St. Louis County Council

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.

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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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The ball is effectively in the St. Louis County Council’s court after the St. Louis County Planning Commission rejected a bid to scuttle a low-income senior living facility in Oakville.

But at this point, no one knows how the council will act because a supermajority is required to override the commission's decision.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis County Planning Commission declined to change the zoning designation for an Oakville-based low-income senior living facility.

It’s a temporary setback for opponents of the structure, which is currently under construction on Telegraph Road in the unincorporated south St. Louis County community.

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.”

For the second week in a row, residents lined up to tell councilmembers that mandatory mediation would help save homeowners facing foreclosure.

But Councilwoman Hazel Erby, who sponsored the bill, moved to table its final passage at least until next week.

“We’re looking over some things,” Erby said.  “We just received some letters, so, we’re taking those into consideration.”

When asked, Erby didn’t specify what additional information needed to be considered.

The St. Louis County Council moved forward tonight with a bill that would require lenders to offer mediation for homeowners on the edge of foreclosure.

During a public meeting on the plan, many community members told the council that mediation may have saved them from foreclosure.

For Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett, it was personal.   She was on the edge of tears when she told the story of foreclosing on her mother’s house.  

Councilwoman Hazel Erby, who originally introduced the bill, said they have to take action now.  

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

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The St. Louis County Council gave initial approval to an ordinance setting up a foreclosure mediation process, an issue that drew passionate testimony from advocates of distressed homeowners and criticism from those who question the proposal's legality.

(via Facebook)

One person in custody in connection to 1-year-old Tyler Dasher's murder

St. Louis County police detectives have taken one person into custody in connection to the death of 1-year-old Tyler Dasher. The death has been ruled a homicide. St. Louis County spokesman Rick Eckhard says the person has not yet been formally booked or processed.

  • The 2010 U.S. Census figures are to be announced today. One of Missouri's nine congressional districts is on the chopping block as officials await word on whether the state's population is high enough to keep its current delegation. Missouri has been on the bubble between retaining its nine seats in the U.S. House or dropping down to eight. Losing a seat would mean one less vote for president in the Electoral College. And it could make it harder for Missourians to get help resolving issues with federal agencies. Don't forget the political ramifications, especially for Democrats. That's because the Republican-led state Legislature will be in charge of drawing new congressional boundaries based on the 2010 Census.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis county is studying how to link major north-south arterials between Interstate 64 and points south of I-44, just west of the River Des Peres. The South County Connector Study will also look at a new I-44 interchange. County officials say those living in the southernmost reaches of the county suffer poor access to the commercial and governmental core of the region. Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, envisions a possible extension of River Des Peres to connect with Big Bend and Laclede Station Road north of I-44. The study will look at multiple options. The Post-Dispatch reports that no funding has been set aside for the project, but once funding is found, construction could begin within five to ten years.
  • The St. Louis County Council has ordered a freeze on new demolition permits for commercial and industrial property until Jan. 31. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the move gives the council time to consider a bill that would require owners to restore such demolition sites to their pre-built state. The measure was introduced Monday into the council. County officials are upset about the demolition of the closed Chrysler South Plant. They said the demolition contractor tore down the structure leaving a slab and environmental problems behind. The Post-Dispatch reports the bill would add site restoration to requirements for demolition permits. Applicants would be forced to remove all elements of structures and slabs, cover the site with dirt, seed or sod the site and install appropriate landscaping.

"Gutted factory buildings offer precious little incentive for prospective future developers." -County Executive Charlie Dooley said in a letter to the council. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Supporters of a ballot question to amend the state constitution and ban personal property taxes may now begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2012 statewide ballot. The secretary of state's office approved the ballot summary on Monday. Richard LaViolette of Fenton proposed the ballot question which seeks to ban personal property taxes on vehicles, farm machinery, and manufactured homes. LaViolette says they're a  nuisance and people cannot really own their property if a tax is levied upon it. Officials estimate abolishing the tax could cost state and local governments more than $1 billion per year.

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