Friday, December 30, 2005

Bowler's Heaven

USATODAY.com - Michigan man bowls third 300 game of life, then dies

PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) — A longtime bowler collapsed and died at a bowling alley shortly after rolling the third perfect game of his life.

"If he could have written a way to go out, this would be it," Johnny D Masters said of Ed Lorenz, who died at a bowling alley shortly after bowling a perfect game.

Ed Lorenz, 69, of Portage, near Kalamazoo, bowled a 300 Wednesday in his first league game of the night at Airway Lanes. When the retiree got up to bowl in the fifth frame of his second game, he clutched his chest and fell over, and efforts to revive him failed.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Idahoans must guard and protect our federal public lands


This is an op-ed piece that will be appearing in newspapers around the state this coming week. I don't know anyone who has more understanding or credibility on this topic than Cecil Andrus, a four-term Idaho Governor and former Secretary of the Interior.
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Idahoans must guard and protect our federal public lands
By Cecil D. Andrus

Selling off our public federal lands to pay for the damage of Hurricane Katrina is like selling your backyard to cover the costs of a fire in your garage. It doesn’t make sense.

Yet, there are some in Washington, D.C., who are pushing a plan to sell off 15 percent of all the lands held by the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other Interior Department agencies. States like Idaho with a lot of federal acres would be first on the chopping block.

Idaho has about 33 million acres of federal public lands. Selling of 15 percent of those would equal more than 5 million acres. That’s more than the entire Boise and Sawtooth National Forests combined. And the 15-percent figure doesn’t necessarily apply to a state-by-state approach – there’s no limit in the proposed legislation as to how much could be sold in any single state.

Here in Idaho, our public land is our working capital. We use our natural resources, such as timber and grazing, and we enjoy the recreation that comes with them, such as hunting, fishing, camping and hiking.

Yet, our public lands are more than the sum of its parts. Over the years of my life, as I have driven and flown around this beautiful state, I’ve seen the prettiest blue waterfalls, the most stunning high desert cliffs, the most breathtaking green forests. But just as much as the scenery, I love the fact that it belongs to all of us. None of us own it, yet we all share it – it’s ours. That’s one of the most central concepts of being an Idahoan – it’s what makes us who we are.

I can’t imagine why anyone from Idaho would want to auction off this irreplaceable treasure. I know that Jerry Brady, Democratic candidate for governor, has stepped up to defend Idaho’s public lands, and I commend him for it. Because once we sell it off, it’s gone. The old Will Rogers adage is true: “They ain’t makin’ it no more.”

Sure, you can horse-trade for a few acres here and there. We did some of that when I was Secretary of the Interior under President Carter. But in all my years managing the Interior Department, our goal was always to make public land more open and accessible to the people; not sell it to the highest bidder so private landowners can put up fences, like they’ve done in Texas.

I’m sure some people will say that Idaho has plenty of public land, so we can afford to sell off some and still have plenty. But selling land isn’t the same as selling potatoes, microchips or some other commodity. Rural land can be bought strategically, so that purchasing 100 acres can effectively close off 1,000 acres or more, depending on road access. This kind of buying allows one private citizen to make a minimal investment but still locks out huge tracts to everyone who doesn’t own a helicopter.

Also, in the current political atmosphere, there’s a strong potential for dishonesty. It seems like every day, more headlines are coming out of Washington, D.C. about politicians corrupted by greed. What do you think would happen if the entire West were opened up to land speculators? Who do you think would be the winners and who will be the losers?

I’ll tell you who. It will be the high-dollar campaign contributors and the big-time power brokers who will own the best and most valuable lands. The hunters, fishermen, campers and other recreationists will be left out, but they won’t be the only losers. It will also be the family rancher, the small-town outfitter, the restaurant owners and hotel operators and all their employees.

Idaho and the West are not for sale to the highest bidder. Our heritage, our culture and our future depend on keeping this irreplaceable resource open for all.

Cecil D. Andrus,
Former Idaho Governor

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Tall buildings? Community Centers? Attend and Give Input!

Tonight there will be a workshop at the First Presbyterian Church at 521 Lakeside Avenue in downtown Coeur d'Alene from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm regarding the issue of downtown development restrictions.

There will also be a meeting at Coeur d'Alene High School for citizens to provide further input on the proposed Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

It's unfortunate that both meetings are happening on the same night, but for my money both of these are critical issues. I intend to go to the downtown development workshop for the bulk of it since of the two issues it is the one I know less about. If there is time left I will try to make the Kroc Center meeting as well.

Regardless - people need to attend these meetings in person and make your feelings known. You can also email me directly at: mike@idahokennedys.com to give me feedback if you can't attend in person. Thanks!

For information on both of these things visit the city website at: City of Coeur d'Alene Website

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Perspective

It's been a very busy last few months with the campaign and all, and I intend to do some thinking and jotting some thoughts about the recently concluded political campaign when I have some time. It's been just about 2 months since my last post here, but tonight something happened as a result of the blogosphere that gives me a little perspective and I wanted to put it down as a reminder of how what real struggle is like.

I received an email that was sent through another blog site I help administer, and it appeared by all accounts to be a suicide note. I'm not trained in such matters, but I know that any person who would put such thoughts into words or emails needs to get help - of whatever kind - immediately.

All we had was a partial email address and a name, so I went to switchboard.com, put in the person's name and town (she had indicated where she lived) and there was a match. We sent an email reply, and tried to call the number but there was no answer.

So we called the local police in her town, gave them the information, and they said they will do their best to locate the person and send help.

It's an enormous burden to contemplate what must be going through this person's mind, but for now all we can do is pray that her outreach might get her some help.

In the midst of this, I'm reminded that as busy as our lives are, as difficult as things can appear at times, we're greatly blessed.

So to my email correspondent tonight - though you may not be able to see it right now, you are loved and you are in our prayers. Stay with us.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Kennedy for City Council Website is up!


Due to the web mastery of the great VanEtten Studios, the Kennedy For City Council Web site is up and running, and able to accept donations for the campaign!

Thanks, Dave!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Evacuees Experience in Idaho

This is another in the series of email posts on resettlement efforts of Katrina evacuees to Idaho. I believe that there are several families resettled in Idaho at this point, but this is a little glimpse into what our statewide organization, Catholic Charities of Idaho, is doing with one family who has resettled in Boise. Carl Quintanilla of NBC will be highlighting this family next week on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as an example of how folks are faring in their resettled residences and the services people are providing.
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Hello All,

We are having busy days here with our wonderful family from New Orleans. NBC started filming at my home this morning at 9:00 AM. They filmed the last of the packing and loading my SUV and then we went to the new duplex and filmed the unloading, etc. St. Vincent de Paul brought a king-size bed for our 6’8” dad and tiny mom! That was filmed along with some quiet dialogue about their experience.

Right now they are here at CCI doing a counseling session with Melaney (CCI counselor). She is telling them about the kind of changes they can expect in their 5-yr old’s behavior. She is a “livewire.”

I wanted to demonstrate the range of services available to families who relocate with the help of Catholic Charities. Because their anchorman cannot come until Sunday night, they will not be airing the piece this Friday. I will let you know when we hear. It could be Monday or Tuesday evening. Carl Quintanilla, who has been covering the hurricane for NBC, is flying here on Sunday so that they will have some footage of him with the family.

NPR would like to do a story as well. Marcia and staff are working hard on getting the prayer services organized for Friday. Daren and Tasha and kids will be featured. Tonight we are having a welcome party at their duplex. All are invited who are in the area. NBC will be taping it.

Tomorrow morning we will begin at 8:45 at the elementary school where Dymonlynn will be attending kindergarten, followed by the meeting of the interfaith pastors, a trip to ITT Tech where Daren can resume his education. I’m off to Phoenix on Friday. When I get a break, I will e-mail you more information. Daren and Tasha want other victims to know that relocating to other places in the U.S. can be a wonderful experience.

Kristan

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Dalai Lama and Willie Nelson in Idaho Together - Perfect!





(KTVB Television) KETCHUM -- "The Dalai Lama made his much anticipated arrival into the Wood River Valley Saturday afternoon under a cloak of secrecy.

The Dalai Lama will deliver a message of peace to the Wood River Valley on the anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.

But it is country crooner Willie Nelson who's taking center stage tonight.

NewsChannel 7 has a backstage pass to the event.

You might not automatically tie Willie Nelson with the Dalai Lama, but there is a legitimate connection here -- all in the name of charity.
Money made from tonight's show will go to the children of Tibet."

(No offense intended to the Dalai Lama that his picture is much smaller than Willie Nelson's here - there are just more higher quality public domain internet images of Willie than the Dalai Lama available - go figure! But since they're both great men of peace not to mention rockin tunes, I'm sure the Dalai Lama won't mind)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina Resettlement Activities - Sunday Evening Update

This is an update mail from Catholic Charities of Idaho's Development Director Kristan Schlichte, who has been dispatched to Texas to work on helping evacuees get resettled. To me it shows a sense of order forming amidst the chaos, but still how much freelancing is going on out of necessity (dropping folks off in front of a non-profit agency for lack of a better plan, for example).
__________________________________

Hi again,:
We are saying right now that we can accommodate individuals and families from 6 weeks to 6 months and beyond depending on their own self-reliance plans. Our Idaho contingent visited a shelter in Galveston this evening. It was much smaller and very calm compared to the Astrodome. They canceled plans for a Mass there today because of security issues. However, they allowed Bishop Fiorenza, a rabbi, an Imam and a Baptist minister to take ten minutes each to talk to he crowd. Greg Patin, our Catholic Charities Galveston/Houston contact who has been spending hours over there, said that he could feel a calm settle over the crowd as the faith leaders spoke. Some individuals have families, others don't. Right now the thought of leaving the gulf coast is overwhleming to many. However, in several days and weeks, they will realize their plight and be less fearful of taking a chance. Many are still in shock and unable to rationalize their situation. We know that after crisis mode comes post trauma. These folks need to be somewhere where they can get supportive services for themselves and their children. They do not know what is in store for them. Let me know how we can be of service to the Yakima CC office in the intake process. CC Houston has taken us in and is asking us to help to interivew individuals and families willing to re-locate for transitional housing. (Just make sure someone has done a home visit prior to placement. I know you already know that!) They are doing yeoman's work here. Today 5 busloads of Vietnamese people from Louisiana were dropped off in front of their office with no notice. Someone told the bus drivers in New Orleans to take them to Catholic Charities because "they would know how to help them!" It is CCUSA at its best. We can be so proud! I'll talk with you tomorrow.
Kristan

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Idaho Responds to Hurricane Katrina

I've had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Idaho (CCI) since its inception in 2001. CCI's national network, Catholic Charities USA, has been in the disaster recovery business for 100 years or so, and is at the forefront of efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I'm pleased that CC Idaho staff and Idaho volunteers are making their way to Houston, in coordination with national and state relief organizations, to help resettle some evacuees to Idaho for as long as is needed until they can find a way back to their homes and lives.

This has been a colossal nightmare, as everyone knows, but in the quiet of non-profit organizations and homes all around the country we can see the beginnings of light at the end of the tunnel.

If anyone is interested in how they can help out, email me for Idaho contacts or check out the national Catholic Charities website at Catholic Charities USA.

Below is a reprint of an email I received last night from CCI's Development Director Kristan Schlichte who is coordinating Idaho's Catholic Relief efforts to let you know some of the scope of CCI's efforts. We may be thousands of miles away, but we aren't helpless.

Mike

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"Here is today’s update from CCUSA.

Today (9/2) (Idaho Catholic) Bishop Mike Driscoll asked me to coordinate the diocesan disaster response. Along with staff from Catholic Charities of Idaho, we met with diocesan leaders to brainstorm some immediate ways to assist the victims. I am traveling to Houston tomorrow along with 3 Treasure Valley volunteers to identify families for immediate transition to Idaho. Marcie Wilske, our new Parish Social Ministry Director, is coordinating with self-identified families who want to bring victims into their homes. The details are being worked out between CCI and local parish volunteers.

We have also made initial contact with the Governor’s Office, the office of Boise's Mayor, Homeland Security and the Idaho Careline. We are prepared to match victims to volunteers statewide as part of Phase 2 of our efforts. 211 Careline will direct potential volunteers to Catholic Charities of Idaho. We have an online housing assistance form for people to complete and return. Executive Director Marie Hoff is planning to hire additional temp. staff to help case manage the families who come to Idaho. More about the details of this later.

If you have ideas or suggestion, please contact Marcie Wilske here at CCI. We are working with United Way and Catholic Charities in Houston. My friend, Fr. JJ Mc Carthy, O.Carm., is the pastor of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Community in Houston. He is giving us hospitality and his parishioners will assist us with logistics as necessary. We will try to get the Idaho National Guard to provide return transportation for the victims. If not on this trip, then on subsequent phases, I am hoping the St. Bernadette parishioners who are part of NASA will help coordinate charters with the USAF. Right now everything is very fluid.

I am grateful for the opportunity to utilize my experience in disaster relief to put our agency and diocese on the forefront of “hands-on” response. I ask for your prayers and any contacts you might have with the corporate community to assist us in this resettlement effort. The duration of time for people to be in our care could be from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the needs of the individual families and the kind of supportive services we can muster.

These are indeed refugees because they have nowhere to return. CCUSA is mounting a huge effort to coordinate good will and resources with victims needs. It is called Operation Home Away From Home. We can be proud of our Catholic network. I will have my laptop with me and can be reached at my home e-mail address. I will keep in touch. Pray for these initial efforts at bringing relief to the Katrina victims.

Kristan Schlichte"

The Storm after the Storm - David Brooks

David Brooks NYT Column: "We'd like to think that the stories of hurricanes and floods are always stories of people rallying together to give aid and comfort. And, indeed, each of America's great floods has prompted a popular response both generous and inspiring. But floods are also civic examinations. Amid all the stories that recur with every disaster - tales of sudden death and miraculous survival, the displacement and the disease - there is also the testing.

Civic arrangements work or they fail. Leaders are found worthy or wanting. What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come. "

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Kennedy Clan - August 2005
















Kathleen and Mike with (left to right) Max, Nora, Will, Quinn, Maggie

It's our turn to help Biloxi


New York Daily News - Home - Michael Daly: It's our turn to help Biloxi: "With news of the awesome destruction down South comes a memory from the terrible days after 9/11, when a big banner went up in Times Square.

'Biloxi loves NYC!' the banner announced.

The banner was sent by Biloxi High School to Stephen Pitalo, a graduate of the Class of 1986 who had moved from that Mississippi city to New York and became a TV and radio producer. He also received boxes of relief supplies collected by students at the Biloxi grammar school he attended, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Screams and tears as Israeli settlers exit Gaza

photo copyright AFP


I think this is a truly momentous occasion - one that makes you stop and pause and reflect on just how much pain and suffering that people in the Middle East have put one another and themselves through over the years. I am no fan of Ariel Sharon, but I think he has to get credit for following through on this extremely difficult action in hopes of continuing a peace process that is as tortured as anything one could conjure up.

Certainly there are strategic reasons for this move on the part of the Israelis, but I have to believe it will be met there with contemplation of what the future of the region really is.

Pullout of the Gaza Strip: "Backed by bulldozers, Israeli forces fanned out through the Mediterranean seafront territory, marching through makeshift barricades into a string of settlements after hundreds of families defied a midnight deadline to leave voluntarily.

As smoke rose from tyres set ablaze by protestors, emotions were running high with sporadic scuffles breaking out while settlers and soldiers wept tears of rage and anguish at the historic operation that pitted Jew against Jew.

Sharon, who risked his political career on the pullout and has been vilified by settlers who once considered him their champion, said he had been moved to tears seeing Jews being hauled from their homes.

'When I see these families with tears in their eyes and police officers with tears in their eyes, it's impossible to look at this without weeping yourself,' he told reporters."

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Bush Library at my Alma Mater?


USATODAY.com - Bush library hopefuls have stacked up: "Bush told Texas reporters this month that his wife would 'definitely' have a vote on the final decision. That fueled speculation that SMU in Dallas, where the future first lady earned her bachelor's degree in education, is the frontrunner. She's also on SMU's board of trustees.

There's more to support the SMU theory. The Bushes have mused about buying a house in Dallas after his presidency to provide an urban alternative to their 1,583-acre ranch, which is just 23 miles from here - and Baylor."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Request a Yard Sign!

If you would like a Kennedy for City Council yard sign in Coeur d'Alene, please email me at: mike@idahokennedys.com with your name, phone, and address, and we'll make sure you get one when we're putting them out later this fall.

Thank you for your support!

The campaign - week one - Canfield Mountain

This was a good week to get the campaign for city council kicked off. I got good coverage in the papers, very warm response from the friends and family who attended, and this weekend at Art on the Green and the Street Fair I was surprised at how many people wanted to come up and talk about the future and the campaign.

We always see friends we haven't seen in a while on this weekend, but this was different because this time the friends were very excited about helping, asking what they can do, and ready to work. This is a humbling and exciting response!

On Thursday evening the Open Space committee, of which I'm a member, hiked around Canfield Mountain, contemplating the area and getting a sense of the acreage that may well become public property as the Copper Ridge subdivision gets built and the developers donate back property to the city. The challenge of finding an effective route to the land through the neighborhood and to the Forest Service property which abuts the land will be interesting to work through. Parks Director Doug Eastwood is more than up to the challenge.

I was struck by how much slash and the seeming hack job done in places on the mountain to date by private owners. The city will do a better job of maintenance I'm sure when they take ownership, but it appears that the Idaho Dept. of Lands either didn't have tools to get the mess cleaned up, or didn't care to focus on it. Either way, it's a shame and in many places it's a mess.

Here's a link to a Canfield Mountain Trail page for mountain bikers: www.northidahotrails.net

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Remodeling for First-time Homebuyers

I've always said that my friend Mike who wrote the great missives from Israel should be a professional writer. Now he and his wife Beth, our other great friend in that marriage, are remodeling their home and I think it will be a rich source of humor for a while to come. Let's hope he keeps blogging away on this one. (Caution - one f-bomb alert toward the end of the story - sorry, Mom)

The Lattice of Coincidence: "In an effort to keep up with our smarter friends, who wisely cashed-in their twin condos or starter homes before the market reached Tulip Mania proportions, we have purchased the house that served as the serial killer's home base in The Silence of the Lambs. A brightly hued rowhouse, Number 1364 served as home to three or seven or nine people and upwards of twenty pets. Their effluvia - hair, skin, smells, excrement - is tattooed into every molecule of the place."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kennedy to run for Cd'A Council

Coeur d'Alene Press: "Husband, father of five says city must meet needs of all residents

COEUR d'ALENE -- Local software businessman Mike Kennedy cited Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities' when he announced his candidacy for City Council Tuesday."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Coeur d'Alene City Council Announcement


When I moved to Coeur d’Alene in 1991 I had all my belongings in the back of my 1984 Honda and no money. So I spent several months living in the basement of my aunt and uncle’s home in the Fort Grounds – a great introduction to my new hometown.

Since then I have been proud to be involved in a number of community organizations. I’m a 1998 graduate of the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce Leadership Coeur d’Alene program, I serve as a director on the local non-profit boards of the Coeur d’Alene Library Foundation and Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre and I’m also on the state board of Catholic Charities of Idaho.

But the most important item in my resume now is that fourteen years after arriving in Coeur d’Alene I have a beautiful wife and five amazing children all born in the same wing of Kootenai Medical Center right here in Coeur d’Alene.

The reason I’m running for City Council is because of those five kids. Kathleen and I are living the “American Dream” here, and we want our kids to be able to do the same – to get a job, buy a home and raise their families right here, just like we’re trying to do.

There are three issues that I think are critical to preserving and improving our quality of life in Coeur d’Alene:
• Growing in a way that makes sense
• Protecting our kids
• Preserving access to open space and public places

I’m sure you’ve all heard the line: “It was the best of times it was the worst of times.”

These are the first words written by Charles Dickens in his classic novel A Tale of Two Cities. They described Paris and London in the 1770’s, but in many ways those words could address Boomtown Coeur d’Alene in the early 2000’s.

I want to talk for just a few minutes about our two cities.

GROWTH

Growth and development are here – and they bring great opportunity along with challenges and change. Recently a consultant came to town and told our city officials that CDA was standing in the path of a freight train and we didn’t realize it.

One city of Coeur d’Alene is bursting with new residences, increasing home values, and new construction everywhere, providing a vibrant and robust economy. We absolutely need to keep this economy strong to provide livable wage jobs for our citizens. But our other city has a widow in the same home she’s been in for years, now living in fear of losing her home to increasing property taxes. Our city also has too few livable wage jobs for our neighbors.

So ask yourself if Coeur d’Alene is growing in a way that makes sense. In many cases it’s not. Here’s an example – garbage fees, water fees, wastewater treatment fees – all of these have gone up over the years. But since the early 1980’s annexation fees have not increased at all.
Growth must pay for itself - and it isn’t now. We must enact more aggressive and more targeted impact fees so that new construction underwrites the cost of the new infrastructure needed to support it.

New development should also be good for all the community. We’re standing in a terrific new neighborhood – Coeur d’Alene Place. We like it so much my wife and I chose to build a new home for our growing family a few blocks away so our kids could walk to the park, walk to school, and ride their bikes on safe pathways. We need to encourage developers like this who build with vision, and make any new development truly part of and good for the overall community, instead of just being a walled-off enclave with no connection to the area around it.

So we stand in a great neighborhood, but just up the road is a four way stop sign that forms an enormously long and overburdened line of cars every day at rush hour – a traffic jam of the type that so many people left cities to get away from. I want to know why that happens and what we can do to fix it. When it comes to the work of dealing with growth in Coeur d’Alene, I think we need to spend more time planning up front to ensure that we leave this town better than we found it and don’t make mistakes that aren’t fixable later on.

KIDS

Young families like ours that are growing and making their way need a fresh voice on the Coeur d’Alene City Council.

Our one city of Coeur d’Alene provides good schools, great opportunities for kids to get involved and grow. The other city has challenges facing our kids that seem tougher than ever before.

Whether it’s a simple good quality of life issue like providing safe routes to schools, or a deadly serious issue like strengthening city ordinances so that violent sex offenders don’t gather together in makeshift flop-houses near our schools, we need to work harder to protect our kids.

Whether it’s ensuring that our community provides more after school programs or the need to keep cracking down on meth labs and the drug scourge in our neighborhoods, we need to work harder to protect our kids.

I want to be the voice for young families on the Coeur d’Alene City Council.

OPEN SPACE, PUBLIC SPACE

I am currently serving on the city’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Open Space. It’s a new committee, recently formed, and we’re doing our best. But the city needs to move faster and more aggressively to protect those precious open spaces that make our community something special but that are rapidly disappearing. Our one city of growth, opportunity, and excitement is rapidly threatening the other city of open western prairies, rugged mountains and hills, and pristine lakes.

We need to find a way to protect our access to places like Canfield Mountain, Best Hill, Sanders Beach, access to the lake and the Spokane River and we need to try to save some of the vanishing prairie from permanent loss, as our visionary neighbors did with Tubbs Hill many years ago. Time is not on our side here – we need to act now – creatively and innovatively – to protect our cities precious jewels. I don’t have all the funding answers for these challenges, but they are out there and we need to work hard to find them. And one more thing - when I’m on the council, I will do my best to ensure that McEuen Field remains public for all the people all the time and not turned over to private development.

I was proud to be asked to design and manage the campaign to finally build a new library in Coeur d’Alene through the passage of a bond. This was an important public space project. A great team was assembled, and we worked hard along with the fire and public safety folks, to talk to every community group that would have us in to speak. The city responded with overwhelming support – 68% - for the new library, despite some struggles and some opposition. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

I want to bring that same leadership and creativity to the other challenges that face the city. The big things that are worth doing are sometimes very hard – I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and work harder and smarter to take on those big challenges.

CLOSING

In closing, I thank you all for coming out today in support of this campaign. I’m honored, flattered, and humbled. In return for your support I can promise you that no one will work harder than I will to listen, to learn, and educate myself on how to improve the city of Coeur d’Alene every day.

In order to accomplish the things we’ve talked about today – growing in a way that makes sense, protecting our kids, and protecting our open spaces, I have to ask you for one or all of the following three things – time, talent, and treasure.

Our campaign will need lots of volunteer help and time, we’ll need your great ideas and your talent, and unfortunately because campaigns aren’t free, if you’re able to help in the form of a campaign contribution – at any level – we need it and I will be most appreciative.

We started off talking about the two cities earlier – the best of times and the worst of times. In Coeur d’Alene we are in exciting and transitional times. I am very bullish on Coeur d’Alene’s future and I believe this is the best place in the world to live. I pledge every day to turn the challenges we spoke about today into opportunities and to ensure that Coeur d’Alene has nothing but good times ahead.


Thank you.

Statement of Residency

At the end of 2004 my wife and I began looking for a bigger home to accommodate our family and we absolutely wanted it to be back in Coeur d’Alene – near parks and schools for our kids. The available inventory of homes for sale were either not big enough for our family or well out of our price range. So after spending several months looking at dozens of homes all around the city, in February of 2005 we decided for budget and space reasons to build a home in the Coeur d’Alene Place subdivision in the northern part of town.

We contracted to build the home, expecting that it would take not much longer than 6 months to complete and that we would be moving toward the end of the summer. We are excited to be moving a half mile back into Coeur d’Alene, excited to be living in a neighborhood with good schools and parks within walking distance, and a community with many young families.

But in the intervening months the “time to build” for new home construction in North Idaho has grown very long, owing to the sheer number of homes being built, the volume of work for available building trades workers, and an unexpected national shortage in concrete. Not to mention the backlog of building permits for an overburdened city building department!

In the early summer of 2005 I was encouraged to consider a run for the City Council. After managing the successful library bond campaign and getting to see the inner workings of the city, I decided to consider the prospect. When Councilman Ben Wolfinger announced he was not going to run for re-election, I began to seriously consider running. Unfortunately it became clear that our new home would not be completed by the requisite 30 days before the filing deadline, so I investigated alternative options.

I sought out opinions from municipal and elections professionals, as well as the personal views of many citizens around the city. I am advised that the definition of residency is based on fact and intent, the fact of where a person spends their nights, and the intent to return there after an absence of any duration. While I’m not an attorney, it seems clear that the law on what constitutes residency is somewhat open to interpretation. So I decided to erase any doubt and be very clear about the facts of our situation.

Unfortunately my wife and I are not able to afford both a mortgage and the high rent for a second home, and selling and moving twice would be problematic. Thus, because the completion date of our new home is subject to the fluctuations of building schedules, weather, and unforeseen delays, I am taking the steps outlined below to legally establish residency in the city limits of Coeur d’Alene. While this is not an optimal situation for our family, and we are incurring additional costs to do so, I want to abide by both the spirit and letter of the law.

I very much want to serve the City of Coeur d’Alene, and while these steps I’m taking are a slight burden to me and my family, they are ones we are willing to bear to try to contribute to the betterment of our community. My wife is immensely supportive, and as a native Idahoan she wants the best for our city and the hometown she loves.

So effective July 2005:
• I have legally rented a room on a month to month basis in
Coeur d’Alene where I now reside;

• I have changed my legal residence to my address in Coeur d’Alene;

• I am in the process of changing my vehicle and driver’s license registration to Coeur d’Alene;

• I will be spending weeknights away from my family sleeping in my rented room in Coeur d’Alene (addressing the "fact" of residence), and I will spend weekends with them - not unlike the people who own lake homes and live there on weekends without sacrificing their residency;

• My wife and children will stay at the home in Grouse Meadows, Hayden (just steps from the city line at Prairie Avenue), and will join me in moving into Coeur d’Alene permanently the first day our new home is ready (addressing our intent to remain within the city jurisdiction);

• Because of the cost of technical infrastructure and my need to make a living I will continue to work out of my former home during the day where I am set up - with the side benefit of spending time with my family during breaks in my day and at their after school events, like any Dad would. I chose not to try to move my family now to minimize any disruption in their lives.


I am committed to the city of Coeur d’Alene and to serving the citizens of Coeur d'Alene, and there is nothing more important to my wife and me than the quality of life of our children. My goal is to positively impact that for my family and others in the city of Coeur d’Alene.

If you have any questions, concerns, or issues, please call me directly at 661-7337 or email me at: mike@idahokennedys.com.

Mike Kennedy Biography




Personal
Michael R. Kennedy (Mike)
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Married (wife - Kathleen), seven children (Will, Nora, Maggie, Max, Quinn, Jack, and Ronan)

Education
College: Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, B.A. in Political Science
High School: Pine Bush High School, Pine Bush, New York

Professional Highlights
Mike has had managerial and entrepreneurial experience in several business and non-profit startups since 1993 as well as countless political and initiative campaigns during that time.

Currently Mike serves as the President of Intermax Networks, a high-speed internet company in North Idaho.

As a professional in the software industry, Mike has been involved in large committee projects as well as one-on-one sales initiatives for various and divergent clients.

Mike has been a consultant to business, civic, and political entities and individuals over the last decade, all focused on building organizations and marketing products, causes, or candidates. As a full-time staff member for a candidate for the United States Senate in 1996 and campaign manager for another in 2002, Mike has experience in political activism, organization, and communication from local grassroots field organizing to fundraising and the crafting of advertising and media messages to present an issue to the public.

Finally, Mike’s experience as a Capitol Hill intern and campaign staff member for a sitting member of the United States Congress and challenger for the US Senate has made him uniquely qualified to understand the difficulties and challenges in representing textured, controversial issues to the public at large.

Professional Background
Mike served as a Senior Account Executive for XDimensional Technologies, a leading software company in the insurance industry space that develops management system solutions for insurance agencies all across the country. He also has a partnership interest in a small Long Term Care insurance agency.

Over the years Mike has also managed a consulting practice serving business and political clients with marketing, message, sales and media concerns. His clients have included small technology companies, service businesses, and non-profit organizations seeking to maximize their budgets and get their message across to a larger target community.

Mike was responsible for the strategic plan, oversight and campaign management of all aspects of the successful $3 million dollar bond campaign for the City of Coeur d’Alene and the Coeur d’Alene Public Library Foundation, overcoming entrenched resistance and past organizational challenges.

Prior to these activities, in his capacity as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ApplyYourself, Mike was responsible for the operations of bringing products to market, building a sales team, communicating with admissions professionals and the ongoing work of client development. Before joining ApplyYourself, Mike served as a 2nd Vice-President of Marketing for AMS Services, Inc., a $115 million company that specializes in software development for the Insurance industry vertical market. Prior to working for AMS, Mike was a Regional Project Manager for Kinko’s, after successfully opening and managing a branch office in the Inland Northwest. He also served as full-time Field Director for a 1996 United States Senate political campaign in Idaho and Campaign Manager for another political campaign in Idaho in 2002.

Other Activities
Parishioner, St. Pius X Catholic Church, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Founding Board Member, Catholic Charities of Idaho, Boise, Idaho
Board Member, Coeur d’Alene Public Library Foundation and Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre
1998 Graduate, Leadership Coeur d’Alene, Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce
Occasional volunteer Little League umpire

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Idaho's Carole King - Top of the charts- again!


Earlier this month Carole King released an album of music recorded during live concerts on her "Living Room Tour" last year. As a lifelong fan I was ecstatic to hear her music, but I also had the wonderful opportunity to get to know and travel with Carole last year while she packed auditoriums, halls, and living rooms all around Idaho.

Carole is pictured here during an appearance at the Bonner County Fair in Sandpoint in August of 2004. As a result of our travels together I'm proud to call her a friend.

Carole's passion and love for Idaho and America are complete and total, and her new album is a special gift that I'm glad she's given all of us. It's also a musical history lesson as she dives into a medley of outright classics that she's written over the years - every one of which all of us know.

No surprise, but Carole is once again on the Billboard charts with this album, hitting the Top 20 this last week after only two weeks of release!

Thanks, Carole, for making Idaho proud with another terrific album!

Click here to buy Carole's new album: Living Room Tour CD

Carole King's Website

Friday, July 22, 2005

Max Mows the Lawn


Not really, but he did contemplate the engine as it sat idle in the yard.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Brief blurb in story about Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander's announcement

Deanna Goodlander is a two-term council member and shouldn't have any trouble getting reelected.

Coeur d'Alene Press: "...Local software businessman Mike Kennedy said he is strongly considering running for Wolfinger's position, but will probably have to rent an apartment in city limits until construction on his new home is finished. His present home is just outside city limits. "

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Madeleine Sheils - Golfer Extraordinaire


Mark my word - you'll be reading about Kathleen's cousin Madeleine on the LPGA tour one day!

Golf Plus - The Idaho Statesman - Always Idaho: "Meridian's Marc Arima survived a second-day charge from Jake Harr of Buhl to win the boys title, while Madeleine Sheils of Boise captured the girls crown Wednesday at the Big I Junior Golf Classic qualifier at Shadow Valley Golf Course."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Cd'A Library Location

This is responding to a question on the Huckleberries Online blog about the location of the new library.

The land where the library will be built was partially donated (courtesy of the Jameson family), partially purchased with LCDC involvement, and adjacent to the City Hall, which was a strategic placement. Again, I'm not sure of all the exact reasons for the initial location there, but during the campaign we talked about a few key reasons why the location was a good one:

(1) 15,000 residents of the city (nearly half) live within a mile of the site;

(2) the demographics of the area and the schools nearby indicate that many of the city's most economically disadvantaged kids live in or near downtown, thus it would serve those people who need it the most (surprisingly, CdA has nearly half of it's children in SD271 on free or reduced lunch, an anti-poverty program);

(3) putting a library there could preserve public space for the entire community as opposed to the alternative, selling to the highest bidder and getting another high-rise to ring McEuen Field - I felt this to be a worthy goal philosophically;

(4) the land had already been secured, and with the sale of the current library building on Harrison and passage of the bond, the citizens would be bonding for less than half of the cost and value of the new library - with real estate costs the way they are finding new property would be tricky, and if the location were outside the LCDC zone the LCDC couldn't be involved and the advantageous funding structure there could make the entire cost of the project much higher;

(5) while growth is occurring in the North for sure (that's where I live) some visionary planners have told me that long term growth in this city - which is coming whether we like it or not - will likely be to the south and east, thus making the location perhaps more centrally located looking into the future; and

(6) lastly, there will be tons of new parking spaces in the new library (and theoretically the City Hall complex area next door) and downtown always needs more parking!

I discovered that arguing the location was like arguing religion - it was a matter of personal opinion and thus no one could ever truly be "right" (and the best assessment of the decision-making wouldn't occur until well into the future after the project is completed).

There are still efforts ongoing to raise the final amount of money for completing the project, fixtures, etc, and the city has a good team together working on it, led by Renata McLeod. There are great naming opportunities and ways to put your family's permanent stamp on the new library through tax-deductible contributions.

For more information, or to make a contribution, go to the link above or here: www.NewCDALibrary.com

Thursday, July 14, 2005

National Group says Idaho best-prepared for disasters

Look at that - great national recognition for Idaho! Let's hope we don't have to test this.

KTVB.COM | Idaho News Weather & Sports | Local News: "COEUR D'ALENE -- A national group says if bioterrorism, infectious disease or any other disaster strikes, the best place to be is Idaho.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials has recognized Idaho as the best-prepared state in the nation to respond to health emergencies. "

Southwest second-quarter profit rose 41% despite higher fuel costs


Southwest Airlines is one of the best companies in America. I've been a fan since I started flying them in Texas, and their service and on-time reliability continue to be stellar. There are lots of folks who don't like the "cattle" feel of a Southwest flight, but I think they are efficient as can be and I'd trade lots of perks for low cost and on-time service. Face it - there are no perks on any airlines anymore, so Southwest just does what everyone else does way better and with more fun. Herb Kelleher has always been a business hero of mine.

USATODAY.com - Southwest second-quarter profit rose 41% despite higher fuel costs: "DALLAS (AP) - Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines (LUV) said Thursday that second-quarter profit rose 41% from a year ago, as fare increases helped offset a 25% rise in fuel costs per gallon. Its shares climbed more than 5%. "

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Girl Critical After Riding Disney's Tower of Terror


This is sort of disturbing, as we rode this exact ride with our 9 year old and 7 year old last December. It was a scary ride, but something tells me there had to be something else going on with this young girl health-wise.



local6.com - News - Girl Critical After Riding Disney's 'Tower Of Terror' Ride: "A 16-year-old girl is in critical condition after riding the 'Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror' ride at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World, according to Local 6 News. Officials said a girl from Britain exited the ride Tuesday at about 9:50 a.m. and complained that she was not feeling well, Local 6 News reported."

Father's Day 2005

I'm blessed beyond words.


Father's Day 2005

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Laird Maxwell claims responsibility for Winder smear campaign

This shouldn't be a surprise, but the rank smear of this bad act should be punished. Maxwell has long been known as a bomb-thrower, but this was over the top even for him. Chuck Winder didn't deserve this, and though I think the right guy ultimately won the election (Mayor Dave Bieter, whom Maxwell also opposed), this was unseemly. Look next for Chuck Winder to file a civil suit against Maxwell - I think it would have some traction. Perhaps we're hearing the last dying days of Maxwell's organization?


KTVB.COM | Idaho News Weather & Sports | Top Stories: "We now know who was responsible for the Boise mayoral smear campaign in 2003.
Laird Maxwell, a conservative activist and lobby, filed an affidavit in a Boise court Thursday claiming he acted alone. "

The Dead Sea and Galilee: Can Goats Do SoDoKu?

More from a friend traveling in Israel - way more intriguing than what I've come up with lately!.

July 1, 2005

The driver of our Masada-bound van, 75 year-old Ari, was about as fearless as the Jewish Zealots, weaving our Econoline along bumpy two lane highways with little regard for traffic niceties like the passing lane. Probably figuring that if the Nazis didn't get him in his native Poland that a traffic accident was unlikely to catch up with him either, he sped us through the West Bank in record time.

The West Bank, or the Palestinian Territories as they're typically referred to here (unless you're in favor of keeping them inside the country, in which case they're called Judea and Samaria), is no garden spot to be sure. After dipping down from Jerusalem and slipping past the Palestinian city of Jenin, Highway 1 plunges down to sea level through barren, parched hills. The road keeps falling until it hits the city of Jericho at about 250 meters below sea level.

There isn't much to see on this drive, but what you do see isn't pretty. "Bedouins," and it's hard to imagine any nomadic people living this way, inhabit grimy stick and tin shacks along with their herds of goats and sheep who have successfully stripped the surrounding moonscape of every blade of grass. They live in apparent poverty so complete it makes an American Indian reservation look like Club Med in comparison.

We traveled the eastern edge of the Territories on the way to the Dead Sea, passing a few small beach "resorts" and farms of date palms laid out with geometric precision. The Dead Sea comes as advertised:
salty, inert, and warm as tubwater. I can also report that it's the only body of water in which I've reliably been able to float, owing to my freakish density and the steel plate in my head. The Sea is entertaining, but your body can only take being pickled, slathered with salinized mud, and left to bake in the 100+ degree sun for all that long, so I took a short dip. The Sea is slowly drying up because of increased water usage by Israel, Jordan, and Syria so maybe if it dries up completely the Palestinians will be able to fight over an even more worthless parcel than the one they want presently.
Regardless of it's drying up, though, the Dead Sea earns its moniker as the "Lowest Place on Earth" in more ways than one.

The drive back to Tel Aviv illustrates the dichotomy inherent in living here. After having every lick of moisture osmosis-ed out of my body by salt water and the Judean sun and doing my best impression of a sedated iguana on the ride back, one of my co-riders broke the van's briny silence -- "the goats are on the move," he observed. Indeed they were, a flock was topping a ridge no doubt hoping to annihilate what little grass remains here. But goats? Here I was less than an half-hour's drive from the capital of a nuclear-armed nation with a burgeoning hi-tech sector and people are still making their livings herding goats? And this was not an industrial goat operation, mind you, but goat herding the old fashioned way -- perfected in about 600 BC.

While some Israelis spend their days herding the goat it seems like all the non-goat herding population has been seized with a puzzle game called SoDoKu, which is published in books and in the daily papers.
SoDoKu, which, if you ask me, looks devilish enough to have been invented by the Japanese, is essentially a crossword puzzle with numbers. The puzzle's grid consists of 81 squares (9 columns by 9 rows), which is further divided into nine 3x3 boxes. The aim is to fill in the values 1 through 9 in each row and column, as well as in the 3x3 boxes, so that no number repeats in any row, column, or box.
Easier puzzles have more numbers filled in by the Satanic SoDoKu editors as prepositioned clues.

Israelis are consumed with the game, they work on puzzles everywhere and its popularity has elicited a number of editorial cartoons and opinion pieces theorizing why it has grown in popularity -- especially among children -- so quickly. I imagine that we in the U.S. will be seeing SoDoKu soon, although I despair for it 's popularity in the States seeing as it is, after all, vaguely math-related. But for now Israel has one foot stuck in SoDoKu and one foot stuck, so to speak, in goats.

My last field trip out from Tel Aviv was spent over two days in Galilee, Israel's breadbasket. Galilee, at least from the window of a bus, is bucolic with expansive fields of wheat, alfalfa, olives, and, at lower elevation, bananas and mangoes. It's also home to a substantial slice of Israel's Arab population, descended from local residents who (for whatever reason) didn't flee after the country's founding and thus became Israeli citizens instead of stateless Palestinians. Israeli Arabs cluster around the northern cities of Nazareth and Haifa, and live light-years away from the Palestinian cousins, who live, geographically speaking, only a few miles away.

Nazareth lives in an uneasy peace between its Muslims and Christian residents (many of whom are also Arabs) who have set up shop around the city's Basilica of the Annunciation, built on the spot where the Archangel Gabriel broke the news to Mary that she was to bear the child of G-d. Wisely, Israeli Jews have opted out of Nazareth's political fix. The city itself is charmless and tense -- its residents eyed us more than a little as we ascended its narrow streets on our way to the Basilica. Nazareth's limited charms were easily bested by our spry guide, a 65 year old Austrian Catholic who has lived on a kibbutz on the shores of Lake Tiberias for the past thirty years. When I asked how an earringed, chain-smoking, Teutonic Christian managed to find a job giving tours in the Galilee, he responded with the classic "As with all good stories, it begins with a woman..."

Nazareth, surrounded by beauty and plenty, is yet another microcosm -- the city's Muslims want to build a replica of the great mosque of Mecca next door to the Basilica of the Annunciation, dwarfing the church and placing it within earshot of the call to prayer broadcast over loudspeakers five times a day. "This is their custom," I was told by a Christian Arab. "Anywhere in the Muslim world where there is a church they build a mosque near by and disrupt our worship."
Christians, however, generally are bit players in the current Israeli drama. They are political quietists, content to take care of shrines and restoring churches and sites that figure prominently in the New Testament.

Tiberias, along the Sea of Galilee, is a historic city close to Jesus'
occasional home of Capernaum and across the shore from the Golan Heights, the region seized from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The Golan, like Galilee, is beautiful, its topography ranging from dramatic cliffs that plunge towards the Sea to giant slabs of farmland that dip towards the shore like massive tabletops. (The Golan lies on the Asiatic continental plate and someday will split off from Galilee and slide towards India -- it might just be that long before the Syrians get it back.)

Israelis live in the Golan, although not in "settlements," as they technically enjoy a different legal status than do Israelis who have moved into the West Bank and Gaza. Sitting on the patio of my hotel in Tiberias, drinking excellent Gold Star beer on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, I can see the twinkling lights of the homes and farms high up on the bluffs of the Golan, their residents no doubt enjoying the cool highland breezes and looking down, in turn, onto the lights on the bars and beaches in Tiberias. Their placidity hides how close to danger they might soon be. The darkness hides the flags they fly.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Jerusalem Part II: A Hard Yarmulke Is Gonna Fall

More from a friend in Israel.

Tuesday, June 29 2005.

Much of the area surrounding Jerusalem reminds me of the American West (or is it the other way around?). The drive up from Tel Aviv is reminiscent of the climb into the Sierras from California's Central Valley with the hillsides studded with pine and a gradual switch from fertile plain to rocky hills and valleys.

Jerusalem itself, hillocky, dry, very rocky, and on a crystal clear June day feels like the best parts of the Great Basin. No doubt this is of great comfort to all of our Mormon friends, who planted their own Zion in that very desert and caused it to bloom. The real Jerusalem notes the presents of the Saints too -- the only point during our time there that any protestants were discussed was when our perky guide told us how the Israelis passed a law banning prosletyzation to prevent the Mormons from annoying the city's residents and adding to the already palpable tension.

Who lives here? Most of the government, lots of students, and all the normal trades and services to expedite the lives of such people. But like Florence, Jerusalem has a museum-like quality -- Tel Aviv is a real city but much of Jerusalem seems to be for show. Our tourist hotel, on the site of an old kibbutz halfway between the Old City and Bethlehem (and Arab city now that lies in the West Bank) was packed with American students plucked straight out of an MTV seaside reality show whose idea of a good time seemed to be wheedling vodka out of the hotel's besieged Arab bartender. These were the hotel's secular residents. I found the next morning that it's more devout residents had been saving themselves as they had packed the bar, their mouths agape and their heads lolling, having awoken themselves at 3 AM to watch Game 7 of the NBA Finals. There were so many sagging eyes and tipping heads that I was sure a squall of yarmulkes would hit the floor at any moment, possibly in sufficient numbers to earn us our own thunderbolt from the Almighty.

For all its beauty, though, Jerusalem takes some of its charm back by adding a certain ominousness. There's tension at the Western Wall, where men and women are segregated and the deeply conservative guard their turf and the privileges it accords them. Above the Wall lilts the Muslim call to prayer from Al-Aqsa, whose dome, from many vantage points, is ringed by Israeli flags. All these places are prepostorously small, the Temple Mount isn't any bigger than the grounds of my old elementary school. From my hotel room I can see the infamous security barrier, a series of walls, fences, trenches, and no-man's lands snaking between the West Bank and Israel proper. It's a stark contrast, and its presence belies much of the normal workaday activities of the city -- people driving to work on the highway or taking out the trash -- surrounding it.

As with much of our everyday lives, it's the little things that make a difference to me here. You can stay in a hotel as nice as you please, but the sound of "The Girl From Ipanema" sung in Hebrew would jilt anyone out of a state of complacency but quick. Hebrew is a fascinating language, one of the things the Israelis are rightfully proud of, considering it was nothing more than a ceremonial language less than 150 years ago. Now it's the living language of a vibrant and modern society, although its likely the chauvinist in me that it sounds inherently uncool when spoken. No matter how many flashy euro-styled announcers pop up on Israeli television, a language with so much glottal hacking makes me think of my high-school physics teacher, who produced phlegm in truly Olympic quantities.

But other than the language barrier, which really isn't one since most Israelis speak very good English, perhaps the biggest everyday difference is the pervasive security, very evident to the eyes of even a post-9/11 American. Most every bar, hotel, and public building in Tel Aviv employs and armed bouncer. Visitors to the Dizengoff Center mall have their backpacks checked and their bodies wanded. Our four pints of Guinness at the Irish pub down the street came with a mandatory "security surcharge," billed to us as a matter of factly as a cabbie might charge you and extra fare in a snowstorm. And of course there are the ubiquitous soldiers of the IDF, who one can see walking home with their M-16s slung over their shoulder like a it was a pair of rollerblades. Luckily for Israeli men, the women soldiers of the IDF have clearly figured out to alter their uniform pants to conform to the current hi-hugger fashion here, which might infuriate the terrorists trying to kill them more than anything. Nice work, ladies.

Security is still a massive political issue, especially with the disengagement from Gaza looming. Opponents of Disengagement sport bright orange ribbons on cars and clothes as a statement of protest. Disengagement opponents jammed Jerusalem's twice in the past week, spreading nails and other sharp objects in an effort to clog traffic in the city. The paper report defection from the IDF of young soldiers who refuse to "take land from the Jews" at a level of detail only found in celebrity weddings back in the States. The orange ribboned say that the process will rip Israel apart. Their opponents -- sporting blue and white in an inspried hijacking of the national colors -- say that the state simply can't survive without it.

During dinner at the home of a youngish, professional orthodox couple (three kids) in the TA suburbs, I was informed that Prime Minister Sharon's plan was total bunk, as it was clearly concocted owing to pressure from President Bush. Being a guest, I spared this man my conjectures on whether President W. could find Gaza on the map, but it was interesting -- and I guess unsurprising -- to see how focused Israelis are on their own country. Iraq isn't on their radar ("Do you have a lot of soldiers there?"), and that emphasizes the degree to which Israelis of both sides think their destiny is on their own hands.

Looking at the history of the Jews as a whole, maybe this shouldn't be at all surprising. Deep in the Judean desert, a wasteland if there ever was one, sits a huge basalt outcropping, a ship of rock docked next to the sheer cliffs that formed the ancient shores of the Dead Sea. On this island sits Masada, the fortress built by Herod the Great and seized by Jewish Zealots during their revolt against Rome. Rather than surrender and be sold into slavery, the Zealots held out on Masada for years until surrounded by the legions of, if you can believe the film at the interpretive center, Peter O'Toole. In a last act of defiance worthy of the Scots or (until lately) Red Sox fans, the Zealots voted to commit suicide en masse rather than risk defeat and bondage.

We visited Masada on a brisk day, only 102 in the shade, and skipped the dusty in favor of a very nice tram. Masada today is impressive for what isn't there -- namely water, shade, indoor plumbing, or anything green. That people could get to the point of suicide there is amazing in and of itself as the place looks about as habitable as the moon. The Israelis, and IDF soldiers in particular, point towards Masada as a great example of Jewish ferocity in the face of an existential threat, and vow to die fighting for their homes today as a Zealots did for theirs, only a generation after the death of Christ. Fighting for what you believe in, and fighting for one's homes and families, is a worthy goal. I would be interested to know if the Masada pilgrims know that many of the descendants of Masada's people still live in the shadow of its legend, if not in the shadow of the rock itself. These Arab descendants, more or less the same people as the Jews of 70 AD other than the way in which they worship, are also fighting for their homes. Are they, and the Israelis, just maximalizing their claims to land and heritage or are we just witnessing the slow writing of history by the victors in this latest division of this small plot of dirt?

Last stop: The Dead Sea, Galilee, and Goats on the Move.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Closed Doors in Boise? - KTVB

KTVB.COM - Idaho News Weather & Sports - Top Stories: "BOISE -- A closed door meeting has caused chaos for Ada County commissioners.

Civil complaints have been filed against the commissioners, claiming the manner in which the June 15th meeting was handled was wrong.

Boise City Council member Vern Bisterfeldt said he called a meeting with the Ada County commissioners to talk about their struggling relationship.

'We convened the meeting and they went into executive session, and they asked which way I wanted it and that it didn't make any difference to me because we weren't going to be making any decisions,' Bisterfeldt said. "

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Jerusalem Part I: Adventures Along The Via Del Crap

Another dispatch from Israel from a friend who is traveling there.

___________________________________
Saturday June 26th, 2005.

Jerusalem, the capital of the Israeli state and ground zero of both its appeal and its georeligious conflict, simultaneously lives up to expectations and confounds them. Jerusalem, like Florence or the Napa Valley, is preposterously scenic. Leaving the humid crowds of Tel Aviv, where one assumes that the British spent as much time fighting cholera as they did the Irgun, you ascend 1500 steady feet into rocky hills and ridges that are capped by the city itself. On the way, pine forests and stony fields are partitioned by olive groves and the odd vineyard.

Most every building in the city is covered in a pallid, not quite marble-like cladding, Jerusalem stone, that makes the city architecturally cohesive -- one of many contrasts to Tel Aviv. The use of Jerusalem stone was mandated by the city's former British masters, whom one suspects loved the city more than most Jerusalmites. (The Brits, however, would be chagrined to learn that Jerusalem's Arabs have improved upon simple black tea. Drenching sugar and mint in simple Lipton makes an amazingly refreshing drink, even on a hot day.) The city's uniform architecture helps lend the place a bit of a mythic quality, especially since no one who doesn't have to covers everyday buildings in stone anymore. It's also uniquely elemental -- the stone takes on a blazing, reflective glare at noon and a Homeric, pinkish-hue at dawn and dusk.

Jerusalem's Old City, with its Armenian, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian quarters, is where all the real action is and represents the most contested real estate (fine, at least outside of Manhattan) in the Western universe. Our extremely perky guide, a nice Jewish girl with an aqua-colored brocade skullcap, nose ring, and hot pink pedal pushers nearly stranded us, nineteen clueless Americans, smack dab at one of the few entrances to the Temple Mount immediately before the human tidal wave that precedes the Friday sermon -- the Muslim equivalent to fixin' to go to church time. After an excessive amount of gesturing by some itchy Israeli guards and a tantalizing look into the compound that contains the al-Aqsa mosque and the gold covered Dome of the Rock (collectively Islam's third holiest site, except for the third Thursday of the month when felafel at Joe's Shwarma Shack goes two-for-one) we navigated our way through the Muslim Quarter.

The Muslim Quarter is a place of legend within a place of legend and possibly one of the one places a gaijin like me could ever hope to living in a real life Sinbad tale. Traders used to -- and still do -- descend upon the Quarter's market, or souk, to buy and sell their various sundries. The souk is still there, and it does indeed contain wonders. Men carry massive trays of fresh bread whose smell wafts towards you and mixes with both the aroma of cooked meat and the crisp smell of incandescently fresh vegetables. Narrow stalls offer bright bins of cinnamon, green tea, curry, and cardamon. There is also a fantastic amount of crap.

Once the Israelis and Palestinians figure out their differences, I have no doubt of Jerusalem's Muslims ability to tap into the power of globalization, for nowhere have I seen such a river of schlock aimed squarely at tourists -- apparently the more Christian the better. The Muslim Quarter is the world epicenter of the plastic Jesus, the Virgin Mary Magic Marker, "real Jerusalem dirt," and prayer beads more suited to a day at Mardi Gras drinking hurricanes spiked with LSD than to the Epiphany of St. Festus. The 'Quarter also sports more than its share of garbage strewn on the streets and public urination, which seems to be a local sport. Surely the Most Merciful and Compassionate did not challenge Sinbad's smell receptors thus?

This river of commercial treacle flows uphill -- almost miraculously -- along the Via Dolorosa, the route the Christ trudged with his Cross towards his ultimate crucifixion. I'm sure the J-Man had to fend off a mob on ankle biters selling film, postcards, and purple Fanta although I hope He was spared -- unlike me -- his portrait skillfully rendered on black velvet. (Note to travelers: If you learn any Arabic in your life, make sure you master the forceful delivery of the term "imshi!", which seems to be a combination of "Beat It!" and "Don't Make Me Come Back There!")

Interestingly, the Muslim Quarter is slowly being colonized by religious Jews, who are taking to heart the command to inhabit as much of the Old City as possible, to the point of paying fabulous sums to the former Muslim owners for what amounts to a rotting hulk of stone. Ariel Sharon, certainly no lover of Muslims, owns such a house unsurprisingly festooned with enough flags and blue bunting to outfit a nice sized parade. That this practice -- where Muslim and Arab landowners sell out to Jews hell bent on reclaiming what (they think) History says is theirs -- mirrors the way both sides originally got into the current fix, seems to bother neither side at all. But of course more than they buyers and sellers of houses lay claim to this city, which may end up being a problem with absolutely no solution.

The best example of Jerusalem's parochial insanity is brought to you by the Christians at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Holy Sepulchre is built on top of Golgotha, the hill on which Jesus was executed, and also encompasses the site of his former tomb, conveniently excavated now for your viewing pleasure. Built piecemeal during the Crusader and Byzantine periods, the Church sprawls on top of the hill and offers an array of nooks, naves, crannies, and chapels that would make an Indiana Jones movie proud. It's also falling down, owing to the division of sects; Armenian, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Abyssinian (that's Ethiopian to you), all charged with its upkeep. Upkeep, however, implies ownership and none of the sects will tolerate any of the other getting the upper hand. The Russians, as a result, have resorted to propping up the walls of their chapel with steel I-beams while the Armenians and Greeks are currently engaged in a glacier-paced battle over the removal of a ladder perched over the main entrance that has only rested there for the past seventy years or so.

This madness is so complete that it falls to one of Jerusalem's prominent Muslim citizens to open the joint in the morning and close it at night. No doubt the old geezer's eyes have permanently rolled into his esophagus after trudging out his door in his robe and slippers every morning for lord knows how long (you can certainly take revenge with you, however, as he gets to pass the honor along to his sons). I just hope that somewhere Muhammad is getting a good chuckle over the whole thing. For all our faults, we Americans would have never let this one come about -- it would have been settled with a bake sale or a game of touch football long ago.

Next stop, Jerusalem Part II: "Jerusalem Is People!!!"

Monday, June 27, 2005


Quinn smiling in a new spring outfit. June 2005.,

Nora shows off her catch of the day from a school field trip. June 2005

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Happy Birthday John!

So I'm sitting in a board meeting this afternoon in Boise, praying it will end on time (it didn't). And I missed personally calling big brother John on his birthday, though I know the kids called their beloved UNCLE JOHN! to wish him a big birthday this morning while I was traveling.

At the end of my business meeting of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Idaho, the Bishop led us in the "June 24th prayer for St. John the Baptist". At the prayer's closing, I mentioned that today is my brother's birthday, and while I never had a clue that it was also the Feast of St. John the Baptist, I said "Bishop, I'm 100% sure that my mother knows whose Saint day it is!"

Regardless of his level of sainthood, I hope the old boy knows how much he means to his little brother - much more then his little brother can say. I'll spend lots of time with other mentor figures in my life - and I have.

But no one can conjure up a much needed simple reflection on my part or speak to my moral compass more quickly and completely than brother John. And no one's approval or acceptance quite measures up to that of brother John.

We haven't lived in the same city approaching 15 years now, and life doesn't have us talking as frequently as we should. But when life hits the fan, there isn't a person alive that I'd be more comfortable calling to give me a nudge to where I need to be, whether its with a sardonic question or a knowing wisecrack, than my brother John.

Our kids are growing up in a home that is one block short of chaos at any time. But first-born Will shows more ability to carry the torch of leadership - with all that entails - each day. We don't want to put a major burden on him to be responsible for his younger siblings, but if he has any interest in learning what it means to be a world class big brother, he could do much worse than spend some time with Uncle John.

He couldn't have a better mentor.

Happy Birthday Bro!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Tel Aviv; or How The Triple-Seven Will Beat the Demographic Bomb

The following is a travelogue email I received from a friend of mine from Israel. He's a great writer and this is a great missive.

______________________________________________________________

June 21st, 2005. Summer solstice.

Tel Aviv is a spotlit, glassy marvel, at least from the 11th floor of the Isrotel Tower. At ground level it's something altogether different.

But I rush ahead of myself. My very journey to Israel deserves literary attention. After being stranded for four hours by the notorious mid-summer New Jersey weather, I embarked from Newark on a Continental Boeing 777 to Tel Aviv.

Eleven hours. Middle seat.

These two factors would have made for a less than epic trip, but little did I know that my flight would be made epic in quite the opposite way.

Much has been written about how Israel faces a demographic timebomb in the form of the swiftly growing Arab populations in the West Bank and Gaza. If those populations were absorbed into the current state of Israel, Israeli Jews would, in a few short generations, face the prospect of being a minority in the their own country, at which point the Arabs would (it is assumed) take advantage of Israeli democracy and finally drive the Jews into the sea (where, it must be said, they gamboled happily last Saturday). Thus the rationale for the current Israeli policy of "disengagement" from Gaza and the territories.

Never fear for the Israelis, my friends, for the Continental 777 is winging to the rescue. My flight was filled with so many mewling children that it felt like the set of Romper Room. They gurgled, they shrieked, they wandered Flight 90's rows in search of sleeping prey. They mostly shrieked, though, they shrieked with utter Zionist abandon. Mind you, these were not last gasp children of grasping Yuppie couples with wombs like dying coals in a campfire. No, these moms had plenty of miles left in them -- "fecundity," in the mellifluous words of one of my Arab comrades. I have no doubt that my flight alone will turn the demographic tide, which I suppose is small consolation for not being able to sleep a wink while on it.

On to Tel Aviv, where we arrived on the fall of Shabbat, the Jewish holiday. As a big-time gentile, this would have normally been, as they say, No Big Whoop to me, but it also meant that the hotel's espresso machine had gone dark. Hateful! I'm sure the good Lord didn't mean for us all to suffer quite that much, but I'm a guest here so I won't quibble.

Tel Aviv is billed as a thoroughly modern city -- Israel's commercial hub with nice beaches to boot. And it is. Any American would be pleased with my hotel room and the glossy nighttime cityscape seen from my balcony.

Ground level is a different story. Every glitzy hotel is matched with tumbledown buildings -- not squalor, but the victims of some serious neglect. This phenomenon runs right to the sea, where numerous homes and businesses seem inhabited only by Tel Aviv's population of rangy feral cats.

How did this happen in a country with so little space? Mind you, we're not talking about Florentine falling down here, where you might see a lawyer and his family wedged into a corner of a barely preserved Medici palazzo, this is all postwar cement buildings, so I doubt the not-really-sentimental-anyway Israelis are preserving them for posterity. Is this bad zoning, economic downturn, a remnant of the country's semi-socialist past?

Either way, it belies Tel Aviv's claim to be a truly First World city -- it's not Lagos, but we're not talking about Pacific Heights here either. (Of course, Israel seems to have done away with First World crime, so maybe a little cat feces is an acceptable trade off.) Granted, this is only a small part of the city and every beach has its own unique skeeviness.

But it also reminded me of a recent conversation over some excellent crispy Mongolian beef about the future of Europe -- that's Europe with a capital "E." A friend of mine remarked that his travel in Western European capitals -- Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam -- left him with the feeling that they were inert societies, living off their cultural pasts and the tourist dollars that brings but unable to address the discomfort that comes with addressing difficult changes (if any of you think that's unique to the this side of the Atlantic, please feel free to visit my hometown). Is Israel the same kind of society? Is it as dynamic as it appears from the outside -- as it's people certainly seem to be -- or is it groaning under its unique set of challenges and is starting to crumble? Or do outward appearances really matter? Can a society be judged at all on its general level of griminess?

Regardless, Israel's lasting contribution to World Culture has already been decided. Of course I speak of shwarma. Five greenbacks (in shekel form) buys you a blanket of soft bread filled with juicy ribbons of chicken, veal, lamb, or turkey, along with almost limitless fixins -- onion, hommos, felfael, french fries, zingy tahini sauce (mostly olive oil and ground sesame seeds) and fire-like Moroccan harissa sauce. I think I even saw a Keebler Elf in mine. Much to the chagrin of the embassy staff, however, the best shwarma seems to be near Tel Aviv's strip club district. It's a burden I'll have to bear for the rest of my trip, for shwarma is a dusky maiden who has captured my heart. What "more cowbell" is to Chris Walken, "more shwarma" is to The O.

Next stop: the security wall, Jerusalem, and is the Dead Sea really dead?

Out.

-Mike Olander

--
"The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make the rest of us wonder at the possibility that we might be missing something."
-Gamal Abdel Nasser

Wednesday, June 22, 2005




photo by Gina Gayle, AP

Giant Popsicle melts, floods New York park

If I didn't know better, I would have thought this was from "The Onion", the satirical site that makes up fake news (not to be confused with CBS, of course). But it's not, it's real, and a hilarious example of the best laid plans...

Snapple couldn't buy this press if they wanted to, though, and I'm sure somewhere their marketing PR people are laughing their heads off.

Classic.

USATODAY.com - Giant Popsicle melts, floods New York park: "NEW YORK (AP) - An attempt to erect the world's largest Popsicle in a city square ended with a scene straight out of a disaster film - but much stickier. "

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Last-place Reds fire manager Dave Miley

Another former Met from the 1970's is in place managing in the big leagues. If Jerry Narron has the same luck as Lee Mazzilli has with the Orioles, the Reds fortunes should turn around quickly.

USATODAY.com - Last-place Reds fire manager Dave Miley: "Last-place Reds fire manager Dave Miley
CINCINNATI (AP) - The last-place Cincinnati Reds fired manager Dave Miley on Tuesday and promoted bench coach Jerry Narron to take over on an interim basis for the rest of the season. "

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thoughts on Nixon's Library

So last week I spent a few hours at Nixon's library in Yorba Linda, California. I'm a history and presidential buff, so the fact that the library was just a few minutes from where I was staying was a perk.

The library was fascinating, really. I went through rather fast, so I didn't read every plaque, every entry, every comment. But the overall effect was obviously very favorable to America's 37th President.

I have to admit, try as I might to be objective, some of the Watergate section seemed designed, bound, and determined to rewrite history on Nixon's knowledge, participation, and actions. Oddly I happened to be there on the 33rd anniversary of the actual initial break-in at the Watergate Hotel (DNC headquarters), something I didn't realize until later. The narrator of several of the components of the Watergate exhibits intoned deeply about how little the President knew, and how poorly served he was by his staffers. I can agree with the latter, not the former.

In following a few older ladies around the museum, I was struck by how defensive they were in talking with one another of Nixon. I don't know if they were locals or from elsewhere, but as I walked along in silence next to them they continued to talk about what the Democrats did that tripped Nixon up. I would have been more concerned if they hadn't been so completely wrong in their history of the events as I listened to them talk to one another about it. Listening to them made me aware of the Red/Blue state divide, even when it comes to history. It is perhaps fitting that when we arrived at the section on the First Lady's gowns, they lingered for a long time while I took a quick glance and moved on to the rest of the museum.

All in all the museum was well done. The preservation of Nixon's birthplace and the history of his family was very interesting. Despite the fact that it really is in the middle of a bustling town setting, at the cross-section of several state highways, it had a calm and placid feel to it. The gravestones where the President and Mrs. Nixon are buried are well-kept.

At the library now, and for the rest of this year, is a traveling exhibit of a brilliantly detailed scale replica of the White House down to the paintings on the walls. This exhibit has been around the country, and won't be at the Nixon Library permanently, but it was worth the price of admission.

Coming on the heels of the Mark Felt/Deep Throat admissions, I wasn't surprised to see no mention of that episode, but I was a little disappointed. I haven't been to Little Rock yet to see the Clinton library, but I'd be intrigued to see how it handles the impeachment. I would expect the same sort of defensiveness, but history is better served if these museums would report the facts as they are known, and update them accordingly.

Nixon, I was reminded, had a tremendous domestic and international record of success and progress. By today's standards he would be considered a political moderate and a rather effective president. But his personal demons, never slayed, proved to be his undoing. The story of Watergate has fascinated me since I was young (no explanations for that) so to finally see my first presidential library, and the fact that it was Nixon's was very unique.

Beautiful Maggie MacMoo is on hand to cheer her brother during his baseball game, June 2005.

Nora and Max stroll along a park pathway in Coeur d'Alene, June 2005.

Will playing a strong second base, June 2005.

Will prepares for a pitch in the fourth inning of Saturday's last spring Little League game.

Kathleen and the kids make another terrific Father's Day cake - Kathleen's creativity in cake-making knows no bounds.

Friday, June 17, 2005

33rd Anniversary of the Watergate Break-in


Here's proof that I, a known fellow traveler of the Democrats, went and visited the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California earlier today. And it was very cool. The fact that it was the 33rd anniversary of the Watergate break-in was a complete and total coincidence, a fact I didn't even know until watching Jay Leno tonight - how crazy is that? I'll blog more thoughts about it this weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tricky Dick and Me


So I'm in Brea, California on business, and my hotel is about 2 minutes drive from the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace. I have meetings most of the day tomorrow, but if I get an extra hour before my flight, instead of Disney I'm heading to see the new Deep Throat exhibit (do you think they've updated the enemies list section already?)!

Happy 4-Month Birthday Quinn!


Thursday, June 16 is the 4 month birthday of Quinn Marie. My how time flies - this shot is Quinn just a few hours old on February 16, 2005. A stunning beauty then, even more so now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

County salary mix-up sparks hard feelings

It's official - this story has now made national news (Seattle PI/APStory linked). I actually know Linda Payne, though I haven't seen or talked with her in years. I actually didn't know she was in the public defender's office. She has a personally inspiring story of clawing and scratching her own way through college and law school basically on grit and little money. It's true that Linda didn't handle this well from an interpersonal/employee point of view. But if she were looking for publicity, then she's received it in spades.

I would be more inclined to be harder on Linda if two of the three county commissioners weren't so seemingly inept at all facets of their job (the third commissioner is new but very bright and savvy, and I'm still waiting with baited breath for her to come out and lead the other two out of the woods). From the colossal failure of the railroad refueling depot that they mishandled, to the quarter-million dollars worth of payouts to disgruntled ex-employees, to the continued blindness to the need to plan better for growth, this County Commission is one of the worst I've seen in the 14 years I've lived in Idaho. Their continued reliance on secrecy in matters that should be public, bad legal and PR advice, and basic bad judgment is really staggering.

The bottom line is that personnel and HR issues are among the most vexing in any enterprise, public or private. But the leadership of this county has been so bad that every perceived slight and every miscommunication are grounds for mutiny among the staff and fodder for the press. Working in government isn't easy. It's harder when you're either clueless or routinely use bad judgment.

So Linda may get national headlines, and management experts will criticize her gesture, rightfully so. But at the end of the day the buck has to stop somewhere. Our current County Commission keeps working to pass it wherever it will go, however they can.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer: County salary mix-up sparks hard feelings: "COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- Kootenai County commissioners have suspended a public defender who allegedly sent them a crude message in a greeting card about a mistake in her pay increase."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Old House


So the powers that be are tearing down our old fraternity house to make space for a parking garage (or something equally useful). This is probably a good thing, considering the condition of the place was awful when I lived in it 16 years ago. People on the SMU campus (Dallas, Texas) always knew what fraternity you were a member of because all us Lambda Chis had a distinctive smell that you couldn't ever get rid of. I remember a friend of mine whose mother cried when he came home from break because try as she might she couldn't get the smell out of his clothes.

The administration is apparently building a new Lambda house down the road, but it won't be the same. I suspect they won't spring for the beach volleyball court and basketball court outside, though they'll probably have the good sense this time to actually put up toilet stalls instead of just leaving the toilets sitting open next to one another. There was an unwritten rule, broken by very few, that if someone else were using one of the toilets you never went "co-pilot". RIP Lambda Chi House, and RIP rotten Lambda smell that no one could ever conquer. RIP Magic Carpet Ride and RIP consistently bad food.

We'll miss you, but not that much.