Barry Greenberg defeats incumbent Nikylan Knapper for Maplewood mayor; Prop J defeated; challengers win school board seats

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Write-in challenger Barry Greenberg defeated incumbent mayor Nikylan Knapper on Tuesday 1,045 – 626, winning 62.54 percent of the vote in a hard-fought and at times divisive race for mayor of Maplewood. Knapper had beaten Greenberg in the previous election.

He attributed his write-in win to voters “realizing that a collaborative environment that includes public debate and public discussion is essential for effective governance.” Knapper never responded to invitations to participate in a League of Women Voters candidates forum with Greenberg.

Greenberg said at his watch party at the Blue Duck restaurant, “Through the process of talking with people — and that’s what has been most important — is that I’ve got input from so many citizens I feel that I can lead the city.”

Greenberg announced his write-in campaign in early February, posting his candidate statement in 40 South News.

Greenberg will now be mayor with a city council that had five out of six members endorsing Knapper. He said about working with them, “These people were elected by their constituents to represent them and they need to start representing them, not anyone else’s interests,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to input from everyone. I want debate, I want discussion and I want initiative.”

He said one of the first things he plans to do is the reinstate the second public forum in city council meetings, which had been removed in meetings with Knapper as mayor. He is also looking forward to working with the council on the zoning ordinance that maintains the neighborhood characteristics in Maplewood that was proposed, and then defeated 7-0 in the final vote.

Proposition J was defeated 1,285 – 427, approximately 75% – 25%. Prop J was a charter amendment for a city-funded defense attorney for traffic violations such as driving with a suspended or revoked license. Former city manager, Marty Corcoran, was the treasurer for the the Vote No on Prop J campaign.

Proposition S, a bond issue for Maplewood streets, sidewalks and lighting, won by the same margin that Prop J lost by, 1,286 for, 430 against. See: Maplewood city information about Props J and S.

in the school board race, Jenny Schmidt and Trent Colbert defeated the incumbents, Julie Francois and Rachel Goltzman for a whole term; and Brian Matz beat Jamie Tipton to fill the unexpired term that Amber Withycombe left when she became Maplewood’s city manager.

Write in candidate Barry Greenberg celebrates with supporters at the Blue Duck restaurant on election night.
Greenberg hugs his wife, Deni, when the results came out on election night at the Blue Duck restaurant.

Disclosure: The Greenberg for Mayor campaign supported 40 South News with advertising.

20 COMMENTS

  1. The way Knapper supporters Jackson, LaRose, Newman, Breihan, Kaufman, Schmidt behaved online destroyed any chance I had of voting for Knapper. The blog on Medium just added to it. Her team was aggressive, abrasive, myopic, and condescending. It was like a room of mothers scolding toddlers. Jackson was especially foul in lots of interactions I read. They were gaslighting people and behaving in a way that was directly in conflict to the words they were saying. We watched it unfold and that affected our choices at the polls. Her campaign team literally sunk her campaign.

    When that cast of characters went on to push for the 2 incumbent school board members, that turned me off of them, too. Sorry Ms. Francois, but Nikylan Knapper and her campaign team cost you my vote. I am guessing the Knapper endorsement and strong approach from her team also lead to Goltzman’s dismal last place finish.

    In the end Knapper and Co. grossly misjudged how angry voters were about rushed and half-baked legislation, closed-door meetings, the surly attitude from everyone on the dais at meetings, the hateful supporters calling everything racism, and the city manager insanity. Turns out the group that tried to tell everyone what was best for them was shocked when voters when out and picked what was best for them. And it wasn’t Knapper.

    Even in concession, Knapper made excuses. “We’ lost, not “I” lost. “‘Working moms’ did the best they could.” “I’m a victim, just like another Black politician.”

    If Knapper had taken a moment to reflect on why people disagreed with her (hint: the answer is not racism) she could have adjusted her style, worked harder to connect with transparency, and maybe come across better than she did. The election of over. But if she is smart maybe she can set aside her ego and ask herself what it is that people don’t like about her. Maybe instead of blaming her skin color, she can consider how her behavior, personality, and power-crazed governance led to her downfall.

    • Some of the meanest and most vitriolic people in this town and sadly they think they are saints. Reminds me of that saying “Jesus save me from your followers” though in this case they reflect Knapper’s “values” to a tee.

      • ‘Working moms’ did the best they could.”

        So presumptuous as if Barry supporters didn’t include “working moms.” Knapper always panders and virtue signals. Her campaign manager is a working mom who prolly pulls down a six-figure income as do several of her other mouthpieces.

        So relatable to most moms who live in this town (ugh).

  2. Reply to Jaz In like what you state. Thank You very much! Your statement needs to printed and framed to hang in Maplewood Mo City Hall.

  3. Since the mayor-elect is looking forward to “input from everyone,” I offer my input: “These people were elected by their constituents to represent them and they need to start representing them” is NOT a great first statement for your post-election “unity” effort. I, Maplewood resident, voted for my current ward council members and DO feel they are representing me. You may have missed their “start.” I also find the current mayor made self-inflicted mistakes of process and PR that do not undermine her ultimate intent (maybe you can see parallels in the luxurious Vietnam Memorial-size monument y’all approved and installed at the former Junior High Park?). And I understand that our elected representatives (such as yourself) represent people with a broad range of, and often conflicting, interests; that’s part of democracy and that’s great.

    But if you want to dismiss current council members’ efforts as representing “someone else’s interests,” then you are part of the problem you claim to be addressing, because you aren’t truly listening to “input from everyone.” (Note: “everyone” in Maplewood includes LOTS of non-property owners.)

    Do better. Live up to your campaign language. Practice the humility that others claim you possess. Understand that Maplewood also includes non-business-owner residents who are not obsessed with property values and can read beyond campaign cliches.

    And since “transparency” was the rallying cry of so many of your supporters, I and many others would LOVE to hear why certain businesses in Maplewood supported your campaign, while others did not. Transparency, right?

    • And since “transparency” was the rallying cry of so many of your supporters, I and many others would LOVE to hear why certain businesses in Maplewood supported your campaign, while others did not. Transparency, right?

      Have you ever considered asking them instead of making passive aggressive posts here?

    • Jaz,
      “maybe you can see parallels in the luxurious Vietnam Memorial-size monument y’all approved and installed at the former Junior High Park?”

      to be transparent, that monument was the brainchild of a Knapper supporter.

      • don’t muddy the waters with facts–this crowd runs largely off emotions and expect everyone else to as well.

    • Hey Jaz, Barry actually came and door knocked in our neighborhood as part of his campaign and I can tell you that what he said is the truth at least as far as our neighborhood was concerned. There are a lot of us with differing views than our council members and I hope going forward the council takes extra steps to listen earlier in the process and more often. I do think our council members are well intended and will respond accordingly to feedback from the community. The latest zoning issue is an example of that. But it wouldn’t hurt for them to slow down and solicit more input from the citizens they are elected to serve before bringing potentially controversial legislation up for a vote. Prop J is a clear example where those on the council who were supporting the measure were out of touch with their voters. It went down by roughly a 3:1 margin. That is proof positive that they are not doing the work necessary to stay in touch with the voters.

      • Despite the zealous efforts of Homa and Corriel on Prop J if we are going to speak about council members who are out-of-touch with many of their constituents. More soliciting feedback and actually listening to that feedback rather than pushing personal agendas and political ideology.

  4. Hello Barry…Nice to have met you at Karens house the other week. And so glad you won.
    Rick and Barbara HradskyB

  5. This is what community looks like. You will be hearing a lot to the contrary from the usual suspects-allow them to vent as it is healthy in order to move forward.

    Thanks to everyone who didn’t sit this one out.

      • Well, she lost and she lost big so your opinion is your opinion.

        The vitriol from her loudest supporters was gross and we all saw it. Something tells me you saw it too but gave it a pass. People didn’t like the lack of transparency and blatant cronyism and arrogance from her and they showed up in droves to say so. The end.

  6. I’ll be collecting plenty from Tuesday night elect.
    Now on to the 2024 United States presidential election and will the 60th quadrennial presidential election, set to be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. What is your prediction?
    I had a premonition, I hope it is wrong. With politics in the City of St. Louis and the crime rate, may the Baseball Cardinals not use a Football Rams exit strategy. What could be next, InBev closing the brewery in St. Louis because it is the highest cost brewery in the U.S. to maintain? I would be miserable watching the Clydesdale Horses gallop from St. Louis.
    St. Louis’s current boundaries were established in 1876, when voters approved separation from St Louis County and establishment of a home rule charter. St. Louis was the nation’s first home rule city, but unlike most, it was separated from any county. Maplewood MO right in the middle of conflict, A movie theater on Manchester Rd. was the boundary line, taxes could be collected from the ticket box but not the seating area, so the theater had a boundary line dividing the building. How comical. How has that working out for the City of St. Louis?
    St. Charles County does not want a Metro transit crossing over the Missouri River, I don’t understand! I designed and built my dream house in Wildwood MO, and was excited with the prospect of Metro light rail coming to Six Flags, my neighbors said quote “they will come out here and steal our hubcaps”.
    Remembering the tortured Genius Of Jim Morrison and the song, People are strange when you’re a stranger. Faces look ugly when you’re alone. What a visionary. So many tortured genius in our world.
    My iMac autocorrection keeps wanting to spell “Maple wood” separating Maple and wood. Is artificial intelligence on to something? Js

  7. Glad to see we’re holding power to account. Congratulations to Barry, hopefully he does indeed listen to the citizens of the city.

  8. Barry, couldn’t be happier for the citizens of Maplewood! But for your willingness as an American to continue to improve Liife. Congrats and Best for the coming days ! Hugs

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