South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Politicians, public servants do say the darndest things

The late Art Linkletter had a feature on his old radio show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

Well, so do politicians and other public servants, as evidenced in the Call’s Most Misguided Quotes.

Just consider these candidates for the third quarter of our annual tradition in which we chronicle the most misguided, misinformed and misleading statements of the year.

Sixth District County Councilman Kevin O’Leary, D-Oakville, hasn’t spoken with citizens or the media for months.

His executive assistant, Diann Valenti, had been equally unresponsive to this newspaper until she spoke with the Call’s Gloria Lloyd in September.

Asked why she didn’t return calls from the media, Valenti said, “I typically do not return media phone calls myself — I was referring those to the councilman.”

Really? That’s a first, as every council member’s assistant traditionally has responded to the media. Given O’Leary’s disdain for the media, perhaps he didn’t include responding to the media as part of Valenti’s duties.

Mike O’Mara has been a fixture on the County Council since 2001.

After the council’s public forum at a meeting an August in which south county residents railed against a proposed 232-apartment complex at Tesson Ferry and Bauer roads, 7th District Councilman Mark Harder, R-Ballwin, asked that the council hold a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss the project.

Mike O’Mara, the council’s current chairman, replied, “I’m not entertaining it at this time.”

With that kind of compassion and representation, it’s hard to believe that the longtime incumbent councilman was unceremoniously ousted in the Democratic primary by Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack.

Then we have Crestwood Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Robert Sweeney. At a meeting in September, he said, “… We actually think we’re the people’s voice here …”

Voice of the people? Which people? Certainly not the ones who addressed the planning panel in April 2015 to oppose an amendment to the Watson Road Commercial District Plan allowing residential uses at the 48-acre site of the former Crestwood Plaza.

Of the nine residents who addressed the panel, none favored the amendment, yet Sweeney joined four other members in voting to approve it.

So much for the “people’s voice,” as it fell on deaf ears.

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