What is your view about the Jefferson Parkway project?
As a resident of Leyden Rock, I am personally invested in the Jefferson Parkway. When I was elected to Arvada City Council in 2015, I asked to be the representative to the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA) Board because I wanted to be directly involved with this 60-year project as it made its way into our city and community.
The Leyden Rock community would not exist today if not for the Jefferson Parkway. My wife and I decided to move our family from Sunrise Ridge at 64th and Quaker to Leyden Rock, and moved into our home in 2015, knowing that the Parkway would be built. I support the construction of the Jefferson Parkway because it will help ease the regional traffic constraints on Indiana, Wadsworth, and other north/south roadways. Additionally, the completion of the Parkway will help to continue the commercial development spur in the Candelas area and help to complete another section of the loop around the Metro Denver area.
I have always encouraged and supported community engagement with the construction of the Jefferson Parkway. The voices of the Leyden Rock residents and those who live closest to the Parkway are being heard. The JPPHA formed the Jefferson Parkway Citizen Advisory Group in 2017. This group has made recommendations on sound mitigation, safety and aesthetics of construction of the Parkway that have been acted upon and included in the Request for Proposals (RPF) to select a vendor to build the Jefferson Parkway in Arvada. As a member of the JPPHA Board I have pushed for early soil testing along the right of way to ensure we know what we are working with before we get started. The last soil samples were many years ago and we need a new baseline. I have attended every meeting that I was asked to be present for by the Neighbors of the Parkway, a group that is neither in support or opposition of the Parkway, but was formed to serve as the voice of Leyden Rock and Candelas neighbors by Leyden Rock and Candelas neighbors.
I have always accepted and welcomed invitations to talk with residents and advocacy groups about the Jefferson Parkway. Sometimes people ask me when the Parkway will be completed, sometimes they ask me how to stop it. I’ve met with those who oppose the project, and those who support it. To make getting information about the Parkway easier, and increase transparency and access to information, I created a frequently asked questions document to answer the most common questions I have received from the countless meetings, phone calls, emails and even running into residents at the grocery store.
There will continue to be community outreach and the process will be very visible. As the Parkway continues forward we anticipate the release of the RFP in late August or early September 2019 with a selection of a firm to design, build and operate the parkway by mid 2020 with construction to follow possibility late 2020 or early 2021.
What are your views on the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA)?
To understand AURA, we have to look at what it has done in Arvada since the first urban renewal area was started more than 25 years ago. I remember back when my friends family owned a bowling alley in the same area of Hilton. That area 25 years ago was in need of a face-lift and AURA was what made that possible. Now, that area is a destination with a movie theatre, shopping, restaurants and a hotel that produces much needed tax revenue to provide programs and services across Arvada.
Today as I look around Arvada, I do not see a lot of blighted areas, and I hope we never do again. This is because of the work of AURA. Currently, City Council has directed AURA to focus their work on affordable housing, which could include senior and workforce housing. There are several areas AURA has been looking at for these mixed use and high-density housing projects. A few of the project options are the old K-Mart site to the east of Wal-Mart on 58th. AURA is also exploring the idea of a tiny homes community across from Lutz field, which could hold 20-30 homes.
Moving forward I’m not sure what the future is for AURA once these projects have been completed. It’s important for us as a City to avoid blighted areas in the first place and keep Arvada a vibrant place to work, live, learn and play. We need to be asking ourselves, what can we do today to avoid the need for an organization like AURA in the future?
What are your views on using tax increment financing (TIFs) as an incentive for businesses to develop in Arvada?
When used correctly, tax increment financing plays an important part of spurring economic development. Regionally, TIFs have been a part of the creation of Elitch Gardens, Denver Pavilions, Larimer Square, the Pepsi Center, and many others.
Locally here in Arvada, TIF financing has created jobs, new revenue, and tax dollars generated by Costco, Sam’s Club and Home Depot in the Wadsworth/I-70 area and the Target located along Kipling. These areas would have gone undeveloped, but instead provide a place for residents to shop, work and in turn generate tax revenue that funds our city provided services such as our parks and police.
What should the city's role be for utilities such as zoned trash and recycling haulers and broadband Internet?
Who would have thought we’d see the day when broadband internet would be such a huge part of our everyday lives or even considered a utility like water! In 2016, I supported an issue committee that put forward a ballot question asking Arvada voters to allow the City to opt out of SB 152, a law that limited the involvement of the City in any kind of broadband discussions. The City decided to place this question on the ballot so we could be involved in exploring future opportunities for the type of broadband services that could be provided to our residents by restoring local autonomy/control for broadband issues.
Currently the City of Arvada has a master fiber plan to connect all city facilities that also provides a conduit for Jeffco Schools and the Arvada Fire Protection District. It’s ideal for us to share our resources by helping our local schools and fire department by providing the infrastructure to connect our city. Technology is changing everyday and I look forward to continuing the work of the master fiber plan and seeing where we can go next with the internet and broadband service across Arvada.
What is going to make waste hauling and recycling easier across Arvada? That is one of the questions we have been working on right now as a City Council. Based on the data gathered from citizens surveys, residents of Arvada value recycling. I was very happy that in December 2018, the Arvada Sustainability Advisory Committee, a volunteer citizens group, presented to City Council their recommendations of how to answer this question. Included in the Sustainability Advisory Committee recommendations was for the City of Arvada to move towards a single hauler for both trash and recycling. City Council took this recommendation seriously and began action.
On February 11th we held a City Council workshop and encouraged all residents of Arvada to come give public comment and ask any questions about the proposed recommendations. As a result of that meeting, City Council directed staff to continue to do more research and provide answers to the questions asked from both citizens and council members at the meeting and from using our citizen engagement platform, Speak Up Arvada. A few months ago the City sent out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the market to see if there was even interest from the private sector to provide the service and four companies responded. We received the report on July 22nd and then as a council directed staff to develop a non-binding advisory question for the ballot in November.
I appreciate the hard work of the advisory committee and our city staff on this issue, but there are still many questions to answer. My fear is that while a single hauler could be a good idea for the City of Arvada, the effort to include too much to early will be the reason it fails. I also fear that the overall costs may be higher than what was desired, and because the program was too complicated to explain, residents will not see it as a value add but rather a hassle. To make this work in Arvada, we need to keep it simple. Since December I’ve received feedback ranging from full support to no support at all, so I’m very interested in what the results at the ballot box will be this November.
What is your plan to help the city reach 100% use renewable energy by 2035?
Today the City of Arvada does not have a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2035, but maybe we should look into it. I’m a big supporter of renewable energy. The solar farm that sits on the edge of Arvada and Westminster is a great example of how the City supports renewable energy. As a homeowner in Arvada I was delighted with the additional substation in Candelas for Xcel Energy because with that substation all of the homes in the northwest part of Arvada can now enjoy the benefit of the solar panels- including myself!
The City of Arvada has done a really good job of ensuring our building codes are up to date, which allows homeowners the ability to make an investment in their future with solar power. Just like broadband internet and recycling, if there is the data that shows Arvada residents value renewable energy, and want out City government to make the commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by a set year, then we as a community should take up the cause and look into it.
What does the city need to do to address the needs of the homeless in Arvada?
One of the biggest misconceptions about homelessness, not just in Arvada but also across the country, is that if you can see homeless in your community nothing is being done about it. And that is just plain false. Homelessness is a systemic problem that is being addressed regionally with our neighboring cities and Jefferson County Government.
Discussions about how to solve homelessness are part of many of the boards and commissions I serve on each month. In just the last month homelessness in Arvada was discussed at the Jeffco Schools coordinating committee meeting with Superintendent Jason Glass, Board Members Ali Lasalle and Brad Rupert and the Arvada Fire Protection District coordinating meeting with Chief Jon Greer and Board members Bob Loveridge and Jim Whitfield. As a member of the Board at Community Table (Arvada Food Bank), and a City Council member, I’m in a unique place to present some perspective on the issue and what is being done right now to address it. It is my believe that with a unified effort of local, regional and state-wide resources, we can make an impact.
As we work to solve homelessness in Arvada, and with the continued advocacy of the Arvadans for Progressive action, I’m sure we can get closer each day. As we inch closer we will share our knowledge wide and far to help dispel the myth and how we can serve those who are homelessness by providing a Hand Up not a Hand Out! It is my hope that we can continue to encourage the faith-based community, service organizations and citizens to pitch in as volunteers to help serve the current needs and bring ideas on how we approach this in our community for the future.
City Council has been working with our Arvada Police Department and implementing a CORE Team for response on homelessness. There is a lot of great work we are doing here in Arvada to try and solve this issue so follow along with our work and help where you can To check out the updates, please use the links below. I believe the City of Arvada is addressing homelessness and I look forward to the day we can solve it once and for all.
How do existing city policies encourage gentrification? Will you support a zoning plan that has an emphasis on affordable housing?
Is it the position of the Arvadans for Progressive Action that the current policies of the City of Arvada “encourage” gentrification? If so I’d enjoy the chance to have a conversation on this and take corrective action because I do not believe the current policies of the City of Arvada encourage gentrification in any way whatsoever.
We need to deal with growth in Arvada. To start, we need to recognize that private landowners have the right to sell their land to whomever they want. Developers have the right to develop the land as long as it fits into the land development code. I also support the right of a person to live where they want to live and I am not sure a zoning plan is the answer. This is where I as an elected official could use the help of all our citizens. What can we do to work better together? How do we encourage landowners and developers to build affordable housing? How can we make Arvada an affordable place for all who live here now and all who want to live here in the future? My opinion is that we must explore every opportunity and avenue available to us as a city government and that means talking with our community about it.
Walk-ability and bike paths are increasingly popular. What are your ideas to increase the walk-ability of neighborhoods and assist the ease and safety of riding bikes?
The city has done a great job of creating a path system for all to use. I have used the Ralston Creek trail and the connecting trails systems many times to ride from my house to Denver. I am so glad that Arvada is a bike friendly community.
Additionally, I have worked hard to ensure that our children have safe routes to school. We have begun the task of reviewing all of the crosswalks in Arvada starting with those that are closest to the schools. Where we can the technology for crosswalks is also being updated to improve safety.
How will you promote fair and equitable treatment of diverse and marginalized communities in terms of fair policing, economic advantages, and employment?
One of the greatest things about Arvada is how diverse our community is and how we all can live, work and play in the same areas. Our Arvada Police Department cares about our community, and in turn law-abiding community members love our police officers. Officers in the City of Arvada tell me all the time that they love their job and serving Arvada, and that they feel the support of our community. Having spent many hours riding along with our police officers I am in awe of how they treat every single citizen regardless of background, current status, or socio-economic status. I am so happy with our police department and the level of service they give to our community. The School Resource Officers (SRO) in our schools make such a great impact on not just keeping our schools safe, but forging a connection with our youngest citizens and future leaders. This is just one of the many reasons I publically supported Jeffco Schools mill and bond initiatives in both 2015 and the successful 5A & 5B in 2018. It is very sad to see what other communities are doing and how they treat their police, and how sometimes police treat the citizens. I pray this type of violence does not come into our Arvada community and if it does I trust Chief Link Strait to make it right.
Tell us about your involvement with city issues, City Council, and city staff. Have you worked for any progressive, local issues, and how did you champion them?
Since I am not completing these questions to be considered for a political endorsement by Arvadans for Progressive Action, and in fact am requesting that all partisan political groups and organizations not endorse my candidacy, I will answer this question through a non-partisan lens.
In 2015 I decided to run for Arvada City Council in District 4 not because I thought anything was wrong with Arvada, but because I had always been very interested in how our government works at all levels. For me this started in the 5th grade when I visited Washington D.C. for the first time. Realizing that I could do good right here in my community gave me the push to be a part of something and truly give back with actions and not just words!
Prior to running for council, I was and continue to be a member of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. I wanted to make sure that Jefferson County continued to attract and retain primary jobs. Those primary jobs are what fuel our local economies. I also served on the Broomfield Ambulance Company Board of Directors prior to the building of the Flat Irons Mall and together as a board we planned how we could serve medically the people who visited the mall. I knew that many Arvadans would shop there so that was important. I also coached youth sports for more than 10 years giving back to the community and our children. Teaching them the rules and strategy of the game, what it means to be nice, how to be a competitor, how to lose with grace and most importantly how to win while giving honor to the game, your parents, your teachers, and anyone you come in contact with day after day.
I was elected to serve the residents of District 4. As a part of Arvada City Council, I am called on to vote in the interest of all who live within the City of Arvada boundaries. Each day I am called upon to assess problems, discuss solutions, and make a vote as a part of a governing body of 7 fellow elected citizens who I am proud to serve with. I support ideas that are in the best interest of our City and do not look at solutions through any kind of political lens or make decisions based on one political parties set of ideologies. This is our Arvada and I’m proud of where we are going. I think we can do things differently and better here in Arvada every single day. I’m David Jones, and I am running for re-election to the Arvada City Council to serve District 4.