St. Louis County Council

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.

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.

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.”

Protests and chants came into the St. Louis County Council chambers Tuesday night.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been well over a month since a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. And for the most part, the St. Louis County Council was shielded from the unbridled anger over the 18-year-old’s death.

That reprieve ended on Tuesday.

The council’s chambers were packed with supporters of Brown and his family, with the vast majority of the crowd giving the county’s top executive and legislative officeholders a blazing array of criticism.

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.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A top aide to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley unleashed scathing criticism Tuesday at his boss’ Democratic rival for county executive. 

It was part of yet another highly charged county council meeting filled with arguments, insults, recriminations and heated confrontations.

Before he was a St. Louis County councilman, before he was an attorney and a certified public accountant, Steve Stenger was the lead singer in a rock and roll band that toured the area in the 1980s.

Now Stenger is traveling around St. Louis County again as a Democratic candidate for county executive in the Aug. 5 primary. And he believes that many county residents will sing along to his latest political tune:  “It’s time for a change.”

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

St. Louis County’s Democratic and Republican central committees have chosen their nominees for the Aug. 5 special election to fill the vacant seat on the County Council created by the death of Kathleen Burkett. 

The Democratic nominee for the 2nd District post is a familiar one:  Dr. Sam Page of Creve Coeur, a physician and former state representative who was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2008.  He lost to incumbent Republican Peter Kinder.

File photo Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Voters will go to the polls in August to fill a vacant seat on the St. Louis County Council. 

The county council gave final approval Tuesday night to setting an Aug. 5 election date to fill the 2nd District seat. That slot on the seven-person council became  vacant after the death of Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett.

“That’s 150,000 people without representation,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. “And that needs to be addressed.”

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett has died at the age of 68. 

Burkett, D-Overland, was diagnosed with cancer last year while serving as chairwoman of the St. Louis County Council. She continued to serve as a councilwoman while undergoing chemotherapy, but she had been absent from meetings the past few weeks.

In a statement Sunday, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley praised Burkett as someone who “took care of her constituents like they were her own family.”

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.  

Note: You can subscribe to us on iTunes now.

We know you can’t get enough of Politically Speaking, which is why we have two episodes this week. The Politically Speaking crew's latest interview features St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, a Democrat who has held the powerful local office since late 2003.

(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.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch
Courtesy of Bob McCulloch's office

The St. Louis County Council gave final approval to its 2014 budget, keeping most of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s recommendations.

But the council did make funding changes at the request of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Some money will go to adding staffers for a diversion program aimed at keeping first-time offenders out of prison.

(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."

File photo

St. Louis County is prepared to offer up to $1.8 billion to Boeing if the company steers production of the 777X aircraft to the county. 

The St. Louis County Council unanimously approved a resolution pledging local incentives – including tax increment financing and tax abatement – if Boeing moves production of the civilian aircraft to the the county. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said the swift action was necessary to meet Tuesday’s deadline for the state to respond to the company’s request for proposal.

Rob Lee / Flickr

On Tuesday night, the St. Louis County Council approved changes to its purchasing rules that prevent vendors from supplying it with garments made in so-called sweatshops.

Under the new rules sweatshop practices are defined in part as failing to comply with labor laws of the country where the garments were made and exposing workers to toxic chemicals.

Councilman Greg Quinn was the only member to vote against new procedures, saying the language of the ordinance is unclear, especially with regards to overtime pay.     

SteveR / Flickr

The St. Louis County Council is considering plans to put a zip-line course in Creve Coeur Park.  

Some residents, however, are concerned about the proposed location of what's being called a treetop adventure course.

Eileen Buescher of Glendale was pretty fired up Tuesday night when she told the council that putting the zip-line in Creve Coeur Park was a really bad idea.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

On Tuesday night the St. Louis County Council gave final approval to put a sales tax initiative on the April ballot that would fund improvements to the Arch grounds, trails and local parks.

About 60 percent of the 3/16-of-a-cent so called “Arch Tax” would go toward sprucing up the Arch grounds and regional trails, the rest would pay for improvements to local parks.

Councilman Mike O’Mara sponsored the measure and says he’s ready to campaign on its behalf.

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

Lenders in St. Louis County will soon be required to offer mediation to homeowners on the edge of foreclosure.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby, who introduced the new plan, told council members something had to be done to help slow the rate of foreclosures in the county.

“On behalf of the many families who contacted me over the last year and shared their difficult stories about losing their homes,” Erby Said. “I hope they know that this ordinance is in their honor.”

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