Your expectations of your Mayor and Council are…? So the Township of Langley, aside from being the CFIB WORST RATED major B.C Municipality, are a Mayor and Council with a MAJOR COMMUNITY LISTENING PROBLEM!

Some public comments and thoughts of Jack Froese.. Can you believe these? These are not manufactured, they are HIS words!

So Jack says…..

  • “I don’t make decisions based on petitions or public hearing turnout, I have to consider all of those who didn’t attend” – Jack Froese to Pete McMartin (Van. Sun) over Coulter Berry decision.
  • “Parents need to teach their children how to safely cross the street” in reference to their being no crosswalks on 216th Street – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • “There would be safety initiatives taking place”, when asked what they would be, Froese said “he didn’t know” – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • Residents stating that they hoped his attendance at the meeting would address their concerns. “Meeting, what meeting? I thought I was coming to a pancake breakfast.” – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • … “it is not his job to do what his constituents want but what is best for them” – I guess Jack knows best – NOT! Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • And the ultimate blow, INSULT, after producing a campaign video that in his own words called for an Indoor Pool in Aldergrove – Jack Froese proceeds with building an Outdoor Pool which is the LIE heard around Aldergrove!

Say no more!!! Isn’t it comforting to know your Mayor could care less! I would say the same for the current members of Township of Langley Council. If Council are silent, which they are, they have to be considered part of the problem!!

What will it take for taxpayers to wake up and fight back? The fight MUST take political action to change Council and then CHANGE senior administration! The problem has been and continues to be two fold –

  • Communities (there are 7) Aldergrove, Brookswood/Fernridge, Willoughby, Fort Langley, Murrayville, Walnut Grove and Rural are NOT united, they are not fighting for and in support of each other’s issues and
  • Your Council has not and will not challenge and go against its administration AND its influential MLA Rich Coleman!

The proposed 216th Street overpass – It is correct that this proposed overpass has been on the books for decades, back to when Walnut Grove’s population and that of the Township of Langley were but a fraction of what it is today. I can recall a meeting that was prompted by me in late 2009 with staff from the Provincial Transportation Ministry, requesting an update on it’s status. I say that because I, admittedly, was not aware of this proposed overpass and interchange at the time I was elected. The issue was brought to me at one of my drop-in monthly Mayor’s forums in early 2009 by two residents of the Forest Hills community in Walnut Grove. They had recently purchased homes in that area (within the previous couple of years) and knew nothing about it, but learned about it after moving in. My recollection from that meeting with the Ministry was, IF an overpass was installed it would be at the Township’s cost. On hearing that it was also clear to me there was no chance of it being built. I also recollect that we looked at the cost and design (it was very limited, a simple on and off concept being considered IF at all – no cloverleaf). There was no way it was in the financial cards for the Township. So all of the foregoing is for the purposes of full disclosure, and to the foregoing I say… So what? It was considered early on for planning purposes but it wasn’t etched in stone, either it’s ultimate need, location OR design?

So why do I say this? When you get into elected office you will uncover more plans going back more years on more community issues than you can possibly imagine. These plans in most cases were developed BEFORE any substantive population or need existed and/or developed BEHIND closed doors by staff as a matter of course. They span numerous Councils long since passed. There is nothing wrong with planning, except NONE of those plans should ever see the light of day or come close to being implemented BEFORE a full transparent, detailed and open dialogue is conducted with ALL residents which MUST occur BEFORE ANY decisions are made! Communities change dramatically over time.

Residents / taxpayers deserve their fundamental right of having their voice heard BEFORE any Council and / or staff, come to a decision on any change that will so dramatically affect their community and its livability. Any change MUST go through an open, detailed and transparent process like Public Meeting(s), Public Hearings and open debate by members of Council. A practice that the current Township staff have become masters at and very proficient at is processing by-laws, OCP amendments AND OCPs in a one process public hearing with limited description of its content (What I have called for years as an Omnibus process). The descriptions in these OCP By-Laws, written and published for public consumption are less than adequate and far too vague with respect to what is actually being changed.

OCP BY-Laws #5000, 5010, 5011, and 5012 – These by-laws were introduced back in June of 2013 under the guise of bringing the OCP in line with the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy. Not only were these Omnibus OCP by-laws introduced in mid-June of 2013 but the Public Hearing and 3rd reading was given in late July of 2013. All of this was convenient for staff, mid-summer, nobody is paying attention. Unfortunately as is the regular practice in the Township it becomes an opportunity for slight-of-hand – What else can we include with this opportunity? All of this was done to the detriment of our residents.  When something like the irresponsible action on the imposition of a 216th Street Interchange is introduced and the change of the 216th Street Arterial Road designation finds its way onto the map, residents are left with an uphill battle in uncovering the truth. BUT please consider the following ?

  1. The NEW OCP just passed contains the designation of 216th as an Arterial Road.
  2. Stage 9 / WG Neighborhood Plan / Section 5 / Page 13 adopted May 26th, 1997 shows 88th / 96th / and 216th are Arterial Roads. It identifies 88th and 96th as providing 2 lanes each way and 1 lane each way on 216th. It doesn’t clarify the status of 216th South of 88th?
  3. However the Walnut Grove Community Plan Map Amended by By-Law No. 4690 dated April 20th 2009 identifies 216th South of 88th as Minor Collector Status which still exists does it not?

The stated policy for conflict resolution as stated in the OCP just passed states:

4.5.1. If there is a conflict with respect to a land use designation on Map 1 and land use designations in a community or neighbourhood plan, the land use designations in the community or neighbourhood plan will take precedence.

4.5.2. If there is a conflict with respect to a policy in this plan and a policy in a community or neighbourhood plan, the policy in the community or neighbourhood plan will take precedence.

What, when and how did this happen? Where were Council members? Did they know what was in these by-laws BEFORE voting for them?

I have followed this issue through information that is available publicly and find the Township’s actions are nothing less than a travesty of justice, but based on past first-hand experience I am not surprised. The Township goes back into the archives relying on past discussions, plans and/or concepts that may have been discussed in the past within public service departments. I might add once again that all of this happened WHEN Walnut Grove had a fraction of the population that they do today. So, regardless of past thoughts, plans and/or concepts, do residents not deserve a detailed public transparent process to be provided and for the community to be heard before a decision is made?

This decision should be fought on the legality on this and other issues but it is also a moral and ethical decision by your Municipal Government, an area of governance that this Mayor and Council have shown little interest in.

One of my first actions in office was to hold a monthly Drop In Mayor’s Forum (offered to call it a Council Forum but ALL of Council rejected the idea). Over three years about 1,000 residents attended this informal opportunity. Ask any question, privately or publicly. I said while in the Mayor’s office, Mayor and Council should NEVER be afraid to hear what the public have to say, if they are – then WHY?      

The Township of Langley, thanks to a few back room players still operate as though this is the Wild Wild West to the benefit of a few insiders. Council cannot be hiding behind and cowering from our Provincial Government Bullies. All of us are having our current and future quality of life negatively affected by these people who have had their way thanks to gutless local politicians up to now.

I would be willing to bet that a land deal is behind this specific proposal for 216th street. Who is behind it, we can only guess although it wouldn’t take too much imagination.

Can Council fight to support residents? Should Council fight to support residents? The answer is YES and YES! The following are examples of major issues that were successfully fought for, in many cases in spite of the lack of support by the majority of Council. For a Council member it takes guts and a will to fight and a will to be creative in that fight to win the day on issues that have broad public support in your community. The questions I ask above should be considered ridiculous by any reasonably thinking taxpayer. I mean for what other reason do we elect our Council members? Unfortunately, in the Township of Langley, the inbred autocratic management has for years stymied Council members who have shown NO will or guts to push back and investigate what is really going on. WHY?

Mufford Crescent Diversion a good example – (see previous post Part 2) This was a done deal and approved by the ALC when I was elected to office subject to 9 conditions. All players – the 12 funding partners including the Province of B.C., Translink, CP Rail, Delta, Surrey, Township of Langley Council and Staff, City of Langley, Peter Fassbender, Rich Coleman, Mary Polak, Ministry of Transportation, Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon and more, were strongly in favor of this project and were fighting for it every step of the way. All of the 12 funding partners claimed this project went through a public process. NOT!

Despite the ALC conditional approval, after the election one of my first actions was to call for two Open Houses and a General Community Meeting. None of this was required but well, over 1,000 residents turned out to these three opportunities to be heard and over 95% were opposed to the project.

The original project design would have destroyed about 300 acres of farmland. The reality is this wasn’t a transportation plan as suggested, in my opinion behind the scenes, this was a land deal, nothing else made any sense? We fought this through two losing votes of Council.

Reading the proponents answers to the nine conditions, our community committee of four pointed out three incorrect statements (some would call them lies) that were made to the Agricultural Land Commission by the proponents that won the day for us, thanks to the then Chair Richard Bullock. Richard Bullock made the right decision on behalf of his mandate to the residents of the Province of B.C., unfortunately he paid a price – in my opinion this decision paved the way for his eventual dismissal as Chair of the ALC.

Unfortunately in this province, with the current provincial government and it’s bullying leadership, a target on your back comes with any opposition to any of their plans. Prime example – After I announced that we would hold two Public Open Houses and a Public Meeting on this planned highway I received a letter from then Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon advising that should we not accept their plan they would take the money and move it to another community. Following that, in a meeting in his office in Victoria with the MFA (Municipal Finance Authority) I was verbally told the same thing by him on my way out of the office – to which I replied, go ahead, don’t threaten me! The result, we won, the money stayed in our community to build a more acceptable option.

Those with no guts capitulate and our taxpayers pay the price. The current provincial government has turned bullying into an art-form. It makes for bad and corrupt government. The final decision was arrived at by listening to taxpayers!

208th Street Truck Route is another example –  During my term on Council we were dealing with a report dealing with dedicating 208th Street as a truck route and part of the Translink Major Road Network (MRN) which would have provided some cost sharing from Translink to it’s development. At one of my monthly drop-in Mayor’s forums at Willoughby Hall a delegation of about 25 residents turned out requesting an answer as to whether this was going to happen. My response was, it will unless you can prove to Council it is NOT wanted. Making a long story short, on my advice, they went to work and secured a petition with over 3,000 names and submitted them to Council. They won the day and Council, while not unanimous, defeated this proposal. Again, this decision was arrived at by listening to taxpayers!

There are other examples – During my three year term as Mayor, against all odds we fought for the protection of an expanded Noel Booth Park, Browns Pit, a NEW Water Management Plan, Landfill on Agricultural Land, 224th Street local feed lot and more. All of these were citizen inspired initiatives that dramatically affected them, from every corner of the Township. Nothing less should be expected.

Can you recall one issue that Jack Froese has initiated or supported residents – What was the last issue you can recall that Jack Froese and/or this council fought for on behalf of residents? Aldergrove OUTDOOR Pool? There aren’t any!!!

What are the vehicles used by community groups to successfully fight back –

  • Invite conversation with all elected officials involved and make your case, if they won’t meet make the case very public who will or won’t meet with you.
  • Utilize social media / Facebook / twitter to shame them and call them out.
  • Petitions from and for all involved PLUS the greater community.
  • Local Media / Major media
  • Delegations by different people at every Council Meeting!
  • Remember there is a Provincial Election coming this May and a Municipal Election coming in less than two years!

Back to the 216th Street proposal – There is absolutely no question that listening to the community is essential and there are many other very viable options for this project that should be considered. Those options could include questions related to location, design, size, concept and the truck route issue? What is absent from all of this is a Council willing to stand up to it’s administration and provincial political representatives, otherwise considered by some as their (Council’s) Political Masters. One only has to look at history to draw that conclusion. It is not a stretch!

What is happening in the Township of Langley is embarrassing!!!! A Mayor and Council without the guts or backbone to stand up for it’s residents and against what can only be described as it’s provincial masters! It is all about Provincial bullying and intimidation! Is it too late to fight back, not in my view BUT that will depend on whether your elected Council is willing to stand up for their constituents. Where there are guts, determination and a will, there is a way!!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

Congratulations to Mayor Jack Froese and Council; You are the WORST performing major municipal government in the Province of B.C., sadly quite an achievement!!!

To the taxpayers of the Township of Langley – “DO YOU CARE?” Ignoring what is happening is not a solution as it is costing you dearly! GET INVOLVED TO CHANGE YOUR COMMUNITIES FUTURE, POLITICS IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT!

The best descriptive I could use to describe the dilemma facing the taxpayers in the Township of Langley is; – Rafe Mair’s Axiom – “You make a very serious mistake believing that people in charge know what the hell they are doing”. This BLOG Report on the FACTS on Spending and Taxation should give us all a lot to be concerned about!

In a just released independent research document by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business “B.C. Municipal Spending Watch 2016 (9th edition: Trends in Operating Spending, 2004 – 2014 determine that);

  • The Township of Langley ranks 20th out of 20 of major (over 25,000 population) municipal governments in British Columbia between 2004 and 2014. YES that is correct, LAST PLACE!
  • Put another way, what is worse (if that is possible) in the overall provincial rank, the Township of Langley ranks 112 out of 152 of ALL communities, municipalities and/or cities in the province of B.C.. The City of Langley after all is 48th! FYI – Maple Ridge is #1 (The best performing) among major Municipal Governments.)

Key Findings:

  • Only 5 out of the 152 municipalities (3 per cent) examined in BC kept operating spending in line with inflation and population growth over the past decade. None of the 20 largest municipalities made the list.
  • BC’s population grew by 12 per cent from 2004 to 2014. Over the same period, operating expenditures adjusted for inflation ballooned by 48 per cent – four times faster than population growth.
  • In BC, the excess spending above population growth and inflation over the past ten years represents $8.6 billion dollars. This means a BC family of four could have saved on average $7,445 in municipal taxes had municipalities kept their spending on a more sustainable path.
  • In 2004, BC residents spent on average $889 dollars for the operations of their local government (total municipal operating spending divided by total BC population). In 2014, that dollar amount increased to $1,178 per person when adjusted to inflation, representing a 33 per cent increase in operating spending per capita in BC.
  • BC’s major centres, Vancouver and Victoria, both increased their operating spending by 23 per cent from 2004 – 2014 after adjusting for inflation and population growth.

By those same parameters the Township of Langley increased their operating spending by 68.4% during that 10 year period after adjusting for inflation and population growth! 3 times greater than Vancouver and Victoria!

Where is the Langley Times, Aldergrove Star and Langley Advance in reporting this meaningful information to their readers, you the taxpayer? Are they afraid of the repercussions? All three papers are owned by THE SAME COMPANY “Black Press”, an absolute embarrassment! Are you aware they split revenue from the Township of over $200,000 per year?

A little history is needed – What we are seeing now is a product of staff control and Council fiduciary irresponsibility going back to the 2002 – 2008 period, one of the key reasons I ran for Mayor and won in 2008. What was happening back then?

  • Council had voted for a Compound Property Tax Increases since 2005 – (6 yrs) +33.6% – Compound Cost of Living (CPI) of +9.3% throughout this 6 year period.
  • Voted against the recommendations of the Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance which included a need to look at department efficiencies in 2009 and a recommendation of a .93% tax increase. Immediately moved a motion to approve a 5% tax increase / passed.
  • During a 6 year period the majority of Council never voted against 1) any wage increase (Metro or Township), 2) an increase in staff numbers as requested by staff 3) a change in Council remuneration formula or 4) a Conversion of Fire Halls to full time.
  • The majority of Council supported the purchase of Redwoods Golf Course by Township of Langley –  no public referendum – Significant Public Cost tied to a very questionable contract with previous owner who has a comfortable management contract for 20 years and another 10 at their option. Township taxpayers continue to pay.
  • Supported purchase of Bedford House Restaurant by Township of Langley –  no public referendum – Significant Public Cost of close to $1 million over assessed value.
  • Supported the sale of public land (Questionable advertising of non ALR Dixon Pit property) to close friends of some in the Township of Langley for pennies on the dollar. Sold for $2 million when market value of 40 acres developed just as hobby farms was estimated to be $12 – $14 million.
  • Building of Langley Event Center (LEC) for a cost of $66.2 million with the following –
    • Awarded contract to the Langley Development Group (LDG) without a contractual agreement providing a clear understanding of the services they were paying for or what LDG was to provide.
    • No P3 partnership (To reduce Township taxpayer risk) This was promised and advertised in numerous press releases by the BC Gov’t and Township of Langley to the citizens of Langley. This was a LIE!
    • Supported 3 Council resolutions to permit staff to negotiate and conclude all contracts between the Township of Langley and the LDG. Council abdicated their fiduciary responsibility to staff from who should be responsible, that of Council.
    • Unwilling to review LEC agreements when no P3 agreement was uncovered, December 2008
    • No Business Plan
    • No public referendum
    • Despite no contractual agreement to do so, paid the Langley Development Group $8.83 million to go away. Settlement should not have been any more than $2 million max.
    • In an answer to the media: What did the taxpayers receive for $8.83 million? Jordan Bateman’s answer – Ownership of the LEC! Message to Jordan and the citizens of the Township of Langley, the Township always owned the LEC!
    • The Langley Development Group (LDG) who was awarded the contract under a less than open and public process had a principle partner, one Maury Keith (Jim Bond was the other partner with Keith whose construction company was awarded the building contract).

It is long past due that Township of Langley taxpayers should be awakened to what is being done to them every year and the accumulative effect of out of control spending and taxation. A few additional facts that should be clear when talking about Township spending –

  • An $800,000 expenditure in the Township of Langley equates to an approx. 1% tax increase.
  • A line that is often used by Municipalities is “they have to balance their budgets” per Provincial legislation – True except simple Math 101 will tell you that a) tax increases or b) increasing debt – will solve the balancing budget problem for municipal politicians and the bureaucracy in a heartbeat – they have learned that art form very well. It does nothing to stop their thirst for your tax dollars.
  • Capital Spending – A $7.5 million expansion to the LEC which received no public input, scrutiny or announcement prior to construction start. Public process in awarding this contract was non-existent! $7.5 million of your tax dollars on a whim!
  • Staff statements that these Capital expenditures do not affect taxation rates nor are they part of any tax payer supported debt is an insult to the intelligence of all of us. Regardless of how you cut it, funds for these expenditures came out of reserves, which were funded by taxation and will have to be replenished through taxation. There is only one taxpayer, YOU, this council just doesn’t get it and more importantly they refuse to challenge staff on proposed expenditures!

On the Taxation Side – Tax and Spending History:

The reasons for my criticism are real based on FACT, not imagination!

Tax Increases –

  • 2002 to 2008 + 26%              6 years
  • 2002 to 2011 + 40.49%         9 years
  • 2002 to 2014 + 49.08%         12 years

A compound tax increase of over 49% in 12 years!

  • How many residents had a 49% increase in pay over this period of time?
  • C.’s Cost of Living since 2002 – 2014 was only +19.9%            (Stats Canada / B.C.)
  • Taxation Increases – Close to 2 1/2 times the cost of living!

What is it you often hear at tax time? – On average a general property tax increase is only 2.95%? This is all slight of hand BS!

Creative Property Tax Statements –

I don’t know how many of you will remember, it wasn’t that far back, that our Property Tax Bill used to contain one if not a couple of classifications. In other words you received a tax increase of say 4% which included ALL services under the General – Municipal heading. Well in the spirit of creativity we are now being provided numbers for a variety of categories of services.

In reality it is nothing more than an attempt to justify their tax increase by breaking it out by category. We are now provided with –

  • General – Municipal
  • General – Protective Services (Fire and Police, I guess it could also include by-laws?)
  • Fraser Valley Regional Library
  • Parks
  • Storm Water
  • Transportation – Roads

Maybe we should ask for “General – Administration” and “General – Legal” and “General Staff / Council Expenses” which seems to be a popular expense with today’s Council.

I am not sure how or why I should feel more comfortable, especially knowing how inadequate our budget process and oversight is.

As I stated above, the unbelievable but true fact remains it is staff under the direction of outside forces who are the ones steering and commanding the ship. Council members over the past 12 – 15 years have been nothing more than passengers on that ship taking their marching orders from those unelected. OH don’t get me wrong, Council members get their opportunity to make themselves feel good in front of the public in public debate, Q & A during Public Hearings (we know how that listening goes don’t we) and Notices of Motion (although I see Councilor Long wants to find a way to circumvent that opportunity, why am I not surprised). The fact is the MEAT of the management of our Municipality is left to others, those unelected! It is being allowed to happen by your Mayor and Council.

As to Budgeting:

As anyone in business knows, respect for a thorough budgeting process is essential to accomplishing the desired result of fiscal accountability on behalf of taxpayers in this case or survival. In the case of Municipal Government that process requires RESPECT for your tax dollars through a thorough vetting of all departments provisional budget requests. Every single department if left to their own will and resources has an extensive WANT list. The challenge is paring that down to an affordable NEEDS list. Now there is no question that budgeting is a very difficult process, it requires the elected (Council members) to be challenging of the unelected (Staff) line by line as to their and Council priorities measured against Municipal needs and measured against value for money. Again, it is all about RESPECT for your tax dollars. This Council by their actions has NO RESPECT for your tax dollars nor any respect for democracy.

It requires the elected to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure taxpayers are getting value for money, both in operating and capital expenditures.

I will give you one small example – There was one discovery that my Standing Committee of Finance uncovered (among many) while going through the budgeting process. When Committee members questioned a few items of significance we discovered that staff had created “Capital Projects Funded – NOT STARTED” which went beyond the most recent year we were dealing with. While investigating a number of these items we found that they were nothing more than a method of creating a variety of slush funds of convenience for staff. There are numerous such slush funds spread throughout the budget.

A fundamental principle should be to review every Capital Project approved by council that wasn’t started in that given year. Is it still needed? Why wasn’t it started? What was the business plan for it?

Another small example – At the start of our Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance process and in discussions with the CAO, one of our committee members who was a retired CA and Senior Managing Partner from a prominent accounting firm stated he would like to see us adopt a 0 based budgeting format, to which our CAO replied, we do, it is modified 0 based budgeting format. Most professionals in the business will tell you, there is no such thing – It is either O based or it is not! That was just the start of a no cooperation attitude.

In my opinion, going through the “well entrenched Township of Langley staff budgeting process of convenience” and my attempts to correct that process, it was clear that nothing was going to change. Councilors Bateman, Fox, Ward, Ferguson, Dornan, Kositsky and Long were determined that would be the case. It was very clear to me that not one of the above ever met a tax or spending increase they didn’t like. Just look up their records, it is a fact!

I would also suggest Councilor Richter’s actions through this period were less than helpful. While she likes to come across as the taxpayer’s conscience, in my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth. I measure people by their actions not words! So all of us are left with the status quo!!

In Summary:

The Township of Langley has without exception one of the worst spending and taxation records within British Columbia! I have said it many times before, these Council members make a habit of adopting a staff budget, NOT a Council budget. If you don’t believe me go and compare a Provisional Budget presented by staff and compare it to the adopted budget by Council.

This long standing process of budgeting with tax increases and spending increases that are in some cases, three times the cost of living and more are just not sustainable. What is more worrisome is there is no move a-foot to change these habits. The only thing that will change what is happening is a NEW Council which can bring about change in senior administration, are you up for it? Just two years away!

Am I surprised by this report NO! I warned residents of what was going on going back to 2007 and through the 2008 election to the end of my term in 2011. This is a shocking report and should serve as an alarm bell to taxpayers. The Township of Langley is a Municipal Government out of control with NO checks and balances, by staff or more important by your Council. Budget reviews are a joke and an insult to the intelligence of you the taxpayer. There is NO true budget review. As I stated earlier, a statement that I used in a public budget meeting when Council were determined to pass the staff Provisional Budget was “If Council adopts this budget you are adopting a STAFF budget NOT a Council Budget”. I received flak by members of Council for that statement but IT WAS TRUE! That statement is as true today as it was back in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Now we have this CFIB research supporting and proving that FACT.

There are an endless number of irresponsible decisions being made by this Council. To bring effective change you need a Mayor with a vision for good responsible government and ability to lead and a Council who can think for themselves and not just fill a chair to do others bidding.

Change will only happen if we can unite taxpayers from every community to bring dramatic change to this fiscally and morally irresponsible municipal government. I challenge all of those over the past number of years that got involved because of a parochial (self-serving) interest. It is beyond me how, knowing the truth about what is going on, taxpayers can sit back and dismiss so much wrong doing, what many would call corruption! Trust me, none of this stuff happens by accident!!

If you have any questions with respect to the accuracy of the content or about issues raised please contact me directly at any time. Contact information is available through www.langleywatchdog.com

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

Well it has been a full and very interesting year in politics within all three levels of government as usual in British Columbia. In 2016 I took the liberty of taking a sabbatical for most of the last half of the year given our personal move off the farm. Our sole purpose at www.langleywatchdog.com is to offer profile on major issues, to inform the public; while offering a special insight based on first-hand experience as Mayor of the Township, Alderman in Delta (that is what we were in the late 80s) and about 40 years of activity behind the scenes municipally, provincially and federally.

We at www.langleywatchdog.com are gearing up for a very active year in 2017, preparing a number of featured BLOG Posts on issues, Breaking News and information. All of this focused on what will seriously affect residents of the Township, primarily at the Provincial and Municipal levels. Provincially, we are heading into a General Election in May and there are numerous simmering issues that are going to be hot topics of debate and conversation.

Municipally we have numerous Township of Langley issues plus Metro Vancouver’s regional issues that including Transportation that unfortunately residents are just are not but should be aware of. There is so much material and information that is just not getting into the Public’s hands; we will keep our readers informed. What is really happening behind the scenes, check us out starting again the first week of January 2017, tune into  www.langleywatchdog.com .

Over 70,000 views to-date! Feel free to contact me at any time by email, Facebook or by phone. All contact information is available on our BLOG and ALL contact is guaranteed to be confidential!

On behalf of www.langleywatchdog.com we want to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year. See you in January 2017!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and STAY ACTIVE!!!

 

Share this BLOG; FORWARD THIS POST TO YOUR FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS AND RELATIVES!

The question…. What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, listens to the community and states the truth OR one that hides the truth from you in favor of friends and insiders?

Here is The Rest of the Story….  Here is Part 4 of a 4 part series looking at the truth behind what really went on during my three year term in the Mayor’s office. Is this the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter to any other duly elected member of Council? You be the judge!   

So back to the controversy…. As stated earlier it was the reaction by a few well-connected individuals, some call them the Township of Langley Establishment, who have strong connections to senior municipal staff and those currently elected, against my actions and efforts to stop all the back room dealing. This applied to very questionable actions by the Council that I ran on and was elected to serve. Difficult? What an understatement!

From the outset I was fully aware that my actions which amounted to stepping on some BIG TOES could cost me, but I will admit never did I believe the steps that these people would go to attack me. The term dirty politics doesn’t come close to the depths of their attacks which fully included members of Council supporting their plan.

The Inconvenient TRUTH and FACTS about the INFAMOUS BROWN ENVELOPE and RCMP investigation into Mayor Green!  

It is long overdue for the citizens of the Township of Langley to be made aware of the TRUTH!

Council’s actions and reaction in response to information that I brought forward to them for information, was nothing short of outrageous. The reaction by Council members was nothing less than politically motivated, all timed and designed to short circuit a duly elected Mayor from performing his duties in office. It was a misguided ideological attempt to short circuit the voter’s wishes. Do you think I am overreacting in my conclusion? Only if you believe in the tooth fairy!

So what really happened to motivate the actions by members of council against the Mayor?

  • During three breakfast meetings in the months of May and June of 2009, arranged by a prominent citizen and friend, a casual comment was made at each meeting by a prominent citizen (one in each meeting, more on them later) about a company called Brownshack Developments Ltd., a name that I honestly had never heard of before. These meetings, just a few of hundreds that I held with citizens throughout the municipality, were just casual conversations and an introduction of myself, to residents and business owners, wanting to meet the new Mayor. Sounds simple doesn’t it? By the way, I have witnesses to these facts.
  • In August of 2009 I received an email accompanied by a B.C. Company Summary and a Corporate Securities Register with respect to this company. That register was an eye opener to me in that it contained the names of spouses of a few prominent citizens who had been shareholders of that company from May 15th, 1996 thru to March 2nd 2005 connected to one elected Langley representative (provincial) and a senior employee with the Township of Langley.
  • This news, as it was new to me, was an eye opener and on first glance looked POSSIBLY concerning. While I say that, the next decision was what to do with it, IF ANYTHING. For the ensuing number of weeks I kept those documents in my office reviewing them from time to time still unsure as to what steps to take, IF ANY and doing nothing was a possibility.
  • This was the case until Wednesday morning Oct. 27th 2009 when on my way to Rotary I picked up my newspapers. In our mailbox (located about 1,200 feet from our home on a rural property) it was a brown envelope (no name on the front) containing a copy of the Corporate Register that was in my office attached to an anonymous letter outlining unfounded allegations addressed to Kent Spencer of the Vancouver Province. My immediate concern was that a story may appear in the Sunday Province and I had to inform council of this information in case that should occur. This obviously was a complete shock, however I contacted a few very high profile and well connected individuals I knew asking who to contact for independent legal advice (I did not tell them anything about the issue). I made an appointment with Allan Hamilton QC immediately and went downtown to his office that morning. I reviewed the details of the issue with Mr. Hamilton and he confirmed my opinion of what to do next, specifically call an In-Camera meeting with council immediately with no staff present. On return to my office that is exactly what I did through the Clerks Office. I took this action based on my review of the following section of the Community Charter which relates to the Mayor’s responsibility to Council:

Community Charter Section 116 (2) (b) states  “to communicate information to the Council”….  in other words keep Council informed.

  • For 24 hours before the meeting some members of Council on receipt of the notice of the special in-camera meeting badgered me a number of times as to what the meeting was about etc. Given the nature of the information it was prudent to only discuss this information when everyone was around the table. On calling the meeting to order on Thursday October 28th, 2009 at 7:00PM I had council react in what could only be described as a combative, immature and irresponsible way, some telling me they had known of this for over a decade, this was a non-story and Bateman said he wrote on this 12 years earlier. I was accused of trying to ruin personal reputations and much more. A meeting from hell for trying to do the job I was elected to do!

Ruining personal reputations? Nothing could be further from the truth. This was exactly why I handled it in the fashion I did, as I was advised, to protect everybody’s identity in an in-camera meeting with no staff present.

This issue turned out to be nothing more than another issue of convenience; it fit their campaign strategy against the Mayor perfectly. They didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story!

  • On Oct. 29th, 2009 Councillor Ward presented a Notice-of-Motion to the effect that Judy Rogers, a Consultant for the Corporation, hire a third party to review the actions of the Mayor, his calling of an in-camera meeting and his handling of an anonymous letter related to this issue. That notice-of-motion was presented and passed in the Special Closed Meeting of Council December 7th, 2009.

I can tell you that as Mayor I was chairing all of these meetings. This motion was passed without any discussion or debate related to my actions which were very clear and evident to members of council supported by legal advice and NO consideration of cost.

  • Don Lidstone was hired to investigate my actions. He did a very thorough investigation, interviewed all of us, submitted a report and met with council. In that report he reached the conclusion that I followed legal advice, did not breach my oath of office nor did I break any law. In his request to interview me he advised that I could bring legal-council with me, a choice that I declined given the fact I had nothing to hide.

During Don Lidstone’s investigation and interviews it seems the only thing members of council were concerned about or interested in was what actions they could take against the Mayor. The one issue council was concentrating on is I had told legal counsel and members of Council that when I received the info in that envelope it was the first I had heard of the issue when in fact I had received it Aug. 5th, 2009 by email. I provided Council with a statement of explanation and apology at the time of Don Lidstone’s report admitting that fact as well as stating that I had been told, as I stated earlier, in breakfast meetings about this issue in May and June of 2009. Why did I mislead Council as to when I knew this info – My reason for that was I was mad at myself for not advising Council back in August as I was procrastinating on where to take this information, if anywhere. Another very significant part of my rationale was that I was trying to protect my sources.

It still bothers me as to how that information got out of my office. I investigated and found out the locks on the Mayor’s office hadn’t been changed since the building opened in 2005, the day they moved into the new Municipal Hall office and there were twelve people or departments who held a key. That was corrected.” In the end it was determined as I recall there were over 30 people that had access to my office. Great security for the Mayor’s Private Office?

  • In a subsequent meeting of council a motion was introduced and passed to provide Council Members with independent legal advice paid for by you the Township taxpayer and to EXCLUDE the Mayor. Their motion that was passed and excluded me for support of my legal expenses was contrary to an existing policy in the Township that states legal expenses will be paid except in cases of guilt. I was found not guilty of anything! Fair, you be the judge! They continued to badger Lidstone with the question – what else could they do to discipline the Mayor other than censure, apology and removal from the Metro Board. (they were warned about what they could say in a public statement to ensure my position, integrity and respect could or would not be brought into question.)
  • Council Committee of Inquiry – After considerable badgering of Don Lidstone by Council members about what else they could do to the Mayor he relented that there was a Council Committee of Inquiry that could be established, permissible under the Community Charter. This was news to me and it carried with it subpoena powers over the signature of the Mayor. Basically similar to a judicial body but made up of members Council. This was of great concern to me, not for me, but for the office of the Mayor. Remember the three prominent citizens I told you about earlier, those that I had breakfast with and received that first information about Brownshack? Council were very upset that I wouldn’t tell them who they were! Don Lidstone wanted to interview them. I had my contact phone the three involved and ask them if they were willing to be interviewed. They came back very quickly and said no, keep us out of it. I told all involved their privacy would be protected by me. With that answer in hand I secured a lawyer to deal with this Committee of Inquiry issue. It took a while but my lawyer was able to get the point across to ALL concerned that by legislation it was the Mayor, not Deputy Mayor or the appointed Mayor that had to sign any subpoenas, and this Mayor would not be signing any subpoenas.

Why not sign subpoenas or why fight this Council Committee of Inquiry? The Mayor’s day or for that matter a Councillors day consists of hours and hours of conversations, meetings and discussions with residents. To ensure trust in the office those discussions, meetings and conversations must remain confidential. The public’s trust in an elected office would deteriorate and be destroyed quickly if that wasn’t the case.  To-date the closest I have come to identify the three individuals I had breakfast with is to say they are very prominent citizens. I could have solved my problem by disclosing their names, names I know members of Council know very well and would be shocked at who they were.

I will now go further for the first time, not naming names as that was my promise but I will say now that they were THREE VERY VERY PROMINENT LAWYERS in the Township of Langley. (Let the guessing begin!)

What is important here is to state that it was the principle of protecting the Mayor’s ability to have confidential discussions with constituents that I was fighting for. As an aside I would pay big money to see the looks on the faces of members of Council if these three showed up to testify, but I digress!!!!

The public should be aware that council caused legal expenditures for the Township of over $100,000. (paid for by you the taxpayer) My personal legal expenses to defend myself against a frivolous non-issue amounted to over $25,000. in after tax dollars, an expense I had no choice but to engage given the actions by members of council! I could have solved my problem by going back on my word, something that would have saved my family $25,000 but something that I was not prepared to do.  

As stated by lawyer Don Lidstone – “There is no legal requirement for any public statement or report; any such action would be based on political considerations. If council considers any release of a statement or report to the public, the statement or report would have to be carefully redacted to protect the Mayor’s personal and private information in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and to ensure that he is not defamed by the statement or report. As stated, the decision to release a statement or report to the public would be based on political considerations, and is not required by law.”

Summary to this point:

This has to be the most politically motivated attack on a Mayor in the lower mainland.

What was the issue? – Simply, I received information that members of council should know. I sought and followed legal advice and outlined the issue to council. Council claimed to know all about the information which is where it should have stopped. Instead we dealt with this issue for ten months with some members of council still fighting the 2008 election and getting ready for 2011. It was a political attack of considerable proportions designed to remove me from office sooner than later. It wasn’t going to happen and defies anything democratic, I would not bend to threats, political attacks OR bullying.

It all reached what I thought was a conclusion in the afternoon in-camera meeting of Council on September 13th, 2010. Council were preparing a Press Release, my lawyer was in attendance, and I served notice that if they wanted to take this public I would be issuing a Press Release with all relevant information on the issue. They would not get away by accusing me of wrong doing when none existed. I scheduled a Press Conference to be held in the Council Chambers for 10:00 AM Tuesday September 14th, 2010. That notice went out during the evening of September 13th, 2010. I released all information including the Securities Register and the Kent Spencer letter which was attached to my Press Release. For the record (and you will see why shortly) at the conclusion and after terminating our in-camera meeting, I told Don Lidstone I would be releasing these documents as they were not in-camera material. Specifically they existed in the public realm before the existence of our in-camera proceedings. Therefore they could not be considered in-camera protected.

As bad as all of this was there was more, an RCMP investigation!

Well all of this wasn’t enough for the likes of Grant Ward. I received word in early January of 2011 that a complaint had been filed against me in December. I was blind-sided by John Daly of Global News coming out of a Council Meeting in early January 2011 and was confronted with this revelation. Given the reaction by some members of Council, it was clear they were all aware of it except me. There were all kinds of comments made about the Mayor and about me having to step down, this was a criminal investigation and more. A tough day in the Mayor’s office, you bet!

It wasn’t until I pursued a meeting with the investigating officer that one actually took place. You would think due process would have placed the accused as a higher priority, especially the Mayor in a highly-charged environment. In that meeting with my lawyer present (more money) that I discovered Grant Ward and Joel Schacter were among those that filed the complaint (RCMP disclosed that fact). The complaint “Are you ready for this” was that I was in breach of a Provincial Statute namely the release of an in-camera document! The document in-question – the information I received in my mailbox that day, the documents that was in the public realm that could not be classified as in-camera material and the documents I warned members of Council that I would release if they pursued this non-sense any further.

No, it wasn’t anything more than that and it was NOT criminal! Funny how this works, with the help of members of Council I was slandered repeatedly in the media without so much as an explanation of the facts nor any correction to the headlines!

In Closing – An irresponsible action by members of Council, followed up by an irresponsible waste of tax payer dollars, proven to be not guilty, followed up by a bogus complaint to the RCMP over the release of documents already in the public realm, followed up by a 10 month investigation over the release of these documents which included Crown Counsel returning them (not interested) and Special Crown Counsel returning them (not interested).

As all of this wasn’t enough over a non-issue (political) finally an Independent Special Prosecutor David Crossin QC was appointed and concluded NO CHARGES should be laid against Langley Township Mayor Rick Green. His final report follows –

MEDIA STATEMENT

CRIMINAL JUSTICE BRANCH

September 9, 2011 11-17

Mayor Rick Green – Decision of Special Prosecutor Announced

Victoria – The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General today announced that independent Special Prosecutor David Crossin, Q.C. has concluded

that no charges should be laid against Langley Township Mayor Rick Green, following an RCMP investigation into his alleged actions in September 2010, in

connection with his censure by Langley Township counsel. Having reviewed the investigative report prepared by the police and applied Criminal

Justice Branch policies and charge approval standards, Mr. Crossin concluded that there is no substantial likelihood of conviction for any offences.

Mr. Crossin, a senior Vancouver lawyer, was appointed by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert W.G. Gillen, Q.C. on June 7, 2011, following receipt of the

Report to Crown Counsel prepared by police in relation to their investigation. Given the position of Mr. Green, as well as the complainants and potential witnesses

involved in the case, Mr. Gillen concluded that it was appropriate to appoint a Special Prosecutor.

Mr. Crossin’s mandate included:

  • Conducting an independent charge assessment review of the Report to Crown Counsel submitted by the investigative agency and making the charging decision

he deemed appropriate in the exercise of his independent prosecutorial discretion.

  • Offering such legal advice as was necessary to the police in the event that further investigation by them was required;
  • Providing a written report to the Assistant Deputy Attorney General with the results of his review and the reasons for his decision;
  • If in his view a prosecution was warranted, continuing that prosecution and any subsequent appeal.

The Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch appoints Special Prosecutors pursuant to the Crown Counsel Act when there is a significant

potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice.

The decisions of Special Prosecutors are final, subject only to receiving written directions from the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or Assistant Deputy

Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch. In such an event, those directions must be made public by publishing them in the Gazette.

Given that no charges have been approved by Mr. Crossin, neither he nor the Criminal Justice Branch will be releasing any details of the report which he reviewed.

This Media Statement has been reviewed by the Special Prosecutor and he has

approved its release.

Media Contact: Neil MacKenzie

Communications Counsel

Criminal Justice Branch

(250) 387-5169

 

IMPORTANT – Contrary to what came out in the media this investigation was not criminal BUT a complaint that I breached a Provincial Statute by releasing in-camera documents pertaining to Brownshack Developments. The documents I released came to me from the public therefore it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize they were not subject to the rules of in-camera. All of that being said it took the RCMP and three Crown Prosecutors 10 months of expensive investigation (your tax dollars) to agree I did nothing wrong. Interesting point, the timing of their decision’s Press Release came a short two months BEFORE election day! 

So lets see, you have a Mayor who was out of favor because I fought against the Provincial Government and or MLA Rich Coleman (a former Solicitor General and RCMP officer) on a number of issues (Land Deals, Events Center, Translink, Mufford Cresc.); and you have a complaint by Councilor Grant Ward (a former RCMP officer)? Political? NO, say it ain’t so!

Now lets be clear I am NOT suggesting anything, I am just saying!

Once again, this took 10 months with the decision from the Independent Crown Counsel coming out on Sept. 9th, 2011. A short 2 months BEFORE election-day! Actually it worked to perfection as far as the Langley Establishment was concerned.

How was all of this possible you say, only in the Township of Langley!

 

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

The question … What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, listens to the community and states the Truth, OR one that hides the truth from you in favor of friends and insiders?

The Rest of the Story….  Here is Part 3 of a 4 part series looking at the truth behind what really went on during my three year term in the Mayor’s office. Is this the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter to any other duly elected member of Council? You be the judge!   

So back to the controversy…. As stated earlier it was the reaction by a few well-connected individuals, some call them the Township of Langley Establishment, who have strong connections to senior municipal staff and those currently elected, against my actions and efforts to stop all the back room dealing. This applied to very questionable actions by the Council I was elected to serve with. Difficult, what an understatement!

From the outset I was fully aware that my actions which amounted to stepping on some BIG TOES could cost me, but I will admit never did I believe the steps that these people would go to attack me. The term dirty politics doesn’t come close to the depths of their attacks which fully included members of Council supporting the grand plan.

Next Up, Settlement of the LEC (Langley Event Center) Boondoggle – The issues surrounding the Langley Event Center started with the fact there was no P3 agreement (start of this post) as told to the residents of the Township for years. But that was just the tip of the ice-berg!

(This topic is covered in depth in my March 3rd, 2013 BLOG Post)

As I have repeatedly said, there should be a Forensic Audit on this facility. It is filled with a litany of very questionable decisions which I have gone through in depth in my earlier BLOG Post.

I had a choiceDo I tell the public the truth after the conclusion of final negotiations? You decide? Any grade 12 business student (Councilor Richter take note, you should be more than embarrassed) would have corrected or fought against the obvious financial / business wrongs that were a part of this development. After my election and getting involved with the status of the LEC, I was shocked at the apparent willingness of council to fall in line with the direction of staff and not challenging what was going on. The Council of the day (Long, Fox and Richter still on Council) permitted this to happen without being called to account.

Council gave staff the authority to negotiate and conclude all agreements? That is correct, Council gave staff, by and through three resolutions, the responsibility to sign off on what they (staff) saw fit. Council members totally abdicated their fiduciary responsibility. To this day I can’t believe what was allowed to go on unchallenged. Despite myself making some significant changes, at the end of the day a completely unwarranted $8.6 million settlement was agreed to with the so-called (NOT) private partner. The complete detail and truth was issued in my press release dated Wednesday, December 15th, 2010. By the way, the local media ignored this as they ignored everything else. Why? As one publisher told me it wasn’t as bad as I said it was and it wasn’t as good as they say it was. What a cop out, a reflection of the complete lack of scrutiny and the total incompetence by this council and your local media. A complete disservice to our community!!!

Next Up, Soil Deposit on Agricultural Land – Despite citizens hearing and being told by the Township of Langley for years that the control of soil deposit on agricultural land is the responsibility of the Agricultural Land Commission, we discovered this was a lie! The facts were uncovered in previous correspondence with the ALC. Further, on a tip from a resident I uncovered a letter written by the TOL CAO to the ALC stating there was a resolution of Council in November 2005 to send all land fill applications to the ALC (as required by provincial legislation) for review and approval, when in fact there was NO such resolution of Council. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to suggest or at least ask the question, when Provincial Legislation stipulates one thing (commonly called “the law”) and you ignore it, in other words you advise a Provincial Crown Agency (ALC) there was a resolution as required by Provincial statute, when in fact it didn’t exist, does that not break the law? Who is responsible? How many property owners had been adversely affected by neighboring soil deposits during that five year period? Just asking! Do these affected residents, if negatively affected, not have a legal argument against the Township of Langley?

I had a choice – Do I tell the public the truth or not? Not a chance that was I going to allow this wrong doing to continue. I would suggest that there have been many residents who have been adversely affected by incorrectly approved soil deposits on rural neighboring properties. I would also suggest that there are liability issues out in our community, thanks to the actions of staff and members of council. I can hear Richter from here, “there you go again promoting a lawsuit”! This was a statement she made against me in an open Council meeting when I said IF the Township issued a fill permit to my neighbor and we ended up with a water problem I would sue. No, Kim, it is called being honest and fulfilling your responsibilities to the taxpayer of your community. A foreign concept I know, to some! Could a group of these affected residents make an interesting court challenge against the Township of Langley? You be the judge!

Conclusion – All of the above are what I would call the major issues, but there were and are many many more ie the Park Lane Condo Wall in Fort Langley (adding 4th floor / increase in density at 4th reading, illegal), school sites in Willoughby and now with a friendly supporting Mayor you see the controversial Coulter Berry Building in Fort Langley, a $7.5 million expansion of the LEC (no public input, notification or process) by the current Council, the Brookswood / Fernridge planning debacle and the OUTDOOR Aldergrove Pool (Promised an Indoor Pool) it goes on and on and on!

So where do Township of Langley residents go from here?

I tried my best to correct these bad decisions. I am very pleased in what I was able to accomplish – as a matter of fact I accomplished more in three difficult years than Kurt Alberts accomplished in nine years. But it appears to me that we are, I was going to say back to square one, but I would suggest we are further back than that. Don’t believe me, just look at the decisions that are being made in Willoughby, Fort Langley, Trinity Wall / University District Development, Tuscan Development, Coulter Berry favors, expansion of the LEC, TOL Outdoor Pool (promised Indoor) in Aldergrove and the wrong-headed Brookswood Community Plan.

Rail Traffic – FACT – We will see up to 38 – 15,000 ft. (per information through Westshore Terminals) unit trains per day (coal and containers) in the years ahead with the development of Roberts Bank without a sound or ounce of protest coming from members of Council or staff. After years of silence on the subject we are now hearing (a little late) about the need for more overpasses given the expansion, only now coming to light.  With this we are losing out on a Community Light Rail Passenger Service from Scott Road to Chilliwack on the Interurban Corridor. During my term we secured the renewal of passenger rights on this corridor, 4 months BEFORE they were to expire forever, but those now in power at the Provincial level and Municipal level are ignoring this opportunity at our / your expense. You see renewing them is one thing, activating passenger service will require the political go ahead from the Province and by extension B.C. Hydro.

I don’t know what it is going to take to get residents actively involved to make the changes that are so dramatically needed in the next election. I tried and believe me I don’t apologize. The one thing I didn’t expand on is the red herring legal issue that I was attacked on which was an absolute sham, that will be covered in Part 4 of this series. Once again, on Council I was at a serious disadvantage given the disparity of votes and what can only be described as an ineffective, biased attack dog Council.

I don’t like to raise personal issues relating to my family but in this case it speaks to the character, or lack of character of one Councilor Grant Ward. In the middle of my last year I had a very serious personal issue occur; My daughter, who was 6 months pregnant with her first child was diagnosed with two malignant melanoma brain tumors with, in the view of a couple of top neuro-surgeons in the province, there was very little they could do for her. During that very dark 48 hour period we discussed putting her on life support to save the baby. Well we received the best gift that any parent / grandparent could ever receive, today as unbelievable as it sounds we have a healthy daughter and granddaughter in our lives.

Why I mention that personal story is a short anecdote in closing Part 3; on the first Monday meeting (2 days) after my daughter’s diagnosis, I had excused myself from the Monday meeting of Council (I was at Shannon’s bedside in hospital) and I asked Acting Mayor Bob Long through my assistant to read a statement publicly on my behalf given unfounded rumors that had been circulating about my absence. Acting Mayor Long was interrupted by none other than one Grant Ward saying in effect that a Council Meeting was not the place for that statement. I understand Bob continued to read my statement which I wouldn’t have expected anything less, but this kind of immoral action displays what kind of individual there was sitting on council. I also have it on record that Councilor Ward had made a number of comments at community events to supporters of mine that I was seeking sympathy. I rest my case!

There is obviously much more to that story but on a personal note it puts life into perspective. What is really important in life? That is an easy answer – FAMILY!!

Part 4, and the final BLOG Post of this series will expand on the most controversial issue to-date. That was the now infamous brown envelope and subsequent police investigation. How that came about, who laid the complaint and the inconvenient facts (to some). It is interesting that after holding a press conference, issuing a detailed press release and answering all questions from an audience of regional and local media we never received anything close to fair coverage in the media other than controversial head-lines. So for the inconvenient truth and uncomfortable facts behind that issue – Read Part 4!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

The question … What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, listens to the community and states the Truth, OR one that hides the truth from you in favor of friends and insiders? You have had the latter for years and continue to do so!

The Rest of the Story cont’d….  Here is Part 2 of a 4 part series looking at the truth behind what really went on during my three year (some would say controversial) term in the Mayor’s office. Is this the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter to any other duly elected member of council? You be the judge!   

So back to the controversy….

First up, first Council Agenda of my term –

Langley Events Center (LEC) – No P3 Agreement as publicly promised to the taxpayer FOR TWO YEARS BY staff and ALL members of Council and the Province of B.C. through regular PUBLIC press releases (A lie, you bet it was) – Contained in our FIRST Council In-Camera Agenda was a staff report requesting an additional $7.5 million for the NEW Langley Events Center (75% complete at the time) along with a number of recommendations for the facility. With some obvious concerns I had after reading the Agenda and associated reports over the weekend I asked our CAO for a signed copy of the extensively and publically advertised P3 agreement at an 8:00 AM Monday meeting scheduled by myself. His answer – there wasn’t one. Shocked and armed with this new revelation I went into our first in-camera meeting, innocently enough and advised Council of what I had learned and I requested the courtesy of Council for a one week deferral so a new Mayor, a new Councilor (one councilor was away) could be brought up to speed. Their answer, put forward by then Councilor Jordan Bateman (you remember him, he of Canadian Taxpayer fame, and alleged defender of the taxpayer) call the question on the motion and the staff report and recommendations were passed. A reasoned request denied in 5 seconds. (NOTE – This entire LEC financial boondoggle issue was extensively covered in a previous BLOG Post of March 3rd 2013.) It was not an issue during the 2008 election campaign because the issue was unknown at the time but was the first to hit my desk.

Councilors responsible for not agreeing to a reasoned one week deferral – Charlie Fox, Grant Ward, Jordan Bateman, Bev Dornan, Mel Kositsky, Bob Long and Steve Ferguson!

Now to be clear, I had a Choice – Do I tell the public the truth or NOT? My first Mayor’s Report in the next Council meeting was in keeping with my belief in an open, transparent and responsible government. I announced that there was no P3 agreement in place and I was very concerned. (P3 agreements are established so as to share the risk, this was not done.) A lie was perpetrated on the taxpayers of the Township. I received criticism from members of Council for telling the truth. One Council member was quoted in the press as saying I don’t understand why the Mayor had to make that public, say NO MORE? IMPORTANT – For a complete understanding of why I still say this project should undergo a Forensic Audit go to the March 3rd, 2013 langleywatchdog BLOG Post.

Next up, Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance – One of my campaign promises was to set up a Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance, permitted for the Mayor to establish under Community Charter legislation. I appointed three members of Council and three very qualified citizens of the Township, one a well-known and then just retired managing (loca) Director (CA) of a large local accounting firm, a retired federal auditor and a local lawyer. The majority of Council expressed their displeasure with my actions as they were pleased with the job they had done in the area of taxation and spending (Please see their record of taxation, over a six year period taxes increased at 3 times the rate of inflation BLOG Post May 2013) and it was downhill from there. They didn’t stop there, Councilors Ward and Ferguson, along with some firefighters and media in tow crashed a few of our committee meetings in nothing but a disgraceful, embarrassing and very public spectacle which negated anyone volunteering in future years.

This committee spent weeks of very hard work, met every department and went through the Provisional (Staff) Budget line by line. Questions were asked that challenged staff, something that hasn’t been done before or since. All of this went into the conclusions and recommendations of the committee. A comprehensive report was presented to Council in an open 4:00PM meeting and not one question was asked of members of the committee by Council. The report included a recommended tax increase of .93%, (less than 1%!) it was totally ignored. Yes, Jordan Bateman, he of Canadian Taxpayer fame, you know the defender of the taxpayer was on Council and with the majority of Council supported and approved a 4.9% tax increase. At the time, three times the cost of living (the CPI)!

I had a choice – Do I live up to my commitment and promise which I was elected on as presented during the 2008 election, or capitulate to members of council that liked everything the way it was? I was not willing to capitulate and continue their way of doing things which was not serving the public well. Among a number of initiatives, we wanted to conduct were value for money audits. For some reason (use your imagination here), Township Councilors and staff didn’t like the idea.

Next up, Mufford Crescent Diversion –  A $60 million multi funded (12) partner project, which was UNKNOWN to the public prior to the 2008 election. There was (no public consultation, input or knowledge) of the project that by design was going to direct 500 cars per hour north when they want to go south onto a two lane country road at 216th and 64th. (a land deal for somebody but not a traffic solution!) Following a promise I made during the election campaign, after winning, before swearing in and two days before the ALC was going to vote on this application I served notice to the ALC that we would be going to public consultation through two Open Houses and a Public Meeting. After attracting over 1,000 residents to these three events with over a 95% Public REJECTION of the proposed overpass and road plan Council requested a Vote on the project at a 4:00 PM untelevised afternoon meeting. Due to the high profile nature of the issue I advised Council BEFORE their vote that should they vote in favor of the overpass I would bring it back in two weeks to a televised evening meeting for a public vote as allowed under the Community Charter for the Mayor. Both votes approved the proposed project 6 – 3. (Green / Richter / Kositsky opposed) As far as I was concerned that was that, Council would have to live with their decision, ignoring the wishes of the public. For the record, as mentioned earlier, the ALC, before our swearing in had given this project Conditional Approval subject to nine very specific conditions. In any event I thought that was the end of it but I was mistaken. The public should be alarmed at what happened next.

That was the case until June of that year. I was apprised of a submission by The Pacific Land Group to the ALC on behalf of the 12 funding partners. This submission was the formal response to the nine conditions (conditional approval) by the ALC with respect to this initiative. I contacted our CAO Mark Bakken requesting a copy of the submission. Reading this report was a revelation! How wrong and misleading could one report possibly be? (A full explanation on Mufford is contained in an earlier BLOG Post of February 22nd, 2013)

I had a choice – Do I tell the Agricultural Land Commission the truth or not?

Was the Mufford Crescent Diversion a done deal? Never-the-less, due to the absolute erroneous information in this report upon which the ALC was going to make a final decision, I along with three other community members scheduled a meeting with ALC Staff armed with an independent report correcting this false information. For the record, it was clearly stated in my letter accompanying our independent report that I was NOT challenging the vote of Council, just correcting information in the submission. I was speaking as a resident as were other members of the committee. We wanted to ensure that the ALC vote would be based on correct information not incorrect information. Members of Council were outraged that I would have the audacity to request a meeting with ALC staff, questioning the report that was submitted by the proponent, I might add regardless of how wrong it was?

An Interesting conclusion and decision on the Mufford proposal? Despite the overwhelming odds and subliminal and some not so subliminal THREATS I received in fighting the B.C. Provincial Government, our MLAs, Minister of Transportation, Translink, eleven other funding partners, majority of Township Councilors, Mayor Fassbender, City of Langley and engineering staff; That project, their project, was rejected by the ALC on the arguments we presented. Our facts were correct. The TRUTH prevailed! Was I wrong in fighting for the truth as well as supporting such a large majority of the public, NO, I would do it again despite the intimidation, bullying and angst by Council. Where was all of that coming from? Follow the money!

Next Up – Athenry Gate Development / Willoughby – During the week of Nov. 22nd, 2010 I became aware of an agenda item (Athenry Developments) scheduled for a “Development Permit” Public Hearing and 4th reading on Monday November 29th, 2010. This item had received 1st and 2nd reading, public hearing and 3rd reading (conditional approval) in June of 2008 by the Council previous to ours, again prior to my election as Mayor. In doing my due diligence in preparation for the upcoming Public Hearing, I researched this project and its history, through a variety of Staff Reports. I was frankly shocked in finding the project that was proposed and given the appropriate readings, including Public Hearing bore no resemblance to what was before us at Development Permit Stage and 4th and final reading. For the Record, Changes can only be made after 3rd reading in Form, Character and Design. Density cannot be increased after 3rd reading without going back to a NEW Public Hearing. These changes in my opinion then and now DID NOT come close to meeting that standard and therefore would be deemed illegal.

The original June 2008 approved project was for one building located roughly in the center of the property while the 2010 version was for three, four story apartment buildings, a two story office building and a Cultural Center. This change impacted all surrounding private homes severely with a dramatically reduced set back, increased height of buildings with very close imposition immediately next to surrounding homes. In my opinion and experience this was and is a travesty of justice that happened to local hard working taxpayers. (NOTE – As I understand it, the affected residents had launched legal action but withdrew without giving up their right for taking action in the future.) Due to their position they were denied access to speak directly to councilors (They must go through Township lawyers) about ongoing problems with the development that has so dramatically affected their quality of life and home values! Were their rights for political representation not being trampled on?

For anyone reading this and dismissing its impact, I would ask – what would your reaction be IF you were in the same position? I know of one resident who sold their dream home in this development, it cost them about $100,000. In reduced market value. This has been verified by a number of local local real estate representatives.

So, how did this issue conclude? I convened a meeting with our CAO in my office Monday morning expressing a serious concern about going forward with this application for 4th reading and Development Permit stage that evening. I was told that our lawyers had agreed with staff and concluded the changes were nothing more than changes in form, character and design and so we proceeded with dealing with this issue at that night’s Council meeting, where by the way and interestingly enough, Councilor Kositsky was absent (conveniently for him). A very controversial issue being dealt with by the Mayor and only seven councilors!

I was concerned with the potential for legal issues being raised during the meeting so I requested the Township lawyer be in attendance. I had advised Council during the dinner break that if I felt we were getting into difficult territory that I would suggest a 15 minute adjournment motion from Council. This indeed did happen, at a point when we were dealing with a possible deferral motion of 1 – 2 weeks. In our adjournment (not a meeting) I canvassed support for deferral, while having three of us agree, in typical fashion support for deferral was denied. On exiting the Board Room finishing that adjournment I looked back and saw Mark Bakken CAO and Councilor Charlie Fox huddled around Councilor Bev Dornan (the only three left in the room). Interesting development as we were down to 8 votes with Kositsky away. The vote at the time was 5 – 3 against a deferral. If it was a tie vote deferral would also have been denied BUT then it would have gone to a vote of approval on Development Permit and 4th reading which was approved 5 – 3. If it had been a 4 – 4 tie it would have been defeated. Does this sound like securing your votes? Can’t say for sure, just thought I would ask the question?

Given the obvious bent of Council it would have been easier to give in than to fight, that is not in my DNA and not what I was elected to do!

Part 3 of this BLOG Series coming in three days, more controversial issues to deal with!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, GET and stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

The purpose of this BLOG Post series is to challenge taxpayers in the Township of Langley. The question … What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, one that listens to the community and tells the Truth, OR one that hides the facts from you in favor of friends and insiders? We have had the latter for so many years, unfortunately the vast majority of the public just aren’t aware. You can bet the status-quo will continue until we do something about it!

My term as your Mayor – The Rest of the Story! I have been asked many times about what really happened during my 3 year term as Mayor of the Township of Langley, what IS the real story? So here it is, in 4 parts, trust me, you can’t make this stuff up.

There was no shortage of material for the press. Some would say I made it convenient for my opponents interested in doing nothing more than TAKING ME OUT! Now that is an interesting choice of words, but it is their words NOT mine. This is no conspiracy theory; these words were stated in an email from one local real estate agent (Joel Schacter) to all of their company agents prior to the 2011 election. It appears Joel Shacter along with friends in high places, Rich Coleman and senior management with the Township (Mark Bakken, who could that be?) had particular interest in defeating me during that campaign no less. (shown in an earlier BLOG post March 2013). Unfortunately the local media wasn’t interested in any balanced, objective or investigative reporting on that revelation or on any other issue. Why? Take a look at the individuals involved and the revenue the local media receive from the Township of Langley and friends each and every week. Do they want to rock the boat? Sad, but It is called survival and all of us pay the price!

On that note a few members of the Major Regional media privately confirmed their shock at the unbalanced local media coverage during our campaigns out here by saying – “we would be fired if we submitted material like that.” “With this kind of reporting they will never make it to the big time!”

Here is Part 1 of a 4 part series looking at the long sought after truth, The Rest of the Story behind what really went on during my three year term in the Mayor’s office. It is The Rest of the Story with respect to three years of controversy? Ask yourself if this is the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of your Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter your choice of a duly elected member of council? You be the judge! Now, to be very clear, I will not run again. This IS NOT sour grapes BUT IT IS about letting the public know the facts.

Why now? When I continue to read and hear of decisions still being made by our council that are questionable, unethical and immoral and are following the same direction and pattern of the past, something has to be said. All of the issues of today, Brookswood / Fernridge, Willoughby, Fort Langley, Walnut Grove, Aldergrove and Rural Langley continue to be repetitive from the past, nothing has changed. It is long past time to become active in local politics or you can continue to ignore it at your peril! It WILL NOT get better on it’s own!     

So why was there all this controversy? The truth? It was the reaction (kick-back) from a relatively few well-connected individuals (some call them the Township of Langley Establishment), those with strong connections to senior municipal staff and some currently elected, that fought my actions against the wrong doing of the past. The actions that I speak of were focused on correcting, as best we could, the wrongs of the past. It was about putting an end to the culture of entitlement which equates to bringing an end to all the convenient back room dealing that in my opinion has existed for years if not decades. Recent high profile issues tell you that this culture of entitlement not only still exists, but is gaining momentum. It has taken on a life of it’s own! Now with the past Appeal Court decision, a win by the Township re the Trinity / Wall proposal against the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), firmly puts the question before you the voter – What kind of government do you really want?

Why have the courts ruled in this way? You see, absent any obvious criminal charge the courts have consistently determined that if you don’t like the decision of your Municipal Government, vote them out of office. The courts have determined some wrong doing by municipalities ion the past are minor infractions? Now if only it was that easy? Before the advent of the Community Charter by the B.C. Liberal Government under Gordon Campbell there used to be the Municipal Act which had teeth and a Provincial oversight provision. Conveniently for some (take a look at our local Provincial / Municipal connections) that oversight is NO MORE! It is open season created by your Provincial Government! While many municipalities have been responsible, in my opinion the same cannot be said for the Township of Langley, it gives good reason why there should be provincial municipal oversight!

Going back to my term as Mayor 2008 – 2011 – Fact, I would still be the Mayor IF I was willing to keep my mouth shut, get in line and get with the program! Consider the Mayor’s office prior to and since my term as Mayor, doesn’t all this sound familiar? Mayor cuts ribbons, everything stays the same, no vision, no initiatives to make our community better, minimum or no meaningful public consultation, no ruffled feathers, all is fine, nothing happening here, move along!

The issues that I registered complaints about while running and being elected in 2008, those that I fought against during my three year term as your Mayor, those that I sounded off about during the 2011 and the 2014 elections and those that I continue to fight are zoning practices coupled with simultaneous OCP changes, lack of community planning, land deals and much more, not the mundane but no less important municipal issues a Council faces day to day. No, my argument and my complaints go to the complete absence of due and proper transparent process in OCP / Zoning Omnibus bylaw changes. As well the convenient but improper interpretation of the Local Government Act and Community Charter, a very questionable and totally improper community planning process and a questionable lack of Fiduciary Responsibility (budgeting) on behalf of tax payers. In addition there is out of control litigation (at our expense), some against fellow taxpayers who’s only goal it was to try to correct an injustice. Then there was the Township fighting an irresponsible legal action against Metro Vancouver’s provincially mandated Regional Growth Strategy that most on this council unanimously supported a short three years before. While winning the Appeal launched by Metro this Council has firmly placed itself at odds with the majority of its residents and member municipalities within Metro Vancouver, a partnership that is essential to our collective well- being!

Believe me, I have been there, in the middle of all of these issues and I would strongly suggest in many cases the Township of Langley has been wrong morally, ethically and in some cases, more than you might think, I believe legally however on the last point it would obviously have to be proven in a court of law. I would like to see some legal challenges filed against some Council decisions to-date but on that point it must be clearly recognized how difficult that is for the average taxpayer to launch and fund any legal action. The average citizen just cannot afford to take that fight. It is the/our deep collective taxpayer pockets of the Township of Langley, fighting your individual shallow pockets of affordability. You would be using your personal or collective dollars to fight their collective tax dollar resources. Is any of this fair, NO, but that is what they count on?

My challenges? What were they? MANY! They apply to the questionable financial boondoggle (Should be subject to a Forensic Audit) surrounding the Langley Events Center (an $8.6 million unnecessary settlement) on it’s building which equated to a 10% tax increase) PLUS an $4 million PLUS annual operating subsidy; a questionable process surrounding major projects such as the Mufford Crescent Diversion, land deals ie buying / selling (Dixon Pit), improper and illegal soil deposits on agricultural land. My challenges apply to a very questionable and flawed development / planning process that appears to be very acceptable to this Council in Willoughby (excessive density / no parking) and the rejected flawed attempt of the Brookswood / Fernridge OCP doubling down with a new corruptible attempt of community consultation. Questionable omnibus bylaws (ALL IN ONE process of zoning and OCP amendments), Athenry, Forewest, Coulter Berry, the Bedford Condo Wall in Fort Langley, the flawed and undemocratic process for underground wiring in Fort Langley, the Aldergrove Outdoor Pool (promise of indoor pool ignored) and much much more. All of this was and is not only costing us taxpayers financially, but is dramatically affecting our collective quality of life. One again, this Council is dramatically hurting neighboring residents directly affected by Township’s flawed planning process while only benefitting a few friends and insiders.

What’s wrong with that? I guess all of this is OK IF you happen to be one of those friends or insiders who are benefitting, a member of the Langley Establishment maybe? I happen to believe that all residents should be treated fairly and equally and according to the law, that is why I ran and why I was elected! Do you disagree?

Now we are seeing the continuation and extension of that blind and questionable process. How else does Coulter Berry in Fort Langley and the Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan occur? Trust me, it is not by accident despite pleas to the contrary!

So back to my term on Council! From the outset, by opposing this Council on the financial mismanagement of the Langley Events Center and the complete lack of due process on the Mufford Crescent Diversion, I was bringing those flawed and very questionable decisions that the previous Council made into the spotlight. It is fair to say that those members of Council who were responsible for those decisions were still on Council post the 2008 election, so they understandably did not like my stand nor my statements. That is fair, that is politics; but it IS the reason for their reaction in support of a master plan to TAKE ME OUT!

I was fully aware that my actions on these issues, which amounted to having to step on some very BIG TOES, could and probably would cost me, but I have to admit never did I believe the steps that these people would go in their vitriolic attacks. The term dirty politics doesn’t come close to describing the depths of their attack which had to include members of Council falling in line in support of the Langley Establishment’s plan again to ensure I was a one term Mayor. It worked to a tee!

Just for the record, those that I am talking about were; Councilors Grant Ward (since defeated), Charlie Fox, Steve Ferguson (since defeated), Kim Richter, Bev Dornan (since defeated), Bob Long, Mel Kositsky (since defeated) and Jordan Bateman (since resigned) who served on this council. 8 for 8 in opposition, not bad! Unfortunately their replacements in most cases are worse, if that is possible?

The attacks I faced included the appointment of three community stooges to do their dirty work of focused character assassination through any means possible (tell lies often enough they are bound to be believed). As an aside, one of those three political attack dogs (stooges) was hired under contract by the Township of Langley in 2013 and earned $33,000. So now we are hiring our political operatives? To do what exactly – was this a payback for a job well done? By the way this same operative reappeared during the 2014 election posting pictures on-line of myself and two close friends having coffee at a Tim Hortons in Willoughby noting some erroneous off-the-wall speculation. A disgusting move by a disgusting individual!

They ran a 2 ½ year anonymous ATTACK BLOG from day one and hosted a Rally of 3 (only the three of them turned out on the steps of City Hall) calling for Green to resign based on an proven erroneous complaint to the RCMP. With only drawing 5 spectators it garnered the front page in the local press. The complaint made to the RCMP was made by Grant Ward (former RCMP) and Joel Schacter (more on this later) which amounted to a 9 month legal red herring founded on nothing and dismissed by three different Crown Counsel only a couple of months before election day. The issue took 9 months, read part 4 of THE STORY. Again, all of this amounted to a deliberate three year campaign by the majority of Council to ensure I was a one term Mayor. It was all initiated and motivated by that same small group of the Langley Establishment!

The kick back during my term stooped to the ridiculous when Councilor Richter challenged me on the cost of providing a few buns and coffee for my Mayor’s South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force Task Force volunteers down to the use of my picture and it’s size on the Township page to inform the public of my monthly Drop In Mayor’s Forums. Convenient, YES, Richter is not innocent in any of this. In my opinion she is probably, THE most culpable in the dysfunction of Council, past and present!

The Township of Langley is controlled by an interesting group triumvirate. Don’t believe me? Just connect the dots. It is sad, but not rocket science.

Knowing that fighting the next election was behind all of this I deliberately chose to take the high road and not respond to the dirt that was being thrown. Was that the right decision? With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight NO! Look at the tactics used by the B.C. Liberals (and I am a staunch Free Enterpriser, but could not support this Liberal Government) in the last Provincial Campaign. That will tell you all you need to know. Interestingly, there is a very interesting connection and use of provincial resources right here in the Township of Langley. 90% of the polling questions embraced Township of Langley politics provincial polling. Do you think the polling activity in Sept. of 2010 and those in 2011 and the more recent poll survey (recent BLOG Post) is paid for by some mysterious well-meaning benefactor – Not a chance! What about the polling done prior to the 2014 election – No it was about using Provincial Political Party resources to fight a local threat to the well-being of a few.

I was initially reluctant to write this BLOG Post series as it could, might or will come across as sour grapes by some readers. For the record it isn’t, but then again you will have to be the judge, but my points are factual and my message is clear. I was going to post it prior to the 2014 election but after deciding to run, encouraged by many, that was not an option.

But to the question whether I should publish this BLOG Post series – Why not? Why should the public not be made aware of the facts surrounding your municipal government? I offer this information in the hope of communicating to the electorate about what has been and is really going on in our / your municipality. My elected public life in the Township is over, but my activism to change what has been going on IS NOT, Federally, PROVINCIALLY or MUNICIPALLY.

So remember, when and/or if you elect an individual who has promised to stop all of the wrong doing, flash back to the 2008 election campaign. Don’t punish him or her for doing what they said they were going to do. Have the guts to think for yourself, weigh the evidence and stand up ready to be counted! Politics IS NOT a spectator sport, IT IS a Participation Sport. Get involved to change the future of your community for the better!

It is important to judge an individual on his/her merits and on a given issue, not whether it is an 8 against 1 vote. The question I often heard was, how can 8 be wrong? Well the facts are clear, in the Township of Langley, very very easy!

After my election in 2008 and a very few months of experience in office, my 35 years of political experience told me that re-election from the outset would be an uphill battle given the disparity of views between one newcomer and eight well entrenched and well-connected councilors. Don’t believe me, look at the outrageous decisions that they are or have been responsible for, but from the outset 8 – 1 was their plan and it worked to perfection. I will readily admit a failing and I don’t apologize for it; I was stubborn and stood firmly against wrong doing. I would not capitulate. If that is a sin, I am guilty as charged! Please, don’t accept that as an un-willingness on my part to get along and work with others, it is clearly nothing more than a fact that I would not support wrong doing! On charges of an inability to work with others, my Bio clearly shows someone that can work with and lead others successfully, but I digress!

To my 2008 election campaign platform; we offered justified and serious criticism about a number of issues, but very important, we offered solutions. Clearly I was justifiably very critical of the then Mayor Kurt Alberts directly and by extension those Council members that were re-elected at the time of my election. So it was easy to see that the relationship between Council and I was going to be strained and frosty, but I didn’t believe it would be quite that frosty!

Let’s be clear and fair, I had a choice on every issue; that is what this feature post series is all about.

I could continue with the lies and questionable ethics or I could tell the truth! There was only one answer – The Truth!

I was not willing to sacrifice my principles in favor of becoming part of the Old Boys Club, or Township of Langley Establishment. (Something that has become a tradition for Township of Langley Mayors for years to the detriment of taxpayers) There was only one choice for me and that was to stay true to my convictions. By doing this, as I said earlier, I was going to be stepping on some BIG TOES. Making the right decisions on behalf of taxpayers was not going to be easy but it was paramount. Contrary to popular belief, the easy decision is to fall into line, (history has shown us in the Township where that got us) the tough decision was to say NO MORE!

Remember the dialogue that took place in my meeting with Rich Coleman our MLA as outlined in the first Post of this BLOG? (January 30th, 2013 in the langleywatchdog.com archives) “We are OK with the job the Mayor is doing (Kurt Alberts)”, “the CAO is a good friend of mine” and “we are OK with the land deals (ie Dixon Pit)” My answer “We are not, it is bull shit and it is going to stop!” The question still unanswered Rich – Who is we? All of us taxpayers would still like to know Rich! Does all of this sound like our MLA is involved in local government decisions? Just asking?

After the election of November 15th 2008 and before our swearing in on December 1st 2008 I made contact with every elected member of Council and arranged for a private meeting with each, just for a get-to-know-you chat as well as discussing committee work, their interests and their concerns. All members of Council met with me EXCEPT Grant Ward who stated we had nothing to discuss. Ward maintained that position throughout my three year term despite five additional attempts by me for a meeting. (Remember his election night diatribe in the press “the best Mayor in Township history was just defeated and it would be business as usual”?) Well I will give him this much, he was right, it was downhill from there? Remember his complaint to the RCMP? How are you feeling now Grant?

Moving Forward – Swearing In December 1st, 2008 – After our swearing in things began happening fast and furious. In elected office you have no control over the timing of issues and problems. Some issues and problems, take on a life of their own, and boy did they ever!

Part 2 Coming up, the specific detail on controversial issues that separated me from Council!

RG

Part 2 is coming in 3 – 4 days!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

 

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and Get and STAY ACTIVE!!!

 

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

As Mayor or a Councillor, listening to the community, thus achieving something for the community is possible while serving! Here is our list of Achievements while Mayor between 2008 and 2011, we are proud of them. I don’t publish them to brag, I publish them to show what is possible in public service!

What is it that Jack Froese has said publicly – he doesn’t make decisions due to public hearing attendance or petitions? Unfortunately he has proven himself to be unqualified for the position! The only people the Mayor and majority of this Council listen to are members of the establishment behind closed doors! Now lets see, what has this Council accomplished led by Jack Froese? OH I know an outdoor pool in Aldergrove after promising an Indoor Pool, I rest my case! 

Get involved, be active!

The following achievements occurred because of the Mayor being pro-active responding to resident issues. We were successful, NOT BECAUSE of members of Council (because most will remember that everything was a fight if I had anything to do with bringing an issue forward) BUT IN-SPITE of Council and the time they spent continuing to fight the 2008 election.

  • Stopped Provincial Government Gravel Mining Plans for Brown’s Pit – The Provincial Government had expressed an interest in re-activating Browns Pit to supply gravel needs for the Gateway Program. We worked with the immediate affected community residents and campaigned directly to the Provincial Government through our MLAs and media to STOP any intentions to re-activate this venue. Supported residents in their media campaign. Successful, listened to the community!
  • Stopped 224th Street Feed Lot – Worked with staff to ensure any plans to establish a feed lot addressed a number of Township Residents and Township needs and protections in the areas of roads, environment, ground water and stream protection. We worked to ensure the number of cattle was limited to net area affected. With small acreages it is important that we work for the benefit of the majority in so many sensitive areas. Successful, listened to the community!
  • Renewed Inter-urban rail passenger rights – Uncovered a previously unknown Master Agreement that secured passenger rights on the Pratt Livingston Corridor, through the Langleys, that was due to expire Aug. 29th We uncovered it 4 months before it was lost forever and under the terms of the agreement we lobbied all municipal councils to assist us in lobbying the President of B.C. Hydro and our MLAs South of the Fraser to renew those rights. Those rights were secured for the people of B.C. in June of 2009! Successful, the result of listening to key members of our community!
  • Established the South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force- With the renewal of passenger rights on the Inter-Urban Corridor we established a Task Force as I promised in the election which has been supported by all cities and municipalities South of the Fraser including our three post secondary institutions. This Task Force was created to lobby senior levels of government and transit providers with a united voice for the much need improvements to our transportation network. An initiative of ours that involved communities from Delta through to Chilliwack!
  • Stopped the original plan for the Mufford Crescent Diversion – As promised during the last election we brought a previously unknown road and overpass network, secretly applied for to the ALC which received conditional approved, back to public open houses and a public meeting. This project would have wiped out over 300 acres of farmland. After a 98% rejection from over 1,000 residents through community consultation council still approved the project as planned through two significant votes, despite public anger. In response to the proponent’s submission in answer to the 9 conditions, I along with a community committee corrected the inaccuracies in their report directly to the ALC. The ALC rejected the application based on those corrections that we submitted. We stood firm against Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation, Translink, B.C. Gov’t, City of Langley, Township Council, 12 Funding Partners, the ALC and WE WON! Successful, listened to the community. We stood firm against senior levels of government, provincial agencies the Municipalities of Delta, Surrey, Langley City, the bureaucracy of Langley Township and the majority on Township Council in favor and support of 95% of the 1,400 + of Township residents who came out against this project.
  • New Responsible Water Management Plan – Prior to the 2008 election there was a draft water management plan slated for approval that incorporated a number of very contentious changes, including metered private wells, to the current regulations. We revisited that plan and approved a New Water Management Plan that was passed and sent to Victoria. We also approved some preliminary funding to cap some free flowing artesian wells. Successful, listened to a petition of over 3,500 residents initiated by Penny Anderlini, a South Langley pioneer farming family!
  • Proposed Fish Farm in South Langley – Worked with residents, township staff and regulatory authorities to ensure we prevented the gravel mining of a proposed fish farm site in South Langley. This proposal was stopped but has since restarted albeit limited to the extraction of approximately 6,000 cu metres. This type of permissible activity in the ALR must stop and we will continue our lobbying to provincial and federal authorities to remove it as a permitted use or at the very least put it into the hands of the Municipal government. We have since been advised that the Federal Government has taken over responsibility for coastal and in-land fish resources. They have been issued their Federal License. Successful, listened to residents!
  • Initiated public engagement process for the protection of an expanded Noel Booth Park- This site was targeted by the Township as a fill site, a proposal that was a hot issue in the community on or about 2004. I initiated separate conversations with about seven residents who clearly expressed their wishes for an expanded Noel Booth park. These conversations led to a series of meetings with senior staff and a series of public engagement sessions that led to the protection of the site as a passive park for the community. Successful, listened and acted in support of residents of Brookswood!
  • New Core Aldergrove Community Plan – As promised during the last election we made the Aldergrove Community Plan a priority. I introduced a dramatic change in our community planning process by working with staff to introduce the concept of an Aldergrove Community Planning Committee. This change was presented through a staff report to council and adopted. The committee consisted of members of the community; business, residents and association representatives who were instrumental in council adopting and giving final reading to this document last fall. Successful, acted on a campaign promise to change the process of Community Planning. (After my loss in 2011 the Township have gone back to top down planning)
  • GVWD (Metro) Water into Gloucester and Aldergrove – As promised in my 2008 election campaign platform we brought back the essential element to allow for the growth of Aldergrove and expansion of Gloucester. GVWD water is also essential to take the pressure off of the declining aquifers throughout the Township of Langley. Council approved the route and it is now well under construction. This was considered a priority as it’s implications are supporting needed growth and development in residential, commercial and industrial as well as the protection of our environment. Successful, initiated the long promised but never initiated Metro Water line into east Langley as promised in my 2008 campaign. This project was and is essential for development and growth, commercial and residential.
  • Repatriated Land Fills on Agricultural Land BACK to the Township of Langley – Township of Langley residents had been told for years that Landfill on ALR land was the responsibility of the ALR. That was and is Residents were lied to. Through significant due diligence we uncovered that it was the decision of the past municipal council to transfer their responsibility to the ALC contrary to their legislated responsibility. That was stopped and is now back in the hands of the Township of Langley. Successful, listened to residents throughout rural Langley who had long complained but never addressed by Council.
  • Fought to ensure the Aldergrove Border Crossing was kept open for trucks – Worked on a community, business and municipal committee to stop the planned closure of this crossing for truck traffic. Construction of the expansion of this facility is well under way. This was very important to the economic development of the Township of Langley. Successfully stopped Federal Government plan of the day to prohibit truck traffic at this crossing. Worked with adjoining Municipalities in putting together a community/business committee as well as a political lobbying group (Mayors and other elected representatives) to ensure this crossing was protected for future truck traffic.
  • Joint Langley Police Board Committee – Established a Joint Police Board Committee consisting of the two Mayors, two CAOs, our RCMP Superintendent and an Inspector. This committee dealt with reviewing policing issues from a high level designed to be pre-emptive on policing needs in the Langleys. Through this committee and the CCJR Committee, a prolific offender program has been launched. Listened to the needs of our community to provide a safe and secure environment through this pro-active community initiative. This ceased to operate after the 2011 election.
  • New “Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform Committee” – Originated by Township of Langley resident Carol Mills and MP Mark Warawa, this committee was established at the start of our mandate and included representatives from all levels of government, both Mayors, policing and fire from Surrey, Langleys and Abbotsford along with well known Criminal Justice advocate Darryl Plecas and other community leaders. Significant advancements have been derived in policing and senior government lobbying through this committee. Supported a community based and MP (Mark Warawa) supported community pro-active initiative.
  • Created an Open and Transparent Township of Langley Property Inventory – As promised in the 2008 election campaign I had staff create and make available to the public a complete property portfolio providing pictures and property information. This is available through the Township of Langley Real Estate department. Successfully made available the Township (Public owned) property inventory. This initiative laid out in complete detail the Township of Langley property portfolio estimated to be valued at $500,000,000 at the time. Previously not available to the public. (other than to friends and insiders)
  • Initiated NEW bylaw controlling metal theft that resulted in Province wide legislation – Due to some serious cases of metal theft that resulted in some serious public safety issues (Township at the time considered central to this problem) I went on Global TV to discuss the serious problem we had. In my effort to have our bylaws reviewed I was publicly chastised by Councillors Bateman and Fox suggesting we had a crime problem not a bylaw problem. I was persistent in getting that passed and through our initiative we held a region wide meeting for police, Telus, bylaw officers and fire with the result of our Municipality adopting a resolution to UBCM calling for Province Wide legislation. UBCM adopted our resolution unanimously. That call was heard by Victoria and we were successful in getting that province wide legislation passed. Credit must go to Bill Storey our Director of Bylaws for helping to spearhead this initiative. Successful, listened to a community problem and took steps to find a solution for ourselves but more important throughout the Province of B.C. 
  • Co – Chaired the “Langley Healthier Community Partnership Council” – Together with the City of Langley we created the Langley Healthier Community Partnership Council which is co-chaired by both Mayors and Lois Dixon from Fraser Health. This initiative was about bringing ALL agencies together with a common purpose to find new and creative ways to make our communities healthier. This affects all aspects of our living environment. Another pro-active initiative to create a healthier community in partnership with the City of Langley and Fraser Health.
  • Encouraged Citizens to launch a campaign against the 208th Street Truck Route – Residents living on or around the 208th Street corridor approached me for help in their campaign against this initiative. In response to their request I offered advice that led to  their email, petition and open house turnout to fight what was being proposed. The residents compiled a petition of 2,200 signatures and an attendance of close to 700 at the Open House held at the LEC. The proposed truck route was defeated by council. Successfully supported this community action initiated in response to a visit of 25 community residents to one of my Monthly Town Hall meetings held at the Willoughby Hall.
  • Exposed the serious financial issues surrounding the Langley Events Center – Living up to what I promised during the last election I issued a press release surrounding the extensive problematic issues surrounding the Langley Events Center. Full detail surrounding this issue was ultimately provided by Press Release. Successfully made public the financial wrong doing and lack of P3 agreement by our Township of Langley Council behind the development of the Langley Events Center in keeping with my promise for public transparency.
  • Initiated the discussion and creation of the Walnut Grove Business Association – Working with a couple of major business owners in the Walnut Grove area we provided Township of Langley resources which were instrumental in the Creation of the Walnut Grove Business Association now numbering over 100 members. This association is proving to be very beneficial in a wide variety of ways in business development, crime information and communication and municipal two-way communication. Successful in response to a telephone call from Ron Knight, owner of McDonalds Restaurants in Walnut Grove and Port Kells I initiated and chaired the first couple of information meetings at the LEC of prospective members of what I wanted to see develop – The Walnut Grove Business Association.
  • Initiated the discussion and creation of the Aldergrove Business AssociationWorking closely with and being encouraged by the Walnut Grove Business Association, Aldergrove businesses have taken the same step as Walnut Grove.  Supported by and with some Township of Langley resources, which were instrumental, Aldergrove is well on their way to create the same vehicle. This association is proving to be very beneficial in a wide variety of ways in business development, crime information and communication and municipal two-way communication. Successful following the template we used in Walnut Grove we initiated the same campaign in Aldergrove which successfully formed the Aldergrove Business Association.
  • Mayor’s Monthly Public Forum As promised during the 2008 election I held monthly Mayor’s Forums which attracted over 1,000 residents over three years. This was a drop-in session designed to be informal and to engage the public in a dialogue on individual and collective issues in the community with the Mayor. Successful, despite Council’s opposition to me holding these monthly meetings we delivered on our campaign promise!
  • Langley Agriculture Trust FoundationThe Township of Langley has created the Langley Agriculture Trust Foundation which is being managed by a Community Board of Directors. This initiative was designed to help promote and fund agriculture improvements within the Township going forward. A pro-active initiative supporting Agriculture in the Township of Langley.
  • Re-Activated the Langley Horse FederationI worked with previously involved prominent citizens of the Township of Langley in the promotion of the previously approved Langley Horse Strategy (by council circa 1996) These residents are now back, actively involved in the Langley Horse Federation with a new community based board of directors who are energized to revisit this important Langley initiative. An important element of their work will be building and adding to our agriculture / horse economic development opportunities. A pro-active initiative to support the equine industry in the Township of Langley know with the moniker “The Horse Capital of B.C.” They initiated a Town hall Meeting at the Langley Events Center supported by the Township, of over 300 industry representatives which dealt with a priority list of needs.
  • Metro Vancouver Food StrategyAs Vice Chair of the Metro Vancouver Agriculture Committee I am proud to have played a major role in the development of the Metro Vancouver Food Strategy. This is an important initiative which is designed to raise the profile and importance of our agriculture, food production and food distribution system. This strategy was the result of an initiative sponsored by our metro Agricultural Committee of which I was Vice-Chair.
  • Metro Vancouver Regional Growth StrategyAs a Director of Metro Vancouver I played a major role in the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy which has been very closely addressed by the Township of Langley Municipal Council and Staff. This is a provincially mandated initiative that, through our input, protects the Township of Langley and the region’s residents quality of life and liveability. This was a hotly discussed and debated provincially mandated initiative which ultimately resulted in unanimous support by all Metro Directors and ALL Municipal Councils. Approved in 2011.
  • Translink Transit Service to Gloucester Industrial Park / Aldergrove Corridor For over 30 years the Township of Langley has ignored the Transit needs of one of the regions largest industrial parks. There are 8,000 to 10,000 employees per day in and out of that park. On my initiative, working with Translink, Gloucester property owners and the Aldergrove Business Association, we conducted a comprehensive survey of their transit needs. Gloucester property owners are contributing $1.4 million in Translink Property Tax levies without so much as a bus to show for it. An initiative by myself in conjunction with businesses in Gloucester to find a solution for the lack of ANY bus transportation in and out of Gloucester. A $1.4 million investment into Translink coffers without a bus to show for it. Not successful thanks to the politics by members of our Council!

So what did it take to fight and accomplish many of these issues and much more? A four part series will start in three days!

RG

The next four posts will feature the truth behind my three year term as the Township Mayor. Trust me you can’t make this stuff up, it was a very difficult three years but three years of pride on my part. Their campaign to defeat me in the next election was successful, but to me it was never about sucking up to the establishment to win the next election. We need individuals prepared to step forward and deal with the ongoing wrong doing at our Municipal Hall!

Politics IS NOT a spectator sport, IT IS a participation sport!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, get involved, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

This BLOG has been silent for the past seven months, not for lack of interest but for reasons of changes in our personal life, selling the farm after 19 years, relocating to a new home in Aldergrove, getting used to a NEW normal and recharging the batteries! Full retirement by the way is great!

After the daily viewing of the calamity down south, the actions (or inactions) of our NEW Liberal Government, the upcoming B.C. Provincial Election (next May) and the unbridled actions (or inactions) of our Municipal Government, there is MUCH to talk about! Politics is or can be divisive; unfortunately ignoring it is just too costly to you and your family. Federal, Provincial and Municipal; become active or at the very least BECOME INFORMED on the issues! Politics is not a spectator sport, it is a participation sport!

First, we can and better learn from our neighbor’s experience. The following comes from the writing of a very well-known U.S. reporter – Dan Rather – after and about the U.S. election.

I find it very instructive and relevant to all elections “Ours included – Federal, Provincial and MUNICIPAL!”

“I suspect we shall hear a lot of, “OH NEVERMIND” after November 8.

From GOP supporters of Donald Trump who backed him for a cynical political calculus – they may want to say NEVERMIND. But we should mind – and not forget.

From far too many of the press who gave Trump an open mic and treated his many serious transgressions with indifference and false equivalence – they may want to say NEVERMIND. But we should mind – and not forget.

From those who whipped up xenophobia and misogyny in the name of rallying the base – they may want to say NEVERMIND. But we should mind – and not forget.

From those who suppressed the vote and were called out on it – they may say NEVERMIND. But we should mind – and not forget.

From those who fanned the flames of lies and persecuted the truth – they may want to say NEVERMIND. But we should mind – and not forget.

I suspect historians will find fault with many and virtue with few when they look back at this election. But let us not descend into cynicism. The future of this country is indeed at stake. But even with the vote on November 8, the chapters of our American story will be written in ink not yet dry. Our destiny will depend on how we act going forward.

Will we buy into the “NEVERMIND” crowd, or will we resolve, together, to demand better of our elected officials, our press, and ourselves?”

I will add the following that affects many areas of our provincial and MUNICIPAL politics!

CORRUPTION IN POLITICS DOESN’T SCARE ME…. What SCARES ME is how comfortable people are, doing nothing about it, or are they just too busy to see that it DOES exist?

Where to start? How did I get involved in politics? Where do I stand POLITICALLY? Well I have always been very clear that I am a staunch and avid free enterpriser, I make NO apologies for that. Having said that I have NO patience for those that are so ideologically loyal on the left or right that they can’t see right from wrong AND BECOME BLINDLY LOYAL!

My wife and I got involved in the infamous 1975 B.C. Provincial election by joining and working for the Social Credit Party (as I recall a few of over 120,000 paid members) delivering pamphlets up and down the hills of North Delta with our very young children, trying to defeat the Dave Barrett NDP. As history has shown, Social Credit was very successful and under the leadership of Bill Bennett proceeded, in my opinion, to move B.C. forward. Now it should be noted that under the NDP there were some very good initiatives launched and we fought against them, BUT some of those initiatives survive to this day. For sure not all free enterprisers will agree with them, but if that wasn’t the case why has ICBC, the Agricultural Land Reserve, the Seabus among many others survived? The right has had ample time to change things if they felt they weren’t popular. You see, while I am an ardent free enterpriser I have a huge problem with extremists on either-side, right or left of the political spectrum. Those that are willing to dismiss wrongdoing by their government because of their ideological attachment; I have neither time nor patience for that stand. It does a serious disservice to our system of government on behalf of all citizens.

Social Credit lost the election to the NDP in 1991 and that loss was well deserved. I had been an Alderman in Delta 1987 – 1990 and was the Social Credit candidate for Delta North in that infamous 1991 election. (See my political BIO on this BLOG) It was a tough election to go through but I hung in there knowing the result ahead of us was inevitable. OH I was VERY outspoken within the party before, during and after the election. I say the loss was justified because the Social Credit Government of the day got embroiled in scandal after scandal and became disconnected from the electorate which they were elected to serve. Despite all of the scandalous issues attached to the party, most on the extreme right side of the party refused to see the forest for the trees. The downfall of Social Credit started with the infamous Whistler Convention of 1986. I was an elected delegate that attended the political convention of the century 30 years ago last July. The memories still reverberate, unfortunately the parties demise was inevitable starting with the decision made that year.

So back to the question – What is happening in our politics today? I have a huge problem with politicians who make promises during an election campaign and break those promises after the election, or those that sit back and willingly allow the bureaucracy to run things as normal! So why or how are we allowing this to happen? The media should take a good deal of the responsibility but the media today is in the hands of large corporation providing an ever decreasing number of resources available to do the research and investigative journalism all of us would expect. So if politics are to change it will take all of our collective interest and for good people to step forward to lead and campaign for that change.

So it can be said that our politicians’ ongoing inaction and their less than honest actions AFTER being elected are at the root cause of what appears to be the start of significant voter backlash? At the highest level we have now seen it in the U.S.. How far reaching will it be? Don’t bet against it happening in Canada. Now it worries me when I hear some people in Canada preaching the virtues of Donald Trump’s win and his outrageous campaign in the states. With two bad candidates running they chose the one person that promised the most undeliverable, a person who by ALL accounts (his own admission on the Howard Stern Show) is a sexual predator, an individual who can only be described as a serial narcissistic liar, a closet racist, and by any well researched account a poor businessman, someone nobody thought had a chance of winning. You know that old saying “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story”, it was made for Trump! This was nothing more than the ultimate knee jerk reaction to the public’s feelings of isolation from their government. Over reaction sure, but it IS the result of the inactions by previous governments. Unfortunately this over reaction is being seen in many spots throughout the world. We live in the best country in the world but if we are not careful something like this can happen here. Governments and their elected representatives unfortunately have personal parochial interests designed to serve their own well-being at ALL THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. Corruption can and does happen at our Federal, Provincial and MUNICIPAL levels of government at the expense of ALL of us! When are WE going to wake up?

My intent with this post is to encourage residents to get involved and active politically through joining forces with fellow residents to change the direction of our Municipal Government. Issues that we face are increased and unbridled community density, ad-hoc zoning and poor community planning in Fort Langley, Willoughby, Brookswood/Fernridge, Walnut Grove and Aldergrove. The outrageous building of an Outdoor Pool in Aldergrove and the selling off of Municipally owned lands to friends and insiders all at our collective expense for the benefit of connected insiders and much much more are issues that need to be dealt with. While it has been up and running for close to eight years, the Langley Events Center is a prime candidate for a Forensic Audit!

A little story to whet your appetite just in case you think it isn’t possible to change things? We moved out to Langley, bought our farm, horses, truck, trailer and farm equipment in 1996 under one condition from my wife – You are out of politics! Over the years I had a few friends approach me to get involved in all three levels of government out here but I rejected all advances. My lack of involvement lasted until early 2007 when issue after issue got me enraged. What were they? The Mayor and Council of the day –

  • Purchased Bedford House Restaurant for $2.55 M – $1.3 M over assessment
  • Sold ¾ acre to neighbor for $12,000 – no public disclosure
  • Sold 40 acres of non-ALR developable property (Dixon Pit) – For $2 million to a so-called Township elite.
  • Langley Municipal Airport leases – 25% of market rates
  • McLeod Athletic Park Grandstand – Township share budgeted at $800,000 actual cost $3 million
  • Langley Event Center – Full outline of Financial Boondoggle in earlier post.
  • New Water Management Plan – Planned to Meter Private Wells!
  • Speed Bumps on 0 Ave. – Prior to election a petition taken, 10 % in favor – they were installed after the election despite being told by the Mayor they wouldn’t be.
  • 16th intersections – Planned for traffic circles in four locations.
  • Park Lane Condo Wall – Added 4th floor at 4th reading (increase of density illegal)
  • Residential Tax Increases TRIPLE the rate of inflation for 6 years UP 26% compounded!
  • Residential Tax Increases in 5 year Fin. Plan at 5% per year UP 25% compounded!
  • Purchased Redwoods Golf Course – A VERY lucrative deal for the former owner, no need to buy the Golf Course as green belt was protected through zoning.
  • Outrageous Mufford Crescent Diversion with no public consultation.
  • And many more.

NOTE: By the way, despite this raft of issues, our MLA Rich Coleman told me in a meeting in February of 2008, 10 months prior to the election in his office, that WE were OK with the job the then Mayor was doing. My response, it is Bullshit and is going to stop! I still wonder who the “WE” is? Rich, once again who is we?

So armed with this package of issues I went about talking to residents and building a support base with a view to challenge the sitting Mayor. There were 100s of meetings within the community, both individual and groups over a 17 month period. (How that happened is a long story founded in a commitment to change what was going on.) In any event WE WON!

The next Post following in 4 days will be a post that will outline “our achievements” during my term despite the ongoing antics of the Council of the day.

Now I want to be very clear as I am sure there will be those that will spread rumors that this is somehow a start of my next campaign for Mayor – NO! NO I am retired and I am finished with elected political office, but I am not going away! I am publishing this series of posts to send a message to citizens of our community that, IF you take the time and make the commitment you can be successful as an agent of change through elected political office. It isn’t EASY, but despite the hardships and attacks that were levelled against me over my term I am very proud of our accomplishments!!

As they say be careful what you wish for. Following the next post on accomplishments will be a detailed four part series which will be published over the following three weeks. This series, Entitled “The Story”, will inform those who have wondered and asked about the Real Story of my “Mayoral Term”. All of this is intended to be informative for anyone willing to step forward to run in the next election. We faced down the bullies of the Township, all it takes is the determination to do so. I am more than willing to discuss this challenge with anyone willing to step forward. Our community is looking for independent and qualified leaders. Contact me at any time. My personal contact numbers are identified in my BLOG. All contacts are guaranteed to be confidential.

RG

The next post will present the issues faced and our success in dealing with them. The majority in spite of the Council members of the day!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, get involved, stay involved and VOTE!!!

 

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

 

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

What is happening to the community of Aldergrove and Aldergrove residents is a travesty of justice in the cruelest of terms! It is exactly why our voter turnout during elections are down; tell me what I want to hear during an election campaign and do the opposite AFTER the election! Now, Councilor Fox in an email to me and at last night’s Council meeting states he never promised an Indoor Pool? A few other members of Council suggested the same thing. Isn’t that interesting 1) Aldergrove Pool Committee works for years in a very public campaign for an Indoor Pool 2) Numerous meetings with staff, council and the pool committee discussing different formats for an Indoor Pool, length being the only question. 3) Council launches a public campaign to sell off municipal lands to fund the project, an Indoor Pool. 4) Due to public pressure Council withdraws that campaign to sell lands to fund the project, an Indoor Pool 5) An Indoor Pool was the only thing discussed over the past three elections 6) and NOW Charlie Fox and a few others state they never promised an INDOOR Pool? Are they remotely serious? I don’t recall Charlie or any others being honest with the public stating they support an outdoor pool, do you?

Viewing Mayor Froese’s very public campaign VIDEO during the last election stating emphatically his vision for Aldergrove was an Indoor Pool, there is only one word for it. a LIE to the public. Strong language, YOU BET, BUT it is what it is! At last night’s Council meeting the Mayor stated he is comfortable with his decision – So YES he is comfortable with telling a LIE to the voting public! At last night’s Council meeting Mayor Froese stressed that the Township could not afford an Indoor facility? So, there can only be one conclusion, as Mayor for the three years prior to his promise of an Indoor Pool he did not understand the finances of the Township? There is an old saying in politics, you have either been lieing to us or you are too stupid to be running this municipality!

This kind of stuff has got to stop. A quick view of what is currently happening in politics looks like change is coming unless politicians change. Voters are fed up!!!!

How do we get politicians to change? Stand up against the bullying and subliminal intimidation, become active in the fight and say NO MORE! This campaign against an outdoor pool is YOUR chance to become active, IT IS THE BUSINESS COMMUNITIES chance to prove their REAL value to Aldergrove and it is THE CHANCE for members of your council to prove their worth to the residents of our community by reconsidering their decision. Contrary to comments by Jack Froese (who owns a business in the Aldergrove area) and Bob Long (yes that Bob Long who lives in and owns and operates a restaurant in Aldergrove) IT IS NOT TOO LATE!

To Members of the Aldergrove Business Association (ABA) – I am hearing rumors that some members of the ABA are not onside or are NOT motivated to publicly participate in and support the campaign for an Aldergrove INDOOR Pool that was just launched this weekend by residents, YOUR customers!

First a little history – I have owned a large business years ago in Tsawwassen and was a member of the then TBA. One of their principle mandates as a business association was to fight for community prominent initiatives like they did with the Winskill (INDOOR) Pool. Years later as a resident of Langley and Mayor I was approached by the local owner of the McDonalds franchise in Walnut Grove with some serious crime concerns in and around Walnut Grove. There was no business association at the time. With my experience both in business and as Mayor of the Township I knew it would be invaluable for Council to have a strong business association to work and connect with on a variety of issues beneficial to their community. I provided the Municipal leadership and considerable resources necessary and the rest is history, a very successful business association in Walnut Grove was formed and exists very successfully today.

Following that success we accomplished the same thing in Aldergrove thanks to a few key business leaders in our community. What must be made VERY clear, the sole reason that we assisted in that support at the time is that they, community businesses, would play an advocacy role in support of Aldergrove Businesses, their community and resident / customers. The ABA (business association) role IS NOT to be playing a support role or in any quasi connection to the municipal government, IT WAS AND IS to play a support role for the community. Remember, the residents of Aldergrove play a significant role in the success or failure of your business. Do you want to be known throughout Aldergrove as a business that did not support such a key initiative? Using pure common sense, and being a former business owner, I cannot imagine any business owner with an ounce of common sense not to be supporting this campaign in spades.

To Members of Township of Langley Council – Your decision to back track on your campaign promise (I don’t know what else you can call it Mayor Froese) made during the last election is beyond contemptable.  The thinking that could have gone into a plan for building an outdoor pool in our climate can only be described as beyond the pale. The Township of Langley initiated the sewer line and during my term as Mayor we approved the Metro Vancouver Water line so as to save our aquifers and to provide a safe, secure and stable water supply into the community of Aldergrove in addition to adopting a NEW Core Community Plan. All of this supported our endorsement and approval of the Metro Regional Growth Strategy which supported growth in Aldergrove to be in and around 25,000. Without that capital outlay, growth would not be possible.

In recent years the Township of Langley has spent in or around $70 million to provide stable support services (sewer and water) to Aldergrove and the Gloucester Industrial Park. With all of this population growth and development – We are building an OUTDOOR Pool? While I know none of you want to take my advice, I would strongly suggest an immediate review be conducted of the plan before you or you know what they say – it is going to jump out and BITE you big time! Residents will remember!!!

Mayor Froese – (Langley Advance Thursday March 31st, 2016) “.. at this point there isn’t time to redesign the pool and still get construction underway this year – in time for the 2018 opening”. “We’re on a tight timeline”. RESPONSE – What unadulterated BS. Jack you have all the time in the world. A little leadership and commitment is required, IF a little more time is required, I guarantee the community would be behind you. Council directs staff, not the other way around. This is nothing but an absolute cop out!

Councilor Long – (Aldergrove Star Posted April 2nd 2016 2:00PM) – Stated in a response to the protest underway across the street from his restaurant – “We will forge ahead with the current plan”. Bob Long, as a business owner and a resident of Aldergrove you are an embarrassment to the residents of Aldergrove with your complete lack of support and respect for your community! Not a deep breath, not a willingness to talk to anyone, just the typical arrogant condescending attitude that Council has become so well known for against the people you were elected to represent. You and Fox are a real pair!

Councilor Long is also on record with the following responses to questions posed on Facebook:

“a replacement for the outdoor pool has always been part of the plan” – RESPONSE – You are correct, BUT the replacement for the outdoor pool has always been a NEW INDOOR Pool, lets not try to reinvent history!

“a unique complex unlike any municipally owned and operated anywhere in the Fraser Valley” – RESPONSE – Once again you are correct, BUT unfortunately it is a uniqueness that is not acceptable nor wanted in Aldergrove and NO OTHER municipality would propose such a brain dead idea for their community! We will be the laughing stock of the Valley!

“The budget is approx. $26 million and the funds are coming from Capital Reserves, so therefore it will not require tax increases”? RESPONSE – What? Bob you and some members of this Council had no problem approving the financial boondoggle, that is the LEC, to the tune of $88.7 million (see below) plus, an annual operational subsidy of the LEC to the tune of $4 – $6 million plus the LEC expansion (NO public input or support) to the tune of $7.5 million (included in above). Then there is Blair and Walnut Grove with operational subsidy and the capital all supported by taxpayers in Aldergrove with NO reasonable and affordable bus service for Aldergrove residents to those facilities. FYI to Council – Capital Reserves come from the taxpayer, it is all taxpayer supported!

“that the costs and scope of some of these concepts far exceed our ability to construct and maintain” ..”A modest indoor facility would cost over $35 million and would need to service an area population far greater than what exists now in the Aldergrove area or what could be possibly forecasted for the future, to be viable.”  RESPONSE – Bob, remember the new sewer line you voted for, the NEW water line you voted for and the Metro Regional Growth Strategy that you supported? All of this was to ensure we had the services in Aldergrove to go from 10,000 residents TO 25,000 residents in the future. The decision to invest this amount of money to grow Aldergrove and then build an Outdoor Pool is beyond incompetence.

“The money for construction of the project was always to come from land sales and not from tax increases – but the public will recall, council was convinced not to sell certain lands and so it was faced with a considerably reduced funding source too.”  RESPONSE – So now we are getting at the truth, when Council changed it’s direction regarding the selling of land due to public pressure, they reduced the scope of the project to an Outdoor Pool WITHOUT TELLING THE PUBLIC? I know this is above your pay grade Councillor Long but there are many ways to finance the facility in question, but then again innovation has never been anyone’s strength in the Township or on Council.

Councilor Fox – In typical Charlie Fox fashion his debate against Councilor Richter’s Notice of Motion threatened “if this motion passes I will bring forward a motion to the next Council meeting requesting support for a Township wide referendum for an Indoor Pool in Aldergrove”. He also suggested that the Walnut Grove, WC Blair and LEC facilities were not paid for out of tax payer funds (ie Aldergrove residents taxation) What unadulterated BS – Capital funds and many of the reserves are built on taxpayer dollars! Who do you think provides the majority of funds, the tooth fairy? Who do you think pays for the subsidies, and has done so since day one, ALL Township taxpayers – Not the tooth fairy Charlie?

Councilor Quaale – A very important caution Councilor Quaale, IF you are ever going to start making statements while at the Council Table make sure they are factual. You stated the Langley Events Center only cost the Township $30 million? Absolutely FALSE! Please ask your office for a copy of Mayor Green’s Press Release on the LEC dated Wednesday December 15th, 2010 – It is all factual – THE FACTS ARE:

Province of BC                            $15 million

School Board                               $3 million

Trinity Western University      $3.5 million

Langley Gymnastics                   $1 million

Township of Langley                  $43.7 million

Township of Langley   est          $10 million       (Land acquisition and prep costs)

NEW property purchase est      $5 million         (Nursery site)

NEW LEC addition                      $7.5 million

Grand Total                                   $88.7 million

Township / Taxpayer Costs    $66.2 million ( No referendum Charlie)

PLUS a TAXPAYER SUBSIDY of between $4 and $6 million PER YEAR!

So Councilor Quaale, if you are so concerned with taxpayer dollars initiate a Forensic Audit of the Langley Events Center, you will be amazed with what you will find! Further, think before you speak – Township costs of the LEC are OVER double your quote from the Council table.

Councilor Richter – While I have been critical of you over the years and despite your previous vote supporting this facility during an in-camera meeting (illegally), I must congratulate you for having the guts to bring forward your Notice of Motion requesting Council to revisit their decision. The debate that took place among members of Council last night showed it for what it is, dysfunctional and out of touch with the residents they suggest they support.

To members of Council – There is good news and bad news – The Good News is the Green Family have just sold their farm, the Bad News is the Green Family have just Bought a home in Aldergrove! We are not going anywhere!   

To Aldergrove Residents – From personal experience with years of political experience in Delta and 19 years in the Township I have never seen the kind of unaccountable elected representation that we have in the Township of Langley. I thought through my three years as Mayor I had seen everything, after last night’s meeting it can only be described as dysfunctional. As I have said many times, we have the government we deserve, however I do believe that we can mobilize the electorate into recognizing what is being done to them and what they can do about it! Get involved.

Anyone that has paid any attention to my years in the Mayor’s office will know that I spent considerable energy promoting residents to get involved in their community. I spent considerable time fighting on their behalf, in most cases fighting off other members of Council while I attempted to do so. From encouraging residents to fight the 208th street Truck Route (residents won), to fight the Mufford Crescent Diversion (residents won), to fight landfill on agricultural land (residents won), to fight the Browns Pit gravel extraction by the B.C. Government (residents won), to fight against a fish farm in South Langley (residents won) and in the fight against Athenry Gate (unfortunately residents lost). We fought the Overheight Condo Wall in Fort Langley and we exposed the financial boondoggle that is the Langley Events Center and much more, I have always invited and welcomed the public’s participation, it is essential to our democracy.

The fight for an INDOOR POOL in Aldergrove is incredibly important to our community. It was promised during the last election, after the election the promise has been dismissed out-of-hand and after last night Council members totally insulted all taxpayers in Aldergrove!

We cannot allow a LIE to stand! If you sit back and accept it this time without a firm response you deserve the government you get – All bets are off!!!! Put another way, IF you are not part of the solution (fighting back) YOU ARE the part of the continuing problem!!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.