Blog Posts

Golden Transcript: Q&A with Bill Fisher after election

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com

Read full Golden Transcript article online

Golden, meet your newest city councilor.

His name is Bill Fisher, a familiar face to many as he previously served on the council from 2008 to 2014. He will once again be representing Ward 4, which primarily encompasses a portion of central Golden west of Washington Avenue. That ward was most recently represented by current Golden mayor Laura Weinberg.

Fisher received more than double the votes of his opponent, Stacy Fowler, in a mail-in election completed on April 28.

The Golden Transcript caught up with Fisher on the day after the election was completed to discuss his return to the council, his goals for Golden and the direction he would like the council to go to preserve the city’s character.

What is your reaction to being elected?

I’m really thankful for the trust of my ward and honored by the fact that even during this time, people in Golden are paying attention and understand the importance of our local community and took the time to get out and vote. I look forward to getting to work.

What are your major priorities?

I think the initial priorities are to continue to make sure the city remains in as good of financial shape as possible as the COVID-19 financial crisis continues to set in and potentially impact city government services and also to address what we can do as a city regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking longer term, I see reviewing the zoning rewrites of our ordinances to ensure that as we start to have more growth again or as we see what growth looks like in this new economy we make sure that it is in line with the character that we want to see in.

How will you approach this role?

I’m going to maintain the principles I developed during my first tenure on city council, which are really a focus on transparent and open communication with the residents of Ward 4. Building trust is so important and communication is a key part of that and has been successful for me in the past. I also think communication is the foundation for how we build a collaborative process so as we get things done we do so with the buy-in of the entire community and we do so with the ideas of the entire community so we are building on all the knowledge and expertise we have among residents in Golden to build better solutions than you or I might come up with on our own.

Are their certain approaches you will advocate?

I feel there is an opportunity for the city to take our time with understanding the critical Heart of Golden project so that we get it right – and don’t simply try to rush to get something on the ballot for November. I’d like to see us reevaluate this and take the time to focus on getting it right because this is a 20, 30, 40 year-type of process and impact, so I don’t feel the need to just get it done in six months.

You’ve been vocal about the city needing to do a better job of maintaining its character. Any specific ideas about how to do that?

Sometimes development feels like a big enough topic that it’s hard to get our arms around. I think we start with pieces of it and really focus on elements of look and feel in a way that we haven’t before. If we combined a zoning rewrite to create the zoning we want and engage residents to say “What does that zoning really look like now and what are the possibilities?” In the past we have not been able to share with people in a way that they can imagine what would happen if a developer built out an area. We need to share that with them so that the community can actually say `oh, you know, maybe that’s not what I thought we were going to allow. And maybe we want something less, whether it’s height and setback restrictions or usage restrictions or number of properties.’ Then we combine that with actually embedding the character that people think we’re getting out of our neighborhood plans into the zoning, which we never really did. We just said philosophically here are things that we want. But we didn’t then put teeth in and say ‘this is how you have to build if you build in the community of Golden.

Ward 4 Election Results

Thank you for supporting and trusting my candidacy during this Special Election. I am excited to get to work – Golden is worth it!

I am honored by the many folks who believed in my candidacy and vision, values, and plan for Golden.

Vote totals were higher than any time in Ward 4 history. The message is clear: Residents are engaged and care about our community!

This is an opportunity to move forward and hit the ground running – supporting efforts already underway by the City of Golden in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis affecting our residents and small businesses.

I applaud my opponent for her willingness and offer to serve Golden. I will work to continue earning the trust of all residents in Ward 4 during my tenure, even as we continue with evolving stay/safer-at/around-home and physical distancing regulations.

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas for Golden with me at bill@williamfisher.com

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1% Growth Ordinance

Where did Golden’s 1% Growth Ordinance go?

Golden's 1% Growth Ordinance – where did it go?

Golden enacted a 1% Growth Ordinance – where did it go?

Posted by Bill Fisher for Ward 4 Golden on Saturday, April 18, 2020

Honestly, nothing. It’s still here. It just doesn’t do what we thought – or rather it does, but only kind of.

As we know, Golden is landlocked and a desirable community, which means that any growth will be in-fill, scrapes, pop-ups and re-zoning. And THAT means we sometimes get growth that doesn’t fit the character of the community.

Remember, the 1% is a “PER YEAR” number. If we have a little over 8000 housing units in Golden, then about 80 housing units can be built every year. Actually it’s less than that, Council dropped it to only 0.9% a few years ago. Yup.

The 1% ordinance has been effective in one sense – providing relief from very large 500-1000 unit projects. Unfortunately, because of various limitations in the ordinance – and loopholes, it hasn’t stopped some of the mid-size projects that probably were intended to be reduced or halted. 

Loopholes? Oh yeah… 
  • Senior housing used to be an exemption
  • moderate and low-income housing
  • School of Mines student housing (they’ve put over 1,000 beds in Golden, yep.)
  • ADUs
  • Hardship allocations
  • Banking units for the future – Huh? Building half a project one year, then build the other half next year. Totally legal.
  • And boarding houses. Wait, boarding houses? Yep, they don’t count eiter.

For more on loopholes and caveats, check the City of Golden website here and here.

So what do we do?

First, make the zoning fit the character of the neighborhoods we want. We even know what we want – all those neighborhood plans we’ve developed over the past 10 years? Time for them to stop collecting dust. 

There’s an opportunity to put teeth behind the 1% ordinance during the re-design of our zoning codes which is going on now. 

Taking the neighborhood plans and embedding those concepts directly into the zoning codes, instead of simply having them be “ideas” of what we want to see, will go further to identify and direct developers towards the type of growth that feels to fit the scale, scope, and character of the neighborhoods where projects are going up.

We’ve done it before – in fact, we were successful a decade ago with zoning restrictions for Washington Avenue downtown to restrict heights and protect the charm and character of our downtown main street, and I think we can apply those principles again.

We can do more. I’m running to provide a strong vision encompassing shared respect for our historic small-town character and greater balance for those of us who live here in light of the increasing numbers of visitors and those hoping to join our community.

Let’s work together and see what we can accomplish on the 1% growth ordinance and more.

Golden Ward 4 Election: Vote Now

Thank you Golden!

I have been energized by the generosity and heartwarming spirit of our Golden community coming together in response to the pandemic and financial crisis we are facing. 

As a nurse on the front lines taking care of patients in Hospice, I appreciate the warm wishes and expressions of support for me and my family.

If you need help in this time, or you can offer support, please reach out: Locally, visit HelpGoldenNow.org and WilliamFisher.com’s Resources for Goldenites  or view JeffCo Public Health and the Jefferson Center for Mental Health.


Special election for Golden Ward 4 City Council

Voting is going on now. I encourage you to read more about my vision, values, and plan for Golden at WilliamFisher.com

If elected, I am ready to hit the ground running with practical and concrete ways we can respond to COVID-19 and the economic crisis – while enhancing and preserving our way of life and small-town character.

City Councilors should be listening to residents, responding, and then taking action to support our community. It’s not enough to talk about issues, concerns and problems. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

I have been involved in Golden at many levels, and continue to put in the effort we need now:

  • Former GURA Commissioner – Golden’s Urban Renewal Authority. I am ready to support our local businesses
  • Kathy and I serve and support community school PTAs, I am endorsed by Support JeffCo Kids
  • Named Jefferson County Public Health Champion. I supported Radon gas mitigation for residents and served as Director on the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council focused on safe shutdown of the nuclear weapons trigger site and protecting workers. I continue efforts to reduce youth access to marijuana and vaping tobacco and promote safety during COVID-19
  • I served Golden’s Sustainability Initiative and Golden’s Campaign Election Board(The City has many opportunities to serve on boards, commissions, task forces and Leadership Golden – there may be a good fit for your talents and background, consider getting involved!)
  • Emergency Response – During the Indian Gulch Fire behind the Village at Mountain Ridge, the Mayor and I spearheaded urgent and frequent communications and responses for affected residents
  • HelpGoldenNow.org and BGoldN urgent food assistance – I am providing ongoing technical support for this important effort initiated by Mayor Weinberg and benefitting both our local restaurants and community members in need of food assistance.

And of course I served Ward 4 on City Council previously. My campaign focus remains on Golden’s needs now and for the future – yet perhaps it is appropriate to reflect on what we as a community accomplished during my previous tenure:

  • Launching neighborhood Parking Permits
  • Highway 93 – Beating the Beltway/raised tollroad and providing noise-reducing berms and walls (we can do more!)
  • Engaging Mines to reduce building and stadium heights and expand parking (Let’s complete the IGA)
  • Communicating regularly with residents in-person and through WilliamFisher.com and the Ward 4 Email newsletter.
  • Purchasing and reserving critical open space (Now let’s protect the Astor House)
  • Securing permanent status for our Golden Community Garden with water source and the Golden Bike Park
  • Completing Safe Routes to School for our kids and trail connectors for everyone
  • Protecting main street with lower height limits along Wash Avenue
  • Initiating complete streets (e.g. Jackson St) focused on those with transportation and mobility issues, peds and bikes
  • promoting Light Rail & Alternative transit into Golden (The first new RTD line in decades opened here in 2013)

If you share my vision and priorities for Golden, I ask for your vote. 

How to Vote:

  1. You can mail your ballot USPS by April 24th with postage.
  2. You can drop your ballot at Golden City Hall (911 10th St) by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28.

*Special Note: Share this voting opportunity with your 18-year-old High School Seniors and College Students that may be home! Also, the City Clerk’s office notified us some 16- and 17-year-old residents accidentally received ballots, but are not eligible to vote in this election (unless they turn 18 on or before April 28th). I’ve posted details from the City & County on what happened on my website.


…And if I can ask a favor?

Please pass this along to anyone who might be in Ward 4 – Village at Mountain Ridge, North Historic Neighborhoods around Mitchell Elementary, Historic Downtown neighborhoods by Clear Creek and Mines, East Street area, along 19th street towards Golden High School, etc.

I appreciate your input and thank you for your continued support.
 

Cheers,


Bill Fisher, RN, BSN, CHPN


William BilFish Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4
 


April Special Election ballots arrived this week. Please vote now!

Mail your ballot by April 24th with postage. Drop off your ballot at Golden City Hall (911 10th St) by 7 p.m. on April 28.

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

#goldenward4 #ward4golden @cityofgolden #goldencolorado #specialelection

Election Ballot update from City of Golden City Clerk

This notification was emailed to Ward 4 Candidates Friday April 10th from City Clerk Monica Mendoza:

You may have heard from under-aged voters or their parents who have received a ballot in the mail by error. The City Clerk Office has been working with Jefferson County Elections to address the issue. Please review the talking points below describing the issue and let me know if you have any questions.

Please see the talking points for any incoming questions regarding the mistaken ballots. 


What happened?

  • Due to a staff error, 59 residents of ward 4 who are pre-registered to vote but will not be 18 years old by Election Day (April 28) mistakenly received ballots for the special election.
  • 16- and 17-year-olds are eligible to pre-register to vote in Colorado, even before they are eligible to vote.

Could those ballots be counted even though the voters are not eligible?

  • No. Jefferson County Elections has already marked these 59 ballots as ineligible.
  • If any of these voters accidentally return a ballot, the Jefferson County Elections system will identify the ballot as invalid using the unique barcode on the envelope, and the ballot will not be counted. 

How do we fix this?

  • Jefferson County Elections has already marked all 59 ballots as invalid, so they cannot be counted.
  • Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern and Golden City Clerk Monica Mendoza are mailing a letter to all 59 residents explaining the error and asking them to discard their ballots.
  • Jefferson County Elections will also call the voters who have phone numbers on file (27 of the 59) to deliver the same information.

Will this problem affect the other elections this year?

  • No. Any of these 59 voters who are eligible to vote in the June state primary and/or the November general election will receive their ballots as normal. However, if they are not eligible to vote in those elections, they will not receive ballots.

How did this happen?

  • Due to current circumstances, Jefferson County Elections was not able to follow standard elections processes in pulling this voter list, which led one elections staff member to erroneously include all registered voters in ward 4, rather than just those 18 and older.

Thanks, 

Monica Mendoza

City Clerk | City of Golden 

911 10th Street | Golden, CO 80401

Strong Mask Culture

masks. Masks! MASKS!!!!

Mask wearing Clear Creek
Wearing mask along Clear Creek in Golden

At first we heard masks didn’t work, so what gives? Why keep wearing them now?


Don’t forget: Good hand hygiene and physical distancing are the best ways to reduce your risk. Using face coverings when unable to distance is a reasonable (yet imperfect) way to go. Here’s what Johns Hopkins Medicine has to say about masks.


Easy. Understood. Expected.
Thursday July 9, Golden passes mandatory mask requirement.

Order extended County-wide July 14th.

Statewide order expanded for mask requirements July 16th.


surgical_mask
surgical mask

Like many health professionals, I’m fielding questions about masks. I research Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines for my Hospice’s 100+ community healthcare personnel and assisted Golden organizations and volunteers stay safer and sort through all the advice.


Masks are demonstrated to be beneficial in supporting our health with improving understanding of transmission through airborne aerosolization (micro droplets), not simply larger droplets and fomite transmission (inanimate objects such as door handles, countertops, utensils, etc.).

June update: A meta study looked at 172 other studies, published in the Lancet in June. The analysis found that face mask use “could result in a large reduction in risk of infection.” It also found reduction in transmission with physical distancing and eye protection.

Masks requirements now in effect for more than 60% of Coloradans.

Re-breathing CO2? DEBUNKED myth.

CO2 rebreathing is not a problem. Surgeons and health care professionals wear tighter-fitting masks 12+hours a day without issue. CO2 goes through the mask, and the mask only holds a tiny quantity of air compared to what we breathe. This BBC article is as good as any in debunking this dangerous myth.


Denver’s response to the 1918 Flu epidemic and mask wearing. A Cautionary Tale and neat photograph by a University of Michigan Medical Historian (who knew that was a thing? 😉



Which is the Best Face Mask to wear? And can a homemade cloth masks do anything?


Buckle UP! Let’s save lives (maybe our own) & keep business open.


On Friday April 3rd, Governor Polis urged Coloradoans to adopt a “Strong Mask Culture” when leaving the house. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) now says the same.

Why? How do we make or get one? And how do we wear a mask?


“The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

CDC recommendations on cloth mask use

Disclaimer: Nobody’s an expert on this right now, including me. I’m sharing thoughts (not medical advice) regarding masks and resources to help you make educated decisions about your own health in this uncertain time.

Why wear a mask? Especially cloth masks or face coverings?

  1. Even a cloth mask or other non-medical face covering provides some protection against virus germs getting into your nose or mouth and infecting you.
  2. If you have the COVID-19 virus? (more than 25% of infected people do not have symptoms) There is now significant evidence that wearing masks reduces transmission of the virus to someone else.
  3. Cloth masks and non-medical face coverings allow our community to direct medical/surgical and N95 masks for use by healthcare professionals.
  4. Finally, new evidence suggests the financial $$$ benefit of wearing masks could be as much as $5,000+ per person! (read more from Yale).

Tip: The CDC and Surgeon General encourage the public to allow HCP (health care personnel) first access to surgical and N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.

How do I make a mask? How do I wear one?


Tip: Visit COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites for updated information relevant to residents in Golden.

Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN

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. Masks? No Masks?

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


New: Info on making / wearing Masks!


COVID-19 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