When Oakville Democrat Kevin O’Leary was elected to the 6th District County Council seat in April 2015, he pledged to be a new kind of councilman — one more responsive to south county residents.
Shortly after his victory speech, O’Leary told the Call that his top priority will be “helping the community, between folks out here and the county, and make it so it’s a better place for the people so they feel like they do have a say. And responding to them — I think that’s something we can improve on. This is what I’ve said all along.”
Communication also was a cornerstone of O’Leary’s campaign, as he said, “… One area I hope to improve on in county government is communication with my constituents …”
Sixteen months after taking office, it’s obvious that O’Leary has failed to fulfill his campaign promises, which appear to be just rhetoric. Numerous residents tell us that they’ve tried to contact O’Leary without success.
This newspaper’s recent calls to O’Leary also have gone unreturned.
O’Leary also pledged that he would listen to south county residents, and make decisions based on their input.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t come to pass. To his credit, O’Leary did try to stand up for county residents once — but we doubt that will happen again.
As readers may recall, the south county councilman cast a dissenting vote on rental-license legislation introduced by 4th District County Councilman Mark O’Mara, D-Florissant, which drew heavy op-position from property owners. But O’Leary later cast the deciding vote in favor of the measure, which the council approved 4-3.
Asked if he was pressured or intimidated to change his vote by O’Mara and Democratic County Executive Steve Stenger, O’Leary said, “I didn’t take it that way. They wanted to know why, they wanted me to decide. I guess I caught them off guard — but it’s all over and done with and they’re treating me like a human being, so that’s all I can ask for.”
Like we said, given the tongue-lashing O’Leary was given by his fellow Democrats, we doubt he will risk standing up for residents again.
Not that it really matters, though, given that south county residents won’t have O’Leary to kick around much longer, as he’s not seeking re-election in November.
Because he is a lame duck, perhaps there’s a chance O’Leary will stand up for the people like he promised, but please excuse our skepticism.