County executive big loser in Nov. 8 council election

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Republican Ernie Trakas, an Oakville attorney, was the big winner in last week’s election, defeating former Rep. Pat Yaeger, D-Lemay, for the 6th District County Council seat.

Trakas, a political newcomer, beat the odds as his grass-roots campaign propelled him to victory. Yaeger outspent Trakas roughly 3-to-1 in her campaign, according to campaign finance reports.

And while Yaeger did not win election to the County Council Nov. 8, the big loser in the election is County Executive Steve Stenger, who backed Yaeger’s candidacy.

Stenger also backed current 6th District Councilman Kevin O’Leary, D-Oakville, whose short tenure on the council has been nothing less than a disaster. Just ask south county residents disenfranchised by O’Leary’s lack of representation.

Good things haven’t been happening for Stenger as of late.

His right-hand man on the council, current Chairman Mike O’Mara, D-Florissant, was crushed in the Aug-ust primary by Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack. Walton Gray’s primary victory ended a political dyn-asty, as O’Mara had occupied the 4th District seat since 2001. Before that, his father, the late James O’Mara, had held the seat since 1990.

Walton Gray handily won election to the County Council last week, easily prevailing over Republican Curtis Faulkner and Libertarian Jeff Coleman.

O’Mara’s primary thrashing should have been a real wake-up call for Stenger, yet he remained silent this summer as O’Mara and County Council Vice Chairman Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur, limited residents’ comments to an unprecedented and unreasonable one minute during the council’s forum.

Nearly two years into office as county executive, Stenger has done very little to fulfill the promises he made during his election campaign.

That’s on top of the questionable hires he’s made for his administration, not to mention embroiling the county in litigation over ill-advised legislation that he has signed.

This newspaper endorsed Stenger in the August 2014 Democratic primary and again in the November 2014 election. With more than two years remaining on his term, Stenger has time to turn things around and start fulfilling the many promises he made to south county voters.

If he doesn’t, it’s highly unlikely he would receive the Call’s endorsement should he seek re-election in 2018.