Best Villain St. Louis 2003 - Vince Schoemehl
Cue the "Theme From Jaws." He's back. And if the water's safe, meetings of the St. Louis Board of Education most assuredly are not, at least if you hold an opinion that differs from the Schoemehlmeister's. Don't agree with Schoemehl? Well, you're a Nazi. He and fellow new board members, anointed by Mayor Francis Slay and Civic Progress, are reforming the city's schools for your own good, so get used to it. Even after three terms as mayor (during which time he was burned in effigy by airport-expansion opponents), Schoemehl hasn't figured out that this is a democracy, at least on paper. Hiring fancy-suited consultants, closing schools in north-side neighborhoods and slashing jobs was bound to bring a little criticism. Why not let people vent a little? After all, it's their right. Instead, Schoemehl likened his critics to "brownshirts" and suggested using "police powers" to control school board meetings. It barely matters that he formally apologized (even going so far as voting to censure himself) for his rantings. The die was cast: He won this award fair and square.