Steve Stenger | St. Louis Public Radio

Steve Stenger

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition P, one of the ballot measures that St. Louis County voters will decide on during the April 4 election. On Friday's program, we also heard a discussion of Proposition 1, a St. Louis city ballot measure, which you can find here

The text of the proposition reads as follows:

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Our latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast features St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who’s making his first appearance since taking office more than two years ago.

Stenger had joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies in 2014, when he was a candidate against then-Executive Charlie Dooley.  Stenger ousted Dooley in a combative Democratic primary, and narrowly won a general election contest against Republican Rick Stream.

 

Voters fill out their ballots at Central Baptist Church on Washington Avenue on March 7, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ March primaries are in the books. But don’t exhale quite yet: April’s municipal contests throughout the St. Louis region are only 22 days away.

Granted, these are typically low-turnout affairs that don’t attract as much attention as, say, a presidential election, but they’re often critical for taxation decisions. Plus, April elections can serve as pivotal showdowns for deciding the elected leadership of St. Louis County’s multitude of municipalities.

Workers with Rosenbloom Monuments Company re-set headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery on Tuesday morning.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:15 p.m. with additional information from the cemetery. — The Jewish community throughout the St. Louis area is trying to understand what’s behind an act of vandalism that left 154 gravestones toppled in one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the state of Missouri.

The damage happened some time over the weekend and was first noticed by workers making the rounds at the University City cemetery on Monday morning, according to Chesed Shel Emeth’s executive director, Anita Feigenbaum. 

Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s political power just got a big boost, even if he wasn’t aware of it.

That’s because the Missouri Ethics Commission just declared that candidates can spend money on, say, political ads for or against other politicians as long as there’s no direct coordination with a campaign. Since municipal and county candidates can take donations of an unlimited size, they could be used as a pipeline to help or hurt other candidates.

File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Several St. Louis mayoral candidates scrambled Monday after they discovered tens of thousands of donations from corporations and unions are barred under the new campaign finance law that Missouri voters approved in November.

The Jamestown Mall Dillards in December 2016.
Mike Kalasnik | Flickr

An effort to redevelop the shuttered Jamestown Mall is headed back to the drawing board.

The north St. Louis County mall has been closed for several years. A first step toward redeveloping the structure is classifying the mall as blighted, which allows the county to use eminent domain. But Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger have disagreed on who should oversee the effort.  

The Jamestown Mall Dillards in December 2016.
Mike Kalasnik | Flickr

St. Louis County’s effort to redevelop the shuttered Jamestown Mall has hit a snag.

The north St. Louis County mall has been closed for several years. The first step toward redeveloping the structure is classifying the mall as blighted, which allows the county to use eminent domain.  (You can read more about the redevelopment effort here.)

St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann, Mayor Francis Slay, and St. Clair County executive Mark Kern (right) at the State of the Region breakfast on January 12, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The top elected officials from the city of St. Louis and St. Louis, St. Charles and St. Clair counties gathered in one of the city's poshest hotels Thursday to give business and government leaders their take on where the metro area stands on a variety of development issues.

Like everyone, the region is facing a lot of change. There are new faces in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., and soon there will be a new face in St. Louis' City Hall. This event was the last State of the Region event for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who is not running for a fifth term. 

Vinita Park Mayor James McGee speaks against proposed standards for polcie departments in St. Louis County in December 2015.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled that the St. Louis County Council overstepped its boundaries when it tried to impose certain minimum standards on the 50 or so municipal police departments in the county's borders.

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens' opposition to publicly funding a St. Louis soccer stadium may be placing the city's Major League Soccer bid in jeopardy.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When those who are working to bring Major League Soccer to St. Louis rolled out their stadium proposal, it seemed as though everything was in its right place.

The ownership group known as SC STL included people with experience with top-flight sports franchises. Many of the region’s top leaders were on board with the proposal. And in stark contrast to the failed bid to keep the St. Louis Rams, this group promised a public vote before any taxpayer funds were expended in St. Louis.

What soccer stadium proponents apparently didn’t foresee was what Gov.-elect Eric Greitens had to say.

The St. Louis County Council met for the first time this year on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is facing his most potentially adversarial County Council since he took office two years ago.

But the Democratic, countywide official is optimistic that he can work together with the seven-member legislative body – and avoid some of the pitfalls that bedeviled his predecessor.

With the last shops closing more than two years ago, the entrance to Jamestown Mall in Florissant is blocked by barricades
Mike Kalisnik | Flickr

Updated Jan. 3, 2017 with County Council action: The St. Louis County Council did not vote on designating Jamestown Mall as blighted at the weekly council meeting Tuesday. Newly elected council member Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Blackjack, requested more time to review information about the proposal. The council will take up the matter at a later date.

Original Story from Jan. 2:

Plans to redevelop the vacant Jamestown Mall near Florissant could soon take shape.  St. Louis County officials say they hope to complete the legal steps necessary to own the entire mall property within months.

The first step is officially classifying the mall as blighted, which allows the county to use eminent domain. The County Council has scheduled a hearing at 4 p.m. Tuesday in its chambers in Clayton to get public input. Later that evening the council is scheduled for a final vote on the matter.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
File photo | Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis County law that would have set minimum operating standards for police departments in the county is in the hands of a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals.

The law, approved in December 2015, set staffing, training and hiring standards. Departments would have been required to have at least two officers on duty 24-7 and conduct background checks on prospective officers that included psychological screenings. Elected officials in cities that failed to comply could be jailed, or the St. Louis County police could take over public safety services in the city.

Attendees watch early election results come in at the Koster campaign's election night watch party at the Chase Park Plaza.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

I know what you’re thinking. You just saw a headline that contains the word “post-election” in it and are curling into a ball. You’re wagging your extended finger at this bespectacled reporter, preparing to declare “enough!”

As exhausted as you are, politics has a lot in common with Semisonic lyrics: “Every new beginning comes with some other’s beginning’s end.” That’s the type of sentiment that will soon take hold in Missouri, as political types look past this year’s wild cycle and gaze forward to 2017 and 2018.

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

St. Louis County will be chipping in to study a possible light rail expansion that would run south from Ferguson through downtown St. Louis to the Meramec River.

Rochelle Walton Gray
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a post-election edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome state Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray to the program for the first time.

The Democrat from Black Jack provided a thunderbolt of sorts to the St. Louis County political scene on Tuesday when she defeated incumbent St. Louis County Councilman Mike O’Mara, D-Florissant, in the primary. Her resounding victory marks a big change for the politics of north St. Louis County — and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s ability to push controversial items through the St. Louis County Council.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is proposing studies for three potential expansions to MetroLink – but they don't include a North/South line that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay strongly supports.

It’s part of an increasingly public disagreement between the leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County about how to expand public transportation throughout the region.

St. Louis County Executive Stever Stenger, center, talks with state Treasurer Clint Zweifel, left, and Brian May on Tuesday. Stenger sent out a letter this month raising concerns about the North-South MetroLink line.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is throwing cold water on a proposal to build a North-South line for MetroLink.

Stenger's opposition isn’t going over well with some St. Louis officials, many of whom support the project as a way to spur economic development and bridge the region’s racial divide.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal walks out of the Senate chamber as the Senate adjourns for the session earlier this year in Jefferson City.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in parts of St. Louis County won't get a chance to vote anytime soon on a sales tax increase for St. Louis County Police Department. And St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is not happy with a Democratic state senator for prompting that outcome.

For the past couple of legislative sessions, Stenger has wanted Missouri lawmakers to authorize a vote for a sales tax increase in unincorporated St. Louis County. The proceeds would go to the St. Louis County Police Department, and could be used for a number of initiatives, including making sure each patrol car contains two police officers.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A judge has thrown out a St. Louis County ordinance that requires municipal police departments to adhere to certain standards.

It’s a temporary blow to a big priority for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who pushed the law as a way to bolster confidence in public safety throughout the county.

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey was suspended without pay on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners suspended its top official, a move that comes after dozens of polling places ran out of ballots during this month’s municipal elections.

After the four-person election board went into closed session on Tuesday, it voted to suspend Democratic director Eric Fey for two weeks without pay. Commissioners also suspended elections coordinator Laura Goebel without pay for one week. The board did not exert any punishment against Republican director Gary Fuhr.

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.

300 pixel elderly health care
National Institutes for Health

The St. Louis County Council is the first of area political entities to consider a new tax that would support programs that help older residents.

Councilman Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur, introduced a bill that would raise property taxes by 5 cents for every $100 of assessed property. If the council passes Page's bill, the measure will go to the voters. And if county voters approve the measure in November, the proceeds from the tax increase will go into a fund that could be used for senior service programs.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger signed the prescription drug monitoring bill into law on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Don’t look now, but St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and company may be trailblazers – at least when it comes to setting up a prescription drug monitoring program.

With the Missouri General Assembly unlikely to approve a statewide drug tracking program, Stenger and the St. Louis County Council gave their blessing to a county database last week. It’s aimed at stopping someone from getting certain controlled substances at multiple pharmacies, which database supporters say is a big precursor to heroin abuse.

St. Louis County Councilman Sam Page is a strong supporting of a prescription drug monitoring program.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

With a statewide prescription drug monitoring program likely to run into intractable legislative opposition, the St. Louis County Council decided not to wait.

The council gave final approval without opposition to legislation that would set up a database tracking when certain prescription drugs are dispensed. It’s aimed at stopping someone from getting narcotics at multiple pharmacies.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., criticized President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday for his criticism of U.S. intelligence experts.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is renewing her call for Missouri legislators to pass a bill monitoring the sales of prescription drugs. Missouri is the only state that has no such database in place.

McCaskill, a Democrat, contends that failure to pass such a law has contributed to Missouri’s epidemic of people abusing opioid prescription drugs and heroin. She blamed Missouri’s lack of monitoring on “a few legislators who believe this system would violate people’s privacy.”

Scottrade secured the naming-rights for the home of the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues in 2006.
.bobby | Flickr

With the St. Louis Rams splitting for California, some policymakers want to spruce up the Scottrade Center and the city’s convention center. And St. Louis County could play a role in chipping in for expensive renovations.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A historic flood is already on the books for 2016 in the St. Louis region. What else will the year have in store for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who took office just a year ago?

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Typically when December ends, journalists tend to become reflective about the highlights and lowlights of the past year. This reporter is no exception, as the scandal, tragedy, transition, conflict and hilarity of the past 12 months gave everybody who covers Missouri politics a lot to think about.

So yes, this is an article rounding up all of the big moments from the past year. But renowned financier Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson inspired me to take this retrospective in a different direction.

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