On Business and the Science of Terminal Velocity

On Business and the Science of Terminal Velocity

April 25, 2018

Something is missing as we have transitioned from a people-oriented and relationship-based business economy to one of a technology-focused economy. Can you guess what I’m talking about? Of course, it’s that personal touch. The person on the end of the phone you can talk through a problem with, someone who can provide answers or at least human contact and empathy about your situation. Personal contact has, seemingly, been killed off in the name of phone trees and automated emails. Businesses chasing the most efficient (read “cost effective;” read “cheap”) way of doing business have removed the only thing that ever separated them from their competition. The people who work for their company.

Make no two ways about it. People are the only thing that are a differentiator in any business. Not technology, not logos, not service offerings, not regionality or business area… people. When a business loses site of the people component, they have lost sight of their only competitive advantage.

A few examples. For years, McDonald’s has tried to reduce some of their largest expense—labor—in favor of technology. I’ve been in their restaurants that have touch screens where you can key in exactly what you want, pay, and then wait for your order. A complete business transaction without ever having to talk to a person, to force a fake smile or to engage at any level of interaction. Seems like a great idea? Machines are more efficient, and people know what they want so it should be easy for them to click on an image of a double cheeseburger, tap the remove pickles button, tap the add extra ketchup button and the remove mustard button. Click the complete order. Run their credit card and be done. Makes sense, right?

Now, look at Apple, indeed a technology company and not a food company, their retail stores are filled with technology, touch screens to review product details and sample devices that one can immerse themselves in – hands on. Cool. The panacea, right? Products that represent and sell themselves to the consumer without having to have representatives in the flesh. After spending time gushing over that new iPhone X, you can look up and see people. Not just other consumers, but actual Apple employees working with other people, answering questions, ringing up sales, providing support, guidance and that all-important personal touch. Therefore, the Apple stores are successful; they have embraced the human element to sell more product. Their technology sells itself, but their people sell the company. There’s always a human with a smile and a “is there anything I can help you with.” They truly understand that people are the key to a relationship.

Relationships, by definition, require another person to be there. (Note: I understand that cats, dogs, cats and more cats can fulfill, technically, the relationship hole that people need to fill, but that is for another conversation.)

My son works for Chick-fil-A. He really likes it. He is a very gregarious young man and thrives in an environment that encourages, and itself thrives on, the personal touch. Virtually every transaction I’ve had at any Chick-fil-A ends with the representative saying, “My Pleasure.” And I really believe that it is so.

Now, with all that, there are exceptions to the rule. Amazon is one of them. Just try to talk to a person. Hard to find where, and how, to do this. Theirs is a business model set up on the one click order. They’ve leveraged technology and, frankly, pricing, to minimize their need for personal relationships. I firmly believe that for Amazon to continue to be successful in the long term, due to their lack of personal interaction, they must always drive their costs and prices down.

The problem with this logic is that there is always a bottom. You can only cut your way to profitability for so long. This is, roughly, equivalent to the fundamental law of terminal velocity. Essentially, if you drop something from an airplane there is maximum speed that object will reach during free fall. This is due to the forces of drag and friction battling it out with gravity. Drop 100 bowling balls of the same weight from different heights, eventually, they will all settle on the same free-fall speed. In business, the forces that prevent an infinite drive to the bottom is the cost of labor, shipping, raw materials and time. Short of revolutionary changes in manufacturing and shipping, there’s always a bottom. How many times have you ordered something online and the cost of shipping is more than the cost of the product?

With Amazon setting up their own fleet of delivery vehicles and airplanes for this important logistical part, they can lower the cost versus using a third-party vendor, but there’s a bottom.

Once Amazon and their competition pricing becomes similar, people will gravitate to the company that provides customer service. Not via webforms and online chats, but through phone calls, in-person interactions and good old-fashioned relationship building.

Even the most introverted of us all would prefer to talk to someone about questions on a product rather than searching endlessly via FAQs on the internet.

In the end, people like ‘My Pleasure’ and knowing that there are actual people who are trained to demonstrate a product and available to interact with. No matter how hard programmers try, Alexa and Siri are no match for an actual human-to-human conversation. Heck, half the time they don’t understand when I ask what the temperature is…

On Common Ground or Which Containers Do You Identify With?

On Common Ground


We are a nation of individuals, and yet we are continually asked, forced or otherwise jammed into “containers.” There are thousands of possible “containers,” and each of us is in many of them. You may call them demographics, but I’d like to frame them as containers, and here’s why.

Think of something right now. What came to mind? Your job? Your commute? Your family? Your cat or your dog? It could have been any one of millions of things. Now, if you asked 100 people to think of something, do you think they would have said the same thing as you did? How about 1,000 people? 100,000?

I can, almost, guarantee you that someone, somewhere, would have said something that was the same or very similar to what you replied. So, if you mentioned your wife, someone else would have done the same. Likewise, if you mentioned your job, there is no doubt that at least one other person would mention their job as the first thing that came to their mind.

Each individual differentiator, or opinion, that you hold is, most likely, held by someone else. Even the rarest of differentiators, like having stepped on the moon, lived in Antarctica or owned a Yugo, all have a counterpoint someplace on this planet. If you think of all the different containers in your lives, you can start to think of the others who may have the same containers as you.

I am 49, have grey hair, grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, have two kids, have been married for 21 years, moved to Colorado 22 years ago and love cycling.

If I were to have a container with only the people who match all seven of these characteristics, the number in this container will be, most likely, pretty small. Perhaps just myself. But separate all seven containers and the numbers of people who have at least one of these characteristics in common goes up dramatically.

In the entire world, there are lots of people who are 49. Lots of people who have grey hair. Each container as described above has the possibility of hundreds, thousands or even millions of people in it. Consequently, within this container of people, there’s always an icebreaker for conversation. There’s always a point of commonality.

How about other containers? Income? Race? Climate change? Gun ownership? Gun control? Shopping Carts? Growth? Different topics, but still, lots of people who would be in the same containers with you or me.

Why should our political beliefs be any different? Most of our opinions are in the range from the left to right meter. For example, most of us would probably call ourselves fiscally conservative. Here’s a quick test. If you donate $50 to a food bank, how much of that $50 would you like to go to food to be given to those in need? The closer your answer is to $50, the more fiscally conservative you are. If you don’t like the food bank analogy, replace it with something else. If you have $50 to buy a visa gift card, how much would you want to be loaded on that $50 gift card? The closer your answer is to $50, the more fiscally conservative you are.

On the other side of the coin. Have you ever donated to a church? A shelter? Helped with a Habitat for Humanity project? Put coins in the Salvation Army bucket at Holiday time? Bought Girl Scout Cookies? Or anything similar? Those are things that socially responsible and liberal people do; they help people who might be down on their luck, looking to improve themselves or going to times of struggle.

If we really look at our two-party system as two containers that we are told to put ourselves in, there’s a more than reasonable chance that there is something, perhaps more than one thing, that we believe that is outside the standard two-party container system. Often, or at least sometimes, there are candidates that may be in the party container that is not our own but that otherwise most closely match the other containers we are in. Yet, we feel compelled to vote our party and not our best interests.

For us to move forward, we must be willing to acknowledge that we do not easily fit into little containers, little boxes. We are all much more complex people, and our beliefs are much more nuanced than only two containers can represent. Once we recognize that each and every one of us can find something in common with another fellow citizen, then we can start to have conversations. And once we start having conversations, we can find the commonality and common ground that has gone missing in our society, our politics and our solutions.


On Sustainability

On Sustainability


The word sustainability gets tossed about quite a bit in Lakewood, and for good reason, since our city has been a leader in encouraging and adopting sustainable attitudes, behaviors, and programs. There are tremendous resources for sustainability on the city’s website including the categories of news, awards, business & development, neighborhoods, city hall, and living. These can all be found here. Likewise, the Lakewood Sustainability Plan, adopted in 2015, can be found here. This overarching document addresses virtually every area of Sustainability for Lakewood.

Chapter 7 of the Sustainability plan addresses transportation in regard to developing, maintaining and operating sustainable transportation systems and infrastructure, but there’s something missing. And what is missing can be found in our Comprehensive Plan, called Lakewood 2025: Moving Forward Together. The Comprehensive Plan is an excellent guiding document and it includes what is missing from the Sustainability Plan. It talks about managed growth and appropriate development for Lakewood to move into the future. It talks trends and it presents the holes that exist in our current housing inventory to support the number of people who would probably want to live near where they work. You can download the entire comprehensive plan here.

Sustainability in the future can be summed up quite nicely in the phrase “high-density.” To be sustainable is to be denser, not less dense. The comprehensive plan acknowledges this and plans for growth and higher density along transportation corridors and near transit-oriented developments around light rail stations.

Virtually all our current commercial development is also focused along these same transportation corridors. Union Blvd, Colfax, Wadsworth, South Kipling and Alameda are where the majority of higher density developments are in place or being proposed, right alongside commercial shopping and service centers, including restaurants, flower shops, coffee shops, etc. (Existing Land Use map Source: page 2-11 of the Lakewood Comprehensive Plan) Between 1970 and 2010 Lakewood’s population increased from just under 93,000 residents to almost 143,000 residents. (Source: Figure 2-a page 2-12 of the 2015 Lakewood Comprehensive Plan)

An increase of 54.1%. During this same period, the density of the population (population/land area) went from almost 2,200 persons per square mile to almost 3,400 persons per square mile. With this substantial increase in density, there has not been an equivalent increase in housing units. In 2013, Lakewood had a total of 64,392 housing units, the vast majority of which were built between 1969 and 1980. (Source: Table 2-a page 2-12 of the 2015 Lakewood Comprehensive Plan) On the employment side, however, it is estimated that there will be an estimated 45.6% increase in jobs in our city, from 73,500 to 107,000, between 2010 and 2035.

(Source: Table 3b on page 3-8 of the Lakewood Comprehensive Plan.)

So, if we work with the following assumptions:

  1. Time will continue to move forward.
  2. More and more persons will move to the Denver metro area primarily due to an expanding job base.
  3. A portion of this new population will want to live in Lakewood.
  4. We desire to increase our efficiencies and reduce emissions and reliance on vehicles.

Then, there are some obvious solutions. These new residents will need places to live, places to shop, schools for their kids to attend, parks to enjoy the out of doors, and other normal amenities that citizens demand.

Infrastructure, particularly roads, is hit hardest when the places where people have to live, shop, and drop their kids off at school are far away from where they work. If we have cities that are thoughtfully designed, with sectors that include housing, shopping, services and educational facilities, we can cut down traffic, cut down commuting time, and improve everyone’s quality of life.

Since Lakewood is a landlocked city with limited opportunities for expanding the total area of the city, there is a Three Mile Plan that was adopted in 2011 that maps out potential areas for Lakewood to grow into. You can get this reference here.

However, in our current political climate, annexation, and expansion of our city is, essentially, off the table. So, then, what are the options?

There is but one, namely, to maintain the character of our established neighborhoods and build along the fringes of our transportation and identified growth corridors with higher density. That’s not to say that these dense sectors can’t be very livable, agreeable and desirable, quite the opposite. Good design is good design, but it takes a conversation and listening to the smartest people in the room.

So, when all of the smartest people in the room are telling us that, to keep our city moving forward, we must invest in infrastructure, smart development, and good design, then we need to do so.

Yes, that is, indeed, what we need to do!

And anyone who is for sustainability and not for a thoughtful and managed approach to development around transit corridors is serving their own agenda. These two items are not mutually exclusive. Sustainability at growth rates of 45% and above requires higher-density development.



On Finding My Voice

On Finding My Voice


There have been plenty of times in my life when I knew I was 100% right. Running for City Council was one of those times. And get this… I lost and that was a great thing.

Now, perhaps, I’m just trying to make the best out of a situation where I came up a bit short, but it really doesn’t matter. I did everything during my campaign to the best of my abilities, I listened, and I learned. And just as I learned from attending hundreds of meetings and listening, I learned from losing.

Taking the first step to run for office was a huge thing for me, as it would be for anyone. Knocking on that first door was an equally enormous accomplishment for me. Speaking in front of small groups and large was something that I had never done… and now I have. And people want to hear what I have to say… and I’ve got a lot to say!

I was at a get together this last Friday, and I was greeted with, “We’ve never had a real politician in our house.” And now they have. We had an amazing conversation and, again, I listened. But in contrast to when I started running for office all those months ago, now I had experience, knowledge and stories. I was able to speak about the state of politics and cynicism within Lakewood, and by association, our Country.

I found my voice, and now I know how to solve ALL of the problems we have in our current political climate. It is so obvious and simple, it’s actually disturbing. It doesn’t have to do with redistricting or campaign finance reform. It has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat, Right or Left, Conservative or Liberal.

I wrote another piece awhile back about how our commonality is much more than we are often led to believe. It has become more relevant over time. Please read it here.

How to solve our problems is pretty simple, actually. The way we solve our problems is by listening, talking and having conversations and then, finally, coming together with understanding, compromise and mutual agreeable solutions.

But there’s a catch… we ALL must be able to have conversations with anybody, whether they believe what we believe or not. To compromise, we must know what each other thinks. We must become truly aware of the other frames that are out there, and we must ALL be part of the solution.

So, the next time you are presented with an opportunity, seek out someone to have a conversation with. Ignore the cardinal rule of “don’t talk politics or religion.” Instead, be open to have whatever conversation is needed to understand the opinions and ideas that are out there that are not yours. You will find that, during this process, there is a real chance your opinions will be challenged, not by others, but by yourself.

That is called growth, and that is finding your voice.

Go forth and find your voice. And join me in changing our frames.


On Fixing RTD Light Rail

On Fixing Light Rail


I take the train to work from Lakewood on a regular basis. Sometimes it is quite busy, sometimes it is almost empty. RTD (the Regional Transportation District) had high expectations for ridership on the W line and it has, apparently, always come up short. But why? And how do we increase ridership?

Well, one thing I do know is that you don’t increase ridership by making it less convenient or more expensive. Changing people’s behavior, especially the behavior of commuters who are the prime audience for light rail, is not terribly difficult.

We American’s respond to three different external forces to elicit substantive change.

  1. Create a value proposition where there is a tangible, and calculable, monetary savings to change behavior.
  2. Create a system of convenience such that the barriers to using the product is are completely omitted, and it is much more convenient to use a service than the alternatives.
  3. Save people time, and it needs to be a noticeable time savings. Not incremental.

So, what does RTD do? Well, they cut back service, violating rule number 2. They raise prices, violating rule number 1, and they slow down the trains, violating rule number 3.

Quite literally they have violated every rule of change making for a service you can. And they keep doing it.

At a recent City Council meeting, our RTD Representative for Lakewood, Natalie Menten, came before the Council to report on the open houses and proposed changes to the W line that services Lakewood. She presented, and I quote, “The W line essentially operates as a Trolley.”

Long before RTD built the W line there was the Interurban Railroad. It operated the 84 line on essentially the exact same route the W line follows today. To look at the Denver & Intermountain Railroad Co. Line 84 schedule, click here, or see the image below from 1920.

According to the 1932 schedule, trips from Golden to Denver, or the return trip, was 38 minutes, and that’s with a total of 20 stops. In 1943, the same route, with the same number of stops, increased to 48 minutes. Additionally, the train ran every hour on the hour except during ‘rush’ hour times when the frequency was increased to match ridership. In 2017, according to RTD’s website, the W line runs with as little as 15 minutes between trains and as much as an hour between trains. Additionally, it takes 39 minutes from end-to-end with 14 stops.

What’s my point?


Well, the train in 2017 runs a bit slower than the train ran in 1938 and has 30% fewer stops. It also has all kinds of signage that says “High Speed Trains operating”. So, in the age of faster everything, society runs at a different tempo now that it did 79 years ago. However, our super expensive and modern ‘high-speed’ light rail service has fewer stops and is slower that days gone by. Not to mention it’s pretty expensive at $4.50 for each trip. With the minimum wage being $9.30 an hour, people making the minimum in our society spend well over an hour of their earned money to travel to and from work. (Assuming taking the full trip from Golden to Denver crossing three fare zones. Source: https://www.rtd-Denver.com/Fares.shtml#fare-zones)

So, it’s slower than in 1932, violating rule number 3 above. It’s expensive, violating rule number 1 and, with the ever-changing schedules and timing tweaks, it violates rule number 2.

If you look closely at the schedule from 1932 and the schedule from 1943 for the Interurban Rail 84 line, the schedule didn’t change that much. Now, RTD’s schedule can change multiple times a year, and that can be hard for persons to adjust.

So how do you fix Light Rail? How do you increase ridership?

  1. Make it cost less than driving and parking.
  2. Speed it up so it takes significantly less time than driving and parking.
  3. Either increase the cadence of the trains or at least keep them running at consistent times over the course of a few years.
  4. Fix the last mile issues.
  5. Change the hub and spoke model.

What are the last mile issues?

RTD built some very nice stations along the W line. Some of these stations have Park-and-Rides, some do not. Virtually none of them have any connections into the neighborhoods where they are located. No real sidewalks, streetlights, etc… In the evenings, it gets very dark, very quickly when you move away from these stations, and that is an emotional barrier for many. They just don’t feel very safe. Currently, there is a pilot project along Lamar near the Lamar Station going North towards Colfax and West towards some higher density apartments to increase safety to and from the station. And that’s it. Safety and signage in and out of neighborhoods needs to be increased.

What is the hub and spoke model?

As you know the W line runs East to West, and West to East, to and from Golden to Denver. It doesn’t go North and South and to do so, you must travel downtown to change trains. This basically prevents people from traveling efficiently from Golden to Arvada (if the G line ever opens.)

When the G line does open, to take a Train from Golden to Arvada, you will need to take the W line to Union Station, transfer to the G line by walking a bit less than 4 blocks, and take the G line west to Arvada – taking well over 90 minutes. In contrast, from the Jefferson County Government Center to the Olde Town Arvada station would be 11.5 miles by car and require just 19 minutes. (Source: google maps driving directions.)


If you take the currently available train / bus combo, you could take the W line from the Jefferson County Government Center station to the Wadsworth station and transfer to the 76 bus line north to Olde Town Arvada–all taking 56 minutes. Again, costing $4.50 / trip. Consequently, there simply isn’t a compelling argument for someone who has a car to take a train to a bus to make it North and South.

To conclude, I offer this suggestion. What if we worked with developers, complex owners and RTD to create incentives for people living in higher density locations in our city to utilize light rail? What if we reduce or eliminate the cost barrier? What if residents were offered highly discounted monthly passes from RTD?   Or, what about making it free, or highly subsidized so that riding the light rail becomes the lowest cost solution for our users.

There are options that will take time and money, but they will be well worth the cost.

Finally, if RTD wants to run the train as a trolley, then be honest and do so.



Be the Change

Be the Change


I’m writing this on the eve of my first election. It has been a very long and winding road over the past 9 months. I’ve met people I would have never met, and I’ve done things I would have never done prior to starting out on this journey.

I’ve knocked on doors of people I did not know. I’ve spoken in front of groups large and small. I’ve attended meeting after meeting after meeting. I’ve listened.

I’ve been yelled at, and I’ve had doors shut in my face. I’ve been ignored, cast off and tested. I’ve had people I don’t know give me advice and offer guidance. I’ve had to ask people for money. I’ve had to keep track of who donated what and when. I’ve had to document every bit of information.

And I’ve learned.

I built my own website. I’ve designed my own marketing materials. I’ve had to speak about myself, which is something I prefer not to do. I’ve designed yard signs. I’ve designed T-Shirts and hats. I put my image and myself out there for all to see. Quite literally.

Why have I done so much of this work myself? To learn. To focus. To keep my costs down. I decided very early in my journey that the best way for me to be true to myself was to do things my way and to do things the right way. I decided that doing things right is not about politics but, rather, about my city and myself. That I firmly believe that I have something to offer my city has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with the skills and talents I have gained and refined over my forty-nine years of life.

During my campaign journey, I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve learned from them, and I have always taken the high road. I gained good friends, and I’ve met hundreds and hundreds of other good people. All the while, I’ve listened. I’ve heard what people had to say about their city and their lives. How their city has changed and what they like or don’t like about the changes they’ve witnessed or experienced.

Taking the high road and doing things right is what is best for me and for my city. Being true to myself is what allows me to sleep at night. It also is what the residents of Lakewood deserve.

Should I have to honor of being elected, I will continue to listen, apply my skills, and lead by example. You can hold me to that.

Please do.


On Campaigning

On Campaigning


When I started this journey to run for City Council, I had no idea what I was doing. I had never run for any public office before, and I only knew that I wanted to be part of the future of Lakewood. And so I started attending meetings, and events, being interviewed and being invited to forums. I spoke with people at their doors, at churches, at meetings, on the streets and in the parks.

I listened.

And then I repeated. I continued to attend meetings and events and meetings and events. I wanted to hear and learn what the issues are and how people feel about them. I felt the best way for me to do this was to be involved.

And so I was.

I never thought of this as campaigning. I thought of this as doing my due-diligence to be informed. After all, if I want people to have me represent them, I should know what is going on… right? Earlier this year, I was doing a cleanup along 1st Avenue in the O’Kane Park neighborhood. I was asked by someone, “Isn’t it a bit early to be campaigning?” I responded that I wasn’t campaigning but that I was there to pick up trash with the other neighbors.

And so I did.

During this experience, I spoke to a number of people, but I mainly listened to what they had to say. I absorbed information, concerns, their pride in their neighborhood and their city, and generally who they were. This experience led to others, working the Colfax Marathon with the folks from Two Creeks, cleaning up Colfax the week prior to the marathon, and attending the Two Creeks and O’Kane Park neighborhood’s National Night Out festivities. And those led to touring the Sobesky Academy building in Morse Park and neighborhood meetings there and in the Eiber neighborhood. All along, I spoke with people, and most of of the time, I never felt like I was campaigning. Instead, I honestly felt like I was getting involved and informed.

The other day, I was told that, indeed, everything I have been doing has been campaigning. Being part of the community and going to meetings and events was exactly that. I was told that I was kidding myself if I if I thought otherwise.

I do think otherwise. I think it’s completely responsible of me to spend time and energy getting to know residents throughout Ward 2. I think it is a requirement, not campaigning, to attend meetings and events to get to know the issues and what people in Ward 2 think about them. I think it is mandatory to show up, to be early, to stay late, to take notes, to ask questions and to listen to show how I will represent them.

Whether someone wants to call what I’ve done campaigning or not, it was and it is the right thing to do. It was right to invest the time and energy to be able to hit the ground running on November 8th on behalf of the residents of Ward 2. Whether you call this campaigning or not, I feel very well prepared to get to work on November 8th when my campaign will end and my service will begin.


On the Role of Realtors

On the Role of Realtors


Full disclosure. My wife is a realtor.

Additional full disclosure. I received a donation from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR).

Final full disclosure. I can almost guarantee that everyone who reads this has used a realtor at some point in their life, or they will.

So, why would I take a donation from DMAR’s political action committee? To explain this, I’ll have to explain how I believe realtors benefit our city.

It is my opinion that realtors fill a very important role in our society, and in our city. They guide people through a very complex and specific legal process. They advocate at a local, state and national level for homeowners rights and protections. They guide people through the process of finding a place for them and their family to live and be part of our community. Good realtors do their research to know the city, the amenities and the neighborhoods that they are showing their clients. They work long hours.

Most importantly, I would argue that realtors are the welcome wagon to neighborhoods and cities. They are often the very first contact a person has in a new location. They are continually asked about the quality of the schools, the location of grocery stores, crime data, and housing comparisons for people to review the quality of their potential investment in a community.

Specifically, realtors are ambassadors for our City. And for a City that has no formal ambassadors, they fill a tremendous gap in getting the word out about our City.

Its’ been said that I must be in the pocket of developers because I honestly stated that I received money from realtors through DMAR. Well, let’s just be honest about the data. According to metrostudy*, an organization that tracks housing data, existing home sales, new home permits and new home sales, in the calendar year 2017, 86% of the transactions for the four-county Denver CVSA Metro Area have been resale homes, 12% were new builds, 2% Real Estate Owned (REO) and 1% were foreclosures. The Denver Metro CVSA is made up of Denver, Jefferson, Adams and Arapahoe counties. Using 86% as a baseline, it can be assumed that greater than 86% of all real estate transactions this year have been handled by local, individual realtors.

This graph from the National Association of Realtors shows the National breakdown of new home sales versus resale homes over the course of 2017 by region. As you can see, nationally, the data is pretty similar to what we see in the four-county Denver metro area.

Realtors serve a great need of our residents looking to move to Lakewood or looking to move within Lakewood. They are not big developers. They make the vast majority of their money selling pre-owned, pre-existing homes to people like you and me.

Finally, most home builders have their own in-house sales department and often realtors are not involved in the sales of newly-built homes. Thus, it is quite disingenuous to say that by taking a campaign contribution from DMAR that I’m in the pocket of big development. Quite the opposite. Most everyone knows a realtor and although they make a decent living, they are by no means making the kind of money inferred by ‘Big Developers’. Realtors serve us to market and sell our homes, and realtors represent our city to people looking to move to Lakewood.


*From http://www.metrostudy.com/

On My Campaign and Leadership

On My Campaign and Leadership


This is the first time I’ve ever run for office. Consequently, there have been many times I have been disoriented, naïve and overwhelmed. Even during those times, however, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Win or lose, I feel that I’ve grown as a person, and I’ve become more involved in my community.

I’ve tried to run a campaign that I can be proud of, and I truly believe that I have. I’ve tried to stay above board, and I have tried to steer clear of saying negative things about my opponent. Certainly, I believe I am the better candidate. I have worked very hard to be as informed and involved at a neighborhood and city level as I could, and I have tried to steer clear of political parties and partisanship. On a few occasions, I have published comments on my blog that were meant solely to differentiate myself from my opponent. These comments could have been construed as incendiary since even factual statements can sometimes be a bit pointed. I apologize for any misunderstanding of such comments, and again, I want to say that my intent was only to differentiate myself from my opponent.

I’ve learned many lessons throughout the campaign process. I do believe that we need to change the frame of our politics and that we should not tolerate the negative or divisive approaches that are now considered normal and expected during a political campaign. We should all strive for above-board behaviors that will result in getting better and better candidates to represent us at every level of government.

I’m a born, card-carrying introvert, and I have always struggled with starting conversations with people I don’t know and speaking in front of people. While I am still an introvert, the exceptional people and amazing conversations I’ve had over the last nine months have removed some of the barriers that I’ve struggled with my entire life.

I’ve always had good ideas, awareness of issues and the ability to communicate and translate to others, but I’ve often lacked the will to get up on a platform to share or engage. I now have that tool in my toolkit, and for this, I’m forever grateful. Learning these skills, and understanding what each of us can contribute, is vital to each and every one of us so that, together, we can converse and move our City and Country forward.

Kim Massey is leading up an effort based on a Colorado State University program that can help many of you jump start your confidence and give you important leadership skills. This is a free program that will meet Thursday evenings starting in January. It is a 20-week program for up to 25 persons. Dinner and childcare are available and, did I mention, this is a free program. This program is highly recommended! Please visit their website for program information. For specific information about the Lakewood program, go here.

You can also email Kim Massey at kmassey@co.jefferson.co.us for specific information or to sign up.

If you are interested in ever running for office, or just being a well-informed citizen, please consider this amazing, and did I mention free, opportunity.





On Being Unaffiliated…

On Being Unaffiliated…


When I started my run for City Council in Lakewood, I was a registered Democrat. There was a problem with this, however. Over half of the doors I knocked on and the people I talked with were not Democrats. Often the first question asked me was, “What party do you belong to?” and I always answered truthfully. However, I would usually initially respond by saying that municipal elections in Colorado are nonpartisan and that political affiliation should not matter in our quasi-judicial form of government. Each city council representative and the Mayor is required to approach each issue with an open mind and nonpartisan approach.

But, often people pressed on, so I answered, “I’m a registered Democrat.”

A lot of potentially valuable conversations ended right there, because of that answer, and that was sad. And so, a few months back, I decided to change my affiliation to be unaffiliated. Why? Well, primarily to take the barrier to a conversation away. To truly understand, and represent, all the residents of Ward 2 for Lakewood, I NEED to be able to have a conversation with everyone. No matter what their political affiliation. No matter my political affiliation.

Image of my affiliation change date: 

Honesty and transparency are important.

There was, however, another reason for my mind-shift. As I’ve conversed with many people throughout this process, and done some soul searching, I found that the Democrat label no longer accurately represented what I believed. You see, being a thoughtful human being, I have the ability to listen to valid discourse and change how I think and how I feel. I believe I am much more moderate than the Democrat label implies. I’m certainly not aligned to the Republican label either. So where does that leave me? As with most people, somewhere in the middle. Thus, I changed my affiliation to unaffiliated.

To be an independent means I need to walk the walk and talk the talk. To put my money where my mouth is to properly represent everyone across Ward 2, and Lakewood, and this REQUIRES a nonpartisan and independent approach.

And that’s why I changed affiliation. I grew as a person. I changed and so I changed my political affiliation to independent. That was months ago, and since then, I’ve had hundreds of conversations that were not hindered by a single political label.

And I would do it again if I had it to do over.

I am unaffiliated. I am independent. Lakewood deserves representation that understands that.

I do.