Well it’s been three months since our Municipal Election, Interesting results…. My thoughts in a Post Mortem!

Posted: January 25, 2019 in Uncategorized

Deliberately, I have stayed away from commenting on the results of last years’ Municipal Election, deciding instead on watching the live streaming of Council Meetings, watching interactions and how prepared our Councilors are in preparation for the task at hand. It is no secret who I endorsed and some (I guess now some former) friends were mad about my choices? To them I say grow up and get over it, on balance I was pleased with the results; four out of seven I endorsed got elected.

Now, I am looking at the results objectively hoping that those I didn’t support will take a renewed look at the opportunities that exist by maybe viewing the issues and problems within the Township of Langley through a different lens. That lens is the lens of opportunity that every member of Council has within it’s grasp, specifically the change that is possible!

Through my past-experience, both as an Alderman in Delta and much later in my life as Mayor of the Township of Langley I have found a profound reluctance on the part of so many Councilors and Mayors to be willing to change. I believe much of that is driven by staff who are in their comfort zone and for the most part drive the agenda, and in some cases long term members of Council look at any suggestion of change as being somehow a slight against their past performance. I can’t understand that thinking but I have some facts to back up my belief. I am not looking to embarrass anyone, so I am not mentioning names, but it is interesting to look back at a few incidents that occurred.

My personal experience and reason – So right off the top why did I decide to run for public office? It wasn’t in anyway a wish for increased community profile or somehow a wish for any kind of power; but in both cases, for Alderman and Mayor, I ran because I didn’t agree with some decisions of the current council, in my view I had a better idea. As the old saying goes, if you don’t like what is happening step forward and get involved. Politics is all about the competition of ideas and I was always driven to bring about what I perceived to be positive change to the community in which I lived. From setting up and establishing the Toll Free Calling Task Force in and around 1988 (Yes it used to be long distance between Delta and Langley not that long ago) that was changed thanks to the support we received on that Task Force to a number of issues and accomplishments in the Township of Langley.

So what were the couple of experiences as referenced above?

Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance – Shortly after I was elected in 2008 in preparation of and in support of budget discussions, I set up the Mayors Standing Committee of Finance as a result of, in my opinion, the poor record of tax increases and spending, for a number of years prior, by the Councils of the day. In a an In-Camera Meeting when Council was informed of my initiative, I received a very negative reaction by the majority of Council. One Councilor stated out loud, I don’t understand why you are doing this, we have been doing a good job? In this case the majority of Council responsible for the past record of taxation and spending approached this change as a slight against their record as opposed to jumping on-board and being a part of bringing progressive change to how the Municipality was being run.

Introduction of CACs – Early in my term I brought in a Mr. Bruce Maitland who was the just retired head of the Real Estate Department with the City of Vancouver who happened to move into Willoughby at the time. CACs? They are otherwise known as Community Amenity Contributions which are known in some circles as voluntary Bonus Density payments negotiated and paid for by developers for a wide variety of additional costs incurred because of development. They could be fire halls, rec centers, police stations and many more that are not covered by DCCs (traditional Development Cost Charges) which are covered by Provincial Legislation and have very specific rules governing them. I believe Bruce spoke to a couple of Council work sessions, where, and I remember it well, a Councilor spoke up and said well that is great for Vancouver, but we don’t do that out here in Langley. Surprising but true, the idea was defeated in a vote at a future Council meeting. Our past Council has just initiated them. I can tell you in the roughly 10 years since that day the taxpayers have relinquished Millions of dollars and many municipal services have relied on ever increasing taxes that would otherwise not be necessary!

The NEW Council, what are the early observations?

I am looking for members of Council, if incumbents, to take the opportunity to change and be willing to look at NEW ideas, theirs or from other members of Council. As I used to say to Council, we can disagree without being disagreeable but to my point be willing to look through the lens of change. To NEW Councilors – how are they willing to embrace change?

I have been watching the Live Stream of Council Meetings since their swearing in and I would suggest, while it is early, Eric Woodward is the one member of Council that is most effective! Eric is appearing to be well organized, seems to have new ideas at every meeting, posts Notices of Motion on NEW ideas, is debating in a controlled and responsible fashion and yet is having difficulty in getting the necessary support by the majority of Council. Now, are Eric’s Notices of Motion too technical for some members of Council, possibly, are they all great ideas, possibly not, but many of them should be supported and/or amended or at the very least go to staff and/or a works session of Council.

I know members of Council traditionally don’t like to come off and admit to not understanding especially in a public forum, but they have ample time to investigate and understand it by asking questions of Councilors and staff prior to going into a Public Meeting.

Frankly there has not been enough of a sample size to draw any conclusion on other members of Council. I would strongly encourage other members of Council to be more open in their participation at the Council table. We could go on and on and on about history, god knows I have done that. It is now time to be positive moving forward and call a spade a spade as this year moves on!

Message to the Township of Langley Mayor and Council, please take a step back, think about what positive change you can bring to the Council table and/or at least what changes can you support that other Council members bring to Council. Remember, it takes a good deal of time, effort, money and volunteer hours to get elected, when you leave Council, and you will one way or the other, do so being able to look back at what you have accomplished! It is a great feeling, even when you leave as the result of an election, you have done your part, be proud of it!

RG

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

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

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Comments
  1. A Matthews says:

    Do you have an opinion/insiht on why Aldergrove is about to lose another heritage building? Namely the firehall that became Milsean chocolates? We already have lost Aldergrove Elementary for the sake of an outdoor pool…which I would love to see stats on over the winter!

    • There is a lot to be said and done about how Aldergrove has been forgotten about over all of these years. On the positive side they have invested something in the neighborhood of $60 + Millions of dollars for Metro Water and Sewer but then we get an Outdoor Pool which was completely against the wishes of the taxpayer. Eric Woodward has shown some guts to stand up for the need to change direction, lets hope the majority of Council jump on board.

      • A. Matthews says:

        Thanks. Eric campaigned on doing something about the vacant-for-20-years Aldergrove Mall. I hope he follows through on that. And I hope the Milsean chocolate heritage building isn’t bulldozed for a new road. And I hope mayor and council are swimming every day at the outdoor pool. It is, after all, what THEY wanted.

      • A says:

        do you think anything can be done about the sickening overdevelopment of Aberdeen (and row houses right on the Fraser Hwy) and trees slaughtered, with no investment in parks–and that City of Abbotsford is gutting the area whilst telling Abbotsford taxpayers in the area that they can just use Aldergrove’s amenities? the whole area is becoming a suburban hell hole–it used to be a quiet hole, now it’s a busy, disgusting, polluted suburban hell hole with no plans for parks or schools or libraries. . .on Eric Woodward’s plans–i don’t think any towers should be built until we are honestly investing in green spaces and trees and parks and infrastructure. i used to love living in Aldergrove (even in spite of all the bad that was sad about it)–now I can’t stand it. and City of Abby seems to just be piggy-backing on the hard won efforts of Aldergrove and seems determine to develop the living hell out the area–all the old growth trees torn down, housing right on top of the highway. sickening. What can we do?

  2. Hello Rick. I would like to respectfully request that you please remove me from your email list.   For me it has nothing to do with “growing up and getting over it”.  It’s what I see as a loss of perspective and credibility.  Not sure how they changed your mind or how you seemingly gave up your previous beliefs to the point of ignoring what is happening in Fort Langley but you have lost perspective from what I can see.  I mostly fear that you have gotten so focused on the opportunity of causing payback havoc with some council and staff that the idea of throwing Eric into the mix knowing how he is has become more important to you than who he is and what he does to people and his community.   It’s unfortunate.  And it’s sad to me.   You used to be the blinding light that could bring out the black corners and crevices in our Township’s dark secrets and hidden agendas and show them to the people.   But what you are doing now is clearly very different.   People will see that.     In the meantime, I do wish you the best Rick and I hope you find your way back someday. -George Otty

    • George, thank you for your comment, it is good to know where former allies/friends are coming from! Your request has been processed! In answer to your comments I must respond – a loss of perspective and credibility, well I will hold my credibility up against anyone any day of the week. You see George the Township of Langley, for years, has been voting for and electing a Council that collectively has been as flawed as anything I have seen in 50 years being involved in politics in the lower mainland. How have past Councils worked for you so far? For the record, although early, Eric has proven what I had hoped he would be, somebody that was not going to be a pandering and paper pushing member of Council, but someone who saw the opportunity to accomplish something and do something with their time on Council. I can only hope that this rubs off on the others serving with him.

      As to your stated assumption on why I did this? I do take serious objection to! OH I have reason to, but that is yesterdays newspaper. I have and always have taken exception to individuals who somehow believe they have a right as a friend or ally to expect that friend or ally to think and/or vote the way they do! I would never insult a friends intelligence by somehow expecting that. I have tons of friends of all political persuasions and thinking and as I say I have never placed that expectation on any of them. This is politics, that is why I say “Grow Up and Get Over It”!

      It is sad to you? Not sad to me George, I want nothing more than to see my Municipal Government be proactive, listen to their residents, be fiscally responsible and look to new ways of moving us forward! Many of those who dislike my endorsement of Eric LOVED my earlier posts with respect to Eric and Fort Langley, its is funny how that works. I don’t apologize for those POSTS and I have told Eric that in a couple of meetings I had leading up to the election. By the way I met with many of the candidates in the last election. All of that said, the decision leading into the election was which candidates, in my opinion would form the best Council? I made my statement and I do not apologize for it! I respect you and everyone else for the decision they made and would expect the same respect in return. No George, I am happy with who and where I am in life so don’t hold your breath in waiting for, as you state “find my way back someday”. So I will go back to my comment in my BLOG Post – Grow Up and Get Over It! Have a nice day! OH one more thing – Eric did come second across the Municipality and only a small 300 – 400 votes short of the leader, for anyone getting involved in politics, that is a remarkable achievement for any campaign let alone your first!

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