by John Kiljan
[updated 17 October 2015]
Dear CLRC members and friends,
For some very practical reasons, there will be a few changes in how the CLRC will be covering the upcoming local City Council elections in 2015. Hopefully those changes will make it a little easier to learn about the candidates, and our members will have fewer emails and less posting clutter to deal with.
[Update: The CLRC now has a complete listing of all the candidates, their photos, their contact information, and their campaign websites. And it has links to their CLRC candidate survey responses, to their Arvada Press survey responses, who is donating to their campaigns and more. All of that is available for voters in a single posting at
Historically, our local election coverage has given us some of our most popular CLRC articles. It’s not hard to see why. Very little information is available about City Council candidates in the newspapers. And most people don’t follow politically-oriented Facebook groups or attend candidate forums.
Moreover, the questions asked of the candidates in the venues they do follow are often not the ones that the CLRC membership has said are most important to them. But voters of all kinds do google-up the candidate’s names. When they do that, they often find a link to our articles on RalstonCommunity.org.
Most of the changes are because there are a lot of open seats on the Council – five of them. Already nine people have announced their intentions to run. Usually, only three or four seats are open at one time. And, typically, one or two have only a single candidate running. The deadline for getting on the ballot is sometime in late August when signatures have to be turned in and validated, so we won’t know how many are actually running until then. [Eleven candidates are running for Council seats.]
We recently asked our CLRC steering committee members what they thought the best way to cover the election would be, and with that input we’ve come up with some changes:
The first change is that we will be limiting the number of press releases we repost for each candidate to a single “I’m running” announcement. Kickoff meetings, fundraising, volunteer requests and all those kinds of follow-on things are gone. The ones that we’ve already posted will be removed from RalstonCommunity.org website. We may still post information about some high-profile endorsements or things similar, but don’t expect much more than that.
Candidates may still add information about their own campaigns as “Comments” to their original announcement articles. In fact, they are encouraged to do just that – as are their supporters.
The second change will be that we will not be doing any written interviews for the candidates in 2015. It’s too labor intensive.
In the past we’ve sat and interviewed each willing candidate for a half hour or more. Then we wrote up those notes in a “first person” format and then let the candidates edit them any way they pleased. The problem with doing that is that it takes three to five days of work to complete a write-up, get it revised and approved by the candidate, formatted and then put up on our website. Doing that for more than four candidates is simply too much work.
Video interviews also seem unlikely this go ‘round, but they are still possible. We haven’t yet found anyone available to set up and do the kind of five-minute, single-take interviews we did with the City Council finalists when Councilor Rachel Zenzinger resigned her seat.
Some things won’t change: We will still try to cover candidate forums that organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or League of Women Voters often hold.
And we also hope to send out a short candidate questionnaire and publish the responses we get back. The list of questions will be those most requested by the CLRC’s 15-member steering committee. We did that with the last Colorado General Assembly race, the preceding Arvada Fire Department board race and with the Apex Park and Recreation District board race. Those questionnaires seemed to provide voters with some useful information.
We will also try to cover the races in Council Districts 1 & 4, if they are contested – even though they are outside the CLRC’s neighborhood boundaries. It’s important to support candidates other than just the ones for Mayor/At-Large and Districts 2 & 3. All Council members will be voting on the issues that affect central Arvada neighborhoods. And you can support a candidate in ways other than by voting for them – such as by volunteering and making financial campaign contributions.
As you probably already know, the CLRC, as an organization, doesn’t endorse candidates. We’re impartial. All we do is tell our readers what is known about the candidates and encourage our members to decide for themselves who they want to support. People seem to like that. And our primary purpose is to be a neighborhood advocacy group – not a political advocacy group. After all, it is the people that the voters want most who should be sitting on the City Council.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from the Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.
You can read all of our articles on our main website at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004
July 2, 2015