Smith taking grassroots approach to campaign against Henon

Republican challenger Pete Smith knows he’ll be vastly outspent by City Councilman Bobby Henon (D-6th dist.), but contends he will not be outworked.

Smith last week sponsored a ladies and children’s self-defense class at the Mayfair Community Center. GOP mayoral candidate Billy Ciancaglini was in attendance for the class, taught by Lyn Truszkowski.

Pete Smith

Smith works for AM Fleet Service, a Far Northeast-based fleet management company. He oversees sales and operations.

Upon entering the race earlier this year, he resigned as president of the Tacony Civic Association. He is block captain for the 7000 block of Erdrick St. and wants to increase the number of block captains, pointing out that Philadelphia is often referred to as a city of neighborhoods, yet many residents don’t know their neighbors other than a quick wave to and from their cars.

In all, the 6th Councilmanic District consists of 159 divisions.

“I plan on hitting every single one,” Smith said.

The challenger knocks on doors on weekends and distributes literature before work on weekdays. He’s also been attending community events at night.

“My biggest focus is ending the opioid crisis,” he said.

Smith has three adult children, and said his oldest son is a heroin addict who has been largely estranged from the family for two years.

Three weeks of methadone treatments are not effective, in Smith’s view. He’s also against safe injection sites, arguing that similar sites in Canada have not stopped overdoses.

Instead, he favors a long-term strategic plan, along with criminal charges for dealers and anyone responsible for an overdose death. His approach would include up to 60 days in treatment and rehabilitation, a week or so of detoxification and three weeks of mental health evaluations, followed by time in a well-managed halfway house. Addicts would receive work training, such as in a trade, while getting in a routine of employment by performing jobs such as cleaning streets.

“You can’t put a time limitation on a user,” he said.

Smith opposes the beverage tax, contending it hurts a store’s profits by chasing away customers, has cost jobs at the Pepsi and Coca-Cola plants and has resulted in fewer hours or layoffs among supermarket employees. He’s also against Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status for illegal immigrants. He believes the city is too slow to fix potholes. He’d equip sanitation workers with shovels to clean up all the debris that gets spilled on streets as they are collecting trash. He’d limit Council members to two or three four-year terms so there is a rotation of new ideas.

Quality-of-life issues he thinks need to be addressed include neglected rental properties, sidewalk swimming pools, vegetable gardens growing on front lawns and loud motorcycles.

His other campaign issues include what he sees as the city’s wasteful spending, mismanagement and corruption.

As for the federal corruption charges facing Henon, Smith said everyone is innocent until proven guilty. He wants all voters to read the indictment and decide whether they approve of Henon’s actions. ••