January 21, 2018

The Golden Municipal Election 2011: My Recommendations

It’s that time of year . . .

Ballots for this year’s election are in the mail, and many folks around Golden have already received them. For your ballot and your vote to count, your ballot must be received by 7pm on Tuesday, November 1. I think it’s safe to mail it until October 27, but after that I strongly recommend that you hand deliver it to either Golden City Hall or the Jefferson County Government Complex.

You can drop your ballot off at Golden City Hall (911 10th St.) anytime from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, November 1). You can drop your ballot off at the county building 24 hours a day until 7 p.m. on Election Day (during the day you can drop it off inside, and the ballot box drive-through is accessible 24 hours a day.

If you are registered to vote and don’t receive your ballot within a few days, you can either visit one of Jefferson County’s Service Centers or call them at 303-271-8111.

Golden residents get to vote on five issues: the mayor’s race, one City Council race (which one depends on which part of town you live in), two School Board races, and Proposition 103 (school funding).

My recommendations:

Mayor of Golden: Marjorie Sloan has my unequivocal, energetic, and enthusiastic endorsement. Marjorie has lived in Golden with her husband Dendy for 35 years, she’s found an impressive balance between embracing the new while respecting Golden’s rich historical legacy, and she has an exceptional track record during her time on the City Council. During the four years we’ve served together on the City Council, she has distinguished herself as hard working, thoughtful, and deeply committed to protecting Golden’s quality of life. She will make a great mayor.

City Council, Southern District (District 1): I am supporting Saoirse Charis-Graves in the District 1 City Council race. As everyone who knows Saoirse will tell you, she is passionate about supporting the Golden community. She has established herself with an impressive record of community involvement and volunteerism. Saoirse has also worked hard to become knowledgeable about the myriad issues facing Golden and City Council – you’ll often find her at City Council meetings and community events – so she’ll be able to hit the ground running in January. Finally, she’s been a strong champion on sustainability and on government accountability and transparency, issues that I care a great deal about.

City Council, Northern District (District 2): I recommend voting for Marcie Miller. Marcie has a long family history in Golden, has owned small businesses in Golden for decades (including the Higher Grounds coffee shop before Jeff bought it), and is a long-time supporter of arts and culture in Golden. I know her opponent, Steve Gallant, and believe he’s done a good job on the Historic Preservation Board, but that’s his only real community service that I’m aware of. Marcie, by contrast, has a long list of community volunteer contributions over the years, spanning organizations like Golden Landmarks Association, the Jefferson Symphony, and Foothills Art Center, not to mention her previous service on the City Council.

One issue of particular importance to me is the Golden Sustainability Initiative. We’ve made strong progress in some areas since we adopted the Initiative in 2007, but as I wrote in the Golden Transcript a week ago we have some work still to do.

I’m pleased to say that all three of the candidates I’m supporting – Marjorie Sloan, Saoirse Charis-Graves, and Marcie Miller – unequivocally expressed their support for the Golden Sustainability Initiative crafted by Golden’s residents and formally adopted by the Golden City Council. Steve Gallant emailed me to express support generally for sustainability and reducing energy use by the city, which I appreciate (although it’s not the same as supporting the community initiative). I asked the same question of the other two candidates but haven’t heard back yet. Also, for all the right reasons, the Golden Transcript endorsed the same three candidates: Marjorie Sloan, Saoirse Charis-Graves, and Marcie Miller.

Proposition 103 (school funding): Proposition 103 would result in modest, short-term tax increases directed at improving funding for our K-12 schools. The changes really are modest (state sales tax would go up from 2.9% to 3.0% and state income tax would increase from 4.63% to 5%) and they would expire in five years. I’ve spent a lot of time in Golden’s schools during my four years as mayor, working with our teachers, principals, parents, and students to support their important work and to understand better the challenges and solutions faced by our K-12 system. Although I don’t believe that improving funding for schools is a panacea – the challenges facing our education system are bigger than just funding – it’s still clear that continued school funding declines are making it extremely difficult for even our best teachers and principals to give our kids the education they deserve. My recommendation is to vote yes on Proposition 103.

Jefferson County School Board: Unfortunately, the School Board race in Jefferson County has become an extremely ideological fight, and from my perspective the choice is really clear. I strongly encourage you to vote for Jill Fellman and Lesley Dahlkemper. I know them both and can report that they are thoughtful, pragmatic, and committed to educational excellence. Their opponents, on the other hand, seem intent to advancing an ideological agenda modeled on the recent fight in Douglas County. I think if Jill or Lesley don’t win their races, the odds are quite good that we’ll lose Cindy Stevenson as the Jeffco Schools Superintendent (which would be a tremendous loss for Golden’s schools and Golden’s kids) and that Jeffco Schools will end up in a nasty, expensive, and protracted legal fight much like what’s happening in Douglas County. I am a strong supporter of improving our public schools . . . improve accountability, improve governance, improve resources . . . but I also believe in keeping the ideological fights out of our school board, instead focusing on pragmatic solutions to improving education for our kids. I am supporting Jill Fellman and Lesley Dahlkemper.