Meet the Candidates: Kenny J. Smith

By on 24 February, 2011 in Government, Legal Issues with 2 Comments

On March 8th, much of Midtown will go to the polls to elect a new representative for District 7 of the Montgomery City Council. Now that Martha Roby has gone off to Washington to represent Montgomery in Congress, eight candidates qualified for the special election to replace her and seven remain in the race. Midtown Montgomery Living is interviewing candidates throughout the month and posting results as we get them. Candidates submit their answers to MML in writing and the only edits we make are for grammar or punctuation. Next up is Kenny J. Smith. You can see the other candidates here.

What do you do for a living?

I have a thirty year history in the radio broadcast industry that ended in 2007. Since that time, I have worked in real estate as a Realtor and I am currently working in the Montgomery Public Schools as a substitute teacher. I also own a small home-operated business.

What is your educational background?

I am a cum laude graduate of Alabama State University with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Are you married? Any children?

I am single and the father of a thirteen-year-old son.

How long have you lived in Montgomery?

I was born in Chicago and moved to Montgomery when I was 14, and I have lived here 36 years.

Does your campaign have a website?

My website is Kennyjsmithdistrict7election2011.weebly.com. I also have a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kennyjsmith.

Why are you running for city council?

I am running for the city council because I have a desire to serve, as so many others have, with the hope of leaving this world better than we found it. District 7 faces a myriad of challenges and we need someone who is capable to face those challenges and who will work to find solutions for the problems and issues that plague and confront us. I want to be that person. I believe that the ‘true neighbor’ is one who will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.

How many council meetings have you attended?

I have attended numerous meetings throughout the years since the mayor/council was established by Act 618 in 1973.

Who do you think is the most effective current council member, and why?

I have several friends who currently serve on the council, so it would be difficult to choose one over the others. That would be analogous to asking a parent who their favorite child is. You admire them all for different and various reasons.

What did you think of Martha Roby’s time as D7 rep on the council? Did she do a good job?

District 7 is a unique district because of the diverse social and economic makeup of the communities within it. During her tenure, Ms. Roby routinely opposed tax increases and offered solutions to reduce government spending and she also fought against businesses that hired illegal aliens — which are all commendable issues.

However, these issues tend to fall in line with an agenda that in many cases has a disconnect with many of the citizens that are often overlooked in a district as diverse as District 7. District 7 has areas that struggle not only with the need for decreased taxes, but also languish in abject poverty and are plagued with unprecedented levels of crime, drugs, unemployment and urban blight.

What distinguishes you from your fellow candidates?

I think my life experiences have prepared me for this moment. In addition, I have a deep sense of compassion for those who struggle with the daily complexities of life. Compassion is a great thing, but it’s not enough. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. True compassion is seeing that a system that produces beggars needs restructuring. I believe I can provide the type of leadership needed at this juncture in District 7’s history.

The City Council seems like a ‘full-time part-time job.’ How do you plan to make time in your schedule?

My work schedule is flexible and, as a result, I have the time and energy that’s required of a councilor.

What are the major issues that you see confronting District 7?

Crime and urban blight.

What do you intend to do to solve those issues?

I would support efforts to increase police protection in our district. My home was burglarized three times in the last two years, so I truly understand the need to address this issue. While you can replace your possessions, it takes a lot longer to restore your sense of safety and security. I would also aggressively work to decrease crime through programs that provide measurable results, such as neighborhood watch programs. In addition, I would support efforts and programs that would raise the quality of life in all areas of District 7.

The remedy for urban blight is addressed in a later question.

What is your position on residential recycling?

Recycling is good for our planet and city. I was disappointed when curbside recycling ended due to cuts in the city’s budget. I still have my orange bag. Thankfully, we still have drop-off locations, but hopefully the day will return when we can resume curbside recycling.

What should the City Council do about urban blight?

Urban blight can be addressed in various ways, but two ideas that come to mind are to, first, hold property owners accountable for the upkeep of their property and ensure enforcement of the building codes and regulations as set forth by the City of Montgomery. Also, incentives could be offered to persons who purchase abandoned housing with the intention of rehabbing these dilapidated dwellings. Also, incentives could be offered to businesses that locate to blighted areas and help create urban renewal and jobs in the district.

Is Smart Code good for Cloverdale?

Definitely. It encourages smart, sustainable growth and creates communities that are walkable. It’s common to have buildings where the ground floor is a business and the upper floors are residential. Hampstead (on Taylor Road) envisions having all the homes within walking distance of everything a family will need (a library branch, a YMCA, restaurants, markets and recreational venues). Also Smartcode is designed to keep the local economy strong. For instance, in the downtown area, there’s a cap on how tall a building can be. A skyscraper would zap up office space tenants and create vacancies in other adjacent buildings, which would harm the economy.

In a world where higher taxes seems to be totally off the table as an option for raising revenue, what ideas do you have for filling the hole in the city’s budget? If you think programs and services can/should be cut, please be specific about which ones and how much.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Lloyd Faulkner, Montgomery’s Finance Director, and look over the city’s operating budget and from what I could glean, it seems pretty lean. In addition, the city is considered a safe risk regarding its bond issues, which have been given a AA2 rating, which is right below a triple A rating, which is considered excellent. As a councilor, I would work to ensure that the City of Montgomery continues to operate within a sound fiscal budget.

What is something people should know about you but don’t?

People should know that I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. I tend to work on things until I get them right and I’ve  never asked others to do anything that I wasn’t willing to do myself.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. brodo says:

    hey mr smith, i am in mrs. richardson’s computer class and i wish i coulda voted for u,…………GO FRIED CHICKEN

  2. friedchickenrules says:

    Hey Mr. Smith. You’re the best canidate. You should give everyone fried chicken for free. love you

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top