Tuesday, June 10, 2014


TKC NOTE: Take a look @ Kansas City Transit Activist Clay Chastain in a war of words with columnist Dave Helling and writing "truth to power" in this EPIC screed . . . To wit:


Tell us who won . . . Locals residing within city limits might get a kick out of this one . . . Here's Mr. Chastain's account of this fight with a link to Mr. Helling's work in fairness . . .


Dave Helling's Star attack (today) on Clay Chastain is a verifiable and veritable piece of mean, unprofessional, and inaccurate bull crap that tries to draw attention away from the real issues...the people's right to vote on their valid light rail initiative, and a grassroots light rail initiative vs. a government-led streetcar plan...and put the focus on talking about Clay Chastain!

And he couldn't even shoot straight.

I have some questions for you Mr. (know it all) Helling; and the unfair, unbalanced, and afraid newspaper you work for :

* How have I hurt the light rail issue when, unlike the City's failed attempts, I won last time with 75,000 votes in favor of my light rail initiative and... I did so single-handedly without spending any money and going up against the Star and the entire Kansas City establishment?

* How can you claim I have an "obsession with light rail" when there hasn't even been a Chastain-led light rail initiative petition proposal on a Kansas City ballot since 2006 when the City overturned that light rail vote?

* Why did your piece of slander bemoan the fact that the light rail issue has been hurt because "the "discussion became about Chastain," when almost all of your trash piece was about Clay Chastain???

* Why don't you stop writing character assassination pieces and do some real investigative reporting-like asking Mayor James and City Councilman Russ Johnson why they refuse to abide by the law of the City's Charter and place a valid and constitutional light rail initiative before the voters?

And since you and the Kansas City Star did not bother to cover the other side of the story, and my "Let My People Vote" speech last night at Unity Temple, here is that speech I delivered for the people that your paper (obviously) no longer serves:





In Kansas City, unknown to many, we are amidst a great civic struggle to see whether the most pure, most direct form of American democracy…the initiative petition process…can withstand attempts at government domination.

What we the people value the most…our right to self-govern…Kansas City’s government values the least.

· In 2006, 75,000 voters mandated the City build a light rail-based transit system. But the government overturned that election and all those votes.

· In 2011, nearly 5,000 voters signed in behalf of a new light rail initiative mandating a vote. But the government blocked that election and that vote.

· In 2013, citywide voters presumably wanted to vote on the government’s proposed streetcar plan. But the government restricted that vote.

The manipulative controlling actions of Kansas City’s Government in overturning, blocking, and restricting votes does not comport with democracy.

In the light rail initiative case at hand, the City wants to make sure the people have only one transit plan to choose from…namely the government’s plan.

And have insider deals already been made? Consider the fact Councilman Russ Johnson, author of the City’s streetcar plan, just led the Council in approving $10 million for 2 local engineering companies to begin work on the city’s proposed streetcar expansion plan when voters have yet to even approve it!!

So the last thing the City Council wants is a competing transit initiative on the same ballot with their streetcar plan. As one Star reporter told me off the record, “It would screw things up.”

Early on Missouri Progressives realized abuses of power by elected government officials, could be checked and directly challenged by empowering the people with the right to the initiative. So we the people voted to reserve unto ourselves (outlined in Kansas City’s Charter) that most beautiful mechanism of Democracy…the initiative petition…to intervene, go around the government, and take our case directly to the voters.

The initiative therefore, is a legislative tool by which the powerless can challenge the powerful.

As you might expect, the government (and wealthy patrons that often control it) welcomes initiatives from the people like the Old Growth Forest welcomes a chain saw.

Thus, Mayor James and Johnson (designated cheerleaders for the City’s streetcar plan) have led the City Council on a 3-year legal crusade to crush a vote on the competing light rail initiative.

J & J have not only summoned the City’s legal staff to hold the initiative hostage in the courts, but also hired at least one big time outside private law firm (at additional taxpayer expense) to abet them in this injustice against the people.

The government’s legal position (and proffered opinion) is that the initiative does not provide enough funding to build the transit system proposed, and is thus misleading to voters. The City says they should not have to put a deceiving initiative on the ballot that makes false promises and might confuse voters.

I sympathize with the government, and this is a lovely, noble, and altruistic philosophy they have put forth in behalf of the poor hapless defenseless voters.

· But where does it say in the Charter the government’s opinion matters?

· Where does it say in the Charter the government can block a vote on a valid constitutional initiative ordinance for any reason?

· Where does it say in the City’s Charter that the government can be the judge and jury of an initiative ordinance?

Allowing the government to decide the fate of an initiative defeats its inherent purpose.

Section 703 of the City’s Charter reads in part, “the council shall thereupon submit the proposed ordinance to the electors.”

Section 711 of the City’s Charter reads in part, “upon such reconsideration by the council, such ordinances, or such part thereof, be not repealed, shall be submitted to the electors at the next available municipal or state election held.”

So to translate, the City Charter mandates the City Council place valid initiative ordinances on the ballot. No questions asked!

But of course, the City Council’s bogus reason for obstructing a vote is pretext. The real reason is because Mayor James, Russ Johnson, and the entire City Council are afraid voters will favor the light rail initiative over their streetcar plan.

Mayor James said in the Star last week that the city’s streetcar plan is under- funded and will not raise enough revenue to build the proposed streetcar system thus requiring significant federal assistance. But wait, isn’t that the exact same reason the City is refusing to let the people vote on the light rail initiative?

The hypocrisy will be in full bloom this Thursday when the City’s attorneys will be in court arguing that voters should not be able to decide the light rail initiative even though city attorneys were in another court several weeks ago arguing that voters should be able to decide the City’s streetcar plan!

The old double standard is at work. It’s ok for the government’s plan to go before the voters, but not okay for a lowly initiative signed by 5,000 Kansas City voters.

Some advise me that we have won. I should just let it go since Kansas City is on its way to modernizing its transit system around streetcars…which after all, is a lesser form of light rail.

The Bible says, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” Or paraphrasing… What does it profit Kansas City to gain streetcars, but lose its democratic soul?

The politics in Kansas City are all wrong and have been so for decades. When a government overturns, blocks, and restricts votes it is a lunge backward into civilization’s dark past.

Kansas City’s government has abused the legal system, abused the democratic initiative process, and abused the people’s right to determine Kansas City’s future.

The net effect of this government abuse is to further diminish the people’s trust in government, further diminish voter participation, and further diminish a stronghold of freedom enshrined in our nation’s democratic soul...the right of the people to self-govern.

This government abuse must stop because the ideal of “We the People” is what makes America strong, makes America endure, makes America shine, and makes America America.

· Mayor James…I voted for you for mayor. I know you love Kansas City as I do.

But Mayor James…

· Kansas City cannot prosper until we get the politics right.

· We the people are just as free to get it wrong as we are free to get it right.

· Mayor James…We the People need a government that will serve as our great facilitator, not our great dictator!

Mayor James…Let my people vote!!!!


Anonymous said...

The white gentleman won!

Anonymous said...

It looks like Helling just got handed his own fat ass.

Anonymous said...

Helling is right. The focus has always been on Clay and nothing else. When Clay did a petition drive, he used it to get dates.


When Tony Botello is the only person paying attention to you, judging by the dozen-odd people that bothered to show up last night, you've really fallen into the village idiot category.

Anonymous said...

It's all going to come tumbling down when Obama leaves and the feeding trough of funny money runs dry.

Then KC will be stuck with the legacy (mess) of Slie, Russy the genius from Nebraska, the Nail Lady, etc for the next 100 to 200 years. Good luck CK.

Anonymous said...

A battle of wits between two unarmed men.
What an embarrassing clown show KC is!

Charles said...

Okay, at least the last one made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Clay is one the few guys standing up for those getting screwed by Slie and Company. It's amazing how clueless people here are. It's no wonder everyone strives to stay inebriated on beer-drinks. It's the cheapest way to avoid reality.

Anonymous said...

I would like to support one of these guys but it turns out they are BOTH wrong.

Light rail isn't about egos or even attacking an activist. It's a plan that's secretly being foist upon KCMO without our consent. Look at how the street car is put together and that's what light rail really means. The plan is to build the thing out all over KC piece by piece and without voter consent. Shame on the people who have designed this. It's time go to Jeff City and get them to remove this TDD loophole that has allowed Sly and his collaborators to steal our elections. Shame on them and their paid consultants.

Greedo said...

Or maybe people can just get out there and vote once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

I got to get the fucking hell out of City Kansas. (Jackson County)

It's a no win situation.

Anonymous said...

Helling should stick to slapping his old lady around - where he has a fighting chance.

Greedo said...

Ouch, that's smart.

What I've noticed is that Helling just doesn't give a crap anymore.

He's just picking up a check until he gets laid off.

Anonymous said...

If you don't think it's always about Clay Chastain, check how many times "I" comes up in his latest unhinged screed.

Fella, everybody in KC has seen through your snake oil act years ago. Everybody except Tony Botello, that is, and he is only interested in the hits and comments you generate. Tony isn't exactly the biggest fan of light rail, but you're also too self-absorbed to notice even that.

On top of that, you are a pretty pathetic human being who used your petition drives to troll for women, and have promised numerous times that if THIS one doesn't pass, you'll leave KC forever.

Well, you lied to us about that for over 20 years, so excuse me for thinking you are lying now.

I'm actually disappointed in Helling that he took you seriously enough to write about you instead of ignoring you like the crackpot screaming at the top of his lungs from on a street corner soap box that you are.

On top of that, you are like the 50 year old geezer who keeps wearing his high school letter jacket because that was the high point of his life.

Get a life, Clay. You're pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Well, we have Clay Chastain whining because his widdle feelings got hurt. We got Alonzo Washington complaining that McDonald's makes people eat and run.

Where's Toni Bones and her crying about a traffic ticket she should have taken care of months ago?

That would be the TKC Trifecta!

Anonymous said...

Is it me or does Dave Helling looking like will drop dead any day?

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:44 can we get a pool going? I'm in!

Anonymous said...

Look at Slie and these freaks. This is what they are doing while the city falls apart.


Anonymous said...

One is an idiot and the other is a dickhead.

Anonymous said...

Old Timey street cars......

And aerial "Gondolas"...... Man, that won't be a liability.... I mean, Worlds Of Fun took theirs down 20 friggin yrs ago...

Buuuuuutttt.... City never put up to a vote.....

Ass-hattisnesh on all sides....


Anonymous said...

In the past, I would actively support Dave Helling in this comment section and in discussions among friends. I liked the fact that he made a routine of reporting the story while keeping his own opinions and political leanings absent. While I understood why many viewed him as abrasive or too wordy when appearing on KC Week In Review, I was willing to overlook these traits as I considered him to be smarter than most other guests.

As others here have noted, I too seem to be noticing a negative change in his routine.

"Kansas City’s favorite rock in the shoe, Clay Chastain"....well goodness, nothing like getting rude and making it personal, to begin your article. Not personal you say? Let's review the language Mr. Helling has chosen:

"his crusade"....."the blitz as Clay’s last temptation"...."Clay is Ahab, and transit his white whale"....."Chastain’s obsession".
..."Clay Chastain will never go away"..."his initial cause célèbre"...."his drawings were wacky and unrealistic"..."his funding mechanisms absurdly confused and inadequate".... "because of his style"... "Chastain’s general unpopularity may doom it."

After repeatedly attacking Mr. Chastain, Mr. Helling wishes to lay the upcoming defeat of the streetcar sales tax at Chastain's feet, to serve as the local politico's scapegoat when writing "Chastain has soured voters on any plan for rail transit" and even attempts to set up Chastain as the whipping boy for a failed 2016 RNC bid with "all three cities competing with Kansas City for the 2016 Republican National Convention have light rail." "Chastain’s crusade has clearly left light rail adrift..."

I'm not a Chastain fan, but Mr. Helling has been rude and insulting and owes an apology to his target.

Mr. Helling, not too long ago, you wrote a fine article in remembrance of the late Walt Bodine. Take a lesson from him, and don't go out of your way to be publicly rude to others. If a listener was offended (real or imagined) by something Mr. Bodine said on-air, and mentioned it to him, he would promptly explain himself and offer an apology.

Anonymous said...

Your lesson in proper etiquette would be noted, had Helling been rude to anyone other than the contemptible slimebag pathetic excuse of a human being Chastain.

Anonymous said...

IF ONLY, IF ONLY Dave Helling stood up to local politicians like he's done to Clay Chastain in this article!!!!

BUT HE DOESN'T!!!!!!!!

Congressman Cleaver and the case of the SBA Carwash Loan?

Councilman Pastor Brooks and the case of the Pubic Phone?

Councilman Cindy Circo and the case of the Conflict Of Interest?

Mayor/Council and the case of The Rigged ToyTrain vote?

Mayor/Council and the case of the Unneeded Billion Dollar(+) Single Terminal Airport?

Mayor/Council and the Burns & Mac unnecessary tax giveaway?

Tow the party line. Don't ruffle the political feathers. Keep your head down.

Anonymous said...

Don't go away mad, Clay. Just go away.

Anonymous said...

10:10: Helling IS the white whale.

Anonymous said...

chastain has women issues..other than that it's boomer on boomer violence

Anonymous said...

That Dave looks like death rolled over! WTF?