Golden Transcript: Q&A with Bill Fisher after election

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com

Read full Golden Transcript article online

Golden, meet your newest city councilor.

His name is Bill Fisher, a familiar face to many as he previously served on the council from 2008 to 2014. He will once again be representing Ward 4, which primarily encompasses a portion of central Golden west of Washington Avenue. That ward was most recently represented by current Golden mayor Laura Weinberg.

Fisher received more than double the votes of his opponent, Stacy Fowler, in a mail-in election completed on April 28.

The Golden Transcript caught up with Fisher on the day after the election was completed to discuss his return to the council, his goals for Golden and the direction he would like the council to go to preserve the city’s character.

What is your reaction to being elected?

I’m really thankful for the trust of my ward and honored by the fact that even during this time, people in Golden are paying attention and understand the importance of our local community and took the time to get out and vote. I look forward to getting to work.

What are your major priorities?

I think the initial priorities are to continue to make sure the city remains in as good of financial shape as possible as the COVID-19 financial crisis continues to set in and potentially impact city government services and also to address what we can do as a city regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking longer term, I see reviewing the zoning rewrites of our ordinances to ensure that as we start to have more growth again or as we see what growth looks like in this new economy we make sure that it is in line with the character that we want to see in.

How will you approach this role?

I’m going to maintain the principles I developed during my first tenure on city council, which are really a focus on transparent and open communication with the residents of Ward 4. Building trust is so important and communication is a key part of that and has been successful for me in the past. I also think communication is the foundation for how we build a collaborative process so as we get things done we do so with the buy-in of the entire community and we do so with the ideas of the entire community so we are building on all the knowledge and expertise we have among residents in Golden to build better solutions than you or I might come up with on our own.

Are their certain approaches you will advocate?

I feel there is an opportunity for the city to take our time with understanding the critical Heart of Golden project so that we get it right – and don’t simply try to rush to get something on the ballot for November. I’d like to see us reevaluate this and take the time to focus on getting it right because this is a 20, 30, 40 year-type of process and impact, so I don’t feel the need to just get it done in six months.

You’ve been vocal about the city needing to do a better job of maintaining its character. Any specific ideas about how to do that?

Sometimes development feels like a big enough topic that it’s hard to get our arms around. I think we start with pieces of it and really focus on elements of look and feel in a way that we haven’t before. If we combined a zoning rewrite to create the zoning we want and engage residents to say “What does that zoning really look like now and what are the possibilities?” In the past we have not been able to share with people in a way that they can imagine what would happen if a developer built out an area. We need to share that with them so that the community can actually say `oh, you know, maybe that’s not what I thought we were going to allow. And maybe we want something less, whether it’s height and setback restrictions or usage restrictions or number of properties.’ Then we combine that with actually embedding the character that people think we’re getting out of our neighborhood plans into the zoning, which we never really did. We just said philosophically here are things that we want. But we didn’t then put teeth in and say ‘this is how you have to build if you build in the community of Golden.

Golden Conversations

Tough Questions & Accountability
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.

 Cheers,

BilFish

—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 bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.