Lafayette 2023 City Council Endorsements


We sent questionnaires to each of the candidates running for Lafayette City Council in 2023. Click the candidate’s name to see their answers. Below the candidates are Boulder Weekly’s endorsements.

City Council (Choose 4)

Tim Barnes (incumbent)

JD Mangat (incumbent)

Eric Ryant

John W. Watson

Gala W. Orba

David Fridland

Crystal Gallegos

Tim Barnes (incumbent)

You can meet Tim Barnes while taking a tour of the I.M. Pei-designed National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, where he works as an education specialist.

But he’s also currently on the Lafayette City Council, just wrapping up his first four-year term. Boulder Weekly endorsed Barnes in his initial run in 2019. In his time on Council, Barnes has put his science knowledge to good use serving on several committees including Colorado Communities for Climate Action and the Sustainability and Resilience Advisory Committee. 

When answering our questionnaire, Barnes said his top priority was to “build upon the high-quality of City administration” currently in play, followed by a desire to “nurture councilor collaboration.” He credits councilmember Tonya Briggs — who passed away this year — for teaching him “what it takes to understand residents, colleagues on Council, and City staff.” We believe an integral piece of making any progress as a city council member is the ability to work well with others, which sets Barnes up for another productive term on Council.

Lafayette is currently being sued over ordinances that prevent camping in public spaces, but the City has no dedicated shelter. Barnes says he believes the City should spend more money on services for those experiencing homelessness, including “providing authentic resident-staffed mentorship for each unhoused individual wanting to live in Lafayette.” He also expressed a desire to “mimic” the human-support interventions applied by the Circles USA program, which supports families in poverty.

Barnes has been a proponent of increasing access to affordable housing in Lafayette and meeting the City’s climate and sustainability goals.

David Fridland

David Fridland is a lifelong Boulder County resident with degrees in political science and public policy.

His answers to our questionnaire were the most detailed of any candidate, particularly where climate change is concerned. Fridland started his career out of college doing curbside composting in Lafayette for Eco-Cycle. He currently serves as the president of the board for Recycle Colorado, a state-wide non-profit that focuses on advancing circular economies and improving recycling across the state of Colorado. He says Lafayette should build its own solar arrays or “invest in power-purchase agreements to get to our 100% [renewable energy] goal” by 2030, as laid out in the City’s Climate Action Plan. 

In his 9-to-5 job, Fridland oversees the Air Quality, Climate Action and Waste Diversion efforts at Denver International Airport. DIA is like a small city, with millions of people passing through each year, which we believe gives Fridland a strong foundation to succeed on City Council. In a recent Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee candidate forum, Fridland said he was committed to “pushing our City to be responsive and transparent” and while he may not have all the answers, “I pledge to listen.”

Fridland has a balanced response to helping those experiencing homelessness. He believes the city should spend more to help unsheltered community members. But Fridland isn’t just a pie-in-the-sky progressive: He believes the City must be fiscally responsible, placing “fiscal prudence” third on his list of five priorities (behind “climate action” and “responsible growth”).

JD Mangat

Boulder Weekly has supported JD Mangat since his first run for Council in 2019, after he’d already spent a year filling a vacated seat. He was just 22 at the time, and went on to be elected as mayor by 26. Mangat grew up in Lafayette and now teaches eighth grade social studies at Angevine Middle School.

Mangat still lives with his parents, as he can’t afford to live on his own in his hometown. So it was unsurprising to see that “affordable housing/cost of living” was at the top of Mangat’s list of priorities in our candidate questionnaire (followed by conservation of water, intentional growth, hiring a new city manager, and continuing free/affordable youth services). During his time on Council, Mangat has supported increases in development fees to help create and disperse more affordable housing. Mangat is proud that Lafayette has just broken ground on Colorado’s largest affordable housing complex to-date, Willoughby Corner, which will offer 600 affordable units. He hopes to continue to follow the City’s new housing plan “to refine our development fees, growth management ordinance, and inquire about new ideas like inclusionary housing and denser developments.”

Where transportation is concerned, Mangat recently helped Lafayette finalize its Multimodal Transportation Plan, which will work with RTD to make the city more bus-transit oriented. He hopes to work with Lafayette’s Parks Department to expand the trails system.

Mangat says Lafayette should create its own Housing and Human Services department, “while investing more in our non-profits.” He believes Lafayette relies too heavily on the already overburdened governments of Boulder County and neighboring cities to handle the region’s growing population of people experiencing homelessness.   

Eric Ryant

Our final choice for Lafayette City Council was difficult. Eric Ryant’s answers to our questionnaire were the shortest of any candidate, and at times felt a bit flippant (please decide for yourself by using the QR code at the beginning of this section to see Ryant’s questionnaire, along with those of all other Lafayette City Council candidates). However, other candidates’ answers contained factual inaccuracies, such as saying there is no shelter in Boulder County for unhoused women and children (Haven Ridge, formerly Mother House, in Boulder), and expressing a need to build more schools when enrollment at BVSD schools is so low that the district spoke this summer about closing as many as 10 elementary schools by the 2025-26 school year. So while we believe that there are other candidates on the ballot whose hearts and minds are in the right place, we also believe council members must have their facts straight.

We do believe Ryant is a good choice for Council. He brings to the table more than 40 years of business experience across various industries, including owning two dispensaries in Lafayette. During a Lafayette Youth Council Advisory Committee candidate forum, Ryant said that “fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets, and understanding where the money is supposed to be spent” were at the forefront of his mind. While we may feel that some of his responses to our questions were light on details, we believe Ryant will bring a business sense to Council, which is always needed to balance dreams against reality.