KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Kansas City Star editorial writer says he didn't mean to start a war between Kansas City and St. Louis, but his piece entitled "Kansas City is Rising as St. Louis Keeps Falling" immediately generated a lot of buzz on social media and a pointed rebuttal from St. Louis television reporter Charles Jaco.
"Abouhalkah had a deadline this week so he filled it with a column comparing Kansas City and St. Louis," Charles Jaco said during a piece that ran on sister station KPLR-TV in St. Louis.
Abuohalkah says he started researching the piece two to three weeks ago, and he says he found that St. Louis lost 538,000 people between 1950 and 2010, while in the same time period, he says Kansas City lost 120,000 people, and he says Kansas City's population is growing significantly faster than St. Louis's.
Jaco didn't agree.
"It seems a lot of that population increase might have been achieved by annexing farms and chicken coops in every direction," Jaco said during his on-air rebuttal.
"He kind of fell into the same trap that most of the reaction has been, which is, well gee, Kansas City is much larger than St. louis, so that's why it happened. No factually it's not," Abouhalkah said.
Abouhalkah acknowledges that Kansas City isn't perfect, and it's not booming.
"We're not Jacksonville growing at 30 or 40 percent, we're not Houston exploding in population. Hey, but we're also not St. Louis," Abouhalkah said.
Abouhalkah says he didn't mean to start a rivalry, although Jaco claims he did, but adds, Kansas City doesn't have much to offer in that area.
"Detroit in hockey, Chicago in baseball, New Orleans when it comes to murders. Kansas city? Not so much," Jaco said in his editorial piece.