April 25, 2017

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:

Golden Companies Win Awards, and a FasTracks Train Test on the West Corridor

RTD photo.

Mayor Sloan wrote about a few things of interest in her newsletter on Friday:

  • Kudos to ERA and PharmaJet, two Golden-based companies that were recognized with Industry Awards by the Jefferson County Economic Development Commission.
  • The Golden Public Library’s One Book, One Golden program featuring the Craig Barnes book “Growing Up True: Lessons of a Western Boyhood.”
  • A shout-out to city staff by 3GL.
  • The first test run of a light rail train car on the West Corridor.

Check out Marjorie’s website for the full update (and photos of the light rail car!).

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.

Radio Golden Episode #1 is Live on iTunes

Host Pamela Gould and Radio Golden guest Mayor Marjorie Sloan in the studio.


Hosts Matt Burde and Jacob Smith in the Radio Golden studio just before recording Episode #1.


Radio Golden: Episode 1 is now live in the iTunes app store! I haven’t been able to get it to show up in the search results yet (anyone have suggestions?), but it’s now in the iTunes store where you can download or subscribe to both the regular podcast and the extended interview with Mayor Marjorie Sloan.

If you aren’t familiar with subscribing to podcasts in iTunes, it’s terrific: iTunes will automatically check all of the podcasts you’ve subscribed to, upload any new episodes, and then update your iPhone or other device whenever you plug it in.

You can manage your podcast settings by clicking on the “Settings” button at the bottom of the screen. If you have a specific podcast subscription highlighted when you do that, you can manage individual settings for that podcast, and if you don’t have any highlighted you can manage the settings for all of your podcasts.

Apple has some useful tips for using podcasts in iTunes as well.

We hope you enjoy Episode #1 and we welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions (talk@radiogolden.net).

The Great Golden Business Tour: MV Systems

An example of an MV Systems thin film production unit.


Another angle. Each of the chambers is an ultra high vacuum (which I think is required for doing thin film deposition).


Here you can see a manufacturing process taking place inside one of the vacuum chambers.


Ok, so this one is a bit on the belated side – I visited these folks while I was still mayor last July – but it’s still very cool. I won’t pretend to really understand what they do, but here’s my take: MV Systems builds machines for manufacturing cutting-edge thin film products (“thin film deposition systems”) using a series of extremely high vacuum chambers. You can get a sense of this from my photos. Steve Glueck (the city’s Planning and Development Director) and I visited their facility back in July right here in Golden.

And, by the way, MV Systems received the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Mayor’s Award for Excellence, and they seem to be doing really well on the business side of things, as well. I remember seeing a news release late last year about new orders for their solar cell manufacturing systems from Mexico and Europe.

One of the coolest things about serving as mayor was having the opportunity to visit so many of Golden’s amazing cool manufacturing companies and other primary employers, from nuclear waste filter manufacturers to high-end mountain bike companies to the next-gen ceramic body armor factory. I don’t expect that I’ll be doing as many of these visits in my post-mayor life, but I’ll continue to support and promote them, and I’ll continue to be a champion for Golden as a hub of exceptionally cool companies building extraordinarily innovative products.

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 …

“Coffee with a Councilor” and Other Upcoming Events

FAC's Colorado Watercolor exhibit opens this weekend.


March 1, City Council Business Meeting & Study Session
The meeting begins at 7pm at City Hall, and the agenda includes a preview of the Fire Department Recruitment video, appointments to the Sustainability Advisory Board, and interviews for the Blue Ribbon Panel.

March 2, Foothills Art Center opening reception, “Colorado Watercolor Society State Exhibition”
If you haven’t been to FAC in a while, the evening of March 2 will be a great opportunity with the opening of the annual state watercolor exhibit from 6:30pm-8:30pm. The “Hal Shelton: Vistas, Mountains and Canyon Lands” exhibit is still up, by the way, and runs through March 16.

March 3, “Coffee with a Councilor”
City Councilors Saoirse Charis-Graves and Joe Behm are hosting a monthly “Coffee with a Councilor” meeting at Read, Write, Brew (720 Golden Ridge Road in Golden) at 9am on March 3rd. This is a great opportunity to find out what’s going on in Golden, to share ideas and concerns with your elected representatives, and to ask questions. I think the Mayor Sloan may be dropping by, as well.

March 8, City Council Business Meeting and Study Session
City Hall starting at 7pm.

March 17, Golden Town Hall with your State Representative and State Senator
On March 17 you’ll find Golden’s current state legislators (Senator Cheri Jahn and Representative Max Tyler) and the folks who will become Golden’s legislators after the new districts take effect for next year, Senator Jeanne Nicholson and Representative Sue Schafer. Their town hall is at Golden City Hall from 10am-11:30am.

An Economic History of Golden

A little side project: tracking Golden’s economic history. Google has a very cool tool called Gapminder (which they bought from the remarkable Hans Rosling) that’s ideal for displaying complex data over time. Based on a simple dataset (sales and use tax generated by commercial district in Golden, total sales and use tax, and total general fund revenus), and with some help from someone savvier than I at databases and code, and with help getting the data from Golden’s rock star Finance Director Jeff Hansen, I created a visualization of change over time in the importance of each sales district to Golden’s overall economic health.

The visualization shows how Golden’s commercial districts have changed in relative economic importance over time between 1994 and 2009. It’s pretty simplistic because of the data I had to work with, and because the city’s overall sales and use tax revenues track pretty closely to overall general fund revenues the bubbles all move in a very linear fashion over time. But even this very simple visualization shows some interesting things, like the change in importance of outside dollars, the rise of South Golden Road, the rise of Corporate Center, and the relative stability of Downtown Golden as an economic center over time.

I couldn’t figure out how to make the visualization itself accessible on the web, so I created a screencast showing each of the elements. The screencast first shows you the normal Gapminder display, which is very cool. Then it shows you the underlying line graph. Finally, it shows you two versions of the bar graph visualization. The entire video is about sixty seconds long.

You could do some really interesting things with these data and this display, like swapping out either the x- or y-axis with other data like the number of business licenses in each district in that year or the overall city population (which has grown steadily at times and unevenly at other times), treating sales tax and use tax independently from one another, or tons of other approaches that I haven’t thought of. You’d probably see some different and interesting relationships.

This little project underscores the value of making the city’s data as readily available to community members as possible. It’s trickier than you might think, since much of it isn’t digital and isn’t stored in the most accessible manner, but the city has a lot of data that might be of interest or of use to community members, and there are tons of people in Golden cleverer and more skilled than I at doing interesting things with data, so I’m hoping City Council and city staff will start looking for more ways to push these datasets out and see what folks come up with.

What’s Next

Congratulations and best of luck to Councilor Miller, Councilor Charis-Graves, and Mayor Sloan.

On the evening of January 12, at Golden City Hall, I participated in one of the most remarkable of ceremonies: the peaceful transfer of power from one group of democratically-elected community members to another. My deepest congratulations to the new mayor and the new city councilors, and my best wishes to the group in their work ahead. We are very fortunate to have a very strong City Council to help guide the city and the community.

I am focusing more on my day job and my tech startup, I plan to remain involved in the community, I’m publishing a book on nonprofits in about a month, and I’m hoping to have more time for running, travel, and play.

I’m giving some thought to how exactly I want to structure my blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and community newsletter … what I can say for sure is that I’ll continue to share information about what’s happening in Golden, I’ll continue encouraging community participation in community decisions, and I’ll continue advocating for issues I care deeply about, like open space protection and Golden’s schools. Until I figure out what changes I want to make, I’ll continue posting info here and all of the other usual places. And I welcome your thoughts about how I can be most effective at all of this: shoot me a note if you’ve got ideas or suggestions.

You’ll find my twitter feed at @jacobzsmith, shoot me a note if you’d like to receive my community newsletter (email), and feel free to visit my community Facebook page as another option for keeping tabs on what’s happening with City Council and in Golden. And yes, I need to change the name of that Facebook page, but it turns out it’s harder than you might think to do that. I’m working on it.

In the meantime, as I told a gathering of friends and neighbors on Friday night, I believe democracy is a verb, not a noun, and I look forward to continuing being part of making democracy work in Golden.