The Township of Langley Municipal Election…. More than ever before Your VOTE is Essential; you are making a decision for FOUR YEARS! A few issues and what to consider follows?

Posted: September 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

This BLOG Post will lay out a few important issues that you should be concerned about. Now you may look at some of these issues and say they don’t affect me (where I live), on that point I can assure you that there will come a day where you are looking for the support of others, in other communities within the Township! The Municipal Government in the Township of Langley has been successful doing what they want because they have made dividing and conquering our six different communities an art form. Don’t be fooled!

It is important to support other communities, because you could be next! Think of other communities as your neighbors, they need your support! Don’t allow politicians to splinter our Municipality!

It is interesting that our Municipal Elections have THE lowest voter turnout of the three levels of government. I say interesting because without question your municipal government is the closest to you with arguably a greater cause and effect on your daily family life. Our apparent disconnect has a lot to do with our busy lives juggling, work, kids activities and social responsibilities, however we urge everyone to focus on this election for the next 3 weeks. Get out to All candidate meetings or at the very least study their platforms and voting record. In 2014 the voter turnout for the Township of Langley was only 29.93%. Please do your homework and get-out-to-vote, YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

In this election I am promoting and encouraging the need for change. Why? What follows are a few key issues to be concerned with. (more to follow) I believe the following issues should seriously be considered when making your decision, remember the definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”.

Issue:   Independent Representation on Council? It is a fact that independent members of Council are MORE responsive to you the electorate, than are members of a slate! So WHO is TRULY Independent and WHO IS NOT? These are good questions? How do you tell? Let’s explore….

There is a very interesting Post that is making its round on Facebook these days, that is, what does “Independent Candidate” really mean to you? Well I can speak to this from personal experience in that as an elected Alderman in Delta I was a member of a slate of 6, we did not run a full slate but nevertheless it was a slate, and in the Township of Langley I was an independent. Interestingly in the Township there is a 3rd option in running that is somewhat unique to the Township. It is an attempt (and I might add somewhat successful to-date) at conning the electorate. What am I talking about? It is the non-slate slate which I have had the experience of learning about up close and personal when I was the Mayor. It is otherwise known as a charade and you the citizens of the Township are the PAWNS in this charade!

Now this doesn’t mean that they vote with each other on every vote, (we didn’t in Delta) BUT interestingly they do vote in unison in favor or against on votes of particular importance to their collective developer / support base primarily on development density, budgets (increased taxes and with no vigilant staff oversight) and against any forward thinking ideas such as CACs and a few others which would benefit you the taxpayer.

Don’t believe me, check their voting records. As some will remember the 2014 election featured what was then called “The Un-Election Campaign” which letter graded all candidates that were currently on that council based on solid research of their voting record. That very public campaign put a lie to a number on the current Council still pretending to be independent.

In recent days a couple of events have been held (and more planned) that further put a lie to their claim of being independent. “The Froese Team” previously denied now outed!  –

Specifically:

Event: – Thursday Sept. 20th Aldergrove Kinsmen Center – An announcement was made regarding this event “a by-invitation meet-and-greet for Langley Township council candidates, but only those who received a personal invite will be speaking.” We have it on good authority that in the opening commentary by Steve Schafer who was arranging these events stated when introducing those invited “don’t know what the big deal is, if this was Toronto no one would care about a slate.” So who was invited, who spoke, why it was “The Froese Team”? – Jack Froese – Blair Whitmarsh – Angie Quaale – Bev Dornan – Margaret Kunst – and Michael Pratt!

“The Froese Team” / a slate in their own words!

Event: – At Angie Quaale’s campaign kick-off going back a couple of weeks at a local winery. – Jack stood up and introduced those he can work with, his words. So “The Froese Team” – Jack Froese – Blair Whitmarsh – Angie Quaale – Bev Dornan – Margaret Kunst – and Michael Pratt.

“The Froese Team” / a slate by their own actions!    

Issue: Fiscal and Financial Management / Responsibility – SPENDING OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS!

The most recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Analysis dated Sept. 11th, 2018 states the following –

  • The Township of Langley ranks 20th out of 20, last @ 50.1% of B.C.s twenty largest Cities / Municipalities in 2006 – 2016 in Real Operating Spending per Capita Growth. Remember, this spending is YOUR TAX DOLLARS!
    • What does that compare against? – Maple Ridge ranked 2nd out of 20 @ 17.9%. A fast growing municipality that has kept spending in line.
  • The Township of Langley is THE worst performing major Municipal Government in B.C.

Now I have recently seen the Angie Quaale diatribe, crying foul on Facebook with a long dissertation about this CFIB report making so many FALSE claims it is actually quite shocking and disturbing! This diatribe which was aimed at Kim Richter (and believe me I am no defender of Kim Richter) belies an underlying misunderstanding of the job she was elected to perform. She is so wrong on so many counts! I won’t go through the whole thing but on some of her points?

Quaale – “The statistics are 12 years old”

Response – NOT TRUE! This report measures 2006 – 2016 Real Operating Spending per Capita Growth. This is a very responsible 10 year measure of performance.

Quaale – “It’s a headline meant to sensationalize an issue that has no context and no substance.”

Response – Another way of putting this is BS trying to baffle brains. What an insulting arrogant and condescending statement! This is a well-researched report that provides context and substance in the form of accurate research. 10 years of actual data, actual numbers!

Quaale – “The Township of Langley is a geographically huge, thriving, growing municipality and it’s a complex environment that must consider both rural and urban requirements & it is expensive as hell to operate.”

Response – The following puts a lie to Quaale’s excuses above. So let’s see, work with me on this…. Kelowna is 3rd @ 10.3%, Richmond is 7th @ 19.1%, Surrey is 9th @ 31%, Kamloops is 13th @ 29%, and I could go on. They are large spread out Municipalities, urban and rural, all growing exponentially! There is no excuse for the Township of Langley to be last @51%! FACT, out of 152 communities in B.C. the Township ranked 96th last year and this recent report ranks the Township at 103rd position! We are worse than ever and nobody is doing anything about it! The 2015/16 Operating / Spending Per Capita Growth ranked 20th or last!

Quaale – “Management of our resources and taxpayers assets is what we are elected to do.”

Response – Council is not managing anything, your rating on this survey suggests very strongly the opposite! Council as much as anything is a Board of Directors with an oversight responsibility of staff through the budget process. That IS NOT being done!

QuaaleVoting NO is easy and if we all did it, our municipality would simply shut down.”

ResponseWhat an absolute ridiculous statement. Saying NO is far more difficult, because a Mayor and councilors would then have to deal with priorities or find funding in other envelopes of opportunity within the Township of Langley budget. Here is a hint Ms. Quaale, search for the numerous envelopes throughout the budget that are titled “Capital Projects funded not started” (unless of course staff have since changed their wording to hide slush funds). I have written about this in the past, it is only the tip of the iceberg!  

Quaale – “Working to minimize spending, identify efficiencies and reduce waste is hard. Good governance, financial stewardship and actually voting to pass along an increase is difficult.”

ResponseWelcome to the job you signed up for Ms. Quaale. It is hard to say no to staff and the community in some cases. It is about setting priorities and living within your means. It is not all about conventions, social functions and cutting ribbons. Do your job!

And so it goes, I fought this wrong-headed budgeting process in the Township of Langley when I was Mayor between 2008 and 2011 and got dumped on from great heights by members of my Council. (Some are still there and others have bought into this thinking.) This thinking in my view is the product of the preaching by senior staff, it is well entrenched. To try to break away from this kind of thinking I initiated a “Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance” which included 3 professional individuals from the community (A CA, Federal Auditor and lawyer) and 3 members of Council. They worked very hard pouring over the Township Budget for 3 to 4 months, line by line with many questions. The result of that exercise (their report) was totally ignored by members of Council who immediately adopted a 5% tax increase.

It is no surprise to me that the Township ranks as poorly as they do, it was inevitable and nothing has changed. I made the statement back in 2009 that the budgets that are being adopted are staff budgets, they are not council budgets and that appears to be continuing to this day. Council members are only interested in what favored little fluff pieces they can get adopted within the budget. I have never experienced processes of such importance being given such obvious lip service by members of Council. Steve Ferguson and Bev Dornan were part of that calamity, and they are trying to get back in? If the VOTERS are smart, NOT!  

Issue: Process of Community Planning in the Township of Langley

In general the planning process in the Township of Langley is nothing but a top down process. This same process was going to happen to the Aldergrove Core Community Plan when I was in office until I intervened. What Council wasn’t aware of at the time was the fact I had requested staff to come back with a Community based process. That was a Community Planning Committee comprised of a cross section of the community, business, residents and social services. The members selected elected their Chair and they ran the community meetings. The Township provided a planning facilitator. All of this resulted in a community accepted and adopted Core Community Plan within 6 months. It works and is still thought of very well within the community of Aldergrove. Aside from initiating a new process my only involvement was in their first meeting – my direction to them was look at this project like you were starting with a blank piece of paper, no assumptions.

When I left office they went back to the same old process which is supported by all current members of Council. Steve Ferguson and Bev Dornan were part of that top down calamity and they are trying to get back in? If the VOTERS are smart, NOT!

During the last two election campaigns you heard nothing but promises from the Mayor about initiating a community consultation process in every community, how are we enjoying it so far? It was and is a sham and a charade and our communities are paying the price!!

In Fort Langley, Brookswood / Fenridge, Willoughby and Aldergrove, our communities are struggling to be heard, unfortunately their voices are being ignored.

Issue: Aldergrove and their never ending problematic issues!

I live in Aldergrove so what I have to say speaks to what we have to look at and live with on a daily basis, which is so unnecessary. Aldergrove is in dire need of redevelopment which requires our Mayor and Council to be pro-active with business and property owners. There are a number of incentives that can be offered to entice new development which from all appearances is not being considered. This Mayor and Council are doing nothing!

In a recent Facebook exchange Councillor Bob Long suggested that the economy would look after Aldergrove’s needs, I reminded Councillor Long that we had just gone through one of the hottest economies in the last 10 years, how is it working for you now Bob?

Pool: An INDOOR POOL for Aldergrove as promised by the Mayor in a video distributed throughout the last election? NOT! They didn’t even have the foresight to put in footings for an addition in future years. So here we are with an Outdoor Pool, not asked for, a state of the art Outdoor Water Play Park (only open at best 4 months a year), not asked for and not a part of the original plan that community members spent hundreds of volunteer hours on. But this is what we get. We will have to see how it is used between October and April! All of this and totally insufficient parking!

Old Aldergrove Center Mall: We have to see the eyesore of the old mall, closed and boarded! In my previous post I detailed an interesting Press Release sent out Sunday evening complete with a political letter of support by the developer and a layout / plan of a proposal that appears to implicate members of Council in support of this project. The proposal is an insult to our community and an insult to the adopted Aldergrove Core Community Plan. All of this coming out on the eve of an election, are you kidding me? I have never heard of such a thing ever happening. I urge all residents to look at what is being proposed, we can do MUCH better. As I said this plan looks like it was created on the back of a napkin!

Downtown Aldergrove clean up: We have a strip joint / peeler bar sitting in the center of town, the main intersection. The Township should purchase this property, demolish the hotel, rezone it and put the property on the market. Our businesses / properties down the main corridor (Fraser Highway) requires significant clean up. What about our / your Economic Development officer arranging a meeting with ALL land owners and business owners, with the presence of our Mayor, to encourage all business and property owners to get with the program.

All of this in spite of the $80 + millions of tax dollars that have been spent over the past decade to provide up graded sewer facilities and Metro Water. I was responsible for initiating Metro Water into Aldergrove and Gloucester Industrial Estates so we may grow to our planned capacity. The most recent available numbers show Aldergrove’s population as 15,498 consisting of 12,007 residents in Aldergrove proper and 3,491 in Aldergrove East (Abbotsford side of the border). FYI – The Metro Vancouver regional growth strategy calls for an Aldergrove population of 25,000 by 2040.

The much needed redevelopment will only happen with the involvement of Council. The majority on this Council have proven in spades they are not up to the task! The issues throughout our municipality are serious in every corner of the Township of Langley.

Summary:

This election is for a 4 year term, we have learned through experience that 4 years is a long time IF we make a mistake. I urge ALL residents to do your homework and get out and vote. As the old saying goes, we get the government we deserve, so let’s do our best to make the right choice for a good municipal government. Let’s elect a government that treats your tax dollars as their own, that treats your opinion with value and keeps their election promises!

It is getting close for the time to VOTE; it is long past time for serious change.

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER RE ALL CANDIDATES MEETINGS:

Thursday Sept. 27th 7:00 PM – Langley Events Center All Candidates Meeting

Tuesday Oct. 2nd 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce meet and greet Cascades Casino Ballroom.

Thursday Oct. 4th 6:30 PM – Fort Langley Community Association All Candidates Meeting for Township Council candidates as well as School Trustee Candidates to be held at the Fort Langley Hall. No charge to attend, but attendees can bring a non-perishable food item.

Wednesday Oct. 10th 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce 2nd meet and greet at the Redwoods Golf Course.

Thursday Oct. 11th 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Willoughby Residents Association All Candidates to be held at the Shepherd of the Valley Church Auditorium, 20097 72nd Ave.. A suggested donation of $5 for entry.

Friday Oct. 12th 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Langley Seniors Community Action Table is hosting a Township of Langley all Candidates Meeting at the Langley Seniors Centre Resource Centre in Langley City.

Tuesday Oct. 16th 5:00 – 8:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce hosts a debate, open to all six mayoral candidates for City and Township as part of the chamber’s dinner meeting at the Cascades Casino. Tickets are available from the Chamber.  

RG

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I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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

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Comments
  1. 4550maui@gmail.com says:

    We are trying very hard to choose some new blood for the township council and mayor, however a lot of the new people who have put their name into the race have not been very VISABLE . The only one really putting himself out there is Eric Woodward. It makes it hard to make informed choices. Not much of anything in the local papers and if you don’t have a computer you won’t see anything except the current councilors and Jacks signage around town. People seem to vote for the names they are familiar with, not always a wise choice.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • I don’t disagree however with the all candidates meetings and I am sure direct to door delivery of brochures plus newspaper ads over the next 3 weeks I am sure with due diligence you will find the info you are looking for. As you know I am NOT running, having said that I will be doing my due diligence and will know and announce who I am voting for before election day. For the record I am not working for any campaign however I have supported certain candidates on-line (Facebook etc,) which I will continue to do. WE NEED DRAMATIC CHANGE! Continuing to put the same people in place expecting a different result is the height of stupidity!

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