A New Year's greeting:
For starters: I want to offer my gratitude to Joe Behm, Marcia Claxton, and Pamela Gould for their service on the Golden City Council. It can be a tough and thankless job sometimes, and they all worked hard to make good things happen for the community.
There have definitely been some highlights here in Golden over the past year, including the completion of the new intersection at 6th Ave and 19th St. There is a lot more to do on the 6/93 corridor through Golden, and this was a critical initial project. To City Council, staff, and everyone else who contributed to fighting the beltway and fighting for the Golden Plan all of these years: nicely done!
We also enhanced transportation and mobility in 2017 with Bike Library improvements, Zip Car, and expanded Green Bus Circulator service. Our solar ballot initiative passed, enabling the city to negotiate new solar panels by the Rooney Road soccer fields. Our emergency services departments, especially Golden PD, have had a challenging couple of years, and despite that they all continue doing a fantastic job serving our community. And I want to offer a special call-out to our amazing dispatchers, who will soon be part of a single integrated countywide dispatch center. I'm sad to see them leave City Hall, but hopefully the change will work out really well for them.
Two things I’m hoping for in 2018:
- I hope City Council will take a stronger role in guiding growth in Golden. I’m less concerned about the density per se, but we keep getting new buildings that just don’t fit with respect to character or architecture. Sometimes it feels like we are back to where change happens to us instead of Golden guiding change to serve our own vision for the future.
- I would also love to see City Council up its game on communicating with community members. The outreach events are useful, but they only work for the small number who can attend. The Informer remains a key source of information, but mostly what I hear lately is a desire to hear more from individual council members on what’s going on, what issues are coming up that might be important or controversial, and what they think we should be doing. It's obviously more work for the City Councilors, but I think it's time and energy well spent.
I want to offer my congratulations to Bob Reed, Paul Haseman, and Jim Dale, all of whom won their City Council races and are about to start their terms as elected representatives. Campaigning is tough, and doing a good job on the Council is even more challenging. Thank you (and to all of the candidates) for being willing to step up and for putting yourself out there.
Finally, for everyone that’s been asking what I’m up to, I’m happily re-settled in my home here in Golden after my Washington, D.C. stint, and I wrapped up at the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado in the spring and am now doing freelance consulting work for local and national nonprofits in addition to some filmmaking work.
I’m going to keep doing the Jacob's Golden Update email newsletter once in a while, but I’m changing the name slightly to The Golden Update. I'm also creating a separate email list (Jacob Smith’s Newsletter) for the non-Golden stuff, including the film work. If you'd like to subscribe to either, or change an existing subscription, just click on the STAY CONNECTED: JOIN MY LIST button on my home page. Or just ask me to make whatever changes you'd like.
And feel free to invite anyone else to subscribe to either list if you think they might find them useful.
One last thought. These are challenging times. Although unemployment is dropping wages remain flat. Access to affordable health care remains an enormous source of stress for too many. The U.S. remains trapped in the longest war in American history, with terrible consequences for far too many American soldiers and their families. Violence by law enforcement against unarmed civilians (although thankfully not here in Golden) and violence against law enforcement continues. Mass shooting deaths are growing. Racism, sexism, and xenophobia all seem more visible and more aggressive than they have been in a long time. And politics in the U.S. feels more divided and acrimonious than ever.
My own pledge for 2018 is to slow down, listen more, and take the time to understand better folks who see the world differently than I do. I hope you all will join me in this.
Warm regards and best wishes for a healthy and happy 2018 –
P.S. For those interested in my film work, the new Jacob Smith's Newsletter is the list to subscribe to. You can do that by clicking on the STAY CONNECTED: JOIN MY LIST button on my home page. And if you missed my feature documentary Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolution when it screened in Denver in June, we’ve got an encore screening at the Bug Theater in northwest Denver on January 12.