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.

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.

Ward 4 Update: Zoning Code Audit, Events, COVID-19, Street/traffic changes

Weekend Update

Thank you for supporting and trusting my candidacy during this Special Election. I am honored by the many folks who believe in my vision, values, and plan for Golden. During my tenure I will work to earn the trust of all residents

Interested in the election results? Visit this blog update
Note: The WilliamFisher.com Blog is updated regularly between email newsletters. 


Council Updates

Zoning Code Audit and Rewrite. As I committed to during the campaign, we are conducting a robust review and rewrite of Golden’s building codes to ensure we maintain our small-town historic character and natural environment.

  1. Phase 1 was the Audit with Community input. This produced the Diagnostic Report (large file, good read, download here).
  2. Phase 2 – The Rewrite. Based on the Audit, Council authorized a round of re-writing portions of the Code through the summer, combined with additional points of community input (which may look odd/virtual due to COVID-19). Speaking of Community Input: Check out the City’s new “Golden Building Blocks” initiative for us residents to help visually define Golden’s character for City Planners.

The Diagnostic Report is comprehensive, and clearly outlines the significant concerns expressed by residents across GoldenIt does not say whether these concerns can be appropriately managed. The rewrite hopefully will propose effective changes to address our concerns (pop-up’s and scrapes, high-density in the wrong areas, ADUs, parking and traffic flow issues, etc.)


COVID-19 & City Finances

Finances: Council’s June 11th meeting will provide a community update and discussion on the City’s financial outlook. This is not “business as usual.” I want the community to hear and hold that discussion before the City proposes any additional major expenditures.

This is why I voted against approving the non-essential $1 Million sidewalk repair bid, which came in over 10% above last year’s pricing (Note: Council awarded the contract anyway. We will have a chance later to decide whether to initiate any work). 

COVID-19: There are SO many updates that I’ll keep it brief.


Street & Parking Changes Support Public Health and Local Businesses

Street lane changes and parking reductions improve social distancing and support local businesses
City Council has acted quickly to continue progress protecting public health and supporting our local businesses. We have authorized the City Manager to make changes in real time to address safety needs. Changes are happening fast: Thank you for your patience and understanding of the need during COVID-19 to be responsive – I appreciate the frustrations this can cause, especially for our West Downtown neighbors and businesses. We have asked the City to communicate through all available channels any updates to road/parking closures.

As restaurants and other businesses re-open, the City will be working with residents to make adjustments based on changing conditions. Council has generally given guidance for Staff to consider Downtown road/parking lane changes and closures, which may look different Monday through Thursday vs Friday/Saturday/Sunday to accommodate safety with increased visitors.

See the detailed City of Golden map of expected closures.


Community Events

Quick update – Council was briefed on cancelations and updates (watch May 28th meeting video at GCO.TV), and has generally directed staff to avoid events wishing to use Washington Avenue downtown. I have suggested Staff considers not only State & County guidance, but also local Golden needs – for example not pushing more event pressure into our 8th-10th Street and West Downtown historic neighborhoods.

  • Staff is looking at options for a “drive-in” version of Movies in the Park in August
  • Most event holders through June, July & August have chosen to cancel (e.g. Buffalo Bill Days)
  • The Golden Farmer’s Market starts June 6 (with new guidelines and safety measures)
  • Not strictly an event… During the May 28th Council Meeting, City Manager Slowinski provided guidance on Clear Creek management for the summer
  • I’ve asked and Council and Staff have agreed to take a deeper dive late Summer or Fall into what we as a community want for Events. 
  • Masks & Face coverings – Lots of community responses on this issue! Council is protecting our businesses by allowing them to require use of face coverings. We’ll have additional discussion at our next Council meeting (June 4th)

Thanks for the great feedback and suggestions we’ve already received! If you have additional thoughts, suggestions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. 

Cheers,

Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 Councilor
Golden, Colorado


Ward 4 Feedback

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

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

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