September 22, 2017

A Final Report to the Community: 2008-2011

Last week I finished up my last official city project, a final report to the community on what City Council accomplished over the past four years. If you live in Golden, you should have received it in your mailbox, but you can download it as well.

Radio Golden Episode #3: the Beltway Lawsuit, Jeffco’s Emergency Notification System, Downtown Liquor Licenses, and More

Radio Golden Episode #3 features an interview with the executive director of one of the environmental groups suing the federal government to stop the proposed toll highway north of Golden. We also cover Jeffco’s emergency notification system, Golden’s Community Wildfire Community Protection Plan, downtown Golden liquor licenses (and especially outdoor seating), and more. Check out the main podcast (Episode #3) and check out the extended interview with Josh Pollock.

Radio Golden Episode #2: Mike Murphy, Sprawl, Rude Trail Users, and More

Radio Golden Episode #2, featuring an interview with Mike Murphy, discussion about sprawl north of Golden and the library’s potential expansion, a rant about rude trail users, and more is available on the Radio Golden website. You can listen to or download Episode #2 and the Episode #2 Extended Interview, or you can just subscribe to the Radio Golden podcast through iTunes.

E-Days and Other Upcoming Events

The ore cart pull ... all the way from Golden to the State Capitol.

March 29-31, Colorado School of Mines E-Days
You’ll find details about the ore cart pull and all of the other E-Day events on CSM’s website, but the fireworks show has been cancelled because of the fire ban and may get rescheduled for later in the year.

April 5, City Council Study Session
City Hall at 7 p.m. The agenda tentatively includes interviews for openings on the GURA board, a discussion about works plans for the Historic Preservation Board and the Economic Development Commission, and a discussion of the tobacco sales ordinance.

April 12, Ethics in Business Luncheon
It’s at the Denver Marriott West from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. You’ll find more info about the event on the Rotary Club of Golden website.

April 12, City Council Business Meeting
City Hall at 7 p.m. The agenda tentatively includes awarding the utilities replacement bid, several proclamations and an award for the city’s Public Works Department, an ordinance on sidewalk seating, landscaping requirements for commercial and multifamily properties, and awarding this round of i-Neighborhood Matching Grants.

April 14, Coffee With a Councilor
You’ll find City Councilors from District 1 (South Golden), including Saoirse Charis-Graves and maybe others as well at Read, Write and Brew starting at 9 a.m. It’s a great informal opportunity to chat with your City Council representatives about the pedestrian bridge over U.S. 6, the South Neighborhoods Plan, or whatever else is on your mind.

April 18, One Book One Golden Event
One Book One Golden: An event with Craig Barnes, the author of “Growing Up True.” 7 p.m. at Foss Auditorium (American Mountaineering Center).

Jeffco & Golden Fire Bans in Effect

The City of Golden issued a fire ban effective Wednesday, March 28 at 8 a.m. The ban extends to all open burning, including bonfires, open flame torches and welding in wildfire risk areas, public fireworks displays, and model rockets. You can check out the details on the city’s fire ban web page.

Jefferson County also issued a county-wide fire ban with similar restrictions.

There are multiple other stories about the Lower North Fork Fire, as well. A few examples:

On the Next Radio Golden: An Interview With Retired Golden High Principal Mike Murphy

Radio Golden episode #2 is coming … we are recording at the end of the week and should have the episode online by Saturday morning. Our guest: retired Golden High School principal Mike Murphy. We’ll chat about what’s going well at Golden High, the challenges ahead, opportunities for the city to support Golden’s schools, and some of the persistent challenges around drugs and alcohol. Tune in through the Radio Golden website.

All right, so you can’t actually “tune-in” exactly, since it’s not a live-stream (yet), but you can listen directly on the Radio Golden website after it’s posted, you can download the mp3s, or you can subscribe to Radio Golden through iTunes.

The City Manager’s State of the City: 2012

City Manager Mike Bestor presented his annual “State of the City” address last week to the Chamber of Commerce. The short version of Mike’s talk: the city is in great shape.

He spent some time highlighting city efforts from last year that he was particularly proud of, including the Golden Police Department’s role in breaking open a very difficult multi-state serial rapist case (the rapist was recently sentenced to 327 1/2 years, an outcome for which GPD gets a lot of credit). His highlights included the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (40,000 visitors in Golden!), wrapping up the Golden Vision 2030 project, and the national recognition earned by multiple city departments (including the Parks and Recreation Department’s “Gold Medal” award).

He mentioned some issues that are likely to take some time later in the year, including medical marijuana, the beltway fight (“a legal rodeo that will go on most of this year”), and the Blue Ribbon Panel’s upcoming work on Golden’s economic future.

Nothing particularly controversial and no surprises.

The Washington, D.C. National League of Cities Meeting: City Council’s Report

Elected officials from Colorado at the White House Executive Office Building during the National League of Cities meeting.

Golden City Council sent a delegation of four to the National League of Cities meeting in Washington, D.C. last week, including Councilors Saoirse Charis-Graves, Marcia Claxton, and Marcie Miller and led by Mayor Marjorie Sloan. I think it’s critical for Golden to be well-represented at these meetings, partly because of the importance of meeting with the D.C. staff of our Congressional delegation (and with the delegation members themselves) and partly because of how much you learn at these meetings about how other cities are tackling the same sorts of challenges we are here in Golden. Mayor Sloan posted a summary of their trip on her blog (“Working and Learning in Washington, D.C.“):

Ward 1 councilor Marcia Claxton, District 1 councilor Saoirse Charis Graves, District 2 councilor Marcie Miller and I are all back from the National League of Cities 2012 Congressional City conference. We joined officials from 20 Colorado cities and 1600 cities across the country to discuss our challenges and share our successes. Not surprisingly, small, medium, and large cities all have the same priorities– investing in our youth and workforce, funding infrastructure such as true multimodal transportation, and protecting hometown revenues.

We attended talks, workshops, seminars, panel discussions, and briefings. Specific to our state issues, the Colorado Municipal League arranged for us to hear from USDA Undersecretary Harris Sherman on the US Forest Services and its importance to Western cities and towns. We also received a briefing from a Colorado perspective on transportation and transit funding issues, had a lunch panel on infrastructure, went to the White House to learn about regulatory reform and new business startups, made trips to FEMA to learn of new grant opportunities and cyber security issues, and to HUD to learn about community sustainability and Community Development Block Grants. A Colorado highlight was a working breakfast with Senators Udall and Bennet.

More generally, we received updates from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. While some of us were in the Senate gallery, we had the historic experience of watching the Senate work together and pass a bipartisan highway bill. (Though a divided House of Representatives — with 16 days left before the current highway law expires — may continue to stall on this important matter.)

All this and early blooming cherry blossoms, too. And back home, the weather is beautiful and Mike Bestor gave us good news in the state of the community talk he delivered to the chamber of commerce today. Our city is in great shape — with a talented and dedicated staff ready to move forward on council’s 2012- to 2013 priorities. No council meetings until April — National League of Cities meeting, spring break, and a fifth Thursday.

Mayor Sloan’s blog and email newsletter are another great way to keep up on City Council happenings.

Protecting Golden’s “Red Zone”

Firefighters staging in the Mountain Ridge neighborhood during the Indian Gulch Fire.

We often don’t think of Golden as being very vulnerable to wildfire. It’s a largely urbanized area on the outskirts of Denver protected by a top-notch fire department. But last year’s Indian Gulch Fire reminded everyone that because we have so many boundaries adjacent to open space, many of our homes – in particular those that abut or are otherwise really near our open space – really are in the “red zone.”

One critical risk factor for homes in the red zone (sometimes called the Wildland Urban Interface) is the amount of fuel in the area immediately surrounding the structure (the “defensible space“). If you’ve got a lot of brush and trees in your yard right next to your house, that can make it really easy for an approaching wildfire to ignite your home. Last year during the Indian Gulch Fire, for instance, some Mountain Ridge folks discovered that a ditch behind their home was filled with woody debris, exactly the sort of fuel that can help a fire jump across the lawns and destroy homes.

The risk is even more complicated now because of the way the fire season is no longer limited to the hot, summer months. We’ve seen significant wildfires here on the Front Range in recent years during just about every time of year, and the Indian Gulch Fire took place in March last year, which isn’t really part of the traditional wildfire season.

After the Indian Gulch Fire, the city stepped up its education efforts around Golden to help residents understand the risks and take appropriate steps to protect their homes and neighborhoods. I don’t know how successful those efforts were, however, nor how much of an effort the city is planning this spring, so I sent a note to the mayor and my City Councilors asking them two questions:

  1. How much progress did we make last year encouraging homeowners to clear our their defensible spaces?
  2. Is the city planning to ramp up its efforts again this year to educate and help homeowners who want to reduce the wildfire risk to their homes.

This would be good information for the city to include on the website (I searched but didn’t find anything, although they do have some more general tips about fire safety), and it’s a great opportunity for the fire department to reach out directly to the most vulnerable residents and HOAs to help them assess risk and take steps to protect their homes. I know many Council members have been out of town, so it may take them a little while to respond, but I’m looking forward to the answers and I’ll share them here when I get them.

Radio Golden is Live

Today we launched Radio Golden, an every-other-week-or-so podcast on news and politics here in Golden and Jeffco. For now, you can download the mp3 files from the RadioGolden.net website, or you can listen to them directly on the site. We are setting up the podcast through iTunes, as well, so you’ll be able to subscribe through iTunes to the Radio Golden podcast so that it downloads automatically into iTunes every time we post a new edition.

Episode #1:

  • Hosts Matt Burde, Pamela Gould, and Jacob Smith offer updates and commentary on Golden Valley and Golden City Council news, including the Golden light rail station and the South Neighborhoods Plan, Jeffco’s open space citizen survey, and a rundown on other new highlights of the past few weeks.
  • Upcoming opportunities to get involved in Golden.
  • A chat with Mayor Marjorie Sloan about City Council’s priorities and challenges for 2012.
  • Community Chatter … other news that folks are excited about.

You’ll also find the Episode #1 Extended Interview on the site, a longer interview with Mayor Sloan about the Council’s priorities and challenges.

Check it out and share your thoughts …