“We need to recognize that what we build today will be the enduring representation of our “era” in the future.”
As part of an ongoing Portsmouth City Council Candidate Q&A in my weekly PortsmouthLOVE Letter, I’ve reached out to all candidates in the 2015 City Council race with some questions. I’m including the answers of all who participated here on my website, in addition to featuring them in my weekly newsletter throughout the month of October, leading up to Election Day, November 3rd. For information on voting, visit the City of Portsmouth, NH’s website.
Gibson “Mike” Kennedy, City Council Candidate
Neighborhood: “South End” – Marcy St
Occupation: Retired Chief Information Officer, BAE Systems
Education: BS Communications from Boston University, MBA from Rivier College
Relevant Experience: Senior Executive Management in Defense Industry, Commissioner: Portsmouth Housing Authority, Portsmouth Historic Society Board, Strawbery Banke Board
How do you think our city currently measures on the issue of workforce housing availability?
Most of this type of housing is in the areas outside the downtown (Sherburn, Maple Haven, Atlantic Heights, Elwyn Park). Because land is expensive and density requirements assume large apartments or single family houses, there’s not much being added. I believe there are ways to fix this, but they will require healthy debate among the residents.
How do you view the balance of arts & culture with business & economic growth in our city?
This is a symbiotic relationship – each feeds the other. It’s hard to say the which came first, the chicken or the egg in this but “arts” have been important to Portsmouth in both lean times and flush times like now.
What’s your favorite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
Walking through the downtown, going into a shop or restaurant and being mistaken for a tourist.
Does the city motto “The City of the Open Door” resonate with you — and if so, how?
I love the motto but we need to work harder at living up to it. This means we all have to be more tolerant of deferent points of view and to recognize that change is OK.
If you had your way, how would our city look in 10 years? In what ways would it differ from present-day Portsmouth?
I wish we could encourage (allow) more eccentric architecture. The brick and granite core downtown is charming but I see nothing bad about framing it with appropriate contemporary design. Of course what’s appropriate to me may not seem so to you. We need to recognize that what we build today will be the enduring representation of our “era” in the future.