Emergency City Council Meeting 6/30/20

Legislative and administrative actions to reduce Clear Creek crowding, encourage masks, and improve safety and comfort in Golden.

Golden City Council discusses Clear Creek access and additional mask and face covering requirements at emergency meeting.

View full City Council meeting video (3+ hrs long). The Mayor & City Manager’s Coronavirus Community Update the next day is easier to digest at around 1/2 hour.

Clear Creek and mask update
Clear Creek Access and Mask Update

We believe the various legislative and administrative requirements around the Creek and face covering requirements will combine with enforcement and education, education, education to result in the improvement in compliance culture around masks and social distancing that will increase safety, reduce risk of super-spreader events, and allow residents and guests more comfort in enjoying the outdoors.

Bill Fisher, Ward 4 City Councilor

Actions Taken

  • Clear Creek access closed. To be reviewed by City Council July 9th. Paths and trails remain open. Farmer’s Market remains open.
  • City Manager requires face coverings in public areas when unable to maintain physical distance.
  • City Council agrees to consider comprehensive mask/face covering Emergency Ordinance (1st reading July 8th, 2nd reading July 9th).
  • City Council requests emergency authority from Governor Polis to manage Clear Creek water use during pandemic. If granted, this would allow for potential on-creek usage regulation and allowances.

Below are my prepared remarks for the June 30th meeting

I want to acknowledge a concern being voiced by some: Why did we lock down and sacrifice our mental, physical, and economic health to now see the virus again start to rampage through our communities?

The answer – “Safe at home” gave us something we desperately needed: Time. 

It truly made us safer and DID save thousands of lives, and allowed us to stock up for a battle that’s poorly understood, get better at the fight and learn new tricks, and prepare ourselves and our families for the 21st Century version of trench warfare. 

In Colorado, for example, we have learned that if one of our residents went to the hospital in March with COVID, as opposed to right now, she or he was 50% more likely to die in the hospital then vs now. That’s real. That’s progress.

At every turn during the first few months of the pandemic, officials were behind the curve by weeks or months. In some ways (PPE, testing, and contact tracing), we still are.

In other ways, we are finally catching up here in Colorado – and it is again time to look ahead and make smart, tough choices. We must lead with urgency.

Out of the woods?

  • The World Health Organization Director General warns we are not out of the woods. All countries are facing a delicate balance, between protecting their people, while minimizing the social and economic damage. 
    • “It’s not a choice between lives and livelihoods. Countries can do both.”
  • The United States’ top infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci agrees, stating: “Right now, the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges…”, noting that if we don’t turn things around, “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 (Illnesses) a day.” 
  • CDC Deputy Director Dr. Schuchat says, “This is just the beginning of America’s New Coronavirus Surge.”

We are seeing it… Similar to Denver, Adams, Arapahoe… Jefferson County has had the highest number of weekly positive tests since late May. 

Many communities across the US also recognize this risk. For example, cities and counties from  LA to Miami are closing beaches or starting to require masks to stop repeat problems and reduce transmission, and leadership across the political spectrum is urging masks.

Finally – The Governor of Colorado just announced a return to closures of bars, etc.

So, do we go “backwards” as people are saying into a complete lock down? Or during the past several months have we learned there may be ways to avoid sacrificing our economic and social health while staying safe enough to have a functioning society?

Every person and every community has a role to play. Golden is no different – we are a popular destination and place to live and certainly have a role to play keeping our community and guests safe and on track.

If we found a drug that reduced your chance of getting COVID-19 disease by 5x, everyone would be clamoring to take it. Well, we do. It’s called the “6 Foot Social Distancing Mask” drug. And right now, it’s the only thing we think works while we figure out testing and tracing and develop a vaccine.

It’s time to use it, and in the same way vaccinations help us and our neighbors, it’s a public health issue where it’s time to stand up, and be neighborly, and ensure we can have the opportunity to keep our economic engine humming and keep safe everyone we care about: our families, our elders, people with immune or other disease issues at greater risk, and our community.

Managing crowds on the Creek will be challenging – and require changes. Unfortunately we have to consider the maximum damage from large crowds initially – and then carve out spaces for reduced risk activities. One person emailed that a person sitting on a park bench reading a book isn’t a danger. Probably not. But that image is not consistent with what we are discussing, and honestly if it was me I would sit somewhere else for now.

I’m in for making changes, and I’m in for the long haul to keep adjusting this program to maximize effectiveness and keep a close eye on fairness and equity. I don’t care how many meetings we have to have to do this, I care that we save lives and do the right thing including leadership with urgency.

Let’s keep our economy afloat. Let’s acknowledge real and present concerns of our fellow Golden residents for COVID and general Creek “busyness,” and let’s do so in a way that references the reality of persistent racial injustice, misogyny and financial discrimination so we can be as equitable as this terrible virus allows.

Even as we invite guests, we must also acknowledge the rights of our residents to have a say in access and use of the Creek through our town – crowding is what, in part, we were already focused on with the Heart of Golden Project!

In an abundance of caution, reviewing Creek access is the right move to keep from creating a super-spreader situation while we get the opportunity to creatively make exceptions and open. Unfortunately as a solution it’s more of a hammer than a scalpel… that must be refined with the appropriate openings, exceptions, etc.

Weekend Update: Black Lives Matter, City Finances, Astor House Options & More…

Marchers walk along 11th street in Golden, CO on June 7th, 2020 to protest the killing of George Floyd among others – Black Lives Matter.

Weekend Update

Black Lives Matter

 Many of us have been rocked by the overwhelming reality of systemic racism and inequality demonstrated so clearly and obviously the last several weeks. The death of George Floyd and others have focused our country on these longstanding issues.

Mayor Weinberg & Golden City Councilors have provided a strong initial response and appear committed to listening, learning and -most importantly- action.

WilliamFisher.com has details and links to responses by the Mayor, City Councilors and Police Department, and ways to get involved.

Key points (see blog for details)
o June 4: City Council responds to George Floyd & many black citizens’ deaths during Regular Meeting
o June 7: Mayor & Council attend Golden United Vigil & March in Golden. Almost all attendees wearing masks!
o June 11: Mayor & City Council unanimously approve Resolution 2736 declaring Racism A Public Health Crisis. Proclamation read for Pride Month (GLBTQ)
o JULY 16: Committed to action – Golden City Council Study Session with Police Department on next steps… stay tuned!

City Finances & COVID-19

Golden Pandemic Financial Crisis Review
The short answer: Revenues are down, but not as much as we predicted. Sales Tax revenues are down about 5.5%, we anticipated 7-8%. Restaurants, retail and lodging has suffered. Groceries, Home Depot, and online sales are up (Amazon, Wayfair, etc.).

As a former City Councilor I faced the 2008-2009 Great Recession with Golden, and we actually improved financial reserves during that time.  We worked closely with Golden’s Finance Director Jeff Hansen and his team.

Fortunately, Jeff remains at the helm for Golden. I trust his thoughtful guidance and deep thinking about how to protect and maintain Golden, weather the current storm, and maybe even come out ahead.

City Manager Jason Slowinski has taken a conservative line on spending since March – City Council has approved the following efforts:

  • Hold non-critical expenditures (travel, training, upgrades, fireworks, etc.)
  • Freeze on employee travel
  • Soft hiring freeze (e.g Park Rangers hired for COVID-19 safety)
  • The City has identified over $2.6 Million in cuts/holds through the end of the year, which should more than match expected losses. There is a 2nd level of deeper cuts identified if necessary.
  • Asphalt/street/sidewalk replacement for this year will be limited, with the ability to make further cuts.
  • It’s also (already) time to start planning the 2021-2022 bi-annual budget, and City Council will be reviewing priorities to share with Staff.
  • Golden is receiving $1.6 Million from Jefferson County for COVID-19 related expenses. The City Manager and Council discussed plans to ensure it is spent appropriately to benefit our community!
  • Listen and watch the June 11th City Council Financial report and discussion.

COVID-19

The City is hoping to partially open the Splash water park. Golden Community Center opening details are still pending. Summer camps for kids are opening.

Want the latest on what’s open or closed in the City? (e.g. parks & rec, Fossil Trace golf course, City buildings and Court, Clear Creak, tubing, etc.). Visit the new Status of City Services webpage

Jefferson County received a variance from Safer-At-Home orders affecting gatherings, graduations, gyms and other G words, review all variance updates.

Mayor Weinberg & City Manager Slowinski continue video updates: Latest update June 10th with Special Guest Councilor Jim Dale.

The BGoldN program continues serving those in need of food assistance as well as our community businesses.

(NOTE Updated LinkVolunteer Golden website now online.

NEW!  Questions, concerns or thoughts on the City’s COVID-19 response and temporary road and parking closures Downtown? Email Recovery@cityofgolden.net


Masks

BilFish with face covering along Clear Creek

Back in March it was not clear face coverings mattered.
More and More evidence supports the value of Masks and 
Face Coverings to reduce COVID-19 transmission!

Education on use of masks is a team effort. Residents, Businesses and the City all have roles to keep us safe and open. 

The City of Golden just received a shipment of 5,000 masks! 2,500 have already been distributed to help businesses provide education and masks for visitors.

Along with staying safer at home and social distancing, masks and even homemade face coverings are proving valuable in reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

The more we keep this under control, the more we can open our businesses and get back to life enjoying Golden – and it keeps more people alive. Period.

Read updated Mask and Face Covering guidance.


(image: Wikipedia)

Astor House

I’ve been clear that Golden is not some desperate City needing to sell off our heritage. This certainly includes the Astor House! 

At the June 11th City Council meeting, City Council reviewed Staff recommendations on a thoughtful process to accept offers from long-standing Golden non-profit and other organizations interested in partnering with the City. We authorized Staff and a subcommittee of Councilors to work with community members to make progress and ensure the Astor House doesn’t end up sitting abandoned and decaying.

Our Community Goals include the City retaining ownership and partnering for the greatest public benefit and access (read the memo for details). This dovetails well with the citizen-led recommendations of the Astor House Alliance (Aha!). Read the AHA surveys and suggestions here.  

Community Events

I’ve encouraged Staff to take a deeper dive this Fall into what we as a community want for Events. They’ve agreed. (To be led by Deputy City Manager Carly Lorentz).

Staff report we will have Movies in the Parking Lot  (drive-in) in August and September!

Golden Farmer’s Market had a good start last week with new guidelines and safety measures.

Most event holders through summer have chosen to cancel – notably Buffalo Bill Days and Golden Fine Arts Festival

July 4th – The Lions are going virtual all day on the 4th, check out their Facebook Page for details.

Thanks for everyone who has provided comments on Black Lives Matter, the Astor House, events, the budget, wearing masks and more – keep them coming, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.  

Cheers, 
Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 Councilor
Golden, Colorado

Ward 4 FeedbackEmail bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com for regular updates and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and concerns.

George Floyd, Police policies, and Golden’s response

Marchers walk along 11th street in Golden, CO on June 7th, 2020 to protest the killing of George Floyd among others – Black Lives Matter.

I’ve provided a June 13 weekend update with additional detail on the Ward 4 Email Newsletter, subscribe here.

Many of us have been rocked by the overwhelming reality of systemic racism and inequality demonstrated so clearly and obviously the last couple of weeks. The death of George Floyd and others have focused our country on these longstanding issues.


Golden City Council Responds

Golden City Councilors and Mayor Weinberg provided a strong response and comments at last Thursday’s City Council meeting (June 4th video at GCo.TV). Statements and moment of silence at the beginning, additional discussion about next steps and committing to action around 2hrs 36min.

(JUNE 12: Mayor Weinberg posts a thoughtful Newsletter Update)

Golden Vigil & March June 7th – Almost all members of City Council, led by Mayor Weinberg and Councilor Trout, joined as many as 1,000 people (almost universally wearing masks) for the Vigil and March in Parfet Park in Downtown Golden, CO in support of Black Lives Matter and in support of action to address inequality and racism. (See Transcript Article).

They coordinated with Golden United in regards to the protest. Golden United has also planned extensive outreach and action regarding the systemic inequities faced by Black Americans. View speeches and video here.


I am sobered by Golden’s history as a home a century ago for Ku Klux Klan members and rallies. I echo Mayor Weinberg’s thoughts:

“It is an ugly part of our past and it does not reflect the Golden of today.”

“However, we would be naive to think that racism doesn’t exist here. It does and now is the time to actively commit to our Golden values — to be a community where everyone is safe, welcome and treated with respect and dignity.”

Mayor Laura Weinberg, June 7, 2020 Vigil & March, Parfet Park, Golden CO

Civic engagement group Golden United held a Community Conversation on Fighting Racism Thursday, June 11th.

Update: During our June 11 City Council meeting, City Council discussed and unanimously adopted Resolution 2736 to Declare Racism A Public Health Crisis.

During the June 4th City Council meeting I strongly urged City Manager Slowinski and the Golden Police Department to provide a detailed and transparent response regarding Use of Force policies and protocols pertinent to Citizens of Golden and related to potential upcoming protests and marches.

Golden Police Respond

To provide transparency and information to City Council and all Goldenites, Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick and his team provided the following review of pertinent policies, procedures, and training undertaken by officers of the Golden Police Department.

The Department response includes details regarding: Body-worn cameras, Diversity training, Procedural Justice, Crisis intervention training, Homeless navigation, Use of Force, De-escalation, and more.

(UPDATE: The Police response represents where the Department has been – not where they are going. City Staff and the Golden Police Department will hold an extensive public review with City Council at our Study Session on July 16th)

If you haven’t, please consider reading Police Chief Kilpatrick’s letter to the community published at the end of May.

Thank you for the many varied, thoughtful, and significant thoughts, expressions, and suggestions received by fellow residents of Golden. Let’s continue this conversation – and commit to action.


My prepared comments for the June 4th Golden City Council meeting:

This is not just another general conversation about equality. It is about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and others who died from racial violence and injustice. Their lives mattered. Black lives matter.

All living Presidents have weighed in, a sign that I find promising, and I am moved and guided by their words:

Former President Barack Obama states protest is how our country was founded “And we should all be thankful for folks who are willing, in a peaceful, disciplined way, to be out there making a difference.”

Former President George Bush wrote that he and his wife over the past week actively “resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen.” … But “we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system.”

Former President Jimmy Carter shared this remarkable and sobering thought: “We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.”

If we want a diverse community, we must create a welcoming community atmosphere for all people in Golden.

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.

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

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.