COEUR d'ALENE - A Coeur d'Alene City Councilman fresh off a contentious court battle for his council seat said the recall effort launched last week to oust him and three incumbents is similar to the 2010 court case he called a political attack.
Mike Kennedy, who spent a year in the courtroom defending his then-5 vote victory over challenger Jim Brannon, told The Press "the core" group of people between both efforts makes the two hard to separate.
"I do," said Kennedy on whether he believed the two were similar. "They are still appealing the election lawsuit from 2009 to the Idaho Supreme Court and it is the same core group of people involved. The two things are linked."
Recall supports say that couldn't be farther from the truth.
The two are completely separate, they said, and if some people involved in the recall effort were also involved in the election challenge lawsuit or anything else it is coincidental.
"A has nothing to do with B. There's no connection, there's no carry over. There's no relationship between the recall effort and the election challenge," said Jim Doty, one of the 20 people to sign the petition last week that started the recall effort.
Doty was also one of the first Brannon supporters who spoke out against the city in 2009 after Brannon was fired while on the campaign trail as director at Habitat for Humanity of North Idaho. He classified Brannon's ousting as backlash from the city because Brannon posed a threat to its current governing, such as urban renewal.
(The city denied it had any part in it, and it never came up during the court case.)
Doty said the only similarity with a few that were on both the petition and tied to the court case, is that some people just happen to be politically active.
"The people who are taking on the recall are vocal enough to stand up and speak and don't worry about backlash or retaliation," he said. "I would never use a word like 'attack' on either side. We're exercising our constitutional rights, just like they are."
Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, was involved in a different case with the city of Coeur d'Alene.
In 2009, she agreed to pay $2,500 for a last-minute attack she helped circulate against incumbents in the 2007 municipal elections.
The mailed fliers targeted city-supported expenditures toward the private Riverstone Development and urged citizens to vote against incumbent council members Al Hassell, Dixie Reid and Ron Edinger in 2007, but Sims had breached campaign disclosure laws along the way.
Monday she called connecting alleged dots between the recall effort - which was launched in reaction to the council not agreeing to issue a public advisory vote on the park plan - and prior situations "overreaching."
"It has absolutely nothing to do with anything personal. It has to do with the way they're spending money, it has to do with LCDC," she said.
She said re-appearing names in any political topic has more to do with Coeur d'Alene's size than anything else.
"We all live here ... And we have for generations," she said. "This is not a huge metropolitan area, this is Coeur d'Alene."