Newspaper endorses Trakas for 6th District County Council seat

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony: South county voters to elect new council representative

By Mike Anthony

Two strong candidates are seeking election to the 6th District County Council seat in the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election.

Oakville attorney Ernie Trakas, a Republican political newcomer, and former Rep. Pat Yaeger, D-Lemay, hope to fill the council seat being vacated by Kevin O’Leary, D-Oakville, who is not seeking re-election.

O’Leary defeated Republican Tony Pousosa and Constitution Party candidate Cynthia Redburn in the April 2015 election to fill the seat vacated by Steve Stenger, who was elected county executive in November 2014.

O’Leary, who has not spoken with constituents or the media in months, has faced a barrage of criticism from south county residents, as he advanced legislation to approve a 232-unit apartment complex proposed at Tesson Ferry and Bauer roads. He essentially has disenfranchised 6th District residents with his lack of representation.

Ironically, the recent announcement that the developer had “permanently” withdrawn plans for the apartment complex, called “21Bauer,” came not from O’Leary, but from Stenger.

While either candidate would be a vast improvement over O’Leary, the Call endorses Trakas for the 6th District County Council seat.

We believe Trakas is the right choice to restore the representation that residents here deserve from county government.

Since last summer, Trakas has been at the forefront of the opposition to the apartment complex. Some might contend that Trakas’ opposition to the proposed apartments is nothing more than political opportunism, but the issue was served up on a silver platter to him.

Yaeger initially declined to take a stance on the issue, but later said that she “would likely oppose” the project unless affected residents’ concerns are addressed.

That’s all well and good, but it would appear that Yaeger’s concerns about the apartment proposal were reactive, not proactive.

At this point in time, south county residents need a council member who will grab the bull by the horns on their behalf. As we noted, Trakas immediately responded to residents’ concerns and took the lead in opposing the apartment complex.

Voters also should note that Stenger has endorsed Yaeger in her bid for the council seat, as he backed O’Leary’s candidacy in 2015. Yaeger contends that she has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to Stenger should they differ on an issue, and that his endorsement will not make her a rubber stamp for the county executive’s wishes.

For his part, Trakas clashed with Stenger back in July, when Trakas urged O’Leary to reject legislation to approve the apartment complex.

After Trakas concluded his remarks, Stenger said, “Mr. Trakas, could I ask you a question? Do you live in the vicinity of the …?”

Trakas responded, “I live on Butler Hill Road, not too terribly far — but not in the immediate vicinity, no.”

What an inappropriate question for Stenger to ask. Yet, Stenger sat silently on the dais as residents’ comments were limited to an unprecedented and unreasonable one minute on several occasions.

Yaeger served admirably in the Missouri House from 2002 to 2010, when she could not seek re-election because of term limits.

As the 6th District representative on the County Council, she certainly would do a capable job of serving residents.

But we believe Trakas is the voice south county needs on the County Council, as he has already demonstrated a willingness to listen to residents’ concerns and to stand up on their behalf.

The Call endorses Trakas.