The election of Mike Kennedy last Tuesday may be one of the most significant events in the political history of Coeur d’Alene in the last decade or so. Why? The waterfront is now protected. In the past, I always worried that The Duane and his minions could shake down the council for something they really wanted by putting pressure on one or two wafflers. They never had to worry about Councilwoman Dixie Reid, who has been solidly pro-Hagadone on almost everything he’s proposed. The last great disappointment involving Hagadone was the 4-2 vote in spring 2004 to allow him to annex his golf course and sundry properties into the city without granting guaranteed access to the eastern end of Sanders Beach (or Potlatch Beach, for the oldtimers). The council had Hagadone over a barrel but acted as though the positions were reversed.
Enter Mike Kennedy. With Mike on board, the council now has three very reliable votes to protect the public places of the waterfront from Hagadone’s never-ending grab. The memorial garden on Sherman Avenue is officially dead. It’d never get past Ron Edinger, Al Hassell, Mike Kennedy and Mayor Sandi Bloem. Besides, Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers have said they’d ask for a public vote if it comes up again. Hagadone won’t risk that.
More importantly, Ron/Al/Mike axis, plus Deanna, will protect McEuen Field for a renewed attempt by Hagadone to convert part of the area into a garden. Remember. He suggested that move in that secret meeting in February 2002 when the city was compiling a master plan for McEuen Field. Now, that attempt is dead, too. And the future council will pursue its push to keep the main part of Sanders Beach open to the public.
Hagadone probably will still get what he wants on his private holdings on the waterfront. And much of that will be beneficial to the community. But, with Mike on board and Her Sandiness able to win re-election easily despite Hagadone’s displeasure, our public areas are now safe for four years.