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Politically Speaking: Councilwoman Erby Recounts Ferguson Turmoil, Council Battles

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby to the show.  

The University City Democrat recently won re-election to the council's 1st District, which encompasses 38 municipalities. Erby's district includes Ferguson, the scene of more than two weeks of turmoil, unrest and international media attention

Erby discussed her experience dealing with the aftermath of Michael Brown's death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer. She also talked about her tenure as chairwoman of the council during an intensely negative primary between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton.

On the show, Erby said:

  • She was disappointed by the lack of transparency of Ferguson's police department and city government after Brown's death. "I think that's what angered the people," she said.
  • She hopes the Ferguson unrest prompts young people angry about government to vote and become active in politics. "We can't go in the booth and vote for them," she said. "Voting has everything to do with who serves and represents them on the city council, who represents them as mayor."
  • St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch should remove himself from handling Wilson's case.
  • She thinks the Ferguson unrest will have a "huge" impact on the November contest between Stenger and House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood. Erby supported Dooley in the primary. "I believe people feel if they support Steve Stenger, they're supporting the prosecuting attorney," she said. "Steve Stenger said Bob McCulloch and I will clean up St. Louis County. So, draw your conclusions from that. And that's what other people are doing."
  • She doesn't get why the council hasn't decided whether to override Dooley's veto of minority participation legislation. Erby said that she thought the council would deal with the issue after the election ended.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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