by John Kiljan

The forum was hosted by the Arvada Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast meeting on Friday, August 30th in an Arvada Center hospitality room.  All the candidates, but one, were able to participate in the forum for the open Arvada City Council seats.  

Participants were asked questions about public-improvement fees (PIF’s), governance for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, the existing moratorium on the sale of marijuana, and about the upcoming revision to Arvada’s Comprehensive Plan.

The CLRC hopes to have a link up on our website for the full responses to these Chamber of Commerce questions fairly soon.  This article is just a preview.  Also, in the coming month, the CLRC will be inviting all of the candidates for these City Council seats to be interviewed on issues our neighborhood association has identified as being important to them. 

* * *

Ascenzo di Giacamo (candidate At Large):

Ascenzo di Giacomo

Ascenzo di Giacomo

“I’d like to bring transparency to the public process. . . . I urge you to follow me a little bit on social media . . .  I just decided a couple of weeks ago to get in the race.  I appreciate your patience . . . in me getting up to speed on some of the issues.”

“I think [Public Improvement Fees] are a necessary evil. . . . We need to educate the people [about PIF’s].”

“I don’t have a lot of information [on the Arvada Center governance issue] so far.”

“I know that elections are very costly, but maybe [marijuana] might be something they should take to the next election . . . In general, I would say I’m opposed to it in this community.”

“Just recently, I read every line in [the current Comprehensive Plan] — every word”

* * *

Don Allard (incumbent candidate At Large):


“My priorities are prudent spending of taxpayer’s money. . . . I’m concerned about efficient City operations. . . . I believe in taking good care of what we have.” 

“Basically, I am opposed to using taxpayer money to subsidize businesses, but we have to deal with reality. . . I absolutely think we should use [PIF’s] to attract business.”

“I don’t know yet [if the Arvada Center should be turned over to a private foundation]. . . It bothers me [that, in the proposal, the City will continue to subsidize the Center afterward.]  . . . The devil is in the details.”

“I don’t know where, this day, I would stand on [marijuana].  I probably would vote to ban it if I had to make a vote right now.” 

“I like the way [the Comprehensive Plan] is, pretty much. . . . Some things occur despite what we do [in the Comp Plan]. . . .  I don’t see a lot wrong with Arvada right now.” 

* * *

Ted Terranova (candidate for District 3):   

Ted Terranova

Ted Terranova

 “I am in this race because I felt called to address the need for an experienced, proven leader to fill the seat that’s been vacated by [Shelley Cook] . . . While my fellow opponents — let me call them candidates — are well-meaning and they have good community-service-minded ideas, neither one of them has ever served the community as elected officials.  I, therefore, have to give the people a choice to have at least one person on this ballot that they know has had a chance to do this job and has done it well.”

“While there may be a time to have a political newcomer to have a chance to govern, this is not that time.  With the critical issues that are now facing District 3, which is a unique district, I believe it needs my experience.” 

“We have to [use PIF’s]. It’s a simple matter of fact.  It’s the competition of the market . . . I think it is more important that we spend the time to get public buy-in long before we move forward with such a major project [like the Triangle] and spend such a major amount of money on a major incentive. . . . In general terms, yes, it’s just business.  You have to compete; you have to do what is necessary to bring in — to generate — the economic development to provide the tax base for goods and services.” 

“[Transferring operational control of the Arvada Center to a foundation] is all about money. . . Right now the City is subsidizing $1.6 million [sic] to keep the operation going. . . . It’s a pretty scary thing to let go of that control. . . . This issue hasn’t been studied — has been studied, but I haven’t seen the reports . . . [those reports] might change my mind, but I’m not inclined to go that direction. . . . And if we need to subsidize it to have control over it, so be it.” 

“I don’t see that there is that great a need [to distribute marijuana]. . . . The conservative approach would be to say “no” — it should not be allowed.” 

“The Planning Commission is really putting the rubber stamp on [the Comprehensive Plan]. . . . The Council members don’t really have a lot of input into that except for the final ratification.”

“Yes, [I support the completion of the beltway] — hell yes!”

“If you don’t think I have fresh ideas because I’m an old codger, you’re crazy.” 

* * *

Justin Vicory (candidate for District 3):

Justin Vicory

Justin Vicory

“Citizens should always have an opportunity for input into what happens in their community.  I’m really just asking for the opportunity to spend my free time for the community that I love. . . .  I see [growth and development] as more of an opportunity.  I don’t see it as a challenge.”

“[PIF’s] are something we have to do.  I’m completely in favor of it.”

“[The Arvada Center] isn’t something I know a terrible amount about, however, but when I think about it, it comes down to the money.”

“[We should continue] the moratorium on marijuana for a number of years.”

“So [I’m being given] only 2 minutes for an entire vision [for the City of Arvada]?  [audience laughter] . . . .We need to look at really injecting youth into our community. . . . In addition to that, we need to create a place for people to work.” 

* * *

John Marriott (candidate for District 3)

John Marriott

John Marriott

“I’m running for Arvada City Council for District 3 and I’m hoping to bring my 30 years of business and volunteer experience to the Arvada City government. . . . The next four years are going to bring great changes and opportunities to our community, and it is more important than ever that we have elected representative who are active, prepared and engaged.  I’m definitely that person for Arvada.”

“I think in certain cases [PIF] incentives are not only necessary, they are actually preferred.  I think our Arvada Triangle area is a perfect example of that.  It costs far more to develop that area than it would to develop fresh ground on the outskirts of town. . . .  I’m a little concerned that these type of development incentives have started to become the norm and that very few developments get done without them. . . . I do prefer a public-improvement fee [PIF] like this over tax-increment financing [TIF], which is the other tool that is often used — I think [a PIF] is much more equitable . . .”

“I think I would be in favor of [turning the Arvada Center over to a foundation] only if the City retains some control. . . . I think it’s important that the foundation that takes this organization over . . . has some milestones, some operational and fund-raising milestones to achieve. . . . the City’s financial contribution to the Arvada Center should become less over time. . . . If we are going to maintain our status quo with [the Center], there is really no reason to turn it over to the foundation.” 

“. . . I am in favor of continuing that temporary moratorium [on marijuana expiring in March of 2014]. . . . [However,] the will of the people on Amendment 64 was absolutely clear. . . . I think in the future Arvada needs to look at some form of agreement [?] to allow these types of businesses. . . . I think a permanent moratorium is not advisable.”

“I think my vision for the City of Arvada is ‘more of the same’.  I love this place. . . . Those things [to add to the Comprehensive Plan] would be protection of our existing neighborhoods. . . . [We need] to further and more fully engage our citizens. . . . I fully support the City’s efforts to involve 50% of the City in neighborhood groups in the next decade.” 

* * *

Notes:  Dr Debra Scheider, a candidate At Large, was not able to attend this event.  Ed Tomlinson, also a candidate At Large, has withdrawn from the race since filing.  Incumbent Councilor Rachel Zenzinger, who is running unopposed in Council District 1, did not have the opportunity to answer the questions put to the other candidates at the forum, but was allowed to make a five-minute presentation along with other elected officials attending the breakfast meeting. 

–John Kiljan for the Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community neighborhood association


Sunday, September 1, 2013


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  1. Kevon Storie says:

    It is a shame to see so many candidates opposed to opening marijuana shops in Arvada. If the city is so starved for revenue and bereft of innovative ideas to raise it (“more retail!”), shouldn’t we jump at the chance to encourage new, unique and local business? Mr. di Giacomo, we already had a vote on legalizing marijuana in Colorado–and it passed. With the exception of Mr. Marriott (on this particular issue), it doesn’t appear this batch of candidates will be any more responsive to the voters’ will than the current city council.

  2. Pingback: More Quotes from the Arvada City Council Candidates | Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community

  3. You can also watch the Chamber of Commerce August 30th forum video at

    for the District 3 candidates, and you can watch the At-Large forum discussion at

    http://youtu.be/pVv6OUYMYyE .

    For a summary of all the links to the candidates’ CLRC interview write-ups and for links for the videos for the follow-up candidates’ forum (also held by Arvada Chamber of Commerce) on September 26th, go to this CLRC article’s WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE section:


    –John Kiljan

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