Ex-prosecutor challenges for City Council | ParkRecord.com

Ex-prosecutor challenges for City Council

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Dennis Wong, a former prosecutor in California, will campaign for a spot on the Park City Council, saying his background fighting crime and his desire to make the city better are a good fit for the position.

Wong, who is 48 years old and lives in the Rossi Hill neighborhood, says he has long helped people and communities, starting as a pool lifeguard in the Bay Area.

"My whole life has been about public service," he says. "I just felt an obligation for public service."

Wong, a newcomer to Park City politics, says his campaign will stress issues like controlling development and the environment. He talks about the conflicting interests in Park City’s development debates. Wong acknowledges landowners’ rights but says projects should be scrutinized. He remembers a childhood friend visiting and commenting about the widespread development in Park City.

Wong talks about the views from Old Town and his concern that developments are hurting them.

"I don’t know if structures like the Sky Lodge will allow me to do that much longer," he says, speaking about gazing at the mountains from the Main Street area and adding that Park City is at a "crossroads."

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Developers and people who enjoy Park City are pitted against each other, he says.

"Sometimes, their interests can both be accommodated, but, increasingly so, that’s not the case," Wong says.

He worries about building bigger houses in Old Town, and he says, perhaps, City Hall could offer tax incentives or more grants to help people fix up smaller buildings in the neighborhood. He wants houses in Old Town to better fit with each other.

"When you have 8,000 feet of mountain-contemporary casting a shadow over a 400-square-foot miners shack, it detracts from the whole flavor," Wong says.

Meanwhile, he wants Park City to be environmentally friendly.

Maybe, Wong says, Main Street could be turned into a pedestrian mall at certain times, such as during the Sundance Film Festival. People would then be shuttled there, reducing the number of vehicles, he says. He also wants recycling efforts expanded to places like parks and trails.

Wong has lived in Park City since 2003. He is semi-retired, and he no longer practices law.

He talks about his tenure as an assistant district attorney in Santa Cruz County, Calif., in the 1990s and 2000s, saying he prosecuted murder cases and white-collar crimes.

"You cannot imagine things as interesting and out there as real life," he says. "What do you not learn as a prosecutor?"