ballwin.

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

To some of his critics, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s strained relations with many members of the County Council is payback.

During his last years as the 6th District councilman, it wasn’t unusual for Stenger to publicly joust with then-Executive Charlie Dooley at council meetings. Stenger won their 2014 confrontation at the polls.

But now, others see a broader conflict over power and who wields it.  Stenger and the council continue to battle over a variety of issues as this year’s November elections loom. Their feud has gone on for over a year.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch is pledging to accept no campaign donations for his Republican campaign for St. Louis County Council. And if elected this fall, he says he’ll work for a county charter change that would limit campaign donations for county officials.

At his campaign kickoff today in Sunset Hills, Fitch blamed the lack of donation limits for some of the rancor between council members and County Executive Steve Stenger.  He contends that large contributions to Stenger, in particular, have exacerbated some of the disputes.

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas
Alex Heuer I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies welcomes St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas on the program for the first time.

The Republican from south St. Louis County was elected to the 6th District council seat in 2016. He represents a part of largely unincorporated south St. Louis, which means that he makes many of the development and zoning decisions for the area.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, a Republican from Town and Country
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, a Republican from Huntleigh, is giving serious thought to challenging County Executive Steve Stenger this year.

She will have to make a decision soon. Candidate filing begins Feb. 27 and lasts only a month.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies talks about the  ongoing dispute between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the county council.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

The feud between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the county council continues over the county budget. Recently, Stenger denied an increase to the County Council’s budget in retaliation for how the council cut the budgets for most county departments.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went Behind the Headlines to discuss the ongoing dispute with St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies.  

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is going into the 2018 election cycle with few strong allies on the county council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is slashing the County Council’s plan to increase its own spending, in apparent retaliation for how the council cut the budgets for most county departments.

Stenger’s executive order, issued Wednesday, adds fuel to his ongoing fight with the council — especially chairman Sam Page, a fellow Democrat — on various issues.

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

The St. Louis County Council’s decision to draw up and approve its own budget ends a longstanding practice of allowing the county executive’s administration to craft a spending blueprint.

The big question now is what will happen next.

St. Louis Public Radio’s interim political editor Jason Rosenbaum.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Don Marsh talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s interim political editor Jason Rosenbaum about the friction between St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger and the St. Louis County Council.

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council has slashed $31 million dollars from County Executive Steve Stenger's 2018 budget proposal, a move rarely seen in the region’s largest jurisdiction.

Stenger was caught off-guard when he learned of the council’s plans shortly before it convened Tuesday night. Soon after, the seven members voted 6 - 1 to approve Council Chairman Sam Page's substitute budget. 

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

Updated Thursday, Nov. 30 with new comments from McCulloch:

 

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch blames “political vindictiveness’’ for the County Council’s decision to get rid of a pension increase for his job that it had approved last year.

Council Chairman Sam Page says the issue is fairness.

 

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is pledging that “county government will not increase taxes or cut services,’’ and accuses St. Louis County Council Chairman Sam Page of inaccurately asserting otherwise.

At issue is Stenger’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins Jan. 1. Although it is a proposed balanced budget for 2018, Page is pointing to projections in the budget document that indicate the 2019 budget might face a deficit of $18 million.

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A majority of the St. Louis County Council has filed suit to determine if it has any power to hire employees over the objections of County Executive Steve Stenger.

The suit was filed Monday in St. Louis County Circuit Court. It contends Stenger overstepped his bounds by refusing to hire more staff for county Auditor Mark Tucker.

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council is preparing to go to court to determine if it has the power to hire county employees over the objection of County Executive Steve Stenger.

But first, a judge will have to decide who pays the council’s lawyers.

The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, asking municipalities to spend Proposition P solely on policing. The resolution is non-binding.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In an effort to block municipalities from using a recently passed “public safety” tax increase on things like potholes and snow removal, the St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday asking for the money be strictly spent on policing.

Problem is, the resolution doesn’t actually do anything.

St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, July 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan to the program for the first time.

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