Archive for December, 2016

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!!!

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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!!!

 

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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!!!

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