Golden37: Positive Impact

What do you love about Golden? How can we keep making Golden an even better place to live?

We are fortunate to live here, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be nestled in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains and have access to the Mesas, Clear Creek, Open Space, and many trails.

I am introducing the Golden37: Positive Impact Youtube series of ways we can improve Golden. This is based on dozens of conversations with neighbors and residents, my previous service on City Council and boards and commissions such as GURA (Golden Urban Renewal Authority) and having lived here more than 20 years.

Golden37: Positive Impacts for the City of Golden, Colorado

COVID-19 Disease: Resources for Goldenites

So much news about the pandemic is coming so fast. So many websites, links, updates, rumors, etc.

I’ve created a central location for updated and reliable information for Golden residents: the COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites.

Visit COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites

Topics Include:

  • Current disease Case Counts for Colorado and JeffCo
  • Primary Symptoms of the disease per the CDC
  • How & Where to get tested
  • Need Help? What to do if you have been exposed
  • Need Food Assistance? (Local Golden and regional resources)
  • Get Educated (Preparing your home, traveler info, etc.)
  • Stay Updated! (Important links to Local Golden, JeffCo and State resources for reliable news and information)
  • Ways to Help & Stay Healthy (mental and financial health links)
  • Official Social Media links (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

Let me know if you have additional resources we can add for the community!

Yours in Health ~Bill

William Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN Resident, City of Golden Ward 4

Openings & Closings

8th Street Pedestrian temporary bridge now open!

Lots of closures going on – see the City of Golden’s website as well as my COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites page for details.

During this time, it’s important to find some positive ways we can stay healthy during the pandemic and anxiety about turbulent financial times (See more thoughts on staying healthy here).

The 8th street trail pedestrian temporary bridge is now open! This heavily-used trail goes from Clear Creek and the Community Garden and dog park up to the north neighborhoods and Mitchell Elementary. It has been closed since January.

Also, most city neighborhood parks remain open for outdoor recreation, even as the Golden Community Center and Tony Grampsas are closed.

Cheers,

BilFish, BSN, RN, CHPN

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

Special Election Reminder: Mail-only election, ballots to be mailed week of April 6th (must be returned by April 28th). Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.

COVID-19 Response: Open Letter to Golden City Council and Manager

UPDATE 3/13/20 6pm: City of Golden announces closure of Golden Community Center and other facilities. www.GuidingGolden.com now online with City’s COVID-19 response and updated closures.

UPDATE: 3/13/20 4pm: Since sending my letter to City Council, the City has agreed to create a section on GuidingGolden.com with COVID-19 information and the city’s response (not yet up as I write this). Mayor Weinberg has also sent out a thoughtful email this afternoon which I encourage everyone to read.

Note: The following letter was sent Friday March 13th to the City Council and Manager only after directly engaging Councilors, the City Manager, the Manager of the GCC and staff at the GCC over the past week via email and in person.

Mayor, City Councilors and City Manager Slowinski,

I am writing to encourage you to consider additional communication, education, outreach, and action. And I encourage you to take action now. 

For those who may feel this is “still developing” and that we need to wait to learn more…  The virus was reported in Seattle nearly a month ago. Colorado cases have more than quadrupled this week alone. Colorado has reached #5 in the country for total reported cases.

Employers and Schools are taking action and making changes daily that affect us all. The following quote reinforces my experience as a community health RN regarding the urgency of need to act:

“A fire on your stove you could put out with a fire extinguisher, but if your kitchen is ablaze, that fire extinguisher probably won’t work,” said Dr. Carter Mecher, a senior medical adviser for public health at the Department of Veterans Affairs and a former director of medical preparedness policy at the White House during the Obama and Bush administrations. 

“Communities that pull the fire extinguisher early are much more effective.” 

(cited from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/us/coronavirus-deaths-estimate.html)

I know you are already asking about what we can do to help as a City. The limited information released so far after my previous emails does not feel adequate. Here are a few thoughts I have heard from residents and from my own background and experience.

Communicate – 

  • The City of Golden website has no information regarding City-specific responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It simply re-posts County updates. Let’s share information on what city leaders are thinking and doing related to the pandemic.
  • What is City Council doing about this, and why is City Council going two weeks between meeting while this unfolds? And if the City Council cannot meet in person, how can Council make decisions if urgently needed?
  • The Golden Community Center website also has no mention of COVID-19. There was an email sent earlier this week. There is no information regarding thoughts on possible changes to programming at the GCC, which touches hundreds of Golden Residents daily. This becomes especially important as our children switching into Spring Break and remote learning mode.
    • The GCC has added small signs scattered around the facility about staying healthy. As of this morning, there are no warning signs at the two primary entrances directing people with symptoms to remain outside of the GCC. There was (again) no Weight Room Attendant today to help monitor, organize, and maintain hygiene in the facility. At one point there was only one empty spray bottle of equipment cleaning solution on the cubby countertop. Suggesting in an email that cleaning is increasing feels almost disingenuous in the face of these reports.

Education & Outreach

  • The community would benefit from a hosted (virtual or otherwise) discussion regarding COVID-19 and what the City is and can do about it, as well as what residents can and should be doing – and what we should not be worried about. 
  • Speaking of what we should be worried about:
    •  will our water supply remain clean, safe and uninterrupted? 
    • What if we have a snow storm, will we have capacity to plow the streets? 
    • How are Fire and Life Safety services preparing? 
    • What about trash and recycling, could this be affected? 
  • How can the GCC turn programming into sharing information to everyone we touch base with

Action

  • Let’s get creative – and let’s get going! Time truly = health risk.
  • How can the City support residents facing changes or loss of jobs and/or changes in education requiring children to be at home for what will be an undetermined amount of time?
    • JeffCo is releasing 80,000+ students into the community for an extended period of time, what impacts should we be considering? College students are also returning home.
  • How can we ensure appropriate staffing at GCC to support residents and remain as hygienic as possible?
  • Can we finally get the pedestrian path over 8th street to the north neighborhoods re-opened? Now more than ever, residents need ways to get outdoors and stay active and healthy.
  • Gather and share resources for people who may be struggling with food or physical or mental health issues. How can we support them as a community?
  • Financial – the concurrent financial crisis demands we review and begin considering thoughtful, measured changes and updates to our two-year budget cycle and planning.

I look forward to a more visible communication, education, outreach and action from City Council and our municipal government. I am ready to help, as are many residents, and we look forward to opportunities to stay engaged.


Regards,
BilFish

Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN Resident, City of Golden Ward 4

Staying Healthy in Golden (during a pandemic)

Update: Visit COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites for additional Resources

I hope this finds you healthy!
 
Someone said these past weeks “feel like quicksand.” The ground is shifting rapidly between the global financial shake-up and changing COVID-19 responses everywhere we turn: in our schools, work, health care, travel and governments. 
 
As some of you may know, I am a community health Registered Nurse (RN). My background is in clinical education and facilitating workforce oversight for TB screening and flu vaccinations, as well as direct care for Hospice patients.
 
In that vein, I’d like to share a few thoughts. . .
 

First, I’ve added COVID-19 Resource Links for Goldenites to my website and will update regularly. Let me know if you have resources I should include.
 

Become educated and push back against fear and rumors

Know what COVID-19 is, and what it is not. Take appropriate precautions to reduce transmission risk, and work to keep our finances and households secure.

DON’T… panic and join the mobs grabbing all the toilet paper 😉

 
 
As we acknowledge the depth of concern during this unsettling time, I encourage everyone to consider ways to maintain both Mental Health and Physical Health – for ourselves and our families. Loss of mental and physical health can be an unfortunate and unintended consequence of working to avoid illness during a viral outbreak.
 

And while we may have little direct control over the events affecting us, know that we can maintain control over our reaction and response to these events. 

 

Cabin Fever?

Let’s acknowledge the loss of both social engagement (e.g. school, concerts, work, clubs) and physical health options (e.g. canceled school sports, avoiding crowded exercise classes). 
 
Find ways to stay socially engaged. Take advantage when Spring weather provides opportunities to be outdoors. Use virtual and social media at their best to keep us connected with friends, family, and interest groups. Offer to volunteer to help others in need who may be isolated. Be patient, with yourself and with others. 
 
Epidemics and financial crises can trigger new-onset or exacerbations of mental health concerns including depression and anxiety – this is normal, please seek help (for example, through the Jefferson Center for Mental Health).

 

 “It is safe to exercise, despite concerns about coronavirus,” concludes James Turner, professor of health science, in the New York Times. 

Exercise, in fact, will probably lessen the risk of an infection, Turner says.

 
Be creative in staying physically active. Determine if the Golden Community Center or other exercise location is right for you – and get out there! Don’t let COVID-19 be an excuse to avoid maintaining physical health. Stock up on health foods and maintain an appropriate diet. See your providers for regular medical and dental health check-ups. Yes, all the normal stuff. Don’t let it slip!
 
Finally, the Golden Community Center truly is central to our community life, interacting with hundreds of residents daily. I am encouraging the City and GCC to take the lead as a source for trusted information, inspiration, education, and opportunity for engagement – both social and physical. I look forward to knowing the GCC staff are maintaining the highest level of hygiene precautions and providing education and resources for residents and families.
 
Let’s face this challenge together as a community, stay as healthy as possible, be kind to each other, and please reach out for support if you need assistance.

 

Cheers,


Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN


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

Heart of Golden 2020 (Disneyland Golden?!?)

City Council Update Tonight!

First, thanks to everyone who tried my Ward 4 Chili at the Chili Cook-off and supported our Golden High School students!

Heart of Golden 2020 / Clear Creek 
The Heart of Golden visioning process kicked off in January to learn what residents want as we re-imagine the Clear Creek corridor from the Community Garden to the west to the new Coors property acquisition towards the east.

So far, the process feels designed to ask what cool new amenities we wanted with “pins” on a map, like imagining a new “Disney-fied” version of the Creek as someone suggested (new grills, amusement rides, tubing access points, restaurants, playground equipment, splash pads for kids, trams, etc.).

The City is using the phrase “dream corridor” to guide us. What I’m hearing almost universally is that residents already love Clear Creek – but they have to avoid it because it’s so busy on weekends and is feeling less local, safe, and clean. Natural, peaceful, tidy, local, safe…not sure how to “pin” that to a map?

Tonight, City Council will hear an update from Staff regarding the Heart of Golden process. This will be a great chance (in person or via live video) to see how Staff is interpreting feedback from our community.

The City talks about leaving a lasting legacy. I agree this project will having lasting impacts, and we will need strong leadership on Council to understand and guide how this affects our community now and for the future.

The Heart of Golden 2020 continues next Tuesday, March 11th at 6:30pm in City Hall, please consider sharing your energy and thoughts as we go through this process!

8th Street Closure: pedestrian & school route and bridge update?

Oddly, staff will NOT be providing an update to Council on the unexpected bridge and trail closure. In fact, this has dropped off the City’s Guiding Golden front page (However, you can still find it here). The closure started back in January, and there’s still no sign of a temporary crossing as the City committed to do.

Their last update was in February. We deserve better communication and leadership regarding this closure, and I look forward to more frequent updates -and progress- from the City.

Yard Signs & Neighborhood Meetings

Thanks to so many people agreeing to host yard signs! And yes, if you still have an old yard sign from my last campaign, bring it out of hiding. Please remember to keep the signs staked down well so they don’t blow away.

Over the last month I’ve joined several neighborhood discussions hosted in people’s homes and coffee shops. Thank you for the opportunity, I appreciate the many thoughtful comments and ideas we’ve discussed. It’s refreshing to see how many people love Golden and have great suggestions for improving our town. If you’d like to host a gathering with neighbors, please reach out!

FYI: Don’t forget Coffee with a Councilor this Saturday at 3pm at Cafe 13 to speak with your City Council District representatives Casey Brown and J.J. Trout.

Thanks for reading, and keep the feedback coming!

Cheers,


BilFish

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

Special Election: Ballots will be mailed out April 6th for this mail only election and must be returned by April 28th.

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

Golden High School PTA Chili Cook-Off & Serving Golden on Boards & Commissions

Above: Golden High Students Excited to try Ward 4 Chili 🙂
Good morning!

All the news I choose to read suggests coffee is good for us. I hope this is true, because I’m enjoying meeting neighbors around Ward 4 for coffee each week.

…and read on for a great way to enjoy a winter day and support our community…

Ward 4 Election News Flash
The Golden City Clerk’s office reports I am officially on the ballot! 
(Please vote in this mail-only special election in April as I’m facing an opponent for this seat.)

I believe in representing all neighbors and am thankful to have received support and signatures from residents across Ward 4: from Mountain Ridge to Central Neighborhoods between Mines and Golden High School, and our many historic areas: 8-10th Streets, East Street, North Historic and 12th Street Historic neighborhoods. 

Golden High School Chili Cook-Off

Golden High School Chili Cook-Off and silent auction: Tonight, Thursday Feb 20, 6-8:30pm

Help support our school children and join me tonight!
 
Once again I’ll be serving up soon-to-be-famous Ward 4 Chili in support of our local Golden High School PTA. Sample great chili, corn bread, and desserts while bidding for amazing silent auction items (auction open now). I hope to see you there (click for details and tickets).

Golden is made stronger when we enhance community schools. Our family has appreciated the opportunity to be a part of supporting our schools through PTAs, the Golden Schools Foundation and Golden Backpack Program and through my service on City Council in partnership with Golden schools. 


Many Ways to Serve: Golden’s Boards & Commissions
Before City Council, I served on multiple boards and commissions and know the value of having the talents of our diverse community benefit all of Golden.

Please consider applying to help guide us! It sounds like the City is hoping for a variety of applicants for these open positions. Visit the Golden Boards & Commissions page to learn more about the following openings (typically 4 year terms, apply by March 11th):

Community Sustainability Advisory Board
Golden Urban Renewal Authority
Historic Preservation Board
Mobility and Transportation
Advisory Board
Planning Commission
Investment Advisory Committee
Downtown Development Authority 

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate the feedback you have provided!

Cheers,
BilFish

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

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

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.

Golden’s Unexpected Bridge Closure

First… Thank you!

I appreciate everyone who has emailed or caught up with me on the trails, at the gym or attending Golden events with encouragement for my candidacy, as well as sharing your thoughts on how to preserve and enhance our city!

Last week City Council approved Golden’s first Transportation Master Plan to codify our community values. In part this aims to ensure the reliability of bike and pedestrian connections (so they remain open during construction).

On the very same day, the City suddenly announced the unexpected and immediate closure of the priority pedestrian and bicycle trail and bridge over Highway 58 from the North neighborhoods into downtown Golden.

Not only was the bridge closed without warning… the closure will last more than 30 days!

The trail is arguably the most heavily trafficked north-south route for non-motorized commuting and recreation in the City, including for Mitchell Elementary students.

This isn’t simply an inconvenience, it’s a critical safe route to schools for our families!

As residents, we have clearly prioritized the opportunity to not only have good streets for cars, but also reliable options for residents and students to get across Golden safely on foot and bicycles – for work, school and recreation.

Pedestrian trail is closed

Core Values

It feels legitimate to ask whether this action is consistent with our core values.
  • Where is the accountability to ensure our City government lives by our stated values?
  • Why wasn’t appropriate notice given to the community?
  • Why can the Developer close this trail at minimal cost with major disruption?
  • Why are the Developer and City not required to consider alternative safe routes to school and work for residents?
  • And was this closure truly necessary at all?

I have shared my thoughts with City Council and encourage you to do the same. (CouncilComments@cityofgolden.net)

If elected I commit to represent all Ward 4 residents and engage in thoughtful, respectful, and critical questioning about how the City thinks of transportation and other issues important to us.

Regards,

BilFish

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

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