Taxpayers – What are you willing to accept from your Municipal Government? ANYTHING?

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

“We continue to hear justified complaints about serious issues in the Township of Langley, but we continue to have a poor turnout in municipal elections and elect those responsible for years of costly irresponsible decisions! WHY? Remember the old saying “You get the government you deserve”?

Welcome to my first LANGLEY WATCHDOG BLOG posting which is an introduction as to WHY I have decided to stay involved to speak about local issues, WHY I want to get the truth out about Municipal issues and WHY I want to bring to light some thought about Municipal issues that taxpayers in the Township of Langley should be very concerned with. We have got to break out of the complacency that is affecting so many. It is my sole intention for this BLOG to educate, engage, and inform residents about a number of Municipal issues that should be given serious consideration going into the next Municipal election. This BLOG will frequently touch on Provincial politics and issues as they affect the Township of Langley leading into the May Provincial Election and beyond.

If all else fails, (If the issues weren’t so serious it would be hilarious!) the information that I will provide about the thinking, or lack thereof, from our politicians over the past number of years should provide some comedic entertainment. In fact the entire municipal political scene in the Township of Langley before the 2008 election was a contemptible joke sadly laid upon the residents of the Township of Langley. “It hasn’t changed.”

It all leads to the question – When are taxpayers going to say enough is enough of our ongoing incompetent elected Municipal Leadership?

I will concentrate on providing a detailed and objective account of what has been so fundamentally wrong and flawed with the decisions made by most members of the current council on a number of major issues. Many of these issues have never been thoroughly or even remotely investigated or properly reported on by our local press. In my opinion a disservice to everyone.

The reporting and INVESTIGATION of these issues should be the responsibility of an effective and objective local press, but sadly no such luck. Residents expect the press to ask the pertinent questions of both sides of an issue and present a balanced perspective! Given this reality one question does come to mind – the fact the Township of Langley spends close to $250,000 a year of your tax dollars on advertising between the Langley Advance, Langley Times and Aldergrove Star, is it a conflict of interest and in the print media’s best interest to, “tow the Establishment Line” and not challenge the status quo? Just asking the obvious question. As you follow my blog postings, you will notice that this question is a common theme throughout the operation of our local government.

It would have been very easy for me to drift off into the sunset of my political career and say, “I did my best to right the wrongs and now it is somebody else’s turn”. Fortunately or unfortunately, it has never been my way to take the easy way out. So be prepared for a couple of significant posts per week!

A little history for the record!

In 1996 my wife and I decided to move out to the Township of Langley, buy our farm, our horses, truck and trailer and quite frankly go into a life preparing ourselves for retirement away from the pressures of running our own business and many years of politics which we had been very active in for the best part of twenty five years in Delta. In short THE LAST THING I was interested in doing was to get back into politics. Fast forward to late 2006 I was approached by some neighbors concerned about the relocation of a cell tower wanting some help in their campaign. The rest is history, one issue led to another and after considerable investigation on every issue I was furious about what was going on in the Township of Langley. I could not believe their way of doing business, it was nothing remotely close to my experience in other municipalities! Decisions were made, not for the benefit of the taxpayer, but for the obvious benefit of a very few – what I will call the Township Establishment. So, do you lay down and accept what is happening or fight to change the culture of greed, bullying, and favors for friends and insiders?

I will also do numerous features on the actions of the current council and why residents of the Township of Langley have got to wake up to what is being done to them by their elected representatives in Municipal Hall.

The 2008 Election issues that caused me to come out of political retirement?

  • Non-sustainable and unprecedented tax and spending increases;
  • Land sales to friends and insiders at pennies on the dollar;
  • Metering private wells;
  • Accepting the imposition of Heavy Rail traffic increase through the Langleys when other options were available;
  • Approving the Mufford Cresc. Diversion in secret (no public input);
  • Top Down Community Planning;
  • Approval of what is now the Bedford Landing Condominium Wall in Fort Langley (ignored significant public opposition);
  • Dramatic overruns and very poor budget planning on major capital projects (no public input);
  • Buying the Redwoods golf course and Bedford House Restaurant (no public input) in addition to numerous examples of not listening to the public.

The following is interesting in light of the most recent of many dim-whitted actions by our resident bully Rich Coleman. In February of 2008, after my public announcement that I was running for Mayor, out of courtesy I sent a message by email and/or voice mail to all sitting councilors as well as MLAs Mary Polak and Rich Coleman. The response; I heard from and met with four councilors and MLA Rich Coleman. At this point I will relate an interesting conversation I had in my meeting with Rich Coleman. (For the record I would swear an affidavit to the validity of the following, a lie detector test if required) It was in February of 2008 and in response to my message and request for a meeting, I received a call from Rich Coleman’s office to set up a meeting in his then Aldergrove office.

On my arrival (interesting, then Councilor Jordan Bateman was hanging out in Coleman’s office when I got there)  we went into his boardroom with just the two of us in the meeting. We got into it right off the top:

Rich Coleman: So what is this meeting about?

Rick Green: I just wanted to drop by and introduce someone who is running for Mayor.

Rich Coleman: Well, WE are OK with the job the Mayor is doing.

Rick Green: Well, we are not.

Rich Coleman: I want you to know two things; the CAO (Mark Bakken – Chief Administrative Officer) is a good friend of mine.

Rick Green: That’s interesting

Rich Coleman: And you have been making noises about some land deals, and I want you to know WE are OK with them. (note: the specifics are a topic for another day)

Rick Green: Well we are not, it is bull shit and it is going to stop.

After that frosty exchange, I was surprised that the meeting lasted a while longer. Believe me, there was no doubt that I was not his choice for Mayor, (Somehow I don’t think I fit his mold of “do as I say’) but then again, I could have cared less. He was the last person in the world I was trying to impress. The haunting question from that meeting that still remains unanswered is, WHO was Rich Coleman referring to with respect to “WE” being OK with the mysterious land deals, and “WE” being OK with the then Mayor Kurt Alberts. Who is “WE”?  Just asking the question? The Establishment? WHO? Very interesting comment which probably tells a lot!

Spurred on by a number of residents, I resurrected that political experience I had put into the history books, ran for Mayor and to the shock of The Establishment and many others we won! The next three years proved the old saying, “Be careful about what you wish for”!

I had a clear choice on every decision that I made and had to make. I could have given in to members of council and reneged on everything I stood for and promised the electorate during the election campaign OR I could stand by my convictions and do what was right. How many times have you heard or said to yourself “I wish we would elect someone who would not stand for the status quo and had the guts to do what the taxpayers wanted for a change?” Where I come from there was no choice. I knew from the outset that if I had played the game and fell into line (the wishes of the establishment) I would still be the Mayor today. Something else was very clear, my campaign criticisms of the previous Mayor obviously included the re-elected council members (who were all part of the flawed decisions and policy I was very critical of pre the 2008 election).

So my term started off with the strong opposition of at least six if not seven members of council. (If you don’t believe me, just go back on the voting record of every major issue I brought forward). Now in fairness I have to say I understand how members of council felt, after all wouldn’t any of you be embarrassed if you had played a major role in voting for the most unbelievably flawed decisions in Township of Langley history? I was very aware from the start of my term that I was being set up to defend myself against this question at the time of the next election “How can all the councilors be wrong? It must be the Mayor”. Well folks as hard as it is to believe, YES, seven or eight councilors CAN be wrong! I was the outsider who came in and upset their apple cart. All they desired was to maintain the status quo which would continue the benefit for the lucky few. I stepped on some very large toes while in office because I decided to do what was right. After all, this is why I ran. There is no way that I would capitulate to the irresponsible, and wrong decisions that have been a fixture in the Township of Langley for years. Unfortunately those irresponsible decisions continue and are getting worse, if that is possible! Jack Froese is Kurt Alberts LIGHT!

I thought that the issues that caused me to come out of retirement were mind boggling. Believe me, I hadn’t seen anything yet.? My eyes were opened in my first agenda and my first meeting with Council on December 8th, 2008. It was a precursor of things to come over the next three years.

I can recall saying to some members of council in our early days that we can disagree without being disagreeable and we can have debate and disagree without hating each other, unfortunately members of council couldn’t get passed the fact I was elected and they were determined it would be for one term. I have ample evidence to support that statement, but this BLOG is not about re-fighting the last election, but it is about holding council’s feet to the fire seeing that the local press seem to have no interest in doing so.

It may be surprising to many but I am thrilled with what we accomplished, (about 80% of what I promised to do) over my three years. Now it is very clear that I was made into the lightening rod, well I am no longer there. The facts that will be presented in this BLOG have been acquired over three years as the CEO of the Township of Langley, my knowledge, skills and abilities are derived from my career as TOL Mayor, Alderman in Delta, 25 years actively involved in Municipal and Provincial politics as well as an extensive business career and successful business ownership. (See my CV)

In closing it is my sincere hope that all readers will read my posts carefully, objectively and be open about sharing it with others. I encourage you to challenge me, debate me, disagree/agree with me by commenting on this blog. (keep it clean and not slanderous or libelous) Please feel free to contact me by email or voice mail at any time (All contacts will be held in strictest confidence). OH and by the way we will also be producing interesting posts related to provincial politics and what you may want to consider relative to their involvement and interference  in your municipality.

RG

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In light of Casino-gate in Surrey last week, early next week I will offer some views and opinion on what really goes on in the area of Municipal Public Process, the rules behind them  – and those who don’t think the rules, or at the very least respect that should be given, doesn’t apply to them!

Have a great weekend!

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

Share this BLOG with your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To Reply to this Post – CLICK on the comment under RECENT COMMENTS below.

Comments
  1. Jeff T says:

    I have been following a few good political blogs for some time and came upon yours by chance. I live in the Township and have felt a certain contempt by many on council. You are right, something has to be done!

  2. John M. says:

    It amazes me that township voters do not see the fact that most their council members seem to always be in step with Rich Coleman’s wishes. The latest issue is a casino in the township. Can any one connect the dots or explain why a local MLA seems have so much influence on how things should play out in Langley Township affairs.

  3. RG says:

    It is interesting when you hear people cry political interference in the case of the Surrey Casino – My response is “Coleman contacts Councillors, NO say it ain’t so”. Johnj, that is one of many reasons why this BLOG was set up.

    • John M. says:

      It’s good to see that the mayor of Surrey had the guts to stand up to the pressures from Rich Coleman regarding the placement of a casino in South Surrey. I’m thinking Langley Township was a safe fall-back site right from the start. Most of the Langley Council members are so open to Coleman’s propositions that a thinking person has to have suspicions about who might really be running the township anyway. My own opinion is that this has been the situation for a good number of years.

  4. Wally Martin says:

    You are 100% correct. TOL council is not listening to the people. They simply do what they want and sadly it appears that Mayor Rich is running the show. A good example is the muzzling of Jacob De Radt. Jacob is a genius and is very worth listening to. What they did is a serious violation of Jacob’s rights. TOL owes him an apology big time.

  5. Wally Martin says:

    Congratulations on starting this by the way

  6. Wayne Kuypers says:

    This is well done Rick

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