Will Steve Stenger stand up for south county residents?

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Sixth District County Councilman Kevin O’Leary certainly isn’t standing up for south county residents, but three other council members are.

O’Leary, an Oakville Democrat, was elected to represent south county, but his tenure on the council can only be considered an abysmal failure in that regard. Heck, O’Leary and his assistant Diann Valenti won’t even return residents’ calls or respond to queries from this newspaper.

But the silent councilman continues to advance legislation to approve a 232-unit apartment complex proposed at Tesson Ferry and Bauer roads, over the objections of thousands of residents who say it will permanently change the character of their quiet Concord neighborhood.

Twice now, O’Leary has held the bill due to the absence of 4th District Councilman Mike O’Mara, D-Florissant, the current council chair who was unceremoniously ousted in the Democratic primary by Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray of Black Jack.

When O’Leary brought up the legislation for perfection, 5th District Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, and 2nd District Councilman Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur, joined O’Leary and O’Mara in voting for it.

Casting dissenting votes and standing up for south county residents were 3rd District Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Town and Country, who represents some of the neighbors of the complex, along with 7th District Councilman Mark Harder, R-Ballwin, and 1st District Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City.

Given that O’Leary can’t be bothered to return residents’ calls, we wonder if he has even visited the site of the proposed apartments.

To her credit, Erby walked the site of the proposed complex, Sunset Meadows trustee Bill Hogan recently told the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors. Harder told the Call’s Gloria Lloyd that he also visited the site.

It’s a sad day when residents here have to look to elected officials from Town and Country, Ballwin and University City to stand up for them.

It’s certain that O’Leary has the votes to approve the legislation — if O’Mara bothers to show up. As such, we urge County Executive Steve Stenger to veto the measure. Given the current 4-3 split on the ordinance, it’s doubtful the council would be able to override a veto from Stenger.

Will Stenger join Wasinger, Harder and Erby in standing up for south county residents? We’ll see, but we’re certainly not holding our breath.