Rochelle Walton Gray | St. Louis Public Radio

Rochelle Walton Gray

St. Louis County Council members meet on Oct. 2, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County may no longer require contractors bidding for work to have apprenticeship programs — a longstanding priority for labor unions.

The County Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night for Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger’s legislation that makes a host of changes to the county’s procurement regulations. One of the big changes is that it no longer would require bidders for certain contracts to either participate or maintain apprenticeship programs.

A child looks at one of two grizzly bear cubs at the St. Louis Zoo in September 2017.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the St. Louis County Council are placing an one-eighth of one cent sales tax on the November ballot to benefit the St. Louis Zoo.

While proponents of the measure believe it could enliven a part of the county that’s struggled economically, others believe it places too much of a burden on residents already shelling out property taxes to fund the zoo.

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.

Councilman Mark Harder's (left) bill aimed at replacing two bridges in western St. Louis County sparked a war of words between councilmembers and County Executive Steve Stenger.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger always was going to have a hard time getting along with most of the St. Louis County Council. After all, the county voters filled the majority of those seven seats with people who have longstanding disagreements with the Democrat.  

That expected acrimony has come to pass in the form of a dispute over replacing bridges, prompting some council members to question Stenger’s ability to effectively communicate with them.

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.)

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.

Curtis Faulkner
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 Republican Curtis Faulkner to the program.

Faulkner is the Republican nominee for the 4th District St. Louis County Council seat. He’s running against state Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, a Blackjack Democrat who trounced incumbent Councilman Mike O’Mara earlier this summer. Walton Gray appeared on the podcast after her August primary victory.

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.

Now that the 2016 primaries are in the books, most people are looking ahead to what could be an expensive and contentious general election cycle.

But before Tuesday becomes part of Missouri political history, perhaps it’s worth answering the 10 questions posed before voters went to the polls. After all, it wouldn’t be very useful to throw out errant questions without answering them.

U.S. Lacy Clay raises the arm of Kim Gardner in victory at the Exodus Gallery after the primary election. Gardner made history as the first African-American to hold the office of circuit attorney. Behind her is Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, and to the right is s
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

For the first time, an African-American will be the top prosecutor in the city of St. Louis. And in St. Louis County, County Executive Steve Stenger has lost a well-known ally on the County Council, after a big upset in the District 4 Democratic primary.

State Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, D-Kansas City, raises his hand to speak before the House of Representatives adjourned.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It's fair to say that Deb Lavender is quite persistent.

The Kirkwood Democrat ran unsuccessfully for a state House three times before finally winning election in 2014. None of the races were easy: She had to knock on a lot of doors, raise a lot of money and lose to former Rep. Rick Stream three times before reaching the legislative promised land.

Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, sponsored the municipal governance overhaul in the House.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers have approved, and sent to the governor, an expansion of last year’s municipal overhaul, a bill that also includes a measure making it easier for cities to disincorporate.

This year’s bill would curb ordinance violations, such as tall weeds or housing code problems. It would also reduce the maximum traffic fine to $225. It would also create a sliding scale for non-traffic fines.

State Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack, filed to run for the St. Louis County Council. She could pose a stiff challenge to incumbent Councilman Mike O'Mara.
Tim Bommel I House Communications | File photo

If St. Louis County Councilman Mike O’Mara wants to return to the council for another four years, he’ll have to ward off a potentially serious challenge from a fellow Democrat.

Both O’Mara, D-Florissant, and state Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray recently filed to run for the 4th District Council seat. That north St. Louis County-based district takes in portions of Florissant, Black Jack, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Riverview and unincorporated St. Louis County.