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Golden 2021 Voter Recommendations

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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

Analysis 
Golden’s children and schools benefit from a stable, dedicated and caring group of citizens leading our Public School Board.

You may have noticed these candidates are running as a slate, dedicated to enhancing education across Jefferson County. This locally-based coordination stems from a 2013 election of radical board members funded by out-of-state interests. Low voter turnout in 2013 was also a factor. Each of the radical members was recalled decisively in a recall election in 2015.

The big losers from the 2013 failed debacle were our children. 

To help in rebuilding JeffCo School’s reputation and continue recent progress and improved performance, Varda, Reed and Parker are the right choices this year. Reed is a life-long school teacher, Parker has worked with abused and neglected children and foster families, and Varda is a scientist and public health advocate.

City of Golden Ballot Measures
Golden voters asked to weigh in on two major ballot measures referred by City Council 

2A & 2B: Recreational Retail Marijuana Stores
Recommendation: However you vote on 2A, vote Yes on 2B to fund public health initiatives if retail stores are allowed


This is a measure in two parts: 2A asks Golden Residents about allowing Recreational Marijuana shops in Golden – we currently only allow medical marijuana; 2B asks whether we should collect a tax on recreational marijuana to be spent on public health measures. I’m proud to have championed directing funds towards improving health in our community.

Analysis
As a health professional and a parent, and based on feedback from constituents, I remain skeptical of the benefits of adding retail marijuana sales to our town. I am voting no on 2A. The principal reasons voiced to vote yes are that marijuana is readily available in nearby cities, so why not have it here and tax it.

Unfortunately, City Council has had to grapple with the reality that the Marijuana Industry has threatened to place the question on the ballot for voters if City Council does not. In keeping with our philosophy to direct and manage change, and to prevent opening marijuana more broadly and less safely across the community, Council placed the issue on the ballot for voters.

Note: 2A and 2B both have to pass for either one to go into effect. If approved, I am committed to focus on implementation to provide the least disruption and greatest safety for our kids and community. 

This may include limiting the number of stores, types of signage, distance from schools and parks, keeping them from Downtown, regulating hours of operation, etc. For more on what this might look like, see recommendations from Golden’s Amendment 64 Task Force Report of Findings.

2C: Lodging Tax for visitors & tourists
Recommendation: Vote Yes On 2C

Golden City Council has unanimously endorsed a Yes Vote on 2C for Golden. As a resident I also endorse this effort to help offset visitor and tourist impacts and manage crowding and cleanup along Clear Creek and Downtown.

Analysis
City Council has referred a lodging tax measure to ask visitors to help pay for all the amenities they use and enjoy, which currently are paid for by Golden residents. The actual language reads that funds “SHALL BE APPLIED TO ADDRESS VISITOR IMPACTS AND FUND COMMUNITY PROJECTS AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS…”


A “have your cake and eat it too” moment for Golden?

This measure is about what we as residents want for our town in the future. Yes, Golden has again balanced our budget with reasonable reserves. 

However, we face significant financial challenges, beginning as soon as next year.

For example, a recent study about our Fire Department suggests Golden residents may be asked to pay an extra $1,000,000 to $4,000,000 EACH YEAR to improve response times and keep our career and volunteer firefighters safe.

At the same time, we face costs and crowding and trash from increased tourism, residents are requesting open space purchases and protections and funding of our treasured cultural institutions, and Parks & Rec facilities are aging and require maintenance, improvements and in some cases (Rooney Road Soccer Fields) replacement. This requires new sources of revenue.

If we want more control to direct and manage change and growth in Golden, a lodging tax will help us achieve this goal. 

An argument for voting no is that it’s a “missed opportunity” to more explicitly fund certain worthy initiatives (open space, workforce housing, etc.). 

City Council directs around $50,000,000 in annual spending and can handle directing these funds, with established guardrails written into the ballot measure. 

It feels self-defeating for any one interest group to argue we should 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
Amendment 78
Recommendation: Vote NO
This is a complicated-sounding amendment that basically shifts decision-making for various “custodial” dollars that come into the state, such as COVID relief funding, from the Governor’s office to the Legislature. 

I am always skeptical when voters are asked to modify the Colorado Constitution further, especially when it could complicate getting funding to the people who need it, and could actually cause our state to lose out on funding. 

If a voter wants the Legislature as opposed to the Governor’s office to approve distribution for every custodial dollar, then a yes vote may be appropriate. 

I agree with the thought that making government less efficient by having the Legislature vote on custodial dollars, and possibly losing out on some money, does not seem like a win. 

Proposition 119
Recommendation: Vote NO
This measure feels good because it taxes marijuana sales in order to provide after-school and other tutoring and training opportunities for our kids.

Unfortunately, it also creates another government bureaucracy and organization that is separate from our statewide school systems and funnels the money to private companies.

The goal of improving education access is laudable, the details suggest we will not get the bang for the buck we should, and further complicate our already-convoluted and underfunded public school systems.

 Proposition 120
Recommendation: Vote NO
This measure purports to lower residential and lodging property taxes.

Based on state law it will likely end up only lowering multifamily property taxes for landlords, and will not benefit renters with lower rents (unless you think the corporations that own apartment complexes will pass along the savings to individuals). 

It will also not benefit (lower taxes) for individual homeowners as it suggests. In a state already dealing with the impacts of having one of the lowest property tax rates in the nation, this will further reduce critical services.

As the recent Denver Post headline notes, Proposition 120 is “A Colorado Property Tax Cut That Isn’t What it Seems.”

The same dark money special interest group supporting this has also paid to collect signatures to run an issue just about every election the last several years. This isn’t the way to manage or create fairness for our tax structure. Vote No.

Voting is an important right, opportunity, and civic duty. Thank you for researching the candidates and ballot measures and making your own decisions.

The more engaged we are, the better we will be.Please consider sharing this newsletter with a neighbor and suggest they sign up by visiting WilliamFisher.com. Thoughts to share? Email or call me.

Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 Resident
Golden, Colorado


Feedback? Email bill@williamfisher.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.

Memorial Day City Council Update

Easier to read version: View this email in your browser

Community Events update, Clear Creek crowding, affordable housing, street lights, Highway 6/58/93 improvements and more…

Hello neighbors!

While the rains aren’t quite done with us, I can safely suggest we are more than ready to ramp up for summertime. Congrats to our recent 2021 School Grads and all who persevered through this last year and more… now let’s get out and enjoy life!

Before getting to the updates, I want to highlight a few upcoming Golden events many have been waiting for:
. Golden Farmers Market opens June 5th! (runs into October) 
. Golden Summer Jam June 24th (at Colorado RailRoad Museum) sponsored by the Golden Civic Foundation. Tickets on sale June 7th. 
. BGoldN addresses food insecurity in our community. Look for ways to help at their website, with upcoming June fundraisers in conjunction with the Golden Lion’s Club and Rotary Club of Golden.
. Homestead Open House at Golden History Park weekly on Saturdays… 
. The City of Golden is hiring! As the Splash opens, Community Center starts accepting walk-ins, Fossil Trace is in full swing, and Parks & Rec ramps up generally, consider a youth or adult seasonal job with the City!
. Golden Police Virtual Safety Academy continues! All are welcome to sign up, the June 9th topic is motor vehicle theft.
. The Golden Bike Cruise is back in action! Last Tuesday June-Sept. New location near the Armory.
. Foothills Art Center presents ArtsWeek Golden July 8-16. Yay Art!

Note: There is (already?!?) discussion of Fall elections for Golden City Council ward seats. At a later date I will share an announcement on my status as a potential candidate. For now, I continue to enjoy the opportunity to serve you and fellow residents here in Golden and remain focused on the work.

Until then, I look forward to the joys of getting out and seeing everyone in person this summer!

My thoughts are with our troops at home and around the world, and to those who have lost loved ones defending our country. Please celebrate carefully and have a peaceful Memorial Day weekend.

Stay safe,

Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 City Councilor
Golden, Colorado


City Council Updates
As I noted in the last newsletter, progress with vaccine distribution means I’m excited to share news focused on more traditional city matters. But first…
A shout out to our superb City employees who, over the past year, responded remarkably and with flexibility to maintain critical services such as fire, police, water, plowing and road maintenance and parks access… and so much more during an unpredictable and capricious pandemic. Thank you!

Clear Creek Corridor
Summer crowding, pollution, noise, and safetyClear Creek busy on a summer dayThis winter, I joined a group of 20 or so folks invited to participate in a community advisory group to help City Manager Jason Slowinski consider ways to manage crowding and environmental impacts along Clear Creek. 

While I think the results may feel weighted somewhat in favor of industry vs. residents, there are dozens of mitigation measures that have been proposed and I look forward to seeing how effective they are. Learn more and review the Council Briefing Powerpoint on Guiding Golden… More importantly, what do you think? Let me know!
2021 Clear Creek Strategies Presentation (1.65MB)

Affordable and Attainable Housing
Nationwide this issue is growing quickly. While there appears to be little momentum nationally, we are seeing interest at the State and local levels. 

In fact, Gov. Jared Polis just signed House Bill 1117 allowing local governments such as Golden the ability to require some affordability in housing for new developments, an important step.Separately, City Council, at Mayor Weinberg’s request, held a special working session recently on housing affordability and attainability. From this we are recommending that City Staff consider long-term plans to address this issue. 

For example, we have encouraged the hiring of dedicated affordable housing staff to assist in this effort and take advantage of state or federal dollars that may become available.

I’ve joined with several Councilors, led by Mayor Pro Tem Brown, working alongside community organizations such as Golden United’s Housing Task Forceand concerned residents regarding recent events to maintain appropriate access to affordable mobile home parks opportunities. Please let me know if you’d like to learn more or get involved!

Programming Alert: Golden United Presents “Housing is Preventative Medicine” via Zoom on June 3rd at 6pm. Learn more and register.

Infrastructure –
Highways 58 & 93 mitigation

Many of us in the North Neighborhoods have lived for years with increasing pollution, noise, and accidents along highways 58 & 93. 

Even prior to knowing the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve called for two things: shovel-ready projects to take advantage of recovery funding, and a focus on helping North Golden with safety and noise mitigation equal to work already done or in progress for Central and South Golden.I’m pleased to report that multiple important priorities for North Golden are now included in Golden’s Investment Ready Projects list.
View: Golden Investment Ready Project List

We also made it onto the County’s radar for important projects: The Jefferson County Transportation Needs master list was released by the County in March and submitted to our Congress persons, and include the following Golden priorities:
. Highway 93 realignment and safety improvements at the north end of Golden
. Highway 93 multi-use path to Boulder (bike/ped/etc.)
. Highway 6 and Heritage Road interchange improvements (in progress)

I’m also excited that Congressman Ed Perlmutter has included a $2.3 Million request for improvements to Highway 93 in his District Projects Funding Request(not guaranteed, of course).

We are still working to include improvements along Highway 58 and near the Village at Mountain Ridge (such as additional berms and other noise efforts). However, this news gives hope to all who wonder if it’s worth the conversation and effort on improving highways near our homes. 

There’s more to be done, and this is a start. If you’d like to talk more about these projects or additional mitigation, please reach out and let’s chat!

City Street Lights update
A couple of years ago Golden purchased all of our street lights from Xcel Energy. 

Unfortunately, Xcel has been fairly uncompromising in working with us, and thus I’m not thrilled that Staff presented a $1+ Million adjustment that came before Council last week regarding this purchase. 

Being on the forefront of taking ownership of our community has a cost. However, the reality is that we’ll still save money and have more flexibility down the road.

The Good news? 
If you happened to see street lights coming down around town, don’t worry! Each of these will be repositioned onto a new pole over the course of the summer. About 125 of the lights we purchased are on Xcel power poles, and the City has to replace them as part of the agreement.  

We will be replacing lights with energy-saving LEDs to meet our community energy reduction and climate action goals (along with saving money).

If you have questions/comments about a specific pole, you are welcome to touch base with me (as several residents have already) or speak directly with Public Works. 

City Council: Live and In Person starting June 8
No more zoom meetings? 
Well, not quite, but I’m excited to announce that City Offices and Golden City Council will be shifting to in-person visits and LIVE City Council meetings starting in June – another chance for us to connect in person. 

Meetings will still be broadcast on GCO.TV and online, and we are considering options for hybrid public comment – allowing both electronic comments and live comments from the public.

Misc….Want to have a voice in our future? Golden is undertaking a Tourism Strategic Planning process. If you haven’t taken the survey, consider sharing your thoughts at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/visitgolden

COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Everyone 12 and up is now able to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine. There are many same-day walk-in clinics and vaccination sites available and appointments if you’d like to schedule one!
State of ColoradoWhere to get vaccinated
JeffCo Public HealthCOVID-19 case count and vaccine info
Vaccine Spotter: www.vaccinespotter.org/CO/
JeffCo Public Health Vaccine Clinic information 
Mobility Issues? Check here for Denver regional resources. Uber & Lyft are also offering free rides for vaccinations through July 4th.
State of CO voice hotline: 1-877-268-2926, staffed 24hrs a day.

And thanks to everyone in Golden for staying safe! Wear masks if you are not vaccinated, continue physical distancing, and wash your hands.Until then, I look forward to the joys of getting out and seeing everyone in person this summer!

Feedback?Email bill@williamfisher.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. Update Preferences