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2021 Golden Voter RecommendationsMail your ballot by Tuesday Oct 26th (otherwise hand deliver to ensure arrival by Nov 2nd)
New to Golden? Register to vote here by October 28th to receive a mail ballot.
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.
Read my thoughts in the October Informer about neighborhood values and community vision – and work to be done and Learn about all candidates running for City Council
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
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.
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.
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 miss this 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
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.
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.
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.
Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 Resident
Feedback? Email email@example.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com for regular updates and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and concerns.Copyright (C) 2021 Bill Fisher for Golden Ward 4. All rights reserved.