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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Lakewood City Council Ward 4

Voters will elect one City Council Member from the Ward they reside within the City of Lakewood. In addition to the Voter Guide, a 30-minute candidate forum video is available for viewing on YOUTUBE at

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  • Candidate picture

    Christopher Arlen

  • Candidate picture

    Barb Franks

Biographical Information

What do you see as a current challenge for your Ward specifically and what action would you propose to overcome it?

With the passing of Lakewood Question 200 the City Council will be determining the number of allocations available for issuance for each year based on 1% of the number of estimated dwelling units as of Dec. 31st of the previous year as the equal point – while allowing for any additions of new dwellings, annexations and exempted projects – and subtractions – for any destroyed or abandoned dwellings and expired permits. How do you see this change affecting your Ward? And what plans, if any, do you have for its implementation?

In your opinion, what makes the City of Lakewood a ‘great place’ to live?

What challenges for your Ward, if any do you anticipate as the Lakewood 2025 Moving Forward Comprehensive Plan approaches its completion dates during your term?

As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the City of Lakewood, what is your vision for Lakewood’s future and more specifically for your Ward?

Background I was raised to believe that there is nothing greater than being of service to others. In serving others, I believe, faith is made real in the world. Service to others is, in fact, for my family, unto itself the profession of our faith. My father, Pastor Ed, was a retired teacher. He, along with my mother, a retired nurse, founded the Agape House — a home for homeless women with children to provide them a safe place in which they could rebuild their lives. My siblings and I have followed their lead working in service to others; a physicians assistant, a college professor and a nurse educator. I have invested more than 30 years in the nonprofit sector, working with vastly diverse communities to improve outcomes. I am also a minister, sharing in moments of great celebration and devastating sorrow within my community of friends. My deep faith in people is borne of experience. Whether working as an outreach worker, an executive director, or leading a statewide planning group, I have seen firsthand what is possible when people of good will come together with a common purpose. I know that establishing connection and building rapport helps foster trust and facilitates understanding among diverse people. I have learned that leadership requires a willingness to serve. I have come to set a high standard and to lead by example. I know that when we value diversity of thought and honor our different experiences, it is much easier to come to consensus where all parties feel respected. This is why my campaign for Lakewood City Council is not based on opposition, but rather on what we can accomplish together. As a small business owner, I work to foster positive relational dynamics within diverse workplaces. I develop and conduct skills-based trainings; teaching facilitation, leadership and communication skills. I work to help people resolve disputes as a certified mediator. I utilize my vast nonprofit experience to help organizations identify and overcome challenges that impede progress toward their objectives. I consider myself blessed to be able to do the work that I love and take on only projects about which I am passionate. When people ask me what I do, I often will tell them that I work with good people who do good things. When called upon, I provide pastoral care for those within my community who are not affiliated with a church family. Whether sitting with someone as they process their grief and loss, or helping someone recover from devastating personal setback, or marking a milestone by officiating a marriage, there is nothing more profound than witnessing how similar we are through our apparent differences. We have all known joy and have experienced sorrow. None of us are immune to loss or tragedy, yet we all find hope and we muster the strength to move on. We love and we are loved. These realities are inescapable for any of us. Through our many lenses and our vast diversity, we are all the same in this regard. In this, we are truly equal. At the core of my candidacy is the belief that we don’t have to agree on everything to work together. Having served as chair for a number of local, regional and statewide planning groups, I understand the role that leadership plays when managing divergent perspectives. I understand that it can be sometimes difficult or uncomfortable face change. But I also know that when we stay in the conversation and seek to understand other points of view, we create better outcomes — we build trust in one another, and we all benefit from the wisdom that is unearthed through the process. When the community has ownership within the process, and they see the value of their participation, they ultimately have trust in the product that is produced. And when it’s done right, each person can find the thread of their contribution and take pride in the final product. These experiences have prepared me to serve the people of Ward 4 on Lakewood City Council. I am both optimistic and pragmatic. By training and practice, I know how to investigate issues and to rely on subject matter experts to enhance my understanding. I’ve talked with people at the community level about the issues that impact their lives and have sought their wisdom. Through this, I earned trust and have gained support from those who call themselves fiercely conservative as well as those who identify as stridently liberal. Optimism has me believe that we can accomplish great things together while pragmatism tells me that we can create a more prosperous future for Lakewood only if we recognize that the issues facing our city impact us all. It is in our shared interest to lean into the constructive tension of diversity to unearth our collective wisdom. This is what I hope to contribute to my city as we work toward that vision of an inclusive community.
Contact phone (720) 290-1600
I am deeply committed to helping our elder citizens age in place — with dignity. Ward 4 is home to a large population of senior citizens who have lived in their homes, in some cases for 40 or 50 years. I know from my own family experience that challenge that this can present, especially for those who have suffered the loss of their spouse. For many, the longstanding family home is their greatest asset and provides some semblance of security. But with this security can come challenges. Looking to my experience, I know the challenge a failing roof or other unexpected maintenance emergencies can cause. While some are fortunate to have the resources to address these challenges, a great many others cannot. The lack of affordable housing also impacts senior citizens who may wish to sell their current home and purchase a smaller home with less maintenance or to move into a community that allows them greater freedom and independence.
The passage of Question 200 has impacts that are far-reaching and transcend the boundaries of Ward 4. The ability to increase the number of affordable housing units for our elder residents, disabled veterans, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable populations is greatly impacted. Rather than be known as a community that is compelling choice for business and industry to consider, Lakewood may become as being unfriendly to business. Should we be successful in attracting business and industry, there must be growth to accommodate their workforce. If we cannot accommodate the workforce, then they will have to live elsewhere and travel into Lakewood, increasing the number of vehicles on our roads in a time when so many are concerned about speeding through our neighborhoods and all that come with this increase.

We must work in good faith to address these issues while moving Lakewood into a prosperous future.
Lakewood's suburban character is unique within the metro area. Recreational, entertainment and community engagement opportunities are abundant. Our open spaces, the natural beauty that surrounds us, and the variety activities calls us out to play. Our communities are widely diverse, yet we are neighbors are we are impacted by the good and the bad that happens around us. Lakewood values inclusion, which is a high standard toward which there is still work to be done.

As Lakewood honors its history and is committed to preservation, the number of people have called Lakewood home, many in the same home, is a testament to the quality of life that can be found here. Others have seen Lakewood as community of promise, a place where they can put down roots and a life here. People choose Lakewood. We did. My neighbors, through our diversity, honor one another and are kind. Lakewood is a community made up of diverse people who live within the promise of inclusion.
Lakewood 2025 presents a compelling plan to move Lakewood into a prosperous future. At the same time, awareness of and knowledge about the plan is lacking at the community level. This undermines faith and trust in the Plan. This is perhaps the largest challenge that must be overcome. To overcome this challenge, it must be priority to create an atmosphere of transparency and accountability by expanding existing channels for communication and feedback.

As Councilor, I will convene community-based meetings in which to review aspects of the Plan and solicit feedback to better understand the Plan from the community's perspective. Staff, subject matter experts and other stakeholders will be invited to participate in these meetings, fostering a collaborative atmosphere between the City and the citizenry. When appropriate and where possible, community input will identify areas where modifications can be made to improve implementation and/or to identify priorities for the next 10-year plan.  
Lakewood’s 50th Anniversary is a great time to look back and celebrate the progress of our city. It also is a time to look to the future. Lakewood is a city born of optimism. Ward 4 embodies this optimism as for 50 years diverse peoples have made our Ward a place to establish their homes and to raise a family. And for 50 years Ward 4 has embraced the inclusion that comes from being good neighbors one to another. Good neighbors create strong neighborhoods, which contribute to stronger communities and result in a robust and thriving Lakewood.

I would like to see the people of Ward 4 take the lead in creating a stronger Lakewood. By taking the time to listen and to hear, we can create a space that honors our diversity of thought and experience through respectful engagement. I envision Ward 4 as a community that sees itself not a victim of change, but rather bold architects of our shared future.
Background – Colorado native and 20+ year resident of Lakewood – Successful Information Technology Project Manager – Passionate gardener and beekeeper – 8-year history of standing up for our community and quality of life – Community Activist - Preserved local open space; fought for smart, responsible growth – Experienced, independent legislator with deep knowledge of local issues and no aspirations for higher political office – Respected by Council colleagues for independence and leadership – Demonstrated ability to research data to drive better critical decision-making that aligns with community values – Proven leader, effective communicator and collaborator, problem solver ----- A native of Colorado growing up on the Eastern Plains, I learned as a child living below the poverty line about the pressures and difficulties facing working families and those on fixed incomes. From my first paying job at age 14, I also learned the difference between a 'hand out' and a 'hand up', realizing that it takes a proper balance of both to sustain a viable middle class. I believe strongly in education and credit great educators for showing me the path to success. After college, I embarked on a 20-plus year career in Information Technology Project Management. Developing technical and process improvement skills led to positions of increasing responsibility where I learned how to collaborate with diverse groups of individuals, practice active listening and effectively communicate. A lifelong love of nature and the outdoors guided me to volunteer for the Lakewood's Adopt-A-Trail Program, join the Ute Trail Community Garden project as a founding member and become a passionate home and community gardener and beekeeper. I have been working hard for Ward 4 for years and I am up to speed on the pressing issues our city faces. Before being elected to City Council, I worked alongside my neighbors on issues affecting the Green Mountain area, attended ward meetings, and closely followed and spoke out on important issues that came before council. I believe that long history shows a commitment to this ward and sets me apart. My path to public office was through local community activism where I teamed up with my neighbors and took a lead role in saving local open space (2090 S. Wright Street) from development that was a violation of our City Charter. This required an immense amount of time, tenacity, research and analysis to prepare the legal augments and to learn how to effectively navigate the municipal and legal processes. In advance of the 2015 election, my community asked me to run for office and use this experience and all my skills to preserve our quality of life. I am proud to represent Ward 4 on Lakewood’s City Council and can attest that the experiences gained during the fight to save open space flattened out the steep learning curve all new councilors face and positioned me to be an effective member of City Council. As I've demonstrated over the last four years, I am a knowledgeable and committed legislator that takes the initiative to solve problems and advance community priorities. Asking tough questions, pushing back on misinformation in a respectful manner and articulating the pros and cons of issues to deepen the conversation have consistently led to higher-quality legislative outcomes. Feedback received from current and past councilors regarding my independence, leadership, and analytical skills provides positive energy, and fuels my desire to continue working hard for you. And while we have made good progress over the last four years, I believe we can do more. Community values will always be the cornerstone for my decision making as your representative. With no ties to special interests and no aspirations for higher political office, I will continue to put in the work necessary to be well prepared, conducting independent research and data verification to ensure decisions are always built on a strong foundation. My husband, Glenn, and I love our suburban Lakewood community and I pledge as your representative to continue lifting up your voices to protect all that makes Ward 4 a special place to call home, and utilizing my deep knowledge of local issues, experience and proven ability to research data to drive better critical decision-making to preserve the unique desirability of our city, while simultaneously bringing economic development to areas of our city that need it.
Contact phone 720-515-6501
Over-development brought about by the 2012 zoning code changes has presented the biggest challenge for Ward 4.

Council, by way of the Development Dialogue committee’s research and recommendations, has been systematically addressing specific aspects of the code that brought about developments that did not integrate well with the surrounding community and further burdened already overloaded infrastructure. This work, coupled with the recent passing of ballot question 200 (i.e., the Residential Growth Ordinance that restricts residential growth to no more than 1% each year), puts a framework in place for slower, responsible growth.

Council has the duty to continue revising the zoning code to address known issues and to work within the rules and guidelines of the Residential Growth Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan to ensure that all development integrates well into the surrounding community.
First and foremost, the will of the voters must be protected.

Implementation is largely governed by the ordinance itself, which includes the authority for City Council to create or modify policy related to the administration of the application and allocation processes.

When the Residential Growth Ordinance is implemented in a thoughtful manner that respects the will of the voters, I believe the slower, more responsible pace of development, which more closely aligns with Lakewood’s historical residential growth, will positively affect Ward 4.

A primary objective must be to ensure all proposed residential development projects of 40 units or more are assessed through the quality of life lens where we can examine how each project aligns with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, supporting plans and studies, and where applicable helps spurs economic development in the areas of our city that need revitalization.
Our people; they have a deep commitment to community and are generous with their time, talents and resources. It is always a pleasure to attend the volunteer recognition dinner and hear all the work that is being done by so many.

Our long established, unique neighborhoods that are the backbone of our city. I still recall the joy of seeing a mare with her new foal one spring as I passed through a neighborhood on my way to work.

Our business owners who are deeply invested in Lakewood’s economic success and their employees’ well-being.

Our open space, recreational opportunities and community amenities. In the span of a day I can take a leisurely or heart-pounding hike in Green Mountain’s Hayden Park, cool off in a community pool, eat a fabulous meal and get dressed up for an evening of world-class music, theater or a mesmerizing dance performance.

Quality educational/skills training options for all age ranges.

All these things and much more make Lakewood a great place to live.
The largest challenge we face on this front is a common understanding of the vision of 2025 Comprehensive Plan and how it interacts with other plans and policies designed to enhance livability, sustainability and ensure appropriate and quality development in Lakewood, among other stated goals.

Recent examples, where City Council unanimously or nearly unanimously rejected rezoning requests that came to us recommended by the majority of the Planning Commission members and staff, show there is a widening gap in understanding what changes “comport with the character of the surrounding neighborhood”.

To close the gap, I will continue to call upon all decision-makers to refer back to the Comprehensive Plan in order to make informed decisions that promote the community’s vision for Lakewood in a well thought out and comprehensive manner.
My vision for Ward 4 is to honor all that makes it a unique and desirable area of the city.

We need a more forward-looking planning process where proposed development is viewed through the quality of life lens, and the question of how the project benefits the health, safety and welfare of the surrounding community can be answered in detail.

We need to continue strategic investments in new open space and the maintenance of existing open space and parkland, which aligns with community values, safeguards the environment and maintains wildlife habitat, attracts businesses that value high quality of life for their workforce and supports outdoor recreation opportunities leading to improved health for our residents.