October Weekend Update

Astor House news, Branch drop-off, Racial Equity Listening Session, Safe Halloween practices, and more!

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October Weekend Updates: Astor House, Police listening session & moreRegister Here

Golden Police Dept Listening Session
At 6pm on Thursday, Oct 29th, Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick and Golden City Manager Jason Slowinski will be participating in a virtual listening session focused on the topic of racial equity.

 The primary goal of the session is to listen to questions, suggestions, feedback, and stories from the community to create better understanding between the City and community members, particularly community members of color. This event is one of the first steps in the process to make Golden a more welcoming place. 
You may also call to join the conference by phone at +1-408-418-9388.

The next step will be to host a virtual Community Town Hall to take a deeper dive into the topics brought up during the listening session. More details to come. City Council and Staff are taking to heart a focus to improve racial equity and justice, and advocating for more equal opportunity.

Interested in joining this discussion? Keep an eye on Guiding Golden to learn more and get involved.



Golden 2021-2022 Operating Budget
 As the COVID-19 pandemic hit and even prior to the financial crisis, City Manager Slowinski and City Council (even prior to my election) responded swiftly and appropriately with financial controls and spending and hiring freezes and reductions.

We are the beneficiaries. While revenues (primarily sales taxes) are likely to be down about 8% this year, spending is down more. Our critical reserves, projected to end at a healthy 22%, will likely end the year even higher at 27%. I’ll say that again: our financial cushion will improve during 2020.

So, the City is in good financial shape. This could have been very different!

City Council, during our study session last night, encouraged maintaining a conservative spending outlook. I and other councilors are encouraging our team to find ways to support health and safety needs of our residents and employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis. 

The City’s Finance Director, Jeff Hansen, expects continued cuts, wage freezes and belt tightening, with 2019 revenues rebounding hopefully by about 2023.

Much of our budget depends on sales taxes, which direct how we focus our energies and limits how we think about spending.

Amendment B directly affects the City of Golden’s flexibility in spending and management of our budget. I encourage everyone to take a strong look at this bipartisan measure. It provides greater flexibility to local communities such as Golden in how we manage budgets, revenues, and expenses, and reduces the need to focus on sales taxes. And FYI – it does not raise taxes.



I can see the headlines now 🙂 Astor House to be Preserved and Enhanced!
Activating an important area of downtown! City Council agrees with residents’ desire to preserve Golden’s History!Literally almost 50 years in the making! 

 
Well, okay, the most recent process has been at least several years in the making, including the Astor House Alliance, West Downtown neighborhoods, involved residents, members of Friends of the Astor House, the Golden Civic Foundation, Golden History Museums, City Council and Staff and more…

The Astor House Moves Forward
City Council voted last week to direct City Staff to move forward with negotiations with the Foothills Arts Center to improve, restore, preserve, and operate Golden’s Astor House and Astor House Park. The City will retain ownership and Council added a Local Landmark status for the Astor House earlier this summer. Visit Guiding Golden for links to the FAC proposal – it’s a fairly large document.

City News You Can Use 
Heart of Golden refining process
With a bold relaunch, the Heart of Golden is in full swing. Be a part of the future of Golden’s Clear Creek corridor through Downtown, and make history by providing your input!

I especially like the chance to be a visionary: “Design your own corridor.” Click the button below to get started at the Heart of Golden

City of Golden Special Events policy
Quick review: When I was on Council a decade ago (oh, geez, I promised myself I’d never say that… ;-), we took what was then considered a controversial step: we acknowledged that the City has a role to play with special events (and not just the groups that put them on).

In 2015-2016 the City went further to identify changes and create our current Special Events policy, and ask for event holders to share in the burden of expenses from the event (trash, setup, location fees, etc.).

Fast forward to 2020: During my campaign (and really the last year and more), it’s become clear from almost every resident of Golden that we need to re-evaluate and extend our Special Events policies and process.

Everyone has an event they love, and usually one they don’t love so much. Too commercial? Not Local enough? Too crowded? Too many lane closures downtown? Etc…

I’ve pushed for a more considered conversation, and Deputy City Manager Carly Lorentz has been working this year with Special Events Coordinator Diane Tiberi to address events. Last night Council discussed Special Events at our study session. It’s worth a watch if you have time (I mean, it’s no Ted Lasso, but it’s local).  Read the City Council meeting packet here.


 Spooky Halloween Reminders

Tips on staying safe from the State of Colorado and Golden:

https://covid19.colorado.gov/halloween-tips-and-tricks

https://www.cityofgolden.net/tricks-tips-for-a-safe-halloween/

As we enter the holiday season, Jefferson County Public Health and the CDC are sharing that COVID-19 cases are increasing dramatically. As we gather for small personal events, please remain safe. Gatherings should be no more than 10 people, use physical distancing, and try to be outside when possible. Wear masks. Wash your hands.

 October Golden Resident Branch Drop-Off (Today and tomorrow!)
The City of Golden will host a special event for the community to drop off branches broken from the recent storm to assist residents with their yard clean-up on October 16 and 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Read details here. 

Reminder: Make a plan to vote this year! 

Your vote matters. Talk to your college-aged children. Sit down with your high-school seniors turning 18. Have “the talk” with your parents 😉

You can vote in person, by mail, or dropping your ballot off at a local collection drop box. JeffCo Voting Locations

Visit: Jefferson County Voter information

Find: 24-hour secure drop box locations 

Last Minute Voting & Registration: In Colorado, you can both Register to vote and Vote in person through 7pm on Election Day! 

Golden has four drop-off locations this year! Lots of opportunity to be safe and vote as early as possible to ensure your ballot gets counted. I wouldn’t mail in your ballot after about October 26th to ensure it arrives in time.Pro Tip: Voting early slows the stream of phone calls and political mailers. Have additional thoughts? Continue sharing them via Feedback and Social Media links below.

Have a great weekend everyone!



Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 City Councilor
Golden, Colorado

2020 Golden Colorado Voter Recommendation

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“…Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

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 focused on how I perceive issues as they relate to Golden. 

I also suggest the excellent descriptions and analysis in the Colorado Blue Book mailed to all voters and available online. Unfortunately, this year it weighs in at an amazing 176 grams (more than 6 ounces) and over 100 pages. The front has a decent quick reference guide at only 6 pages in length. 

Overview: “Amendment” vs “Proposition”

  1. Amendment with Letter: impacts state constitution, added to ballot by CO Legislature
  2. Amendment with Number: impacts state constitution, added by citizen signature gathering
  3. Proposition with Double Letter: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by CO Legislature
  4. Proposition with Number: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by citizen signature gathering

Without further ado, this year’s recommendations…

Amendment B: Repeals Gallagher Amendment
Recommendation: Vote Yes
With bipartisan legislative support, this benefits local communities and reduces further cuts to education funding and money for first responders such as EMS, doctors and nurses. It will reduce the focus on sales taxes to fund city operations.

Deeply complicated and embedded in Colorado’s continued property tax and education woes (principally related to TABOR), this would freezes some state property tax rates – which might otherwise go down in part because of the pandemic. It also critically supports businesses who have shouldered the property tax burden in the state of Colorado. 

Again, this does not directly address the deeper issue of TABOR, however it begins to add local flexibility (e.g. by the residents of Golden) rather than using a statewide formula for taxes.

Amendment C: Bingo raffles
Recommendation: Vote Neutral
As people know, I do not generally recommend voting in favor of additional gambling or expansion of vices. This feels a bit different, in that it allows non-profits and religious organizations to raise funds through bingo games earlier than they would otherwise (no 5-year waiting period). Golden has organizations that would benefit from this, however this will likely expand an industry around the business of bingo. 

Amendment 76: Reinforces existing requirement that only Citizens can vote
Recommendation: Vote No
Sorry, no two ways about this, it’s pure political theater, propaganda driven by out-of-state interests, and inappropriate manipulation of our amendment process (and affects the state Constitution!). 

Only citizens can vote now. This Amendment implies otherwise, but changes nothing, and is embedded in the State Constitution. The real impact is to keep 17-year olds from voting in a primary if they would turn 18 by the time of the general election. Locally this reduces Goldenites control of who gets to vote. 

Amendment 77: Gaming control of betting limits
Recommendation: Vote No
Casinos are a statewide concern. This gives tiny, mostly casino-controlled towns the ability to change gaming limits for all Coloradans (including Goldenites). As noted above, I do not endorse changes that significantly expand gaming or other vices in exchange for money.



Big Vape: You are on notice. It’s not okay to target our kids.

Proposition EE: Vaping & Nicotine taxes
Recommendation: Vote Hell Yeah!
We are in the middle of a pandemic that causes significant respiratory disease. Colorado teenagers already use nicotine and vape products at TWICE the national average. Sadly, Golden’s children mirror this trend of elevated vape use and addiction.

We know that increasing taxes is the number one proven way to reduce teen use.

It’s shocking to realize that even as Big Vape uses COVID-19 to expand their customer base (not kidding), we have NO TAXES on vape and some other nicotine products(e.g as we do on cigarettes currently). We know price is a significant factor in nicotine use.

Prop EE adds taxes to vaping products and also raises taxes on other nicotine products. The money raised will support pre-schools and K-12 education, as much as $275 Million.

Proposition 113: National Vote
Recommendation: Vote Yes
For Presidential elections, this would grant Colorado’s current Electoral College Votes to whichever candidate wins the popular national election (if enough States agree). This may seem peripheral to Golden, however it impacts the power of each of our votes. There is analysis which suggests voters in Colorado have reduced impact nationally because of the Electoral College. If, as I do, you think the person who receives the most votes should win, then vote yes. 

Proposition 114: Gray wolf reintroduction and management
Recommendation: Neutral
I will vote yes on this, however there’s no clear nexus to the City of Golden to provide a recommendation. More generally, I believe we need to responsibly manage endangered species, and this effort provides an opportunity for Coloradans to do this, while continuing to protect ranchers’ rights and property in the state. 

Proposition 115: Prohibiting Abortion
Recommendation: Vote No
This is a vote of conscience and I appreciate folks will disagree. This particular proposition is even opposed by many religious organizations such as the InterFaith Alliance, and has significant negative impacts on low-income women and communities of color. It creates criminal repercussions for health care workers, and does nothing to address the root causes related to this concern. 

Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction
Recommendation: Vote No
This heavily favors the wealthy, and reduces money for education among other important needs. Colorado and Golden schools are already stretched financially. This doesn’t help – which is the point for those who want to further strangle our limited financial resources. Paradoxically, it will create even more “Fees” from the government for everything we do… Fees that disproportionately hurt lower-income people and communities of color. 

Proposition 117: (Sibling to 116), requires voter approval for certain state enterprises
Recommendation: Vote No
TABOR already significantly restricts how Colorado and local governments operate. This doubles down on TABOR and reduces flexibility to manage our state. Here’s an example: the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund is an existing enterprise that places a fee on large polluters to help pay for cleanup of petroleum contaminated sites in Colorado. If Prop 117 passes, any similar needs in the future would have to be funded by money from the state (e.g. residents of Golden) rather than charging fees to the group causing the problem. Seems unfair because it is unfair. 

Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance
Recommendation: Vote Yes
COVID-19 has exposed gaps in our safety net for many residents (including Goldenites), with even greater impacts for those who are lower-income producing and in communities of color.

Traditionally FMLA has benefited higher income and white-collar workers. This Insurance Pool will help more of our fellow Goldenites take care of an ailing parent or newborn, and supports small businesses while their employee is on leave. Win Win. This isn’t experimental, and is modeled on the many states already providing this benefit.

If you made it through all 11 amendments and propositions, you’re a trooper! One final step: Make a plan to vote. Your vote matters. Talk to your college-aged children. Sit down with your high-school seniors turning 18. Have “the talk” with your parents ;-)You can vote in person, by mail, or dropping your ballot off at a local collection drop box.JeffCo Voting LocationsVisit:Jefferson County Voter information

Find:24-hour secure drop box locations 
Last Minute Voting & Registration: In Colorado, you can both Register to vote and Vote in person through 7pm on Election Day! 
Golden has four drop-off locations this year! Lots of opportunity to be safe and vote as early as possible to ensure your ballot gets counted. I wouldn’t mail in your ballot after about October 26th to ensure it arrives in time.Pro Tip: Voting early slows the stream of phone calls and political mailers. There are many strong feelings, opinions, and beliefs about who we are as a community, and how we navigate what has turned out to be a game-changing year.

I commit to listening and learning, and engaging with you and the Golden community.

Have additional thoughts? Continue sharing them via Feedback and Social Media links below.
 Enjoy the rest of this beautiful Fall weekend!

Bill Fisher, RN
Golden, ColoradoFeedbackEmail bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com for regular updates and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and concerns.Copyright © 2020 Bill Fisher for Golden Ward 4, All rights reserved.

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City Council expands mask requirements in Golden

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2020

For more information, contact:
Communications Manager/PIO
Karlyn Tilley
Office: 303-384-8132
ktilley@cityofgolden.net

Emergency Ordinance Expands Mask Requirements in Golden

Golden, Colo. — July 10, 2020 — Golden City Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance during their meeting last night, which expands current mask requirements to include indoor and outdoor areas of the city. This goes into effect today. Council made this decision in an effort to protect the community against COVID-19 and keep businesses open.

Ordinance 2140 requires face coverings for anyone working or visiting a building that’s open to the public. The order also requires masks in public areas outside, unless you can maintain six feet of separation from others. This includes streets, sidewalks, parks, trails, etc.

Exemptions to the mask order include:

  • Children under 3 years of age
  • People with existing medical conditions that make mask-wearing unsafe to their health
  • Anyone undergoing a medical procedure (ex. Dentist or doctor appointments)
  • When you are seated and eating or drinking
  • Schools
  • Organized sports leagues that are already in compliance with health guidelines

In Golden, follow the Golden Rule and wear a mask to protect others!

This Ordinance expires on Aug. 14 unless City Council votes to extend it. They will re-visit the mask ordinance monthly and make adjustments as necessary based on current health guidelines and pandemic concerns.

Additionally, Council directed staff to look for ways to re-open Clear Creek for limited recreation. Until safe solutions can be identified and implemented, access to the creek will remain closed.

Link to full ordinance
Emergency Ordinance 2140: Mask requirements in Golden

# # #

What’s the deal with masks? Learn more about masks here…

Ward 4 Election Results

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.

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas for Golden with me at bill@williamfisher.com

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1% Growth Ordinance

Where did Golden’s 1% Growth Ordinance go?

Golden's 1% Growth Ordinance – where did it go?

Golden enacted a 1% Growth Ordinance – where did it go?

Posted by Bill Fisher for Ward 4 Golden on Saturday, April 18, 2020

Honestly, nothing. It’s still here. It just doesn’t do what we thought – or rather it does, but only kind of.

As we know, Golden is landlocked and a desirable community, which means that any growth will be in-fill, scrapes, pop-ups and re-zoning. And THAT means we sometimes get growth that doesn’t fit the character of the community.

Remember, the 1% is a “PER YEAR” number. If we have a little over 8000 housing units in Golden, then about 80 housing units can be built every year. Actually it’s less than that, Council dropped it to only 0.9% a few years ago. Yup.

The 1% ordinance has been effective in one sense – providing relief from very large 500-1000 unit projects. Unfortunately, because of various limitations in the ordinance – and loopholes, it hasn’t stopped some of the mid-size projects that probably were intended to be reduced or halted. 

Loopholes? Oh yeah… 
  • Senior housing used to be an exemption
  • moderate and low-income housing
  • School of Mines student housing (they’ve put over 1,000 beds in Golden, yep.)
  • ADUs
  • Hardship allocations
  • Banking units for the future – Huh? Building half a project one year, then build the other half next year. Totally legal.
  • And boarding houses. Wait, boarding houses? Yep, they don’t count eiter.

For more on loopholes and caveats, check the City of Golden website here and here.

So what do we do?

First, make the zoning fit the character of the neighborhoods we want. We even know what we want – all those neighborhood plans we’ve developed over the past 10 years? Time for them to stop collecting dust. 

There’s an opportunity to put teeth behind the 1% ordinance during the re-design of our zoning codes which is going on now. 

Taking the neighborhood plans and embedding those concepts directly into the zoning codes, instead of simply having them be “ideas” of what we want to see, will go further to identify and direct developers towards the type of growth that feels to fit the scale, scope, and character of the neighborhoods where projects are going up.

We’ve done it before – in fact, we were successful a decade ago with zoning restrictions for Washington Avenue downtown to restrict heights and protect the charm and character of our downtown main street, and I think we can apply those principles again.

We can do more. I’m running to provide a strong vision encompassing shared respect for our historic small-town character and greater balance for those of us who live here in light of the increasing numbers of visitors and those hoping to join our community.

Let’s work together and see what we can accomplish on the 1% growth ordinance and more.

Election Ballot update from City of Golden City Clerk

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. 


What happened?

  • 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.

Thanks, 

Monica Mendoza

City Clerk | City of Golden 

911 10th Street | Golden, CO 80401

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

COVID-19 Disease: Resources for Goldenites

So much news about the pandemic is coming so fast. So many websites, links, updates, rumors, etc. Masks? No Masks?

I’ve developed a central location for updated and reliable information for Golden residents: the COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites.


New: Info on making / wearing Masks!


COVID-19 Topics Include:

  • Current disease Case Counts for Colorado and JeffCo
  • Primary Symptoms of the disease per the CDC
  • How & Where to get tested
  • Need Help? What to do if you have been exposed
  • Need Food Assistance? (Local Golden and regional resources)
  • Get Educated (Preparing your home, traveler info, etc.)
  • Stay Updated! (Important links to Local Golden, JeffCo and State resources for reliable news and information)
  • Ways to Help & Stay Healthy (mental and financial health links)
  • Official Social Media links (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

Let me know if you have additional resources we can add for the community!

Yours in Health ~Bill

William Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN Resident, City of Golden Ward 4

Openings & Closings

8th Street Pedestrian temporary bridge now open!

Lots of closures going on – see the City of Golden’s website as well as my COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites page for details.

During this time, it’s important to find some positive ways we can stay healthy during the pandemic and anxiety about turbulent financial times (See more thoughts on staying healthy here).

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.

Cheers,

BilFish, BSN, RN, CHPN

—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4

Special Election Reminder: Mail-only election, ballots to be mailed week of April 6th (must be returned by April 28th). Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.

COVID-19 Response: Open Letter to Golden City Council and Manager

UPDATE 3/13/20 6pm: City of Golden announces closure of Golden Community Center and other facilities. www.GuidingGolden.com now online with City’s COVID-19 response and updated closures.

UPDATE: 3/13/20 4pm: Since sending my letter to City Council, the City has agreed to create a section on GuidingGolden.com with COVID-19 information and the city’s response (not yet up as I write this). Mayor Weinberg has also sent out a thoughtful email this afternoon which I encourage everyone to read.

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.” 

(cited from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/us/coronavirus-deaths-estimate.html)

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.

Communicate – 

  • 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

Action

  • 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.


Regards,
BilFish

Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN Resident, City of Golden Ward 4