Is it Dirty Politics or Corruption in the Township of Langley? No, say it ain’t so…. “The Inconvenient Truth… Can you handle the Truth???” – Part 1 of 4

Posted: December 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RG

Part 2 is coming in 3 – 4 days!

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

 

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

 

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.