“I don’t think anyone has told me that what [both the Chiefs and the Royals] are doing is illegal. Maybe they have said they broke the law to you, but I haven’t heard that. … Once you create a slush fund, it’s hard to complain about what is spent on slush. The problem isn’t the way the Royals and Chiefs spend this money. It’s that’s there is this fund to begin with.”
Dave Helling, 810 AM
GH: Kudos for Kietzman for inviting Helling on his show for a live debate on this issue. Either KK wanted to promote another viewpoint on how the Chiefs and Royals are spending tax dollars or he woefully underestimated his ability to verbally spar with Helling on a political/tax issue. Knowing how KK does not like to be made the fool, I am guessing the latter. Read on.
“Dave Helling is the best news reporter I have ever worked with. He is the best political reporter I have ever worked with. And he is the best news producer I have ever worked with. I absolutely think the world of you. I can’t imagine that anybody in the media has had more impact than you have over the last how many years.”
Kevin Kietzman, as he introduced the Kansas City Star business reporter, 810 AM
GH: Whoever posts the audio files for KK’s podcasts on the WHB website must not be nearly as informed about Helling’s prowess. The WHB website lists him as “Dan” Helling.
“We’ve both been in this business a long time. Sometimes a story needs a real hook that you go, ‘Oh my gosh! This is going to grab the reader or listener.’ ”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I understand that talk radio is not a fertile field of journalistic ethics. But KK’s breaking stories are too often about the baited hook and not about the catch. While pointing this out was not Helling’s intent, it was the result. Read on.
“The Royals and the Chiefs are really, really smart and they’re really, really good. And they pulled one over everybody’s eyes. They really did!”
Kevin Kietzman, attempting to convince an unconvinced Helling that his story on the Royals’ misspending tax payer funds had teeth, 810 AM
“Do you think though that the public is prepared to lose either franchise over this dispute? Do you think Jackson Countians are so upset over this that they are prepared to lose the teams?”
Dave Helling, 810 AM
GH: KK and Helling disagreed on whether or not Kansas City could be in jeopardy of losing one or both teams. KK is adamant they would not go but Helling thinks a new owner might be tempted to find another city that would be more profitable.
“I don’t want to defend the teams and I didn’t come on your show [to do that]. I really don’t have a dog in the hunt, other than to say everyone should be clear on what’s going on – as clear as they can be. The fact is the teams are very smart and whether it happened in the last six months or just ahead of [signing the agreement], they were clearly intent on getting something in the lease agreement that would defray some of their costs. In exchange for that, they agreed to put a cap on future tax payer responsibilities for improvements to the stadiums.”
Dave Helling, 810 AM
GH: Helling presented this cap as a fair trade off for the teams to spend the funds at their discretion. He cited past contracts that contained no cap and placed the county in peril of paying unlimited costs for the stadiums’ upkeep.
“There’s nothing eminent. There’s no [law] suit that’s been filed. I’m not even sure on what basis it would be filed. The desire of everyone I’ve talked to is that the dispute be settled without involving the legal system. I don’t think the teams want to force default. And I don’t think the county wants to enter into a default on the rental agreements either.”
Dave Helling, after Kietzman spoke of the possibility of the county suing the Royals, 810 AM
GH: Helling’s approach in this argument was steady, controlled and confident. He wasn’t trying to show Kietzman up or pound the drum for either the Royals or Chiefs. In other words, he took a 180-degree different approach to this topic than Kietzman. I found the contrast to be informative and entertaining radio. You can listen to the entire half-hour interview here.
GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24