Saturday, March 3, 2007

Profile: Dennis Smith (CD7)

This candidates for the District 7 city council seat was profiled in the March 2007 edition of the Washington Park Profile.

Dennis Smith's candidacy was described as follows:

Dennis Smith spreads his teaching time between South High School, where he teaches English to students from some 20 different countries, and Emily Griffith Opportunity School, where he teaches social studies to adult students working to further their education.

“I’ve got a great job at South,” said Smith. “Many of my students are illiterate in their own languages, so we do a lot of teaching them to read phone books or ride the bus. They need to know how to tell someone their phone number the way people expect to hear it.”

Eight years ago, Smith ran unsuccessfully for the seat that MacKenzie will be vacating due to term limits this summer. He feels he is fully qualified to serve on City Council. “I’m an engaged citizen,” Smith said. “I lobby businesses and do my best to hold my government accountable. I’m frugal with my money and the city’s. I can definitely do this job.”

He wants to see the city made more pedestrian friendly. “We’ve spent billions to get people out of their cars and onto the trains and the streets. They get to the crosswalk and push the button on the traffic light, and it doesn’t respond. It sure should.

Smith feels there is much more work needed to slow traffic down so people can safely traverse the roadways of south Denver. “The first call I’d make is to traffic engineering. We need things like more photo radar. And the traffic signals can be retimed.”

He wants city services offered on schedules that honor the lives of the working class. “Harvard Gulch Recreation Center is closed on weekends and holidays,” said Smith, pointing to a recent schedule. “They’re not the only ones. We need to have our swimming pools open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and late enough in the evening so you can take a dip after work.

“We do a terrible job,” Smith continued. “The idle rich and the unemployed can use our facilities, but workers are not courted.” He would like to see the city compete for business that has been lost in recent years to private health club facilities.

Addressing the development issues that have been in the headlines in recent years, Smith said “I’m reluctant to scale back on existing zoning. The free enterprise system is fine. The market economy works well – the city really doesn’t need to interfere too much.”

For information, call 303-722-9011.

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