Saturday, December 31, 2005

Welcome to our newest Contributing Columnist - Muriel Arnason!

Muriel Arnason, Langley Township's longest serving Councillor and the first female ever elected to Council, has agreed to become a contributing columnist to Langley Free Press. We are honoured to have her participation and very much welcome her words of wisdom and experience. What a great New Year's present. Enjoy!

Friday, December 30, 2005


Distributed today by Liberal Team BC - latest Conservative negative ad mailed out.

A little bit of a stretch on the marriage part but desperate times call for desperate measures! - Langley Free Press

HAVE THE TORIES GONE TOO FAR?? December 29, 2005
This is the image that Richmond voters found in their mailbox this December. Many felt it went beyond the realm of decency - particularly by linking violent crime to "Homosexual Sex Marriage".
Alberta Conservative MP Rob Anders sent this mail-out to British Columbia homes recently in hopes of scaring voters into supporting Stephen Harper. Follow these links to view the full front page and back page of the Anders scare-mail and judge for yourself.(Click Here to download Adobe Acrobat to read the attachments)Let us know what you think.
Email us your comments to:
Or email Rob Anders yourself and let him know what you think of his tactics:

Cathleen Vecchiato's "Vechiatto's Voice" Bio & All Her LFP Columns

Cathleen Vecchiato Bio

"When I moved here, I attended the Surrey Writers conference and won 5 years in a row. I'd written a novel that made the publishing circuit in New York and still have an agent whom I keep in touch with occasionally. I'd like to write more, but I tend to overdo things and leave the hardest (writing) to last. Am writing environmental articles for a magazine out of Minnesota and also wrote for BC Parent for a long time."

Cathleen Vecchiato has been a Langley resident since 1997 and a Canadian citizen since 2003. A published writer and the recipient of 9 writing awards, her works have appeared in Storyteller Magazine, The Seattle Times, BC Parent among others. In addition to writing, she has taught English as a Second Language for 7 years.

Vecchiato, who received her BA in English literature from San Francisco State University and a post-baccalaureate TESL certification from Trinity Western University, has lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sao Paulo, Brazil where she completed high school, the San Francisco Bay Area before coming to Canada.

Since moving to Langley, Vecchiato has become involved in the community in numerous capacities. She became involved in the Surrey International Writers' Conference where she has been the recipient of 5 awards and has volunteered her time at the conference. In addition, she served as a volunteer TA in Surrey Continuing Education's English language program. Currently, she is on the board of directors of Langley's non-profit Intercultural Harmony Society, a group formed to promote intercultural awareness and reduce racism within the local community.

She has also volunteered at BC Rivers Day, the Township's annual Arbor Day, and Critter Care Wildlife Society's annual open house, and tree planting at L'ecole Les Voyageurs in Walnut Grove. Her passion for environmental issues was the incentive for forming Langley Conservation Network, now called Fraser Valley Conservation Coalition. LCN's preliminary delegations to Council led to the creation of a Tree Protection Policy and a subsequent Tree By-law applicable to development parcels. In addition, she was part of the township-sponsored Brookswood Tree Task Force. Besides environmental issues, she has also served as Safety Chair for Belmont Elementary and designed safety concerns for the Safer Schools program. In addition, she has served as a public information chairperson for a non profit organization and has spoken at local secondary schools on a variety of topics.

"Citizenship gives me the right to vote," Vecchiato says. "and that is one of the best ways to express my opinion." She seconds the quote, "Apathy is a living sort of oblivion."

Cathleen Vecchiato agreed to become the 3rd contributing columnist with Langley Free Press. She is a very well recognized champion of the environment and community activist in Langley as well as in other adjoining communities. She has been a frequent fixture at Council meetings advocating for the environment and wildlife. She is always well researched, passionate and articulate on conservation matters. She has also contributed extensively to the print media over the years about balancing and conserving the natural beauty of our communities. LFP is very lucky and very thankful for her terrific contributions to LFP as well as a to our community at large.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Category - "Smiling Gumby" & "Frowning Pokey" Award Winners

This is a category page. The following posts (listed in order from newest to oldest) honour & justify the coveted "Smiling Gumby" & "Frowning Pokey" award winners here in LFP.

Blair - 2nd Time "Smiling Gumby" Winner for great suggestion on his comment below on our posting:
"....I would suggest that our representatives (that would be you now Mr. Mayor) request that the tax be pro-rated based on bus/skytrain service. That way a parking space on Broadway downtown (where a bus passes every 2 minutes) would get taxed more highly than a parking space in Walnut Grove (where we see a bus fve times a day). ...." 01.19.06 - 9:24 am

Blair - "Smiling Gumby" Winner for great suggestion on his comment below on our posting: where he advises that parking at MAP may not be enough fo thousands of seats in Grandstand 01.04.06 - 2:57 pm

Kim Richter's "Richter Report" Bio & All Her LFP Columns

Kim Richter Bio

Kim Richter is a 4 term Langley Township Councillor and a Professor of Business Management at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kim also kindly hosts Langley Free Press on her website/server and hence is the LFP Publisher. To view her complete background bio, etc., mouseclick the following to see Kim's webpage ,her biography , her resume and her philosophy . You can also phone or mail her here.

(The following posts listed in order from newest to oldest comment on anything about or posted by Kim Richter . This is only a partial listing up November 23, 2007. Postings newer than that date still have to be posted below. But Mouse click above link to view ALL of her postings chronologically.)
This is a category page. The following posts (listed in order from newest to oldest) comment on anything about or posted by Kim Richter.

"Richter Report" - Following postings written by Councillor Kim Richter.

"Misc Richter Related"

Local News Reviews

Langley Advance – Tuesday, December 28, 2005

1) City Council will send a “strongly worded” letter to Township Council objecting to Township removing the truck route designation on 216 street from 40th to the Fraser Highway because trucks may be diverted through the City on 200th Street. Get real. Will the Township jump up and reverse their decision? Ahh let’s see. The City plows unilaterly ahead with the 204th street overpass and the casino despite Township’s concerns. They are also still being subsidized by the Township for about 7 cops a year at $100k+ each. This was brought up by Township well over a year ago and gosh the issue seems to be being studied to death somewhere in Langley City Hall black hole. Yeah sure - township council will spark right up to the City’s letter!

Jacob de Raadt, former Township resident and municipal activist (who was a key critic years back of the 200th street single point overpass), wrote a letter from his new home in Arizona very critical of the outdated 1950’s style development still rampant in Langley. Interesting to note that 13 years ago we were nicknamed “Canada’s Cul-de-Sac Capital”. Basically de Raadt says developers in Langley are still being allowed to get away with ancient tired development that is not livable by today’s standards.

Langley Times – Wednesday, December 29, 2005

1) Township Council voted 8-1 against excluding the existing Fort Langley Seaplane Base from the ALR. Staff reported that excluding the base from the ALR could lead in future “to other non-farm commercial use”. Good call by Council since the remote land east of Fort Langley located at 24600 River Road could become gosh knows what if approved. A detailed plan of what the owners really want to develop should be clearly stated before ever approving an ALR exclusion at that location. Jordan Bateman was the dissenting vote.

2) Congratulations Langley City! Besides having ever-growing numbers of hookers, thefts and burglaries, you are now beating Surrey for the car theft capital of the Lower Mainland. What more can we say?

3) Langley City Council wants “federal candidates to focus on Municipal Issues”. In other words, they want MP Mark Warawa to get them money for their way overbudget 204 Street overpass! Unless the Conservatives form the next government, no money, no way! Besides we agree completely with prolific City activist, Don Woode, who says the planned overpass location is poor and would be better located at Glover and the Bypass. We say either location will still feed money into their casino so what’s the problem?

4) This should be page one news! Sewer system upgrades in Aldergrove are needed and the total cost to you & me will be somewhere between $32 to $65 Million. How do you spell tax & spend municipal government? (Emphasis on tax).

5) Bucky is back! We crystal ball that a scathing editorial about the evil Federal Liberals will be published in the next week. Why? Well, just because! (Have you ever seen a negative editorial about the Conservatives?). Today’s editorial speaks to the growing variety of crime we’re now seeing in Langley. Our translation: crime is a major problem. The RCMP Members in Langley are great cops. But, something has not been working well. New leadership and new ideas are desperately needed – not just more cops.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Globe & Mail - RCMP to probe possible Goodale trusts ruling leak

Well it looks like the persistence by the NDP & Conservatives have finally got the attention of the RCMP in the most recent post in the Globe and Mail.

The Globe goes on to say "RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli says in a letter to NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis that the force has reviewed her complaint about a possible security breach or illegal transfer of information about the pending changes to government tax policy towards income trusts." It further states "Criminal investigations do not always lead to charges."

The RCMP wrote her back that they will now commence a criminal investigation that a key tax change for income trusts was leaked.

Langley Free Press predicts that unfortunately there will be no vindication or announcement of criminals charges, if any, until long after the election is held. What impact will this have with the electorate? Obviously, the opposition parties will be bleeting this horn loud and long until January 23rd. The nightly tracking polls by CPAC-SES posted on this blog by Langley Free Press should reflect if this will have any significant impact especially in seat rich Ontario. Obviously the Liberals response will be critical and is the last thing the Liberals needed weeks before the election. Negative ads will now be flying fast and furiously.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Big Debt Loads for Federal Parties except Conservatives

According to Sheila Copps, who was Deputy Premier under former Liberal PM Jean Chretien, 3 of the 4 federal parties are incurring large debt loads to supplement their war chests in this election. The Conservatives have no debt load at all. The NDP has $3 million in loans, the Bloc has $10 million and Paul Martin's Liberals have a whopping $35 million in bank loans. Do we hear the the word desperation or is it just that no one is giving any more money to the Liberals. This debt load is staggering when you keep in mind that the parties because of new federal legislation got $1.75 from the taxpayers for every vote they secured nation wide in the last election for their battle coffers to spend this time around. So the Langley voters just by casting their votes last election for Mark Warawa gave the Conservatives about $42,000 and those who voted for Kim Richter gave the Liberals about $21,000! Don't you just feel much better now that you know that you gave at the office. Boy, does this ever explain why Mark Warawa has a huge campaign office compared to Bill Brooks. The question is at $1.75 a vote will Mark & Bill's revenue for the next election stay that high. Remember if you don't vote you save Canada $1.75.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Have a Great Christmas Holiday season !

Drive carefully, drink responsibly and remember, "this holiday is not about me its about us, all of us".

From Langley Free Press we thank you for a spectacular launch with 300+ visits to our blog in the first two days. We especially would like to thank Jordan Bateman of Langley Politics Dotcom in helping with our launch and for his kind words. We agree that more vital & pertinent alternatives to the traditional sources of reporting are critical for a politically savvy community like the Langleys.

Keep watching we hope to add some interesting blogs if we can over the next week or so even though we are also vacationing. In the mean time if you have some interesting news or gossip that you wish to share email us and we guarantee anonymity if you so wish.

We definitely cannot go to vacation without congratulations to prolific comments contributor Horny Toad who is the first winner of the much coveted Langley Free Press "Smiling Gumby Award".

Shane Dyson gets Chamber to change All Candidates Meeting Location

Following is an email that Shane Dyson also forwarded to the local press media and to us at Langley Free Press. Shane ran most recently in the Township election and is the past NDP candidate who ran against Rich Coleman & Marc Emery. Maybe we should twist Shane's arm to become a guest columnist to represent the left on our site, unless he wants to do the right side!

From: "Lynn Whitehouse" Date: December 23, 2005 10:19:36 AM PST (CA)To: "Dyson/F2F" Subject: Re: Letter to the EditorThank you so much for bringing this to our attention! We will seek another venue for the meeting.

----- Original Message -----From: Shane Dyson To: Langley Advance - Langley Free Press
Sent: Friday, December 23, 2005 9:13 AM
Subject: Letter to the EditorTo the Editor

I was pleased to read that the Langley Chamber of Commerce and Fraser Valley Real Estate Board are co-hosting a Federal All Candidates meeting for Langley on Jan. 11. But I am concerned that they are conducting this meeting at the Summit Theatre Show Lounge in the Cascades Casino. No minors will be admitted to the facility.This venue choice discourages both youth from participating in hearing the election debate but more impor tantly, disqualifies some eligible voters from attending. You are entitled to vote in federal elections if you are a Canadian citizen and will be 18 or older on polling day.I would have thought the Chamber would want to encourage the full participation of voters in order to have an opportunity for voters to hear from candidates on issues of importance in the upcoming federal election.
Shane Dyson

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Say NO to U.S. style negative Federal Election Campaign Ads

We at Langley Free Press encourage the national political parties to stay away from negative ad campaigning. They should stick to the facts, their track records, and what their party is going to do for Canadians (if elected). Stay away from getting down in the gutter to pry away votes. We don't need American style politics in Canada and especially not in Langley. We will be watching and reporting on Langley candidates (and media) who cross the line. Pictured here is a story board ad supposedly leaked from Liberal HQ as reported by Stephen Taylor - Conservative Party of Canada Pundit. Worse ones are available for viewing at his blog site.

Category - Muriel Arnason

This is a category page. The following posts (listed in order from newest to oldest) comment on anything about or posted by Muriel Arnason.

Muriel Arnason was Langley Township's longest serving Councillor and in December 2005 decided to take a break from Council. She cares very much about the people and now shares her thoughts in LFP regularily.
"Muriel's Thoughts"

"Misc Muriel Arnason Related"

Richter Report – December 21, 2005 – Tax Shocks Coming

Unfortunately, my first report to you in the Langley Free Press has to be about, what I believe is, bad news.

Your new Township Council approved a draft budget today recommending a 5.6% tax increase in 2006 and an 8.95% tax increase in 2007.

In real numbers, this is a 14.55% increase over 2 years (add 5.6% to 8.95%).

In the Special (Budget Workshop) Meeting of Council today, Council was given 4 different cost scenarios to choose from. They overwhelmingly chose the most expensive one (Option D). Only myself and Councillors Fox and Vickberg opposed this motion.

This means that the Township’s tax impact on the typical household will rise from $1707 in 2005 to $1946 in 2007. (This does not include GVRD, Translink or School Board taxes). Please note that the average Township property paid $1416 in 2000.

If there’s any good news in this story, it’s that you the taxpayers will be given an opportunity to voice your concerns. Council also decided today to have open houses on the budget and to commission a survey. Please voice your opinions in the new year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You Heard it Here First!

Word on the street is that Mayor Kurt sent a letter to the school board clarifying or perhaps even critical of one their Trustees. The issue stems back to a recent letter to the editor about the Mayor’s inaugural speech.

Me thinks the Mayor does protest too much.

Local News Reviews

Langley Advance – Tuesday, December 20, 2005
For the life of me, I don’t understand why the only real news story in this issue was buried back on page 10. It was about the Langley City ‘sting operation’ where 23 prostitutes and clients were arrested.
I for one would like to know who they were…Were there any politicians?

Langley Times – Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The best thing about this issue is that Bucky is apparently on holidays. Hope it’s a long one.

Other Notable Points of Interest (Not that it was in the papers but I find it noteworthy)
How many Lower Mainland municipalities have a big lighted nativity scene high atop their City Hall Building? (I just love the political correctness of Langley’s Duchy of Fenwick. Don’t you?)

Township Council Performance Review - Dec 19, 2005 Evening Meeting

This was the first ‘real’ meeting of the newly-elected Council and surprise, surprise! Everything I expected of the new Council was really turned upside down.

I originally expected Jordan to be breathing fire and getting right into it. But, lo & behold, Jordan and Grant (who are physically located at opposite ends of the long council table) both looked, talked (oxymoron) and acted like matching book ends. I think Grant even out-talked Jordan. There’s a Guinness World Book record!

The other surprise for me was Charlie. Unlike Jordan, he was ready, willing and unafraid to fight for his issues. In fact, when the Mayor tried to summarize, minimize and get on with it, Charlie did not back down but kept forcing his (very valid) point. This is unlike other Council members who, when Kurt does his “I-am-the-knowledgeable-boss” routine, usually back right off (except for Muriel in the past and Kim). I hope Charlie’s outspokenness bodes well for Council.

Right now, Langley Free Press predicts that the two wild cards for Kurt’s new council slate may well be both Charlie & Kim (which is surprising since we thought Charlie was on Kurt’s not-so-silent slate and Jordan was a free agent). Heck, we even predict that Charlie and Kim may (and I stress the ‘may’) see eye to eye on the majority of issues. They both seem to be responsive to the community and concerned about money. However, I think Charlie will be the ‘Star’ of this new Council.

For the rest of the meeting, every one else was pretty well low key. To be fair, this was their first real meeting and political personalities can/do change. Rookie Charlie seems to have learned (and earned our grudging respect) faster than Rookie Jordan. However I don’t want to rush to final judgment quite yet.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Langley Free Press has Landed - Merry Xmas

A christmas present for you, Langley Free Press, has arrived to help ferret out the real scoop, news and free wheeling blog discussions that the other local media cannot or do not want to give you. We are delighted that Township Councillor Kim Richter has agreed to become our first regular contributing Guest Columnist to blog her candid insights with us. If you also wish to become a regular Guest Columnist or wish to suggest someone else, just blog us your suggestion or email "The Editor" at langleyfreepress@ . Do not forget to bookmark . We love point/counterpoint! We hope to be fully underway by the first week of January. Bear with us and email your friends about us! But in any event in the meantime feel free to blog away your news, thoughts, opinions and suggestions in your new Langley Free Press blog.