Ramping up the Hate

Last week, the Save The Paseo group turned in at the City Clerk’s office over 350 pages of documents containing over 2800 signatures of those who wish to see the name of The Paseo returned to its rightful place as one of Kansas City’s premier boulevards. This was democracy in action as a grass roots, citizen-led group of volunteers exercising their constitutional right to petition their Government for a redress of grievances.

But at the same time, the opposition was ramping up the hate-speech against the group, calling the petition action racist and comparing the group to moles who operate in the darkness for fear of facing the light. In an April 11th hit piece published in The Kansas City Globe, Black pastors regaled their congregations with fire and brimstone sermons berating the petition action.  One pastor even went so far as to say the group “came from a classroom of recycled ignorance.”

Well, this factually-thinking news-dog would like to shine the light on a couple of the key, race-baiting players responsible for much of the unearned and unwarranted negative attention thrown at a very diverse group of petitioners.

Dr. Vernon Howard, president of the SCLC, is at the heart of the MLK Boulevard effort, buying off Council members Reed and Lucas for the privilege of having a congregation on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Howard is also a leader at St. Mark’s Union Church at 1101 Euclid, a scant two blocks off The Paseo. We decided to take a look at the open records on the Jackson County tax rolls and we discovered that the buildings housing the SCLC and St. Mark’s owe over $90,000 in back property taxes to Jackson County. Shocking, isn’t it, that someone who doesn’t pay their taxes is dictating policy to hard-working taxpayers.

Dr. Howard has also proclaimed to have over 2,000 signatures now (it was only 1,000 on January 24th when this sham passed through the council in a meeting that  was more like a tent revival than it was a business session, but the dog digresses) supporting the name change to MLK Boulevard. Howard hasn’t shared these signatures yet but will have to once an open records request is made of him and his so-called signatures.

The author of the Globe piece is Rick Earl Abel who is billed as a “Staff Writer” at The Globe. The Dog did a little digging on Mr. Abel, as well, and learned that he’s a contract writer for Abel Communications, a corporate communications company he owns. Abel, in his screed against the petitioners does a good job of continuing to advance their skewed narrative as well as fanning the flames of hate and discontent.

Not once in the piece is anyone from the petitioning group quoted or interviewed. The piece is a paid hack piece done with the expressed intent of painting Save The Paseo petitioners as a bunch of white racists who want to bury the King name and legacy. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth as evidenced in the picture above of petitioners at City Hall last Friday. Looks like a pretty diverse group to this News-Dog.

Here’s the bottom line. Now that this issue was picked up by the Washington Post and the Associated Press, the issue will gain a whole new level of attention, garnering both support and opposition on a national level. Save The Paseo petitioners will need all the intestinal fortitude they’ve got and then some to withstand the onslaught of hate and lies about to come their way from sources and people they’ve never heard of.  Facts and process do not matter to the opposition, only the decimation of their lives both personally and professionally. It’s called the politics of personal destruction and it’s coming to a Paseo street corner near you soon. Doesn’t seem very Christian-like to this News-Dog.

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