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? - 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: 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:

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 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.


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.


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.


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 Kennedy Biography

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

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