October Weekend Update

Astor House news, Branch drop-off, Racial Equity Listening Session, Safe Halloween practices, and more!

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October Weekend Updates: Astor House, Police listening session & moreRegister Here

Golden Police Dept Listening Session
At 6pm on Thursday, Oct 29th, Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick and Golden City Manager Jason Slowinski will be participating in a virtual listening session focused on the topic of racial equity.

 The primary goal of the session is to listen to questions, suggestions, feedback, and stories from the community to create better understanding between the City and community members, particularly community members of color. This event is one of the first steps in the process to make Golden a more welcoming place. 
You may also call to join the conference by phone at +1-408-418-9388.

The next step will be to host a virtual Community Town Hall to take a deeper dive into the topics brought up during the listening session. More details to come. City Council and Staff are taking to heart a focus to improve racial equity and justice, and advocating for more equal opportunity.

Interested in joining this discussion? Keep an eye on Guiding Golden to learn more and get involved.



Golden 2021-2022 Operating Budget
 As the COVID-19 pandemic hit and even prior to the financial crisis, City Manager Slowinski and City Council (even prior to my election) responded swiftly and appropriately with financial controls and spending and hiring freezes and reductions.

We are the beneficiaries. While revenues (primarily sales taxes) are likely to be down about 8% this year, spending is down more. Our critical reserves, projected to end at a healthy 22%, will likely end the year even higher at 27%. I’ll say that again: our financial cushion will improve during 2020.

So, the City is in good financial shape. This could have been very different!

City Council, during our study session last night, encouraged maintaining a conservative spending outlook. I and other councilors are encouraging our team to find ways to support health and safety needs of our residents and employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis. 

The City’s Finance Director, Jeff Hansen, expects continued cuts, wage freezes and belt tightening, with 2019 revenues rebounding hopefully by about 2023.

Much of our budget depends on sales taxes, which direct how we focus our energies and limits how we think about spending.

Amendment B directly affects the City of Golden’s flexibility in spending and management of our budget. I encourage everyone to take a strong look at this bipartisan measure. It provides greater flexibility to local communities such as Golden in how we manage budgets, revenues, and expenses, and reduces the need to focus on sales taxes. And FYI – it does not raise taxes.



I can see the headlines now 🙂 Astor House to be Preserved and Enhanced!
Activating an important area of downtown! City Council agrees with residents’ desire to preserve Golden’s History!Literally almost 50 years in the making! 

 
Well, okay, the most recent process has been at least several years in the making, including the Astor House Alliance, West Downtown neighborhoods, involved residents, members of Friends of the Astor House, the Golden Civic Foundation, Golden History Museums, City Council and Staff and more…

The Astor House Moves Forward
City Council voted last week to direct City Staff to move forward with negotiations with the Foothills Arts Center to improve, restore, preserve, and operate Golden’s Astor House and Astor House Park. The City will retain ownership and Council added a Local Landmark status for the Astor House earlier this summer. Visit Guiding Golden for links to the FAC proposal – it’s a fairly large document.

City News You Can Use 
Heart of Golden refining process
With a bold relaunch, the Heart of Golden is in full swing. Be a part of the future of Golden’s Clear Creek corridor through Downtown, and make history by providing your input!

I especially like the chance to be a visionary: “Design your own corridor.” Click the button below to get started at the Heart of Golden

City of Golden Special Events policy
Quick review: When I was on Council a decade ago (oh, geez, I promised myself I’d never say that… ;-), we took what was then considered a controversial step: we acknowledged that the City has a role to play with special events (and not just the groups that put them on).

In 2015-2016 the City went further to identify changes and create our current Special Events policy, and ask for event holders to share in the burden of expenses from the event (trash, setup, location fees, etc.).

Fast forward to 2020: During my campaign (and really the last year and more), it’s become clear from almost every resident of Golden that we need to re-evaluate and extend our Special Events policies and process.

Everyone has an event they love, and usually one they don’t love so much. Too commercial? Not Local enough? Too crowded? Too many lane closures downtown? Etc…

I’ve pushed for a more considered conversation, and Deputy City Manager Carly Lorentz has been working this year with Special Events Coordinator Diane Tiberi to address events. Last night Council discussed Special Events at our study session. It’s worth a watch if you have time (I mean, it’s no Ted Lasso, but it’s local).  Read the City Council meeting packet here.


 Spooky Halloween Reminders

Tips on staying safe from the State of Colorado and Golden:

https://covid19.colorado.gov/halloween-tips-and-tricks

https://www.cityofgolden.net/tricks-tips-for-a-safe-halloween/

As we enter the holiday season, Jefferson County Public Health and the CDC are sharing that COVID-19 cases are increasing dramatically. As we gather for small personal events, please remain safe. Gatherings should be no more than 10 people, use physical distancing, and try to be outside when possible. Wear masks. Wash your hands.

 October Golden Resident Branch Drop-Off (Today and tomorrow!)
The City of Golden will host a special event for the community to drop off branches broken from the recent storm to assist residents with their yard clean-up on October 16 and 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Read details here. 

Reminder: Make a plan to vote this year! 

Your vote matters. Talk to your college-aged children. Sit down with your high-school seniors turning 18. Have “the talk” with your parents 😉

You can vote in person, by mail, or dropping your ballot off at a local collection drop box. JeffCo Voting Locations

Visit: Jefferson County Voter information

Find: 24-hour secure drop box locations 

Last Minute Voting & Registration: In Colorado, you can both Register to vote and Vote in person through 7pm on Election Day! 

Golden has four drop-off locations this year! Lots of opportunity to be safe and vote as early as possible to ensure your ballot gets counted. I wouldn’t mail in your ballot after about October 26th to ensure it arrives in time.Pro Tip: Voting early slows the stream of phone calls and political mailers. Have additional thoughts? Continue sharing them via Feedback and Social Media links below.

Have a great weekend everyone!



Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 City Councilor
Golden, Colorado

2020 Golden Colorado Voter Recommendation

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“…Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

For more than a decade I have provided a yearly roundup of issues on the ballot at the request of friends and residents subscribed to the Golden Ward 4 Email Newsletter. Recommendations are focused on how I perceive issues as they relate to Golden. 

I also suggest the excellent descriptions and analysis in the Colorado Blue Book mailed to all voters and available online. Unfortunately, this year it weighs in at an amazing 176 grams (more than 6 ounces) and over 100 pages. The front has a decent quick reference guide at only 6 pages in length. 

Overview: “Amendment” vs “Proposition”

  1. Amendment with Letter: impacts state constitution, added to ballot by CO Legislature
  2. Amendment with Number: impacts state constitution, added by citizen signature gathering
  3. Proposition with Double Letter: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by CO Legislature
  4. Proposition with Number: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by citizen signature gathering

Without further ado, this year’s recommendations…

Amendment B: Repeals Gallagher Amendment
Recommendation: Vote Yes
With bipartisan legislative support, this benefits local communities and reduces further cuts to education funding and money for first responders such as EMS, doctors and nurses. It will reduce the focus on sales taxes to fund city operations.

Deeply complicated and embedded in Colorado’s continued property tax and education woes (principally related to TABOR), this would freezes some state property tax rates – which might otherwise go down in part because of the pandemic. It also critically supports businesses who have shouldered the property tax burden in the state of Colorado. 

Again, this does not directly address the deeper issue of TABOR, however it begins to add local flexibility (e.g. by the residents of Golden) rather than using a statewide formula for taxes.

Amendment C: Bingo raffles
Recommendation: Vote Neutral
As people know, I do not generally recommend voting in favor of additional gambling or expansion of vices. This feels a bit different, in that it allows non-profits and religious organizations to raise funds through bingo games earlier than they would otherwise (no 5-year waiting period). Golden has organizations that would benefit from this, however this will likely expand an industry around the business of bingo. 

Amendment 76: Reinforces existing requirement that only Citizens can vote
Recommendation: Vote No
Sorry, no two ways about this, it’s pure political theater, propaganda driven by out-of-state interests, and inappropriate manipulation of our amendment process (and affects the state Constitution!). 

Only citizens can vote now. This Amendment implies otherwise, but changes nothing, and is embedded in the State Constitution. The real impact is to keep 17-year olds from voting in a primary if they would turn 18 by the time of the general election. Locally this reduces Goldenites control of who gets to vote. 

Amendment 77: Gaming control of betting limits
Recommendation: Vote No
Casinos are a statewide concern. This gives tiny, mostly casino-controlled towns the ability to change gaming limits for all Coloradans (including Goldenites). As noted above, I do not endorse changes that significantly expand gaming or other vices in exchange for money.



Big Vape: You are on notice. It’s not okay to target our kids.

Proposition EE: Vaping & Nicotine taxes
Recommendation: Vote Hell Yeah!
We are in the middle of a pandemic that causes significant respiratory disease. Colorado teenagers already use nicotine and vape products at TWICE the national average. Sadly, Golden’s children mirror this trend of elevated vape use and addiction.

We know that increasing taxes is the number one proven way to reduce teen use.

It’s shocking to realize that even as Big Vape uses COVID-19 to expand their customer base (not kidding), we have NO TAXES on vape and some other nicotine products(e.g as we do on cigarettes currently). We know price is a significant factor in nicotine use.

Prop EE adds taxes to vaping products and also raises taxes on other nicotine products. The money raised will support pre-schools and K-12 education, as much as $275 Million.

Proposition 113: National Vote
Recommendation: Vote Yes
For Presidential elections, this would grant Colorado’s current Electoral College Votes to whichever candidate wins the popular national election (if enough States agree). This may seem peripheral to Golden, however it impacts the power of each of our votes. There is analysis which suggests voters in Colorado have reduced impact nationally because of the Electoral College. If, as I do, you think the person who receives the most votes should win, then vote yes. 

Proposition 114: Gray wolf reintroduction and management
Recommendation: Neutral
I will vote yes on this, however there’s no clear nexus to the City of Golden to provide a recommendation. More generally, I believe we need to responsibly manage endangered species, and this effort provides an opportunity for Coloradans to do this, while continuing to protect ranchers’ rights and property in the state. 

Proposition 115: Prohibiting Abortion
Recommendation: Vote No
This is a vote of conscience and I appreciate folks will disagree. This particular proposition is even opposed by many religious organizations such as the InterFaith Alliance, and has significant negative impacts on low-income women and communities of color. It creates criminal repercussions for health care workers, and does nothing to address the root causes related to this concern. 

Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction
Recommendation: Vote No
This heavily favors the wealthy, and reduces money for education among other important needs. Colorado and Golden schools are already stretched financially. This doesn’t help – which is the point for those who want to further strangle our limited financial resources. Paradoxically, it will create even more “Fees” from the government for everything we do… Fees that disproportionately hurt lower-income people and communities of color. 

Proposition 117: (Sibling to 116), requires voter approval for certain state enterprises
Recommendation: Vote No
TABOR already significantly restricts how Colorado and local governments operate. This doubles down on TABOR and reduces flexibility to manage our state. Here’s an example: the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund is an existing enterprise that places a fee on large polluters to help pay for cleanup of petroleum contaminated sites in Colorado. If Prop 117 passes, any similar needs in the future would have to be funded by money from the state (e.g. residents of Golden) rather than charging fees to the group causing the problem. Seems unfair because it is unfair. 

Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance
Recommendation: Vote Yes
COVID-19 has exposed gaps in our safety net for many residents (including Goldenites), with even greater impacts for those who are lower-income producing and in communities of color.

Traditionally FMLA has benefited higher income and white-collar workers. This Insurance Pool will help more of our fellow Goldenites take care of an ailing parent or newborn, and supports small businesses while their employee is on leave. Win Win. This isn’t experimental, and is modeled on the many states already providing this benefit.

If you made it through all 11 amendments and propositions, you’re a trooper! One final step: Make a plan to vote. Your vote matters. Talk to your college-aged children. Sit down with your high-school seniors turning 18. Have “the talk” with your parents ;-)You can vote in person, by mail, or dropping your ballot off at a local collection drop box.JeffCo Voting LocationsVisit:Jefferson County Voter information

Find:24-hour secure drop box locations 
Last Minute Voting & Registration: In Colorado, you can both Register to vote and Vote in person through 7pm on Election Day! 
Golden has four drop-off locations this year! Lots of opportunity to be safe and vote as early as possible to ensure your ballot gets counted. I wouldn’t mail in your ballot after about October 26th to ensure it arrives in time.Pro Tip: Voting early slows the stream of phone calls and political mailers. There are many strong feelings, opinions, and beliefs about who we are as a community, and how we navigate what has turned out to be a game-changing year.

I commit to listening and learning, and engaging with you and the Golden community.

Have additional thoughts? Continue sharing them via Feedback and Social Media links below.
 Enjoy the rest of this beautiful Fall weekend!

Bill Fisher, RN
Golden, ColoradoFeedbackEmail bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com for regular updates and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and concerns.Copyright © 2020 Bill Fisher for Golden Ward 4, All rights reserved.

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