Archive for September, 2022

As residents of the Township of Langley, all of us have felt the pressure of growth – over the last decade we have seen an increase of close to 40,000 residents! Our current Municipal Council, the incumbents, running for re-election and those running on the Elevate Langley slate are only interested in maintaining the status-quo; that is continued favors to friends, insiders, developers while continuing inaction on the infrastructure crisis we are all facing.

I will go back to my BLOG Post of September 20th, 2022 – the choice is not independent vs slate. When you hear candidates sing the praises of being an independent, it is frankly something that has garnered a very misleading value in the public’s mind. If you believe that the Township of Langley has had a council made up of independents over the past two decades, and most residents as well as members of Council say they are independent; then weighing that claim of independence against your council accomplishing anything of value to residents, it proves to be a misnomer (a wrong or inaccurate name or designation). We are in a critical infrastructure crisis; how is it working for us so far; IT ISN’T! This Council has proven the fact as independents they have been incapable of accomplishing the job you hired them to do.

I know and appreciate the Township’s terrible history of slate politics, but that was two decades back. Since that time, the so-called independent voice on Council has achieved nothing.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results”

Our population two decades ago was about 105,000, today we have approximately 150,000 residents; growing exponentially faster than originally planned, with no meaningful infrastructure improvement investments being made in the last twenty years – Fire Halls / equipment, Fire Department staffing, Parks, Ice Sheets, All Weather Soccer Fields, Community Centers, Pools, Senior Centers, Roads, Sidewalks, green ways, bike paths and so much more.

Not ALL independents and/or slates are created equal: To accomplish the task of getting Council’s approval for the necessary infrastructure investment going forward you need 5 votes! I have experienced first-hand as Mayor the problems with being one of nine so-called independent voices on Council trying to obtain that support. For reasons that are nothing more than politically motivated, either internally within council or influenced by outside power brokers; getting the majority focused on what is in the best interest of the Township of Langley and you the voter was impossible. Petty council disagreements and attempted deal making as well as more serious partisan politics gets involved frequently which has an extremely negative affect on getting meaningful things done! It is wrong but that is the way it is, in reality.

The best way to explain what I am talking about is using a few examples on issues that I faced as your Mayor – Remember I was elected Mayor, a surprise in the eyes and minds of the incumbents that were reelected back in November of 2008. I have written extensively about the following issues, but for this purpose I will give you a short list with an abbreviated explanation, as follows:

Langley Events Center (LEC): When I was elected Mayor, the LEC was about 75% complete. In my first in-camera meeting, staff were asking for an additional $7.5 Million. Getting to that report, I requested a one-week deferral to better understand the issue as we had a new Mayor, a new councilor and one councilor was away. Barely getting that request out of my mouth Councillor Bateman called for the question on the motion to approve the report and request, it was approved with myself being the only dissenting vote. That irresponsible action by members of Council was consistent throughout my term, it was all political. My request was reasonable, responsible, not confrontational yet council were determined to send me a message – forget what was in the best interest of the Township and you the taxpayer. I have written extensively about this project. Due to the problems and issues, I uncovered, I brought in a legal firm from downtown Vancouver as well as BDO Dunwoody to review this project in detail. Both firms agreed with me, they asked how did you got yourselves into this predicament? I have said many times that this project was ripe for a Forensic Audit! Great project, irresponsibly created, developed, and managed. NO support from Independent Council members at great cost to you the taxpayer!

Mufford Crescent Diversion: The Mufford Crescent Diversion plan was initiated by the then B.C. Liberal Government under the guise of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project led by TransLink, an overpass over the rail line and Glover Rd. through the historical Hudsons Bay and Bella Vista Farms connecting with the 216th and the 64 Ave. intersection, making over 300 acres of prime agricultural land impossible to farm which would ultimately have lead it to being removed from the ALR. It was designed and approved without Public Consultation, supported by then B.C. Liberal MLA Rich Coleman. After the 2008 election Mayor Rick Green had the TOL hold two Open Houses and a Public Meeting that saw over 1,000 people attending. There was also a public meeting at the LEC and an agricultural community meeting at the casino, both hosted by the Agricultural Land Commission. Combined the proposed project had 97% community opposition. Mayor Green received abusive opposition by six so-called independent members of Council, despite such wide-spread community support. While taking two years, we were successful in having it rejected by the ALC and referred it back to the funding partners for a better option – thanks to Chair Richard Bullock, despite all of the threats. Richard Bullock was removed as Chair of the ALC shortly after by the then B.C. Liberal Government. NO support from Independent Council members who supported the original proposal despite such wide spread public opposition; we won despite the opposition on Council, again thanks to Richard Bullock and the ALC!

Community Amenity Contributions: In the 2008 election, two of many items I had on my campaign platform were 1) Creating a public information profile on all Township of Langley owned properties previously unavailable (which we accomplished) and 2) Establishing a Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) program. After winning the election in 2009 I brought in Mr. Bruce Maitland (Retired Director of Real Estate Services for the City of Vancouver) to brief our Council on the background, benefits, and potential implementation of a CAC program. Vancouver were the leaders in Metro Vancouver of this initiative. The decision of our so-called independents on Council – NO that is fine for Vancouver, but we do not do that in the Township of Langley. The TOL introduced a very watered-down version of CACs a couple of years ago, but they are only at 25% of what Surrey is charging? Why? Thanks to the vote of Independents, it has cost taxpayers multi 100s of millions of dollars since 2009! NO support from Independent Council members!

Athenry Development on 208th & 80th: The Athenry Development on 208th on the Willoughby Community Hall corner was brought forward to the new council. The previous council had given this project 1st and 2nd reading, held a public hearing and gave it 3rd reading. As it dealt with approvals given to it by a previous council, it is required that the new council be provided with all of the information and material to-date. I wanted to ensure we had all of the information, so I requested the layout of the proposal that was given 3rd reading. That reading was for a large mixed-use building in the center of the property while the NEW layout showed multiple buildings very-close to homes – about 15 feet from their back fences and 4 stories in height (over 40 feet) hovering over single family homes surrounding that property. This was an obvious breach of regulations surrounding what changes can be made at 4th reading. Those regulations state that the only changes that can be made at 4th reading are form, character, and design, NOT an increase in density! It was a highly contentious and controversial project which I strongly objected to, spoke, and voted against. However, despite the protestations of hundreds of local residents, the majority of so-called independents on Council approved the project. There were lawsuits and/or threatened lawsuits, however I know first-hand there were family break ups and serious loss of home values of up to $100,000. It was a travesty. Once again, the owner of that property had inside connections. It is Interesting, that this development property was-flipped since, and to-date only has one building built on the site. NO support from Independent Council members!

Landfill on Agricultural Land: A significant issue was an apparent breach of ALR regulations allowing a free reign for dumping fill on agricultural land. After a significant period of time fighting this issue, a diligent landowner brought to my attention that there was a memo sent to the ALC from our CAO advising that Council had agreed by resolution to send all applications through to the ALC for their consideration and/or approval. After doing my due diligence internally I discovered a copy of the memo and, that, no such resolution had been passed by Council. (A requirement under provincial legislation) In my view that is a deliberate act to mislead a provincial crown agency which is responsible to enforce provincial regulations. NO support from Independent Council members to deal with this issue appropriately.

Summary: I am sure everyone will agree, the examples that I outlined above were not controversial, and they were in the best interest of the public and the taxpayer. So why were they not supported? Internal politics and outside pressure from power brokers that did not want any change on Council, pure and simple.

While it might appear that I am fighting for a slate, that is not necessarily the case, however what I am doing is giving you examples of what happens when you do not have the votes (you need 5) in support of initiatives (infrastructure projects we need). So, let us put it another way, let us say you elect a mayor and eight councilors who each have their own priorities which is normally the case; why else would you run for Council if you didn’t have a platform of ideas you want to achieve on council? It then becomes an internal fight/discussion/debate on Council culminating in let us make a deal? What happens now? You have nine members of Council trying to negotiate with each other for votes of support. You end up with fractious relationships and factions on Council which cease to be constructive to a Council of the whole.

That unfortunately is just how it works out of sight of the public who elected them. Those that are incumbents or are running solely on the theme of being independent, will deny this reality; for those incumbents they are not telling you the truth, and for those having never served on Council don’t know what they are talking about. They mean well, but just don’t know the reality.

RG

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Langley mayoral hopeful says…. Rich Coleman hiding assets from voters!

Township of Langley councillor Eric Woodward said Coleman, who leads the fledgling Elevate Langley party, is breaking the law

By Bob Mackin | September 20, 2022, 5:03pm

Coleman announced his bid to replace the retiring Mayor Jack Froese in late August, more than two months after the final report of the Cullen Commission on money laundering in B.C. did not find political corruption | Photo: Screenshot, Cullen Commission on money laundering in B.C.

A Township of Langley councillor hoping to become mayor in the Oct. 15 election says his star opponent is illegally hiding his assets from voters. 

Eric Woodward said Rich Coleman, the former BC Liberal leader and ex-deputy premier, is breaking the law by claiming on his statutory disclosure form that his investments are in a blind trust. 

Municipal politicians, Woodward said, have significant power to “create wealth with the stroke of a pen with rezoning decisions.”

“You cannot just say ‘blind trust,’ because you cannot sit at the council table and not have the public aware if you have a pecuniary interest in something at the table,” Woodward said in an interview.

Coleman, who leads the fledgling Elevate Langley party, has not responded for comment. 

Section 3(a) of the Financial Disclosure Act requires that a nominee or elected official must specify “the name of each corporation in which the person or a trustee for the person holds one or more shares.” Under section 5(1), a nominee must also disclose holding more than 30% of voting shares in a corporation, including shares that are held “by a trustee for him or her.”

“It’s completely outrageous that somebody would run for mayor of a municipality with the growth rates we’re seeing and not disclose if they have interests in land within that municipality,” said Woodward, who was elected to township council in 2018.

On his form, Coleman disclosed a residential address in Langley’s Routley neighbourhood and initially listed Aldergrove Credit Union as a creditor, but crossed that out. His sources of income are a B.C. Government pension and Canada Pension Plan. According to the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, Coleman’s 24 years representing Langley and Aldergrove in Victoria made him eligible for a $109,000-a-year pension. 

During his provincial career, Coleman fell under the Members’ Conflict of Interest Act, which requires annual filings and material change updates to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. Rather than publishing those forms, the commissioner releases a one or two-page summary about each MLA.

Coleman’s last summary, released in November 2020, said his spouse received salary from Mobil 1 Lube Express, they had residential property, bank and other deposits, and investments held inside a Sun Life Financial RRSP “money on deposit and/or term deposits certificates.” Under the heading of “financial interests (member and spouse),” the summary said: “Member has a blind trust.”

Not reflected in Coleman’s publicly available municipal or provincial disclosure documents is that his son Adam’s company, Coleman Oil and Lube Properties Ltd. operates the Mobil 1 Lube Express in Langley. The B.C. corporate registry shows that Adam Coleman’s company amalgamated in February 2018 with 976440 B.C. Ltd., a numbered company registered to Kuldip and Bahadur Cheema of Vancouver. 

Bahadur Cheema is better known as Bob Cheema, the supporter of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition who was behind the scuttled 2013 South Surrey casino proposal. Then-Mayor Dianne Watts cast the tiebreaking vote against the Gateway Casino/B.C. Lottery Corporation project.

Coleman announced his bid to replace the retiring Mayor Jack Froese in late August, more than two months after the final report of the Cullen Commission on money laundering in B.C. did not find political corruption. Commissioner Austin Cullen instead concluded that BC Liberal politicians did not fulfil their duty to protect casinos from dirty money. 

Councillors Michelle Sparrow and Blair Whitmarsh are the other candidates.

Woodward said Elections B.C. referred his complaint to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, which was indifferent and suggested he complain after Oct. 15 to Elections B.C.

“I’ve been filing those disclosures every year, and I’m very familiar with the rules,” Woodward said. “I actually am personally offended that somebody would run for mayor and not.”

On his candidate disclosure, Woodward lists the Township of Langley as his only source of income and has liabilities with a branch of CIBC in downtown Vancouver. Attached to his disclosure are three additional pages with details of a mixed-use portfolio of 20 properties wholly owned by Fort Langley Properties Ltd. (FLPL), of which Woodward is a shareholder. He reported no holdings in his name, other than his personal residence in Langley’s Salmon River area. 

Woodward also shows that FLPL owes mortgage debt to Baywest Developments (2020) Ltd., First West Credit Union and Triple A Drywall Ltd., and operating debt to Statewood Properties Ltd. 

Woodward said that FLPL is a holding company that is bound to donate all ongoing rental and future development revenue from the Fort Langley Project to Greater Langley charities.

RG

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Selling the voter / taxpayer on one or the other is selling a “Pig in a Poke”! (Something that is offered in such a way as to obscure its real nature or worth). Residents should be viewing their choice for Council (Councillors or Mayor) NOT based on independent vs slate; BUT – What is their platform? What do they stand for? What is their background? What is their experience? How are they going to get things done? – and How are they going to get 5 votes to support their platform?

A little history: I have spent at least four decades being involved in Municipal politics. I was elected Alderman as part of a slate in Delta (1987) and I was elected Mayor as an independent in the Township of Langley (2008). Township of Langley Councils had elected slates up to the infamous election of 1999 (When former Township staffer Kurt Alberts defeated John Scholtens and Heather McMullen) which ended in post-election lawsuits and the worst demonstration I have ever witnessed of election principles and ethics in politics. Since that time there has been a negative shadow cast on the idea of slates – unfortunately that negative shadow has been cast unfairly and at the expense of the Township taxpayer and voter. Did John Scholtens deserve to be defeated, absolutely – and a number of his slate were defeated in the 2002 election which they deserved in spades. The 2002 election brought on the election of a number of independents.

Not ALL Slates, ad-hoc independent slates or independents ARE CREATED EQUAL, just calling yourself and relying on the term independent is a sham and a cop out to the voter!

It is about what you want to do and HOW are you going to deliver on your promises to the voter? I want Honesty, I want you to Act on your Promise, I want you to Act with Integrity and I want you to be totally Transparent!  

The most recent reality – up to today: Since that time, a number of members of Council have been co-opted by power brokers who have lived vicariously through their designate(s) on Council that you the voter has not had any knowledge of – How do I know that? Through years of investigation as to votes on development, property development, property deals, and so much more leading up to my decision to run for Mayor in 2007 / 08 was a real education. You see, as much as I thought I knew what was going on within the Township, Staff and Council, nothing could have prepared me for the reality I faced. The blatant obstruction that I faced as Mayor did not just come from staff or members of the ad-hoc slate – a few independents were equally as offensive and ineffective in achieving anything positive for the taxpayer. The sad part is the taxpaying public bought into these individuals occasional public outbursts on Council but in reality they were nothing more than a publicity stunt. It continues to this day. Unfortunately, these stunts received unwarranted publicity in the local press.

This year’s Township of Langley election 2022: As I have stated from the beginning, I will be following all candidates for Mayor and Council and I will be objective through independent research of their backgrounds, their history, their life experience and more.

I will not be buying into what is starting to be seen as a smoke screen argument that someone calling themselves an independent, will provide better government.

I have seen up close and personal how independents and/or slate members can be equally bad for the Township. Take Jack Froese for example, it was Rich Coleman and his cohorts who talked him into running for Mayor, who with Coleman’s supported incumbents gave you a Council that talked independence but were a de-facto slate – Check out their voting records over their full terms since 2011. Now we hear Jack Froese who is not running, publicly supporting independents. I guess he is feeling guilty for his actions over the past 11 years – he should be, he was a big part of a serious problem!

Calling yourself an independent as a reason for someone to vote for you, to me is an insult to the intelligence of the voter, it should be a non-starter. That is becoming an all too convenient excuse to hide behind as a candidate.

You know, I am quite tired of listening to political bafflegab as I am sure the people of Walnut Grove, Willoughby, Brookswood and Aldergrove are, in particular. I am interested in those that want to speak with an educated and reasoned voice as to what they are going to do to fix all that has gone wrong, and how they are going to do it? There have been far too many poor decisions, and a serious lack of decision making from our past Councils. We are all paying a heavy price. There are so-called independents currently on council who are responsible or have a significant responsibility for nothing getting done. Calling yourself an independent on Council should buy you nothing in the eyes of the voter, you have a lot to answer for, and you know who you are!

So far, in following (and it is early), candidates are not talking about their platform, they are not talking about what they stand for, they are not talking about their goals or what they want to achieve while on Council. Where is your material? What are you selling, and do not say independence because that is simply unadulterated BS – OK I am being polite!

There are some residents of the Township who are spreading rumor, gossip, and innuendo about certain candidates. I have recently met or talked to a few of those using that attack, and I have told them I am not interested in any of those discussions. These-kind-of-attacks are the slimiest of dirty political tricks that I have seen in 40 years. They are not new but what you find is that there are some in political campaigns that cannot defeat their opponent on ideas or policy, they have to resort to slimy personal tactics. You know, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story! As I have said many times, got something to say, go public – but be sure you are correct! So, on that point I will go to my conclusion and the facts surrounding this BLOG – 

This BLOG’s position to-date: The www.langleywatchdog BLOG was created and first published back in January of 2013. It was created to keep the Township of Langley honest (it did not work) but as important it was created to keep the general public informed. I have published about 160 BLOG Posts which have had about 150,000 views. I have broken (Breaking News) on quite a number of news stories with respect to the Township’s news and issues. Many that the local media never had the guts to publish so as not to upset the Township after all they were receiving about $225,000 annually, in your tax dollars. I have been asked many times about how I can publish what I do – the answer is very simple. Everything I publish are facts, in addition because of my position as Mayor I publish informed opinion based on my knowledge and connections – I was in that office.

As to the positions I have taken so far in this election. As you know, if you have read my last three to four posts, I have come out strongly against Rich Coleman in his run for the Mayor’s Chair. My position on his seeking this position is spelled out clearly and in detail over a previous two posts given all of the reasons I have clearly spelled out. I truly cannot imagine a more devastating result to the voter and taxpayer in the Township of Langley having Rich Coleman as our Mayor. In his words, Mark Bakken, the current Township CAO for the last 25 years, is a good friend of his – Really, I will say no more for now.

I have also come out against Blair Whitmarsh, and I have spelled out my reasons in detail. An on the record lack of honesty, a serious potential for a Conflict of Interest and detailed issues on his voting record. Those reasons speak volumes.

As to all other running, for Mayor and Council, I will be following everyone’s campaigns as best as possible, but I have also been up front regarding the whole issue of Slate vs Independent – as I stated clearly above – Not all slates nor all independents are created equal, keep an open mind on all accounts.

RG

More interesting 2022 Municipal Election News coming soon!

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

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

We have a lot of questions for Rich Coleman given his unwillingness to tell you, the voter, what his assets are; all other candidates are living by the rules, what is he hiding? We say that for a number of reasons, but for a start is the well documented 2008 meeting I had with Rich Coleman in his office when he said to me “WE are OK with the job the Mayor is doing” and “you have been making noises about some land deals” (Dixon Pit to a local well-known family) …. “I want you to know WE are OK with them?” A question he has never answered is – who was he talking about when he said WE? In another thread of leaked emails initiated by Joel Schacter (which we outlined in detail in a previous post) there was talk about how to “Take Green Out”? (The 2011 election.) What were they and are they afraid of?

All of this plus the outrage by so many on-line and in Social-Media on the “Blind Trust” Issue caused me to investigate the legislation and rules surrounding a candidates Financial Disclosure. A Legal opinion was received – so on the heels of that we submitted the following letter to Elections BC, our local Election Officers, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Residents / Taxpayers / Voters of the Township of Langley should be absolutely outraged. Read On:

William Richard (Rick) Green

#407 – 8067 207th Street

Langley B.C. V2Y 0N9

778 705-9282 / Cell 604 866-5752 or email creeksidefarms@shaw.ca

September 12th, 2022

Ms. Darlene Foxgard  Chief Election Officer,            Elections B.C. Complaint for Investigation  

Mr. Bob Wilson, Asst. Election Officer,                    PO Box 9275 Stn Prov Govt,

c/o Township of Langley Municipal Hall,                 Victoria, B.C. V8W 9J6

20338 65th Ave., Langley B.C. V2Y 3J1                       via email – investigations@elections.bc.ca

Dear Ms. Foxgard, Mr. Wilson, and Elections B.C. Investigations:

URGENT Re: Filed Mayoral Nomination / Financial Disclosure for one Mr. Richard Coleman

This letter is being sent on behalf of a wide number of Township of Langley taxpayers and registered voters. We are writing to register a serious complaint with respect to Mr. Richard (Rich) Coleman’s filed Nomination Papers, specifically his Financial Disclosure section. It is clear in reading the rules / legislation governing Financial Disclosure filings that Mr. Richard Coleman has breached the rules governing this act. In his filing dated September 1st, 2022.

Mr. Coleman does not properly declare his assets as required – within Assets S.3(a) of the Statement of Disclosure. “List the name of each corporation in which you hold one or more shares, including shares held by a trustee on your behalfand within Real Property S.3 (f) “List the legal description and address of all land in which you, or a trustee acting on your behalf, own an interest or have an agreement which entitles you to obtain an interest.”  

As outlined in the Financial Disclosure Act, effective August 24th, 2022, in Section 4(a) all candidates for local elected office must comply with disclosing any and all items outlined in Section 3 as required within Section 4, all interests in business and land as applicable.

In the attached filed Statement of Disclosure in S.3(a) all that is listed is “Blind Trust.” Based on confirmed legal advice, this seems to clearly contravene the above noted sections requiring complete and transparent disclosure of personal, business and land interests, or arrangements to potentially acquire/hold any such interests in the future. We can find no qualification or exception for a “Blind Trust” or definition of such within the Financial Disclosure Act to avoid disclosure of these interests as they may or may not exist.

We, the taxpayers, and voters within the Township of Langley expect that all of their nominated candidates for the upcoming Oct. 15th, 2022 Municipal Election are held to the well described transparent legislative rules surrounding ALL nominated candidates. Taxpayers and voters must have the confidence that they know the holdings (not value) of any individual nominated to or elected to a Municipal Government office.

In our collective memory, after decades of municipal political activity we cannot remember any candidate using “Blind Trust” as a way to improperly hide their assets and/or holdings information from the voter.

We urge immediate action to force compliance of Financial Disclosure Rules or the withdrawal of his NominationGiven the timing of the nomination period just ending last Friday September 9th 2022 at 4:30 PM and the election timing of October 15th, 2022 we request immediate action by all authorities to enforce the rules, regulations, and legislative requirements as are clearly outlined. The rules do not exempt a private citizen as has been suggested; for if that were the case the rules would not pertain to anyone currently not in elected office. That would obviously be an irresponsible decision.

Elections B.C. is the agency mandated to enforce the legislation and rules, in no way should the taxpayer / voter have to go to court to enforce the legislation that is in place. Telling voters to go and pay for a court action is neither fair as to its personal taxpayer costs nor practical in terms of its timing.

If there are any questions and/or additional information required, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,

W.R. (Rick) Green

Former Mayor Township of Langley (2008 – 2011)

Cc        Minister Nathan Cullen, Mini. of Municipal Affairs muni.minister@gov.bc.ca

                                                                                                nathan.cullen.mla@leg.bc.ca

            Megan Dykeman MLA                                               megan.dykeman.mla@leg.bc.ca

Consider the following: We have a candidate running for mayor, a former MLA and Provincial Cabinet Minister that stepped away from politics in the wake of the recent Money Laundering Scandal / Inquiry.

Money Laundering Inquiry: Now Rich Coleman likes to suggest he was cleared of any wrongdoing, however reading the final report by Commissioner Cullen, he had some unpleasant commentary about Minister Rich Coleman’s lack of response to an obvious and immediate serious problem. NO Rich, in fact in reading his report you were seriously labelled with at best irresponsibility! That is quite damming for a cabinet minister!

Rich Coleman’s Background: What is Rich Coleman’s background? Well, he was a short-lived member of the RCMP before becoming a developer in the Township of Langley, before running for the B.C. Liberal Nomination, and becoming our MLA. He seems to have always had a serious interest in land development, noting his comment to me re the Dixon Pit property earlier in this post. But interestingly his ongoing interest in property in the Township of Langley followed him to Victoria. He was the Minister responsible for housing which followed him for a number of years regardless of the Primary Portfolio he held; that number of years was quite unusual. Just saying!

The following is taken directly from Wikipedia on September 12th, 2022 –  In January 2007, as BC Forests and Range Minister, at the request of Western Forest Products, Rich Coleman approved the removal of 28,283 hectares (approx. 70,000 acres) of private land from three coastal tree farm licenses along the south-west coast of Vancouver Island and transferred ownership of these lands in totality to Western Forest Products.[7] Minister Coleman announced this decision about eight months after his brother, Stan Coleman, joined Western Forest Products as their manager of strategic planning.[8]

In response to the many concerns and allegations of this land giveaway, the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre requested an official investigation by the Auditor-General’s Office of British Columbia.[9] On July 1, 2008, BC Auditor-General John Doyle released his report, “Removing Private Land from Tree Farm Licenses 6, 19 & 25: Protecting the Public Interest?”[10] In his report he “condemned former forests minister Rich Coleman for allowing a forestry company to remove land from three tree farm licenses for residential development, citing the possibilities of conflicts of interest and insider trading by government staff.”[1

Holborn Properties / Little Mountain B.C. Liberal Government land development scandal. The B.C. Liberal government that was in power at the time of the 2008 deal gave Holborn $211 million in interest-free loans on an 18-year term, the agreement shows. Interest will not accrue on that loan until Dec. 31, 2026. The contract shows that the sale price was $334 million, but the province says only $35 million has been paid by Holborn. When an $88-million credit given for social housing and the initial down payment are subtracted, the developer still owes the province $211 million. Also in the deal was an additional $88 million in low-interest loans for non-market housing, repayable by 2050. The Little Mountain lands sit between Queen Elizabeth Park and Main Street, just south of Nat Bailey Stadium. The six-hectare site was home to 224 units of social housing that existed from the 1950s until the land was sold in 2008. Holborn initially pledged to build 1,400 market value homes and 234 units of social housing. But the site has remained untouched ever since the existing buildings were demolished in 2009. Coleman was responsible for this file!

Selling off 100 Crown owned properties with an estimated value of $800 million in order to balance the provincial 2013 budget. This by any standard is wrong, you do not sell off capital assets (actual value unknown until sold) to cover operating costs. It is the law of diminishing returns. So, what do we sell off next year? This is like selling the family silver to pay today’s food bill, what do we sell tomorrow? Coleman was responsible for this file!

Mufford Crescent Diversion plan was initiated by the then B.C. Liberal Government: TransLink was the lead agency for this project, an overpass over the rail line and Glover Rd. through the historical Hudsons Bay and Bella Vista Farms making over 300 acres of prime agricultural land impossible to farm which would have been removed from the ALR. It was designed and approved without Public Consultation, supported by B.C. Liberal MLA Rich Coleman.

The then B.C. Liberal Government were furious with me getting in their way of what can only be described as a serious land deal. The remainder of my term was very interesting because of it, I was a target of the B.C. Liberals from that point on.

After winning the 2008 election Mayor Rick Green, as promised in the campaign, advised the ALC that he was holding two Open Houses and a Public Meeting providing public engagement on a project the ALC had just privately approved. This process saw over 1,000 people participating with 97% in opposition. This was the measure of public interest and public opposition. Mayor Green received abusive opposition from his Council plus verbal (in-person) and written threats from then Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon; if we did not want the money, he would move it elsewhere! Mayor Green told falcon to go ahead. (Despite the threats he never did move the money, it was a bluff.) While it took two years, we were successful, the ALC, thanks to Chair Richard Bullock, denied the application, based on a proposal put forward by Mayor Green ion a private conversation. The proposal was returned to the funding partners for a better option. It is interesting that Chair Richard Bullock was removed from the ALC shortly after that event by the then B.C. Liberal Government. Coleman was primarily responsible for fighting against the wishes of Township residents supporting the original proposal.

In summary: As we stated in a previous BLOG post, Rich Coleman is running to prevent change from the current status-quo. He does not want any change from what has been happening over at least the past two and a half decades. This period of time has been very fruitful for friends and insiders in the development community.

So, to the question in front of all of us – Do you want to continue with status-quo with no attention paid to needed infrastructure, but all attention will be given to friends and insiders? I do not and we hope you will agree with us on October 15th, 2022.

After reading all of the above, do you really want Rich Coleman as your Mayor? For the sake of our kids, our families, and our grandkids, let us get this right!

RG

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What are we talking about? Well first is the issue with the discussion and the debate on Council regarding a reactivated Interurban Hydrail Passenger Rail Service, second is the financial entanglement between the Township of Langley and Trinity University and then there is his eye-opening voting record – which leads us to the question….

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!”

RE the reactivation of the Interurban Corridor with state-of-the-art Passenger Rail Service: There was a requested motion earlier this year by staff that was brought before the Township of Langley Council which identified the need to request the UBCM to urge the B.C. Government to provide an improved Transit Service South of the Fraser; the solution – Interregional Transit. An amendment was added (I am paraphrasing here) supported by the majority of Council to add “including a study of a reactivated Interurban Corridor”. During that debate Councillor Blair Whitmarsh stated he didn’t know anything about it? – There lies the issue of Blair Whitmarsh’s qualifications to sit on Council let alone in the position of Mayor! It was interesting to hear Councillor Davis’s comment to Councillor Whitmarsh at the time, that he would explain it to him!

Fact: Blair Whitmarsh attended a hour and a half public presentation followed up by a Question Period at a Brookswood Church regarding the reactivated Interurban Corridor with state-of-the-art Hydrail passenger rail between the Pattullo Bridge and Chilliwack. This occurred a number of months before Blair Whitmarsh claimed he didn’t know anything about it. There were about 50 residents in attendance including Councillors Kim Richter and Margaret Kuntz. So why the lapse of memory, it doesn’t speak well for someone who claims they want to help residents of the Township. He, along with all members of Council received the results of a Mario Canseco ResearchCo Poll showing 88% of residents between North Delta and Chilliwack support this initiative, and he had not heard of it?

RE the Financial entanglement between Trinity Western University (TWU) and the Township of Langley: For those that don’t know, Blair Whitmarsh is the Dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Athletics, a high-profile professional position with TWU. The Township of Langley has had a very close entangled financial relationship with TWU for many years. The general public are not aware of the current status of this financial relationship. It involves the financing of major utility infrastructure a number of years ago, their publicized partnership in the Langley Events Center (LEC), back in 2008 / 09, the status of their lease payments to-date as well as the current financial arrangement and status for the TWU use of the LEC, in addition to the TOL land purchase and assessment issue that follows..

A Province newspaper investigation by the late Kent Spencer exposed The Township of Langley paying Trinity Western University 80% ($1.2 million) OVER assessed value for previously donated land suspected of a method to pay off debt they owed TOL? Did that happen, the three independent appraisals TELL the rest of the story…….

NOTE: Full details can be found in langleywatchdog BLOG Post January 14th, 2014.

All of these issues have serious potential for a conflict of interest or at the very least a perceived conflict of interest by anyone closely connected to TWU sitting in an elected position with the TOL. The Township of Langley has operated for too many years in secrecy amidst untoward influence by friends and insiders (private and corporate). The details of these financial entanglements with Trinity Western University is but just one other hidden issue that must be exposed to the taxpaying public. This is NOT any kind of an attack on a private, universally applauded, post-secondary institution, but it must be dealt with in a transparent process, its is costing taxpayer dollars.

RE The Supreme Court Action brought by 10 citizens of the Township of Langley against a few members of Council including Blair Whitmarsh: In the www.langleywatchdog BLOG Posts of November and December of 2020 we laid out in complete detail the Supreme Court Action by 10 residents of the Township of Langley against Mayor Jack Froese, and Councillors Bob Long, Blair Whitmarsh and former Councillor Angie Quaale filing a complaint of a Conflict of Interest. (For the record Angie Quaale, Jack Froese and Bob Long are not running in the TOL this year.) The petitioners lost their action in a legal ruling BUT taxpayers must be concerned about the moral and ethical principles surrounding members of council’s actions. Specifically, the complaint was laid out in detail and proof was provided that these members of Council accepted donations from developers just BEFORE, DURING and JUST AFTER VOTES that were taken at the Council table surrounding specific development proposals. The petitioners charge of Conflict of Interest was in keeping with lawyer Don Lidstone’s opinion frequently referred to (all members of council received this opinion as requested in 2016), outlining how a direct or indirect pecuniary Conflict of Interest can exist. Shockingly the Respondents in their submission, came out of the gate making an accusation that the named members of Council are being accused of Bribery?

Conflict of Interest IS NOT BRIBERY, the respondents strategy was to simply change the narrative! Put another way it was just a misdirection play!

So, it is important that residents understand the detail of the facts on why petitioners brought this case forward. I must add, this came at a significant personal financial cost to the local residents / Petitioners with absolutely NO benefit to them other than, hopefully our municipality will be run in a very transparent way. Speaking personally from my experience as Mayor of the Township of Langley, that would be a refreshing change. It is interesting that Blair Whitmarsh is the only one of the four running this year?

RE The voting record of Blair Whitmarsh: Blair Whitmarsh suggests he is an independent, however based on his voting record, nothing could be further from the truth. He has voted in lock step with the pro-backroom developer Jack Froese independent (they claim) slate on Council who for the record were all supported by Rich Coleman. It is that de facto (independent?) slate I talked about in an earlier post. This de facto (independent?) slates record on getting things done is ZERO other than in favor of developers, they have accomplished absolutely nothing while residents of the Township have had to deal with an exploding population with no infrastructure improvements to keep pace with that population growth – we are falling way behind. A few specifics:

  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against a staff report to fix 208th Street after campaigning for it in 2018.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted for the strip mall in Yorkson without any improvements that were presented to work with the developer to make it a multi-story mixed use development. An improvement to the old-outdated strip-mall concept.
  • Blair Whitmarsh Voted against the Rainbow Crosswalk in Fort Langley. The Rainbow Crosswalk was requested by the RCMP and SD35 for two years before Councillor Woodward got it onto the Council Agenda.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted to remove the Fort Langley pool in a closed meeting and then voted to remove it and replace it with a splash park after public consultation determined it was the least popular option.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against a firehall feasibility study for Brookswood and is now promising to fully staff it.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against revisiting the Williams Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted for the Aldergrove parking lot.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against a better deal for taxpayers on the Gloucester Industrial rezoning “Gloucester Giveaway”. Conversion of Farmland to Industrial with absolutely no value to the Township of Langley in return! An attempt was made by Councillor Woodward for 20% to a Climate Change Action Fund or a contribution to a fire hall in Gloucester – both voted down!
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted In favour of inside deals for developer friends, I.E. Fort Langley Waterfront!
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against cannabis in Walnut Grove and then voted for it when the application came back from one of his supporters.

In short, we need real change for a multitude of reasons. We have to break loose from the chains of local power brokers that have controlled our Council for too many years, let’s get it right!

RG

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There is an old (adage) saying: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

This is a tried but true expression which I have learned through my life experiences to live and learn by. In my opinion and experience, Rich Coleman is the epitome (a perfect example) of that saying!

So why do I say that? You just have to read my previous BLOG Post regarding the dialogue I had with Rich Coleman when I innocently requested a meeting after announcing I was running for Mayor of the Township of Langley back in 2008. (A verbatim transcript of that meeting was laid out in my previous BLOG Post to this one.) At that time, after about 36 years in politics, my experience with bullies and those that practiced intimidation, mirrored my experience with Rich Coleman in that meeting. Throughout my life I had never capitulated to bullies or intimidation and I was not going to start with Coleman. He did not get his way as he thought he would.

Getting back into politics after many years was not my plan when we bought our farm, our horses and moved here from North Delta in 1996. We lived there for close to 30 years. Why did I get back into politics? As a taxpayer and citizen of the Township of Langley I followed what was happening through friends, neighbors, and the local media. To say I was shocked on a wide variety of issues including property deals for friends and insiders would be an understatement. All of that coupled with a year and a half campaign connecting with residents in all parts of the Township, very quietly I might add, made up my mind to go for it. An uphill battle yes, for me a relatively unknown at the time, but I had years of experience running major campaigns as well as being previously elected municipally and a candidate provincially.

So fast forward – You work hard, meet lots of great people, and we are focused on winning, Election-day comes around and you win! A shock and surprise to many – As the old saying goes “Be careful what you ask for,” I could, and I should write a book! The following is just a short snapshot of my experiences, leading up to, during, and after winning the 2008 election. As I see it now, nothing has changed; the chains and controls of insiders are still in place, and it will not change until you, the voter, decide you are not going to take it any longer!

The Athenry Development on 208th: The Athenry Development on 208th on the Willoughby Community Hall corner was brought forward to the new council. The previous council had given this project 1st and 2nd reading, public hearing and 3rd reading. As it dealt with approvals given to it by a previous council it is required that the new council be provided with all of the information and material to-date. I wanted to ensure we had all of the information, so I requested the layout of the proposal that was given 3rd reading. That reading was for a large mixed-use building in the center of the property while the NEW layout showed multiple buildings very-close to homes – about 15 feet from their back fences and 4 stories in height (over 40 feet) hovering over single family homes surrounding that property. This was an obvious breach of regulations surrounding what changes can be made at 4th reading. Those regulations state that the only changes that can be made at 4th reading are form, character, and design, NOT an increase in density! It was a highly contentious and controversial project which I strongly objected to, spoke, and voted against. However, despite the protestations of hundreds of local residents, the majority of Council approved the project. There were lawsuits and/or threatened lawsuits, however I know first-hand there were family break ups and loss of home values of up to $100,000. It was a travesty. Once again, the owner of that property had inside connections. It is Interesting, that this development property was-flipped since, and to-date only has one building built on the site. Favors for friends and insiders – Density was added!

The Dixon Pit property sale: Prior to the 2008 election the Township sold the Dixon Pit property – 40 acres of bog plus 40 acres of non-ALR developable property in North Langley. Advertised in the Aldergrove Star (not in a paper distributed around the property in question per legal requirements) with legal address only and sold to a prominent Township of Langley family for pennies on the dollar, compared to the market value. The purchaser donated the 40 acres of bog property to Metro Vancouver and received a tax benefit. This is the sale that Rich Coleman was OK with! Favors for Friends and Insiders, Rich Coleman said WE are OK with this? Who is WE Rich – Developers? Power Brokers? Establishment? Who, is WE?

The Parklane Fort Langley Condo Wall: Fort Langley’s Park Lane Condo Wall project on the waterfront. In the 2008 election year, mid-year, the Township Council when giving 4th reading to the by-law for a 3 story Condominium Development, approved a 4-story development. At 4th reading you are only permitted to make changes in form, character, and design – NOT density which they ignored. Are we trying to suggest a 4th story would not add density? NOT! Favors for developers who benefit!

Landfill on Agricultural Land: A significant issue was an apparent breach of ALR regulations allowing a free reign for dumping fill on agricultural land. After a significant period of time fighting this issue, a diligent land-owner brought to my attention that there was a memo sent to the ALC from our CAO that Council had agreed by resolution to send all applications through to the ALC for their consideration and/or approval. After doing my due diligence internally I discovered a copy of the memo and, that, no such resolution had been passed by Council. In my view that is a deliberate act to mislead a provincial crown agency which is responsible to enforce provincial regulations. Was this a favor for developers? Less costly to dump fill from developments in local area?

The Langley Events Center development: I said then and since, that there should be a Forensic Audit on the Langley Events Center. There was NO Business Plan, NO Taxpayer Referendum, NO Public Consultation and NO P3 agreement that was promised by all parties!

This is not an issue of it being a good or bad project, but it is a serious issue once again pertaining to improper process in favour of friends and insiders. I have written extensively on this subject as it was the first issue I faced after the election.

When I was elected the LEC was about 75% complete and I wanted to be brought up to speed as to cost, process and what issues were at hand. In my first in-camera meeting agenda there was about a 15-page staff report requesting something like an additional $7.5 Million with 10 significant recommendations that required further thought and more information. Getting to that report on the agenda, a motion was put forward to approve the request at which time I requested a one-week deferral as there was a new Mayor, a new councillor and one councillor was away. Barely getting that request out of my mouth Councillor Bateman called for the question on the motion and it was approved with myself being the only dissenting vote. That kind of irresponsible action by members of Council was consistent through my term.

An important point to remember, the $15 Million Provincial Grant was secured based on B.C. Wood being a vital part of construction and that it was a P3 agreement! This fact was heavily promoted and marketed by both the Provincial Government (your MLA Rich Coleman) and the Municipal Government per Press Release of December 18th 2006, January 8th 2007, and November 19th 2007 – There was NO P3 Agreement! The taxpayer was on the hook going forward.

In short you have Mark Bakken’s (Township CAO and friend of Rich Coleman) sons playing hockey on the Langley Chiefs playing out of the George Preston Arena, the team that just happened to be owned by Maury Keith who just happens to be close friends with Rich Coleman who appointed him to numerous terms on the B.C. Lottery Corp Board, who with Rich Coleman and his $15 million B.C. Government Grant supported by Mark Bakken CAO of the TOL gets approval from Council to build the LEC at a cost of $45 Million, who solicit RFQs and RFPs and bingo – we award the contract to Maury Keith and his partner Jim Bond in the Langley Development Group (LDG created for this project) – OH and the contract is awarded to Vantana Construction owned by Jim Bond. You cannot write this stuff! On completion the Maury Keith owned Langley Chiefs are moved to the LEC.

The total cost of the project was $66.2 Million plus an estimated $10 Million in land acquisition / development costs.

Coleman claims an independent assessed value of $100 Million. Speaking to experts in the field this is totally incorrect on buildings of this nature.

Does a needless not contractually required settlement / payment of $8.83 Million to friends and insiders to sever our relationship with LDG not say it all? Where did that money go, just asking?  

NOTE: I have written in detail and extensively about this issue. You can check those posts out – 1) March 3rd, 2013 and 2) September 24th, 2014 BLOG Posts.

Mufford Crescent Diversion: The Mufford Crescent Diversion plan was initiated by the then B.C. Liberal Government under the guise of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project led by TransLink, an overpass over the rail line and Glover Rd. through the historical Hudsons Bay and Bella Vista Farms making over 300 acres of prime agricultural land impossible to farm which ultimately would have been removed from the ALR. It was designed and approved without Public Consultation, supported by B.C. Liberal MLA Rich Coleman. After the 2008 election Mayor Rick Green held two Open Houses and a Public Meeting that saw over 1,000 people involved with 97% in opposition. This was the measure of public interest and public opposition. Mayor Green received abusive opposition from his Council plus verbal (in-person) and written threats from then Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon if we didn’t want the money, he would move it elsewhere and Falcon was told to go ahead. While taking two years, we were successful and the ALC, thanks to Chair Richard Bullock, denied the application and returned the proposal to the funding partners, despite the threats, for a better option. Richard Bullock was removed as Chair of the ALC shortly after by the then B.C. Liberal Government. Coleman primarily responsible for fighting against the wishes of Township residents!  You can read about the detail here –

NOTE: Full details can be found in langleywatchdog BLOG Post February 22nd 2013

Trinity University Financial entanglement with the Township of Langley: The Township of Langley has had a close financial relationship with TWU for many years. To the best of my knowledge the current status of this financial relationship has not been made public. It involves the financing of major utility infrastructure years ago, plus their publicized partnership in the Langley Events Center (LEC), back in 2008 / 09, the status of their lease payments to-date for use of the LEC and The Province newspaper (by the late Kent Spencer) expose of the The Township of Langley pays Trinity Western University 80% ($1.2 million) OVER assessed value! The three independent appraisals TELL the rest of the story…….

NOTE: Full details can be found in langleywatchdog BLOG Post January 14th, 2014.

As to Rich Coleman’s habit of trying to bully or intimidate Municipal Councils, we have the Surrey Casino issue: The South Surrey Prospective Casino supported by Rich Coleman and the B.C. Liberal Government – Rich Coleman tries to intervene and coerce a Council decision: Days before Surrey Council’s vote on this controversial project, the minister responsible for gambling. Rich Coleman, called some city councillors with a warning, if they voted no to this proposal, they could forget about any new casino anywhere in Surrey. More attempted bullying and intimidation by Rich Coleman. Councillor Bruce Hayne, who voted against the proposed $100-million casino resort in South Surrey, said Minister Rich Coleman’s call was unusual but clear: “He let me know in no uncertain terms that if we turned down the proposal, the province and (the B.C. Lottery Corp.) would not be looking at another site in Surrey.”

Money Laundering Final Report from Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering: Rich Coleman likes to suggest he was cleared? Really? When discussing Coleman specifically, Cullen wrote in his report that at one point, the former minister “should have recognized that there was a need to take aggressive action to bring an immediate end to the suspicious activity, that was clearly spiraling out of control.” Coleman was largely responsible for the Money Maundering scandal by disbanding IGET in the face of hundreds of millions of dollars flooding B.C. casinos.! The report also took aim at a radio interview in which Coleman downplayed comments by an RCMP officer who raised concerns about dirty money in casinos. It found Coleman’s comments “posed a real risk of misleading the public into believing there was no basis for concern about suspicious transactions in the provinces casinos at a time when Mr. Coleman had good reason to believe that there was cause to be worried.”

This kind of back-room politics speaks to what Rich Coleman is all about: The following is an excerpt of a thread of emails that were extensively distributed to hundreds of Real Estate professionals and many others in the Township of Langley. It was started by Joel Schacter, a well-known Real Estate Agent friend of Rich Coleman and Mark Bakken with respect to the 2011 Township of Langley Municipal Election Campaign. It was distributed widely during the week prior to election-day. It speaks for itself. A key excerpt from this thread states the following:

I do have a concern if we split the vote between Jack Froese and Mel as this could easily put Rick Green back in the mayor’s seat. Jack is a good man, but I was hoping he would have run for a council seat before jumping right for the chair of the mayor. Unfortunately, it appears a vote for Jack looks like it will end up being a vote for Green in the long run. I have had discussions with some of the senior management at the hall as well as our MLA Rich Coleman and 2 former mayors…. they are all suggesting Mel has the best chance of taking Green out. Rich will be making an unprecedented press release endorsing Mel as well as several current members of council and 2 new prospective members in the next 24 – 48 hours. He believes strongly in getting the right people locally who can work with them provincially.”

NOTE: The full thread of these emails can be found in the langleywatchdog BLOG Post of March 23rd, 2013,

All of this is the tip of the iceberg – I established this langleywatchdog BLOG back in January of 2013 primarily to make residents aware of key issues that they should know about within the Township of Langley. We have published approximately 150 Posts having over 150,000 readers since its inception.

I wish the average hard-working resident of the Township of Langley could have experienced what I did over three years in office, it was an eye opener and in my case those experiences have stayed with me.

In my experience, those that get involved in politics do so because they care about their community and want to contribute to make their community better. Unfortunately, some individuals; very few, get involved in politics by working their way up within community non-profits and service clubs, gaining community profile in their quest to achieve political power.

At no time in elected political office in Delta or here in Langley have I ever viewed my position as that of a position of power. I honestly ran and fought to make a difference in both of these communities, and I look back objectively and believe I have.

In my past 45 years of political activity, I have made many friends, many in the municipal field in the lower mainland. I have known first-hand (up-close and personal) another provincial politician that attempted to use their bully pulpit in their local community, but he never got his way and rightfully so. All of that was true, until we moved out to the Township of Langley. This, as it turned out was an entirely different world relating to power and influence by senior government representatives, their developer friends and insiders on their municipal councils. It is long past time that we stand up and say NO MORE! We can do it!

So Last BUT NOT LEAST we just see Rich Coleman’s Financial Disclosure which says his holdings are in a BLIND TRUST! Really, you have to be kidding – the arrogance of the man knows NO bounds! – You can’t write this stuff!

RG

More interesting 2022 Municipal Election News coming soon!

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.