Golden Conversations

Tough Questions & Accountability
Good morning and I hope everyone’s getting a break from daily shoveling!

Whether warm or cold, I believe campaigning should be focused on connecting with fellow residents and hearing your thoughts on a wide variety of topics. Ultimately, a City Councilor in Golden should be able to manage many roles (walk and chew gum at the same time). 

In that vein I returned from a great Heart of Golden 2020 Vision session last night, and it was again snowy and well-attended. Reading the many suggestions, I remain amazed by the varied and creative input from engaged fellow residents. I also joined neighbors on the School of Mines campus for a community meeting focused on historic neighborhood impacts related to the school’s ongoing expansion and construction.  

Critical thinking and the “Defensive reflex”
Thinking about the many roles of a Councilor, a role that some fall into seems to be “Defender of the City.” And this makes sense – we all live here and want the best for our community. 

Sometimes, elected officials have a reflex to protect the government, even when they hear legitimate questions from the very residents they are supposed to serve!

I’ve observed countless times when elected representatives receive feedback from residents – and reflexively defend the status quo or current way of doing things, saying “You don’t understand, this is why it has to be this way. . .”

 Sure, it’s good to know why things are the way they are. But must it always be this way? Unfortunately, this instinct can be a disservice to our residents and community – if we fail to engage in honest, direct dialog. 

 Just because “that’s how things have always been done” doesn’t mean it’s how things must or should be. 

Hard Conversations
I am willing to ask tough questions and have the hard conversations our residents expect. It’s fair, and is an important way to hold ourselves accountable.

 Continuous improvement and responsiveness are hallmarks of any great organization, whether we are fixing potholes in the road or understanding how to manage and control the influx of new people and visitors while maintaining the quality of life and character of the town we live in.

 I am committed to respectful, thoughtful, and critical questioning of how our City government can best serve us. If given the chance, I look forward to the opportunity to help guide how we preserve and enhance Golden.

 Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing how I can support you.

 Cheers,

BilFish

—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4

Special Election Reminder: Ballots will be mailed out April 6th for this mail-in only election and must be returned by April 28th.Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.

Optimism & Unexpected Trail Closure Update

A Reason for Optimism
Programming Alert: This morning at 10am, Councilors JJ Trout and Casey Brown have invited City Manager Jason Slowinski to join Coffee with a Councilor to answer questions about the unexpected trail and bridge closure.

A reason for optimism: Heart of Golden
I am truly optimistic about improving our town. This week Golden residents have demonstrated, again, that we are engaged, active, and care about our small town.

On a cold and snowy Wednesday night I joined nearly 200 enthusiastic residents who showed up to share our thoughts on re-imagining the Clear Creek Corridor (now that we’ve purchased the Coors property). 

Showing its better side, the City effectively reached out and communicated with residents ahead of time. Which proves that when given a chance, Golden residents respond. We all care about our town!

I encourage everyone to visit GuidingGolden.com to join the Heart of Golden process and learn about the City’s responses regarding another issue, the unexpected 8th street trail and bridge closure. And on that note… 

Unexpected Trail & Bridge Closure Update“Surprise!” may be the most disliked word in the English language. Not surprisingly, it became a common and appropriate description of our collective reaction to the unexpected 8th Street trail and bridge closure along with the City’s initial lack of responsiveness. 

Yet, the concern is not simply for late or lacking communication: Residents are rightly concerned for the reality of true impacts in people’s lives for mobility and safety and recreation and schools.

Among others, I reached out to City Councilors and the Mayor, the City Manager and Staff, and attended the MTAB (Mobility and Transportation Advisory Board) meeting to question one of Golden’s City Engineers.

From multiple conflicting responses through various channels, it is clear the communication and closure problems occurred over the course of months. This was not just a last minute “oopsie” forced on us by a private developer and the Church Ditch company beyond our control. And it’s likely to last longer than we thought – now opening in mid-to-late March.

This didn’t have to happen. It was a significant process issue and our frustration is valid – we’ve seen this before for both City and private developer projects!  

What’s next?
Life’s too short to spend time figuring out who to blame. We should expect accountability! Understanding this, many comments from residents reflect a positive Golden path forward:

o First, there is still opportunity to encourage the City Manager to take advantage of Golden’s creative engineering expertise as the hometown of School of Mines to figure out an alternative or bypass to the construction. We can do this.

o Second, everything I’ve heard from neighbors suggests there is tremendous value in understanding what did or didn’t happen. This is not to point fingers, it is so we can improve and embed processes within the City codes, Staff workflow, and our advisory boards to help reduce the likelihood of this happening again.

o Finally, Phew! Because the bridge was also closed, there was concern for structural safety. Nobody from the City has suggested a safety concern for the pedestrian overpass across Highway 58.

Whether it’s too late for this project or not, this exercise remains real — more road closures are already in the works. If you haven’t heard, the City has just announced a major road closure for weeks on Ford street (from 7th to 10th) for Xcel Power. 

I ask Golden’s City Council and Manager to take the lead in understanding what happened. Let’s learn from this, improve the process, and ensure better results going forward.Regards,

BilFish

—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4

P.S. Don’t forget to join me in taking advantage of Golden Restaurant Week!

Special Election Reminder: Ballots will be mailed out starting April 6th for this mail-in ballot only election and must be returned before April 28th.

Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.