by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
“I think it’s an insult to your intelligence, to think that you can’t look at the candidates, hear what they have to say, and make your own decision.”
That quote was from Arvada’s incumbent mayor, Marc Williams, who came out swinging (figuratively speaking) when addressing attendees to the Chamber of Commerce’s City Council candidate forum held on September 18th. The video recording of the forum is now available to the public for viewing on YouTube. Mayor Williams’ opponent, Dave Chandler, and two other reform candidates had decided to boycott the Friday morning candidate forum, claiming a biased format for the event.
The Mayor went on in the same vein in his opening remarks: “I will take no shame, or apologize for projects such as Walmart, for projects such as Park Place in Olde Town. They are necessary, they are valuable, and they are for the greater good of the entire community.” Other candidates focused on both city-wide and issues local to their districts.
Over a hundred people gathered to hear the candidates’ views about the City’s development, growth, transportation needs, new taxes, construction defect laws, recreation, attracting new businesses and jobs, and setting up a local circulator shuttle service to get to and from the new Gold Line stations.
This forum was the only open forum during this election where all the candidates for the five open City Council candidates could meet at one venue to discuss their vision for the City. Five Council incumbents are running for reelection, as are six challengers. The three challengers who did not attend are running for District 2 (Dave Palm), an At-Large seat (Carl Campanella), and for the Mayor’s seat (Dave Chandler).
The moderator, Jim Siedlecki who is Adams County’s Director of Public Information, was widely praised by the attendees for how well he managed a discussion with the many candidates who did participate in the discussion’s limited time slot.
Here is a list of the questions asked of the candidates during the forum:
“What’s the appropriate use of urban renewal to stimulate economic development?”
“How will you support the growth and development of Arvada businesses?”
“What vision do you have for getting the most out of the opportunities available to Arvada at each of the Gold Line stations?”
“How will you stay connected to the residents of Arvada if you are elected [At Large]?”
“How would you meet the recreation needs of the residents in your district [District 1]?”
“Arvada has an ageing population. What support and/or resources need to be added in order to satisfy this need?” [put to District 1 candidates]
“What do you think the biggest challenge facing our businesses is right now?” [put to District 1 candidates]
“Which corridor is most in need of improvement, and how would you propose to pay for the capital costs of construction?” [put to the Council District 2 candidate]
“When it comes to economic development, what do you think Arvada is currently missing?” [again, put to the Council District 2 candidate]
“What ideas do you have for the ‘last mile’ transportation needs around the rail stations?” [District 2 question]
“Did you really think the Broncos were going to pull it out?” [to District 2, and to much laughter]
“In the Leyden Rock and Candelas area there is currently a lack of grocery, restaurants and other retail. What are you going to do to help fill that gap?” [put to District 4 candidates]
“How will you stay connected with your constituents, if elected, to understand the specific needs of your district?” [for District 4]
“What do you think the biggest challenges facing Arvada businesses are right now?” [for District 4]
And then there were the “Yes/No/Or-answer-as-close-as-possible” questions put to all the candidates:
“Do you support a City ordinance here in Arvada to resolve construction defects?”
“Do you support a sales tax increase – or maybe another funding mechanism – to pay for transportation projects?”
“Do you support a [bus] circulator service around Arvada and to and from the Gold Line stations?”
Each candidate also got to make opening and closing remarks to those who attended the event.
If you are interested in the candidates’ responses to these questions, or just want to hear their other remarks, take the time to watch the video of the forum, or download the audio. It runs for an hour-and-a-quarter, but it may be your best chance to learn about each candidate.
You can see the YouTube video of the forum by clicking on this link,
and a copy of the audio can be downloaded by clicking on this Dropbox link
You should be able to download the Dropbox MP3 audio file without signing up for Dropbox.
There were also plenty of campaign signs and literature passed out at the forum.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Arvada Press covered the forum with a long article that can be read online:
The Press also wrote a separate story on the boycott by three of the candidates in this article:
And you can hear from the candidates themselves on their websites. This neighborhood association, the Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community (CLRC), has an article that is updated regularly that lists all the candidates, their campaign websites and their contact information.
If they do what they have done in the past, both the Denver Post’s YourHub and the Arvada Press will be conducting candidate surveys and printing the results in their print editions. With 11 candidates running in Arvada, it should be quite a spread for each paper.
And the CLRC itself, is planning its own candidate survey and will be posting the responses on its RalstonCommunity.org website.
And there’s more: Although this will be the only formal open candidate forum for the Arvada City Council, State Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp (Democrat, House District 29) will be inviting all the Arvada and the Westminster city council candidates to attend her regular monthly Town Meeting on Saturday, October 17th at the Standley Lake library from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm.
Yes, that 21 council candidates in all! Representative Kraft-Tharp said the event will be “an informal candidate forum where people can chat 1 -1 with the candidates.” Her Facebook page can be found at
And, as always, “The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community does not endorse candidates for public office. However, we often post candidacy announcements, press releases, interviews and questionnaire responses for those running for office. And we encourage our members to actively support whatever candidates they choose during elections.”
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
September 25, 2015