Tuesday, February 19, 2008

LFP Views On The Local News Feb 19 - 2008

Wow! The amount of letters to the Editors are more than ever reaching a critical angry mass at the current Mayor Kurt Alberts' slate on council than ever before seen in this mayor's reign. One of them (all of the best letter writer excerpts are shown further below) by a Mr. Rick Green (a busy letter writer of late who has obviously also seen the light of stupid financial management by the current council) seems to even have been angry enough for him to be first to declare today that he will be one of the challengers to Mayor Kurt Alberts' throne! It's a little early to declare but Green probably needs to build some momentum since he's coming from behind as an unknown community commodity! This Editor extends kudos to all those who challenge any of the incumbent good ole boys and their out of control tax, spend and borrow attitudes!

It sure looks like there will probably be quite a few running this November for Council and now for mayor as well! A palace revolt at last! As Mr. Green was quoted to say in today's Langley Advance (which is an understatement in my opinion): "I know we're not getting the best value for money". Green pointed to a number of things like: " ..the Draft Water Management Plan, the purchase of the Redwoods Golf Course, the sale of lands, property tax increases and the general management style as issues." I understand that his website is up at rickgreenformayor.ca .

So now the question becomes: "Where is Richter?". There's a good chance that Green, an old Socred, will split Alberts' vote, clearing the way for Cllr. Kim Richter to come up the middle. This could be a replay of the election that got Alberts elected in the first place. All in all, it's starting to shape up as an engaging municipal election - I can hardly wait for November 15, 2008 to break out the celebratory champagne! The countdown continues (p.s. see sidebar countdown timer)...

Getting back to the letters, this Editor thinks that the all time best letter comes from Glen Tomblin and is a gem that all should share with their friends and neighbours.

"Letter to the Editor - Township council's bucket list:

- Raise taxes so they can continue to spend like a drunk sailor on shore leave
- Buy a beautiful, sound-proof door to make decisions behind.
- Tax the dickens out of rural well owners.
- Then tax rural well owners again, for good measure.
- Buy property at inflated price; chop down all trees except one; declare it parkland; sell it at a loss.
- Raise taxes - blame police and fire departments.
- Hold public hearings on the budget on a Monday afternoon when public is hard at work.
- Raise taxes - blame police and fire departments.
- Cancel Township Page in local papers, then change bylaws so Public Notice can now be done on a rural light post in Aldergrove.
- Put in light post in rural Aldergrove.
- Get council to cut ribbon on light post in "Aldergrove Revitalization."
- Don't let people in Brookswood know Aldergrove got a light post.
Glen Tomblin "

Don't you just love Township Councillors who call taxpayers "scurrilous"? See Rick Green's response to Grant Ward;

" Dear Editor,
Councillor Grant Ward doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

My letter raising the issue of airport lease rates was not misinformed, and it was not a "scurrilous" attack. Councillor Ward demonstrated arrogance and complete lack of respect, especially as an elected official, by calling me scurrilous. I am quite surprised that a sitting member of council would resort to name-calling toward a taxpayer voicing his opinion - someone who, along with many, is tired of watching the endless number of misadventures of this council managing our public assets.

My letter was not an attack on airport management; it was an outline of the kind of management structure that should be in place to maximize the return on investment for the taxpayers of the Township.

An operation the size of the Township airport should have an airport board or authority, supported by a well-structured business plan, that reports to the mayor and council.

Airport manager George Miller, as I understand it from a number of people, has done a great job. Unfortunately, he can only manage in the environment that he is given by council.

The 24-cents-per-square-foot lease rate is a quarter of the going market rates - Boundary Bay, as an example. I find it interesting that Coun. Ward says it is competitive.

In fact, we lease out at a quarter of market rates, and a lessee takes advantage of that opportunity: builds, and gets market rates. Who loses? The Township taxpayer.

As Coun. Ward notes, the economic impact now, inclusive of the new expansion, is very significant - that is my point. Can you imagine what it would be if we were getting market rates?

Just think of the revenue that could help the Township taxpayer get fresh GVWD water into Aldergrove, decrease the size of our annual tax increase to our taxpayers, or build needed public amenities, like a swimming pool in Aldergrove.

The lease terms of 20 years, plus five-year options, at the 24-cent rate is not reasonable by any business comparison.

Nobody suggested that the model for our airport was wrong, nor questioned how we are positioned operationally with airports of similar class throughout the province. That has nothing to do with the issue of lease rates and management structure.

As for my motivation, it might come as a shock, but as a taxpayer, all I want to see is an elected municipal government being responsive and responsible to the taxpayers of the Township. Nothing more and nothing less.

Does a year-old story in a regional newspaper make airport lease rates a non-issue?
Is the purchase of The Redwoods Golf Course, the purchase of the Bedford House Restaurant, the Dickson Pit land sale, and six years of out-of-control taxation and spending also off limits? No.

I have done my homework. My only wish is that Coun. Ward, the mayor, and other members of council had done theirs.

Coun. Ward's letter does nothing to change the facts or help the Township taxpayer.
Rick Green, Langley "

Heck even the Mayor himself popped out of his foxhole with another inane letter himself supporting his fellow mime councillor Ward where he pontificates about everything except the real facts of losing millions on the aiport leases. See our previous stories here and here.

Speaking about Alberts & Green see this following letter about rewriting history again on water taxation first broken here by Kim Richter;

"Dear Editor,
Congratulations to all those who fought the Water Management Plan (DWMP) and won [Water metering flushed, Feb. 5, Langley Advance].

But Mayor Kurt Alberts should stop trying to rewrite history. It is thanks to Langley Township residents who reacted so strongly in opposition to the Draft Water Management Plan that we took a giant step forward in defeating the wrong-headed beast. In particular, all of us who live with the frailties of wells must thank Penny Anderlini and her many volunteers who spent dozens of hours collecting more than 3,000 names on a petition that was presented to council. Without them, the plan would be in Victoria now, getting ready for implementation.

In the afternoon meeting, council was presented an oral staff report dealing with the status of the WMP, and obviously feeling the heat. Members of council voted to eliminate core recommendations which dealt with implementation of water meters, initiating a fee structure, and the establishment of a water conservation board (or taxing authority, in everyday language).

But that is not the end of it. There are other recommendations. Staff will be implementing a public process to present a revised DWMP over the next number of months, so be sure to attend and review the other recommendations which will form a part of a proposal.

Looking back on the process that this mayor and council put the residents of the Township through over the DWMP has to infuriate any reasonable-thinking taxpayer. It was arrogant of the mayor and council to send it out to the public in two open houses between Nov. 5 and Dec. 15, with the intent to adopt it and return it the Minister of Environment by Dec. 31.

Those are the facts, regardless of how Mayor Alberts wants to rewrite history.

A March 20, 2006, council meeting called for approval by the provincial cabinet in late 2007. On July 17, 2006, Barry Penner made a ministerial order for it to be submitted by Dec. 31, 2007. A March 5, 2007, special council meeting set it to be submitted to the province by December 2007. A June 25, 2007, special council meeting decided the final plan was to be submitted to the province by December 2007. At the Nov. 5, 2007, council meeting, the draft plan was presented along with the process of open houses and a Dec. 31, 2007, deadline to be in Victoria.

At the Feb. 4, 2008, special council meeting, staff applied for an extension of the Dec. 31, 2007, deadline.

Will somebody tell me what part of Dec. 31, 2007, Mayor Alberts doesn't understand?
At the Feb. 4 regular council meeting, after the very well-presented Anderlini petition, Mayor Alberts again tried to rewrite history by saying he didn't know where the Dec. 31 date came from, because there never has been a deadline.

What? Does Mayor Alberts have a hearing or reading problem? I have to ask him why he would and how he can ignore the facts.

Rick Green, Langley" -- Told you he wrote lots of letters!

People are hearing about the 5 year 5% tax plan too;

" Dear Editor,
I would like to know why Mayor Kurt Alberts and his council deem it appropriate to increase taxes at a higher rate than inflation, and then mandate future hikes for coming years. Is this council able to predict future spending?

The last time I checked, most companies budget on a yearly basis. Township Council has lost touch with reality, and I think it is time for some new faces.

Tony Kirsten,
Fort Langley "

Finally two more happy Langley Township taxpayer especially with Cllr. Grant Ward;

" Editor:

Councillor Grant Ward’s contention that letter writer, Rick Green’s attack on the Langley Airport management is unwarranted is correct. The airport management is to be commended for negotiating such a sweetheart deal on behalf of the airport with the Township.

Unfortunately, it was at taxpayers’ expense and that was the motivation of Green’s letter.

The fact is that Township council was negligent in their fiduciary duty by signing 20-year and 40-year lease rates at 25 per cent of the current market value. While Councillor Ward states that the airport revenue contributes annual revenue of $250,000, the fact is that the lease signed by the present council reflects a loss of $1 million per year for the next 20 years.

The bottom line is that the incumbent Langley Township council has to go. We need change in next November’s municipal elections.

Ed Wiens, Langley "

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