Dave Helling, The Kansas City Star

Dave Helling

The Kansas City Star

Kansas City, MO, United States

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Past articles by Dave:

Avoiding the first-term blues: The problem Mayor-elect Quinton Lucas should tackle first

Kansas City Mayor-elect Quinton Lucas faces an early minefield at City Hall: pension reform, the jail, the city manager, a divisive election. Here’s one way he can seize the momentum, and save his first term. → Read More

Did Jolie Justus go negative in the KC mayor’s race? Maybe that’s just what we need

Kansas City mayoral candidate Jolie Justus has criticized opponent Quinton Lucas in an ad. Critics have accused her of going negative, but the commercial is within bounds — and the race could use more ads like it. → Read More

How much did Sly James’ support help Jolie Justus in KC mayor’s race? Very little

Outgoing Kansas City Mayor Sly James has endorsed Jolie Justus to succeed him. But the primary results suggest James’ influence is relatively limited. Justus will have to win the campaign on her own. → Read More

Why hasn’t KC elected a Latino to the City Council in almost a generation?

The Kansas City Council hasn’t included a Latino in almost a generation. That worries Latino leaders, who want a voice at City Hall. It should worry everyone concerned with inclusion and diversity. → Read More

KC voters rejected pre-K plan because facts matter — even more than Sly James’ support

Kansas City voters’ rejection Tuesday of a sales tax for the expansion of pre-K programs isn’t a blot on the legacy of outgoing Mayor Sly James. But it underscores the fatal flaws of this early education plan. → Read More

Who pays for floods? With climate change, it’s a question that’s about to get harder

This spring’s floods on the Missouri River are a reminder that flood control works, but at a price in federal tax dollars. As floods increase with climate change, people outside of the flood plain will ask tougher questions. → Read More

JoCo Catholic school’s rejection of gay couple’s child based on ‘cafeteria theology’

Archbishop Joseph Naumann has written a defense of the decision to bar a kindergartner from St. Ann Catholic school in Prairie Village because the child’s parents are gay. The decision lacks compassion. → Read More

Don’t blame City Hall for KCI terminal drama. Here’s who is really in charge

Kansas Citians have criticized the City Council and other officials for delays in starting the KCI terminal project. But the airlines played a decisive role, and they share the responsibility for the problems. → Read More

This Kansas football player died from heat stroke. Why doesn’t his family have answers?

In August, Braeden Bradforth died from exertional heat stroke after his second football practice at Garden City Community College. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt should investigate the teenager’s death. → Read More

The invisible campaign for Kansas City mayor: Can you name any of the candidates?

How many of Kansas City’s 11 mayoral candidates can you identify? None? You’re not alone. The winner of the April 2 primary election may be the candidate who steps into the arena in the next few weeks. → Read More

One of KC’s most influential political groups has disappeared. Will anything replace it?

The Citizens Association, which was among the preeminent political clubs in Kansas City, continues to fade from view. With primaries just eight weeks away, the club seems to be sitting out this year’s mayor’s race. → Read More

In Kansas and Missouri, why are rural lawmakers interfering in cities’ affairs?

Kansas and Missouri lawmakers are considering bills to strengthen the rural economy. Those efforts will work better when legislators understand the importance of urban areas to the states’ well-being. → Read More

Why would Missouri voters decide whether St. Louis City and County should merge?

Some voters in St. Louis want to consolidate their city with St. Louis County. GOP megadonor Rex Sinquefield is proposing a statewide vote on the question, but this is an issue for St. Louis residents to decide. → Read More

Pat Roberts’ retirement is a generational shift in Kansas politics. What comes next?

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas says he won’t run for another term in 2020. His retirement marks a generational shift, and it opens up the opportunity for a real Senate race in the state. → Read More

What do KC mayoral candidates need to do to win in April? Here’s a list

With only three months until the April primary election, Kansas City mayoral candidates need a clear strategy for separating themselves from a crowded field and advancing to a runoff. → Read More

Why are Kansas and Missouri still paying for elected officials’ public pensions?

Why do elected officials qualify for pensions? The controversy over a triple-dip for a Jackson County legislator raises that important question. An easy fix would be to end public pensions for elected officials. → Read More

Some conservatives want to restrict Google and Twitter. Here’s why that’s wrong

Some conservatives want to restrict Google and Twitter. The First Amendment prohibits such an action, no matter how popular the websites might be. → Read More

Think the snow was a headache in KC? Try climate change for 100 years

Kansas City seemed to cope with a few inches of snow over the weekend. But the changing climate presents enormous challenges for local governments in planning for weather events, and Kansas City is no exception → Read More

Who holds all the power in Kansas City? No one person, and that’s causing problems

Kansas Citians have had an irrational fear of concentrated political power for decades. That’s prevented major scandal but is holding up progress, as evidenced by problems plaguing the airport terminal project. → Read More

Greg Orman’s flop in Kansas governor’s race proves we’re really a two-party country

Greg Orman, the independent candidate for Kansas governor, lost badly to Democrat Laura Kelly and Republican Kris Kobach on Election Day. Why? Because Americans prefer the predictability of a two-party choice. → Read More