Thank you for supporting and trusting my candidacy during this Special Election. I am excited to get to work – Golden is worth it!
I am honored by the many folks who believed in my candidacy and vision, values, and plan for Golden.
Vote totals were higher than any time in Ward 4 history. The message is clear: Residents are engaged and care about our community!
This is an opportunity to move forward and hit the ground running – supporting efforts already underway by the City of Golden in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis affecting our residents and small businesses.
I applaud my opponent for her willingness and offer to serve Golden. I will work to continue earning the trust of all residents in Ward 4 during my tenure, even as we continue with evolving stay/safer-at/around-home and physical distancing regulations.
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.
This notification was emailed to Ward 4 Candidates Friday April 10th from City Clerk Monica Mendoza:
You may have heard from under-aged voters or their parents who have received a ballot in the mail by error. The City Clerk Office has been working with Jefferson County Elections to address the issue. Please review the talking points below describing the issue and let me know if you have any questions.
Please see the talking points for any incoming questions regarding the mistaken ballots.
Due to a staff error, 59 residents of ward 4 who are pre-registered to vote but will not be 18 years old by Election Day (April 28) mistakenly received ballots for the special election.
16- and 17-year-olds are eligible to pre-register to vote in Colorado, even before they are eligible to vote.
Could those ballots be counted even though the voters are not eligible?
No. Jefferson County Elections has already marked these 59 ballots as ineligible.
If any of these voters accidentally return a ballot, the Jefferson County Elections system will identify the ballot as invalid using the unique barcode on the envelope, and the ballot will not be counted.
How do we fix this?
Jefferson County Elections has already marked all 59 ballots as invalid, so they cannot be counted.
Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern and Golden City Clerk Monica Mendoza are mailing a letter to all 59 residents explaining the error and asking them to discard their ballots.
Jefferson County Elections will also call the voters who have phone numbers on file (27 of the 59) to deliver the same information.
Will this problem affect the other elections this year?
No. Any of these 59 voters who are eligible to vote in the June state primary and/or the November general election will receive their ballots as normal. However, if they are not eligible to vote in those elections, they will not receive ballots.
How did this happen?
Due to current circumstances, Jefferson County Elections was not able to follow standard elections processes in pulling this voter list, which led one elections staff member to erroneously include all registered voters in ward 4, rather than just those 18 and older.
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 I’ve had the chance to assist Golden organizations and volunteers stay safer and sort through all the advice.
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?
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.
So, why wear a mask? Especially untested cloth masks?
First, even a cloth mask may provide you some marginal protection against virus germs getting into your nose or mouth and infecting you.
The 8th street trail pedestrian temporary bridge is now open! This heavily-used trail goes from Clear Creek and the Community Garden and dog park up to the north neighborhoods and Mitchell Elementary. It has been closed since January.
Also, most city neighborhood parks remain open for outdoor recreation, even as the Golden Community Center and Tony Grampsas are closed.
BilFish, BSN, RN, CHPN
—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4
Note: The following letter was sent Friday March 13th to the City Council and Manager only after directly engaging Councilors, the City Manager, the Manager of the GCC and staff at the GCC over the past week via email and in person.
Mayor, City Councilors and City Manager Slowinski,
I am writing to encourage you to consider additional communication, education, outreach, and action. And I encourage you to take action now.
For those who may feel this is “still developing” and that we need to wait to learn more… The virus was reported in Seattle nearly a month ago. Colorado cases have more than quadrupled this week alone. Colorado has reached #5 in the country for total reported cases.
Employers and Schools are taking action and making changes daily that affect us all. The following quote reinforces my experience as a community health RN regarding the urgency of need to act:
“A fire on your stove you could put out with a fire extinguisher, but if your kitchen is ablaze, that fire extinguisher probably won’t work,” said Dr. Carter Mecher, a senior medical adviser for public health at the Department of Veterans Affairs and a former director of medical preparedness policy at the White House during the Obama and Bush administrations.
“Communities that pull the fire extinguisher early are much more effective.”
I know you are already asking about what we can do to help as a City. The limited information released so far after my previous emails does not feel adequate. Here are a few thoughts I have heard from residents and from my own background and experience.
The City of Golden website has no information regarding City-specific responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It simply re-posts County updates. Let’s share information on what city leaders are thinking and doing related to the pandemic.
What is City Council doing about this, and why is City Council going two weeks between meeting while this unfolds? And if the City Council cannot meet in person, how can Council make decisions if urgently needed?
The Golden Community Center website also has no mention of COVID-19. There was an email sent earlier this week. There is no information regarding thoughts on possible changes to programming at the GCC, which touches hundreds of Golden Residents daily. This becomes especially important as our children switching into Spring Break and remote learning mode.
The GCC has added small signs scattered around the facility about staying healthy. As of this morning, there are no warning signs at the two primary entrances directing people with symptoms to remain outside of the GCC. There was (again) no Weight Room Attendant today to help monitor, organize, and maintain hygiene in the facility. At one point there was only one empty spray bottle of equipment cleaning solution on the cubby countertop. Suggesting in an email that cleaning is increasing feels almost disingenuous in the face of these reports.
Education & Outreach
The community would benefit from a hosted (virtual or otherwise) discussion regarding COVID-19 and what the City is and can do about it, as well as what residents can and should be doing – and what we should not be worried about.
Speaking of what we should be worried about:
will our water supply remain clean, safe and uninterrupted?
What if we have a snow storm, will we have capacity to plow the streets?
How are Fire and Life Safety services preparing?
What about trash and recycling, could this be affected?
How can the GCC turn programming into sharing information to everyone we touch base with
Let’s get creative – and let’s get going! Time truly = health risk.
How can the City support residents facing changes or loss of jobs and/or changes in education requiring children to be at home for what will be an undetermined amount of time?
JeffCo is releasing 80,000+ students into the community for an extended period of time, what impacts should we be considering? College students are also returning home.
How can we ensure appropriate staffing at GCC to support residents and remain as hygienic as possible?
Can we finally get the pedestrian path over 8th street to the north neighborhoods re-opened? Now more than ever, residents need ways to get outdoors and stay active and healthy.
Gather and share resources for people who may be struggling with food or physical or mental health issues. How can we support them as a community?
Financial – the concurrent financial crisis demands we review and begin considering thoughtful, measured changes and updates to our two-year budget cycle and planning.
I look forward to a more visible communication, education, outreach and action from City Council and our municipal government. I am ready to help, as are many residents, and we look forward to opportunities to stay engaged.
Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN Resident, City of Golden Ward 4
Someone said these past weeks “feel like quicksand.” The ground is shifting rapidly between the global financial shake-up and changing COVID-19 responses everywhere we turn: in our schools, work, health care, travel and governments.
As some of you may know, I am a community health Registered Nurse (RN). My background is in clinical education and facilitating workforce oversight for TB screening and flu vaccinations, as well as direct care for Hospice patients.
In that vein, I’d like to share a few thoughts. . .
DON’T… panic and join the mobs grabbing all the toilet paper 😉
As we acknowledge the depth of concern during this unsettling time, I encourage everyone to consider ways to maintain both Mental Health and Physical Health – for ourselves and our families. Loss of mental and physical health can be an unfortunate and unintended consequence of working to avoid illness during a viral outbreak.
And while we may have little direct control over the events affecting us, know that we can maintain control over our reaction and response to these events.
Let’s acknowledge the loss of both social engagement (e.g. school, concerts, work, clubs) and physical health options (e.g. canceled school sports, avoiding crowded exercise classes).
Find ways to stay socially engaged. Take advantage when Spring weather provides opportunities to be outdoors. Use virtual and social media at their best to keep us connected with friends, family, and interest groups. Offer to volunteer to help others in need who may be isolated. Be patient, with yourself and with others.
Epidemics and financial crises can trigger new-onset or exacerbations of mental health concerns including depression and anxiety – this is normal, please seek help (for example, through the Jefferson Center for Mental Health).
Exercise, in fact, will probably lessen the risk of an infection, Turner says.
Be creative in staying physically active. Determine if the Golden Community Center or other exercise location is right for you – and get out there! Don’t let COVID-19 be an excuse to avoid maintaining physical health. Stock up on health foods and maintain an appropriate diet. See your providers for regular medical and dental health check-ups. Yes, all the normal stuff. Don’t let it slip!
Finally, the Golden Community Center truly is central to our community life, interacting with hundreds of residents daily. I am encouraging the City and GCC to take the lead as a source for trusted information, inspiration, education, and opportunity for engagement – both social and physical. I look forward to knowing the GCC staff are maintaining the highest level of hygiene precautions and providing education and resources for residents and families.
Let’s face this challenge together as a community, stay as healthy as possible, be kind to each other, and please reach out for support if you need assistance.
Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN
—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4
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.
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.
—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 firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.