Saturday, March 3, 2007

Profile: Chris Nevitt (CD7)

The candidates for the District 7 city council seat were all profiled in the March 2007 edition of the Washington Park Profile.

Chris Nevitt's candidacy was described as follows:

Chris Nevitt hopes his upbringing pays off in his quest to win the District 7 seat on City Council. “I was born in up-country Thailand. My father was in the Foreign Service, educating the up-country Thais about America and democracy. His job was winning the hearts and minds of the ordinary people. He’d bring in doctors and agricultural people to help.”

Nevitt holds a Ph.D. in Political Economics from University of California at San Diego, and taught at Arizona State University, before coming to Denver in 2001. The candidate made his mark with local residents when, as founder and executive director of Front Range Economic Strategy Center (FRESC), he helped negotiate a variety of labor-friendly compromises from Cherokee Denver, Inc., in exchange for support for a Tax Increment Financing package to facilitate development of their 50-acre Gates Rubber Company site, west of Broadway.

“I wasn’t working for the labor movement, I was working for an idea,” said Nevitt. “... The idea that people deserve an economy that offers everyone an opportunity to prosper and succeed. They should have the hope of owning a home. To be able to take the kids to a doctor when they’re sick. To retire some day with dignity.

“We worked hard to see that Wal-Mart was not part of the Cherokee/Gates package. They are terrible for local business. We did research on TIF dollars and found a lopsided focus on large-scale destination projects, without sufficient attention on creating local, small-scale developments. Money that’s spent on small businesses tends to stay in the local economy. Much of the money spent in big box stores goes out of state to some corporate account. Protecting small business has to be part of any agenda for prosperity.”

Nevitt feels Denver has “done a poor job navigating between two potentially competing goals – stimulating growth and preserving what we love about what we have. Blueprint Denver talks about Areas of Change and Areas of Stability. We should be protecting Areas of Stability, and we’re not yet doing that in large measure.”

He is actively involved in the attempt to downzone a number of blocks in the West Washington Park neighborhood where he lives. “Residents’ desires to change the R-2 to R-1 is an example of what can be done through focused, intelligent, determined local action. Owning a home used to be about a place to live. We need to discourage the current trend for short-term speculation, and encourage long-term investment.”

Nevitt would also like to see the city increase its involvement with Denver Public Schools. “A lot of energy – and rightly so – is being poured into the elementary schools. We need to make our high schools just as attractive to families. We can figure out ways to help DPS. We have to.”

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1 comment:

martin said...

Best of luck to Chris. I met him back in '83 when we were just out of college; I have become ever more greedy of my money and time and dumped many principles along the way. Chris has become ever more sharing and principled, but from a position of bringing practical help. I think he is the real deal.