Doesn’t sound very impressive. Yet Senate Bill 213 could become the single most disruptive bill in recent Colorado history.
Take time to get to know it.
It *WILL* affect your community, and your neighborhood… and probably the street you live on. If you live in a city.
Golden City Council has not taken an official position as of yet. As the Councilor for Ward 4, I urge you to understand the potential impacts of this bill. Perhaps start by reading a few articles which hit close to home… so close to home they use Golden’s “Howdy Folks” sign to illustrate it.
* Give power to Developers to put a 6-unit condo in any neighborhood, even ones currently with single family homes. – And Golden can’t require the builder to add any parking for all of these new tenants – Imagine the next-door neighbor’s house being scraped and suddenly becoming a 6-unit rental building owned by a corporate landlord, with the building pushed out to within 5 feet of the property line in all directions, 30-35 feet tall.
* Live in an HOA or PUD zoned area? That won’t matter. The bill eliminates the power of homeowners’ associations to keep out certain types of housing.
* Removes limits in state law on the number of unrelated people who can live together
* ADUs – Golden allows them in many areas, as long as there is an owner on site. That goes away, and ADUs can be built in by companies looking to expand rentals
* Oh, and this only applies to Cities … somehow Counties are exempted. Golden is included as a “Tier 1” city — the most dramatically affected.
Many of us are working diligently to make affordable housing options available. Golden has hired an affordable housing policy coordinator to improve our efforts both locally and regionally, and to be a part of the solution to the housing crisis we face in Colorado.
Being concerned about this bill isn’t a matter of NIMBYism – the bill represents a complete overhaul and functional dismantling of local zoning regulations.
I grew up in Arizona, where developers have traditionally run the state to benefit themselves with explosive growth and unrestrained development at any cost. I’m saddened, and stunned, to imagine a future like that for Colorado.
I support affordable housing changes to our codes, and I support efforts to ensure equitable treatment across our zoning codes. This bill will not achieve that. For further reading, click below!
Voter Recommendations for City of Golden, JeffCo School Board and Colorado ballot measures
For more than a decade I have provided a yearly roundup of issues on the ballot at the request of friends and residents subscribed to the Golden Ward 4 Email Newsletter. Recommendations are based on how I perceive issues as they relate to Golden.
I also suggest reviewing descriptions and analysis in the Colorado Blue Book and Jefferson County Notice of Election booklets mailed to all voters (see buttons below).
Last year’s ballot had almost a dozen issues! This year? Three state and three local. Not so bad!
Without further ado, this year’s recommendations…
Golden City Council Four ward councilor seats are up for election in Golden.
Each candidate, including myself, is running unopposed this year. I won’t speculate as to why, beyond encouraging you to review Mayor Weinberg’s October Informer letter to Follow the Golden Rule. Please be kind to people campaigning and acting as your representatives.
Recommendation: Vote FOR the candidate below listed on your ballot.
Ward 1: Rob Reed I have appreciated Rob’s hard work and dedication to supporting our City, and look forward to working with him further. He brings a detailed and welcomed eye towards ensuring Golden’s interests are protected.
Ward 2: Paul Haseman Paul is an inveterate advocate for his Ward, volunteers regularly, and I respect his collaborative nature on Council (part of why Golden’s a great place to live).
Ward 3: Don Cameron Don is a retired school teacher and longtime Golden resident. He has remained involved in Golden since his first run for City Council, and brings new ideas to the table. I suspect he will challenge the status quo.
Ward 4: Bill Fisher (“William BilFish Fisher” on the ballot) People ask: Why bother to campaign when you are running unopposed?
It’s simple: I respect the trust placed in me to represent all residents of Ward 4 and across Golden.
I remain committed to achieving results for us. Holding neighborhood conversations and attending forums helps me understand our shared goals and values.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve, and if you share a positive vision for Golden’s future, please vote for me.
JeffCo School Board Three seats are up for election in Districts 1, 2 & 5
Recommendation: Vote FOR the following candidates District 1: Danielle Varda District 2: Paula Reed District 5: Mary Parker
Analysis Golden’s children and schools benefit from a stable, dedicated and caring group of citizens leading our Public School Board.
You may have noticed these candidates are running as a slate, dedicated to enhancing education across Jefferson County. This locally-based coordination stems from a 2013 election of radical board members funded by out-of-state interests. Low voter turnout in 2013 was also a factor. Each of the radical members was recalled decisively in a recall election in 2015.
The big losers from the 2013 failed debacle were our children.
To help in rebuilding JeffCo School’s reputation and continue recent progress and improved performance, Varda, Reed and Parker are the right choices this year. Reed is a life-long school teacher, Parker has worked with abused and neglected children and foster families, and Varda is a scientist and public health advocate.
City of Golden Ballot Measures Golden voters asked to weigh in on two major ballot measures referred by City Council
2A & 2B: Recreational Retail Marijuana Stores Recommendation: However you vote on 2A, vote Yes on 2B to fund public health initiatives if retail stores are allowed
This is a measure in two parts: 2A asks Golden Residents about allowing Recreational Marijuana shops in Golden – we currently only allow medical marijuana; 2B asks whether we should collect a tax on recreational marijuana to be spent on public health measures. I’m proud to have championed directing funds towards improving health in our community.
Analysis As a health professional and a parent, and based on feedback from constituents, I remain skeptical of the benefits of adding retail marijuana sales to our town. I am voting no on 2A. The principal reasons voiced to vote yes are that marijuana is readily available in nearby cities, so why not have it here and tax it.
Unfortunately, City Council has had to grapple with the reality that the Marijuana Industry has threatened to place the question on the ballot for voters if City Council does not. In keeping with our philosophy to direct and manage change, and to prevent opening marijuana more broadly and less safely across the community, Council placed the issue on the ballot for voters.
Note: 2A and 2B both have to pass for either one to go into effect. If approved, I am committed to focus on implementation to provide the least disruption and greatest safety for our kids and community.
This may include limiting the number of stores, types of signage, distance from schools and parks, keeping them from Downtown, regulating hours of operation, etc. For more on what this might look like, see recommendations from Golden’s Amendment 64 Task Force Report of Findings.
2C: Lodging Tax for visitors & tourists Recommendation: Vote Yes On 2C
Golden City Council has unanimously endorsed a Yes Vote on 2C for Golden. As a resident I also endorse this effort to help offset visitor and tourist impacts and manage crowding and cleanup along Clear Creek and Downtown.
Analysis City Council has referred a lodging tax measure to ask visitors to help pay for all the amenities they use and enjoy, which currently are paid for by Golden residents. The actual language reads that funds “SHALL BE APPLIED TO ADDRESS VISITOR IMPACTS AND FUND COMMUNITY PROJECTS AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS…”
A “have your cake and eat it too” moment for Golden?
This measure is about what we as residents want for our town in the future. Yes, Golden has again balanced our budget with reasonable reserves.
However, we face significant financial challenges, beginning as soon as next year.
For example, a recent study about our Fire Department suggests Golden residents may be asked to pay an extra $1,000,000 to $4,000,000 EACH YEAR to improve response times and keep our career and volunteer firefighters safe.
At the same time, we face costs and crowding and trash from increased tourism, residents are requesting open space purchases and protections and funding of our treasured cultural institutions, and Parks & Rec facilities are aging and require maintenance, improvements and in some cases (Rooney Road Soccer Fields) replacement. This requires new sources of revenue.
If we want more control to direct and manage change and growth in Golden, a lodging tax will help us achieve this goal.
An argument for voting no is that it’s a “missed opportunity” to more explicitly fund certain worthy initiatives (open space, workforce housing, etc.).
City Council directs around $50,000,000 in annual spending and can handle directing these funds, with established guardrails written into the ballot measure.
It feels self-defeating for any one interest group to argue we should missthis opportunity because they are not “guaranteed” perpetual funding. And the money will truly be more transparent and accounted for in an exclusive fund.
Another argument is that by voting no we will keep prices lower and bring MORE tourists to Golden. Hmmm… are we looking to add even more tourists in Golden and along Clear Creek? Vote yes to manage crowding in town.
If we miss out on this revenue, I honestly worry that City Council will be coming back to residents next year with tough conversations about what we can -and cannot- afford to fund.
Asking visitors to help pay for their impacts on Golden is a worthwhile and legitimate request.
(The JeffCo Voter Guide below has more arguments and answers regarding specifics of the lodging tax ballot measure.)
Colorado Blue Book Read about statewide ballot issues. Read the Blue Book City of Golden Ballot Issues Golden voters are being asked about two major issues: Recreational Marijuana stores and a Lodging Tax. Review the Golden Ballot
State of Colorado Ballot Measures Amendment 78 Recommendation: Vote NO This is a complicated-sounding amendment that basically shifts decision-making for various “custodial” dollars that come into the state, such as COVID relief funding, from the Governor’s office to the Legislature.
I am always skeptical when voters are asked to modify the Colorado Constitution further, especially when it could complicate getting funding to the people who need it, and could actually cause our state to lose out on funding.
If a voter wants the Legislature as opposed to the Governor’s office to approve distribution for every custodial dollar, then a yes vote may be appropriate.
I agree with the thought that making government less efficient by having the Legislature vote on custodial dollars, and possibly losing out on some money, does not seem like a win.
Proposition 119 Recommendation: Vote NO This measure feels good because it taxes marijuana sales in order to provide after-school and other tutoring and training opportunities for our kids.
Unfortunately, it also creates another government bureaucracy and organization that is separate from our statewide school systems and funnels the money to private companies.
The goal of improving education access is laudable, the details suggest we will not get the bang for the buck we should, and further complicate our already-convoluted and underfunded public school systems.
Proposition 120 Recommendation: Vote NO This measure purports to lower residential and lodging property taxes.
Based on state law it will likely end up only lowering multifamily property taxes for landlords, and will not benefit renters with lower rents (unless you think the corporations that own apartment complexes will pass along the savings to individuals).
It will also not benefit (lower taxes) for individual homeowners as it suggests. In a state already dealing with the impacts of having one of the lowest property tax rates in the nation, this will further reduce critical services.
As the recent Denver Post headline notes, Proposition 120 is “A Colorado Property Tax Cut That Isn’t What it Seems.”
The same dark money special interest group supporting this has also paid to collect signatures to run an issue just about every election the last several years. This isn’t the way to manage or create fairness for our tax structure. Vote No.
Voting is an important right, opportunity, and civic duty. Thank you for researching the candidates and ballot measures and making your own decisions.
The more engaged we are, the better we will be.Please consider sharing this newsletter with a neighbor and suggest they sign up by visiting WilliamFisher.com. Thoughts to share? Email or call me.
Join us on August 28th for an inspiring and fun Celebration of Golden and commemoration of the resilience of the community in partnership with the School of Mines, the City of Golden, Act Locally Golden, and Home in Golden. The event will be held from 12pm-2pm on Kafadar Commons (Mines Quad) and offers an opportunity to:
Participate in a community art project that will vividly capture our collective pandemic experiences
Reflect on how the pandemic impacted us
Enjoy rousing musical performances, including local band Alibi
Visit booths of Mines and community organizations
Win prizes from Golden businesses
Enjoy special kids activities with Mines students
Enjoy food and drink options (including from Bob’s Burgers, Basic Kneads Pizza, Golden Poultry and Meats, the Eddy Hotel, and others)
Take a ride on the new Mines-Golden Downtown automated shuttle.
Featured speakers include: Mayor Laura Weinberg, Councilor Bill Fisher, School of Mines executive and a student leader, Kim Mangle, Director of Non-Profit Executive Director Roundtable, Hannah Frey, Undergraduate Student Government President Max Silver, Graduate Student Government President
Labor Day Weekend Update: Racial equity, Clear Creek Crowding, Masks & Heart of Golden
“…I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am writing this during a week where we remember MLK’s “I have a dream” speech delivered nearly 60 years ago, and the Golden City Council continues taking up matters of a person’s worth. How far have we come? And where should we go from here?
I would propose a simple and time-honored philosophy: A rising tide lifts all boats.
Lifting up all lives means recognizing specific groups of lives (e.g. Women, LGBTQ, Black people, Latinx) – and does not tear down the lives of others (Men, Police, etc.).
City Council lifted up Black residents and visitors this week. We find this necessary against a national backdrop of violence towards people of color, and a local history of systemic racism that goes well beyond the evil KKK presence to include ongoing racist attacks against Black residents and visitors right here in Golden.
We supported a request for Golden to make a public statement: Golden Stands with Black Lives.
And Council committed to the long horizon of work to improve racial equity and ensure Black lives don’t just matter, they matter equally.
Over these past months I personally have had to face a realization: Believing I am not racist has been a safe, comfortable, and easy position. But it’s not enough.
Among the scores of comments Council received on the issue of racial equity, especially related to Black Lives, even those people who questioned the worth of a public display of support (such as a banner) voiced a desire for greater equality in Golden.
I am challenging myself to listen, learn, and act towards racial equality and be actively anti-racist. And I challenge each of us to find your own unique way to ensure a rising tide lifts all boats.
Changing the subject, there are additional matters on the minds of Goldenites. And speaking of rising tides, Golden remains committed to stopping another wave of COVID-19 infections: Let’s ensure schools can stay in session so our kids can learn!
To that end we’ve continued to support a mask and face coverings ordinance (along with Jefferson County and the State), which we review monthly and as needed. We’ve also adjusted Clear Creek closures to improve safety.
I realize that requiring masks and closing Clear Creek is far from ideal – it won’t magically make COVID-19 disappear. And we all love nature and know its therapeutic and healthy properties on mind and soul, especially now.
Thus, I look forward to working with Council and City Staff to find ways to manage crowding and safety during #COVIDtimes, with very clear direction to implement a new strategy for Summer 2021. Let’s start planning now for a safe, prosperous, and healthy summer season next year for visitors – and for us residents!
If you are interested in joining an Ad Hoc committee to prepare for and manage the Creek Corridor, please shoot me an email with your interest.
The City of Golden is feeling the hit with reduced revenues this spring and summer. Year-to-date sales tax revenues are down about 8%. Despite this, we remain financially sound through a legacy of conservative investment, a diverse business community, thoughtful leadership, and aggressive action at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
Sadly, cities and towns across Colorado and the U.S. are not faring nearly as well. I hope Federal authorities recognize that local communities are the backbone of this country and critical to the success of America – and take action. We are not out of the weeds yet.
We know that a strong municipal foundation supports our residents, and will continue to focus on tight financial controls along with looking for more opportunities to support our community members. I believe all Councilors and City Mgmt stand ready to take strong action to protect our city.
A couple of examples: The City recently agreed to extend additional support to BGoldN (formerly the Golden Backpack Program), the non-profit organization providing free food options for Goldenites while simultaneously supporting local restaurants.
We are supporting housing and rental relief opportunities, and last week City Council agreed to hire a Homeless Navigator (a partnership with Wheat Ridge and Edgewater) to support those facing homelessness – many for the first time in their lives.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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!
—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.