Wesley Bell | St. Louis Public Radio

Wesley Bell

From left, Mark Smith, Brenda Talent and Bill Freivogel joined host Don Marsh for this month’s Legal Roundtable discussion.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, the monthly Legal Roundtable convened to discuss current legal news locally and nationally. The recent national court proceedings involving Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort started off the conversation, which evolved from there to touch on topics including the election of Wesley Bell as St. Louis County prosecutor, opioids and district gerrymandering.

Wesley Bell is an attorney, municipal-court prosecutor and Ferguson city-council member – as well as a former public defender. Soon he’ll become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Wesley Bell – just two days after his victory in the Democratic primary against longtime incumbent St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann reported earlier this week, Bell is now set to become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.

Asked what to make of his resounding win in a mostly white county, Bell said he expected to draw diverse support, but he was still “even more pleasantly surprised” by the large amount of support he received all over the county.

Wesley Bell celebrates with his supporters at La Mexicana in St. Ann on August 7, 2018. He drew on a broad coalition of voters to beat Bob McCulloch 57 percent to 43 percent.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Wesley Bell’s victory in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor demonstrated an ability to construct a broad coalition of support while also turning out voters in traditionally African-American areas of the region.

Bell, who beat seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch by 17 percentage points Tuesday, will be the first African-American to hold the post.

Wesley Bell, candidate for St. Louis County prosecutor, votes at First Presbyterian Church in Ferguson on Tuesday morning. Aug. 7, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If Missourians proved anything on Tuesday, it’s that they aren’t predictable when it comes to how they vote.

Less than two years removed from endorsing President Donald Trump and a slate of GOP statewide aspirants, voters overwhelmingly repealed the party’s signature policy, right to work, from the law books. But instead of backing candidates that won the blessing of organized labor groups, St. Louis and St. Louis County voters decided to go in very different directions.

Wesley Bell, who defeated the longtime St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch, addresses an exuberant crowd at La Mexicana in St. Ann on August 8, 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

In a stunning upset, Wesley Bell easily beat longtime St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

With no Republican running, Bell’s primary win essentially clinches the office, which will make him the first African-American to hold the St. Louis County prosecutor’s post.

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell, left, is challenging seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch, right, in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor.
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob McCulloch won a seventh term as St. Louis County prosecutor on Aug. 5, 2014. Four days later, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson.

Brown’s death at the hands of a white police officer brought the racial disparities in the region’s criminal-justice system to the forefront and made national figures of both McCulloch and his opponent in the Democratic primary, Wesley Bell.

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

This week’s Politically Speaking takes a look at three competitive elections in St. Louis County. It comes as relations between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the St. Louis County Council have deteriorated.

Stenger is facing an expensive bid for re-election against businessman Mark Mantovani. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is engaged in an increasingly high-profile race against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell. And two Democrats are challenging Councilman Pat Dolan’s bid for re-election.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Photo taken July 24, 2018 for his Politically Speaking appearance
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch joined the Politically Speaking team to talk about his bid for re-election to an eighth term.

McCulloch is one of the longest-serving elected officials in Missouri. He’s squaring off against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell in the Aug. 7 primary. Because no Republican filed for the position, the winner of the August contest is all but guaranteed a four-year term.

Ferguson Councilman Wesley Bell
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell comes back to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about the race for St. Louis County prosecutor.

The Democratic official is taking on incumbent St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, one of the longest serving local officials in the entire state. Because no Republican signed up to run, the winner of the Aug. 7 primary will serve a four-year term.

Council member Wesley Bell answers questions from reporters.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A member of the Ferguson City Council says his colleagues will likely reconsider a sweeping consent decree implementing major changes to the beleaguered city’s police department and government.

The move comes roughly a month after the council rejected aspects of the decree, which came about in the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting death.

Ferguson resident Angelique Kidd questions city council members as they announce amendments to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree at meeting Tuesday night.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Faced with one of the most monumental decisions in its city’s history, the Ferguson City Council voted to attach conditions to a consent decree with the federal government.

The move is not sitting well with some of the embattled city’s residents – or the Department of Justice.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles listens to public testimony on Saturday about a proposed consent decree. Knowles and the rest of the city council could vote on whether to accept the 131-page agreement on Tuesday.
File photo |Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

It’s not hyperbole to say that Tuesday’s vote on a proposed consent decree with the federal government is the biggest decision in Ferguson’s history.

The 131-page document casts a huge structural and financial shadow of a municipality still reeling from the shooting death of Michael Brown. If the Ferguson City Council votes to accept the agreement, it could deliver monumental changes to the city’s police department and government – at a hefty price tag.

Michael Brown, Sr., (second from the right) stands in front of the temporary memorial dedicated to his son Michael Brown, Jr. earlier this year. Brown's death had a monumental impact on the city of Ferguson -- and the St. Louis region.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a cloudless July morning, there’s a tranquil aura around the Corner Coffee House as the clock ticks closer to the Aug. 9 anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. Daily protests have petered out and the hordes of reporters who camped out here have moved onto the next story – at least until this weekend.

But for Ferguson residents like John Powell, there is no new normal. There’s no Aug. 8. The Catholic school teacher who’s lived in Ferguson for nine years says the town he once knew will never be the same. 

Michael Brown, Sr., (second from the right) stands in front of the temporary memorial dedicated to his son Michael Brown, Jr. The elder Brown helped dismantle the memorial on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Michael Brown Sr., came to the spot where his son — Michael Brown Jr. — was killed, he had the marker to show where a worldwide movement began.

Carrying a hefty plaque that honors his son, the elder Michael Brown placed the soon-to-be-permanent memorial on a grassy spot that separates Canfield Road and the sidewalk. With rain dripping down the bill of his Cardinals baseball cap, he declared: “This is permanent for what happened to Mike Brown and for what happened to him at Canfield.”

Ferguson City Councilmembers Brian Fletcher, Ella Jones and Wesley Bell take their oaths of office on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Right after Ella James, Wesley Bell and Brian Fletcher were sworn in as new members of the Ferguson City Council, one of the legislative body’s veteran members provided some advice — both for his new colleagues and the people of Ferguson. 

After the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death brought nationwide attention and scrutiny on the St. Louis County suburb, Councilman Dwayne James implored the new council members and the general public to be accountable. 

Ella Jones, center, looks up at the television during last week's election in Ferguson. Jones easily won a city council race in a suburb that's been rocked by strife and discord.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Ella Jones walked into Drake’s Place last Tuesday night, her diverse group of supporters was ready for a celebration.

As her well-wishers munched on tiny sandwiches, the news got better. Jones trounced three other opponents to win a seat on the Ferguson City Council. It was a victory Jones chalked up to a lot of hard work – and a cogent strategy.

Wesley Bell
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies break down the results of a municipal election cycle that received national attention.

A woman casts her vote on election day in Ferguson on April 7, 2015.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Ferguson residents voted to add two African Americans to the city council, a move that diversifies an elected body that was overwhelmingly white in a city with a majority black population.

Three seats on the Ferguson City Council will be up for grabs on April 7. Eight candidates are running for the spots, including four African-Americans.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The big question may be why. Why — after months of being in the red-hot glare of the national and international media in the aftermath of the police shooting of Michael Brown — would eight people decide to run for seats on the beleaguered Ferguson City Council, all for a part-time job that pays $250 a month?

It’s been almost trendy to talk about Ferguson’s young leaders lately, but youth leadership and community involvement is nothing new in the Ferguson area. For nearly four years, the Ferguson Youth Initiative has worked to connect teens and young adults with community events and opportunities.

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