June 19, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Clay Chastain Slams “Sick Relationship” Between Star and City Hall

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Clay Chastain may or may not know what is right for Kansas City, but he surely knows what is wrong.

Although the Sentinel did not endorse Clay Chastain’s tax proposal on the August Kansas City ballot–it has openly criticized the city’s as well–it does endorse Chastain’s crusade to shine light on what he rightly calls the “corrupt and sick relationship” between the Kansas City Star and the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

A veteran activist, Chastain claims the Star and City Hall colluded to block his light rail proposal after it was approved by 75,000 voters in an “open and fair” 2006 election. As he sees it, the Star and City Hall have been pushing a “corporate agenda in Kansas City…new airports, new downtown convention hotels, and a novelty streetcar systems for tourists (but no modern transit system for the people).” This is an observation that is hard to argue with as his claim that the City blocks this proposal.

In 2015, The Star did a none too subtle hit piece on Chastain headlined, “Why won’t he just leave us alone?” Chastain describes himself as “a lone-acting individual who’s only aim has been to help improve the people’s quality of life, help rescue a floundering city he still loves and protect God’s beautiful creation.” The description strikes us as pretty accurate.

Chastain’s most recent complaint also has merit. He accused City Hall of corrupting the ballot language for his most recent light rail proposal in an effort to make it as unattractive as possible, and he criticized the Star for keeping mum about this corruption. In fact, the ballot language did not reflect the wording on the petition drive 2,500 people signed. Said Chastain, “Many voters said later they voted against Ballot Question #2 . . . because they thought it was a “too ambiguous” and “poorly written” plan that would merely allow the City to arbitrarily expand its downtown streetcar system!” By contrast, the winning minimum wage petition language made it on the ballot intact. Chastain’s measure failed by 8 percent.

As Chastain has learned the hard way over time, the media have little use for activists whose agenda does not mirror their own. Still, he remains undaunted. “If anyone thinks a man should just walk away from these bullies, then go ahead,” said Clay defiantly. “But, I am not going with you.”

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