Friday, February 17, 2006

Local News Review February 10-15 2006

Langley Times – Wednesday February 15, 2006
The Langley homeless and hungry got kicked out last week from the vicinity of a downtown City Church. This week about a dozen homeless squatters in tents were forcibly booted from a property near 70 Ave and 196A. The article speculates that Langley’s transient homeless settled here from Surrey when Surrey’s Mayor forcibly cleaned up Surrey’s homeless problem. So we guess that we are now shoveling our problem onto another Municipality. Great productive use of our Langley RCMP who also now have to monitior where these people relocate to. Boy, are we ever great at solving social problems in the Langleys! Let's just have more political bun toss meetings to talk about it!

Time for Township Council to raise their salaries once again! Hey what about pension plans? When is that coming? We can hardly wait with baited breath for that one. How about family medical and dental benefits? Oops, I forgot, they already voted themselves that one a year or so ago.

Another happy community group that loves what the Mayor and Council are doing for planning in their community. This time in Milner. They are especially thrilled with the proposed design guidelines. Most specifically they loved all the input that they were allowed to give in the development of the plan! Yeah right!

The letters to the Editor and Editor's comment section are classical gems and are not to be missed this week. Print them out and frame them for posterity.

Mr. Eric Bysouth, the preeminent and single strongest and most vocal back room organizor, supporter and key promoter of Conservative MP Mark Warawa and Mayor Kurt Alberts wades into the Emerson defection debate. I can't believe it. He essentially in our opinion says that the end justifies the means and he supports the seduction and inducement of the Emerson defection to the Conservatives. He is endorsing the same democratic deficit tactics that he was so vocal against - it's OK for the beloved Conservatives to use these tactics but not the hated Liberals! I guess Reform is now truly dead in the Conservative Party. How Sad. There wasn't even a proper burial.

Cathleen Vecchiato, one of our contributing columnists, writes about her disappointment about the pending tree bylaw (which face it is not really a bylaw) and lack of enforcement in the Township.

The capper article though is that the Editor says the Council deserves their pay increase "because they earn it". OK, do they earn it by building a $3 million grandstand for over $5 million (only one amongst many project cost overruns)? Do they earn it because they have and plan to dramatically increase our taxes in the double digits? Do they earn it because they are planning to take our essentially debt-free Township into debt somewhere up to $30 odd million? Yup, the editor is right - they earned it alright. Brilliant.

Any other rational analyst, employer or businessman would when considering pay increases first say: 'lets look at your performance to objectives'. Under this model, you would compare your previous planned objectives with actual performance. One problem with this Council is we don't really know what their objectives clearly were or even are. I would challenge the Editor to tell me what the Council's strategic top 1, 2 or 3 plans or visions are. Let me help, there are none!

If building projects were Council's only plan, they seem to be spending way more than they planned. Performance of constantly raising taxes, spending like drunken sailors and contemplating a big new debt would not be rewarded in the private sector. Yet the Editor states that the Councillors go to four or more detailed and long formal meetings a month, go to community events, and get calls and emails at home and at work. Gee, how many of you readers do that and more as well? What would your boss say if you told him you deserved a raise because you went to 4 long meetings per month, attended community events, and got calls and emails at home? Tell him this and we will bet you your career won't last much longer. Needless to say this little blog Editor at LFP chooses to not agree with the big newspaper chain Editor.

Three reports on the Chilliwack Chiefs hockey team looking for a community willing to spend big bucks on a new arena with 1500 seats and then they will move their hockey team to that community. Abbotsford said no to spending the money. Too bad, now Langley is in the running. Oh no here we go again. If an open air grandstand initially budgetted at $3 million finally cost us $5 million, imagine how much this Council could spend on an indoor 1500 seat hockey arena? It boggles the mind. Chills go up and down my back especially since we know that our Mayor is a big hockey fan. Shudder.... Hey we took an existing $5 million office building and converted it to a $20 million city hall. Maybe he can convert the $5 million Grandstand to a $20 million hockey arena!

Langley Advance - Tuesday February 14, 2006
The Editor warns that the peasants in Langley and the lower mainland are getting weary about Translink's unelected royalty telling us to eat cake while they starve us with strangling taxes in every conceivable size and type. While he does not advocate an uprising (which we think he should), he warns that one could be coming. He says that the Langley and South Fraser serfs are the most oppressed. Hands down the Advance easily beats the Times this week in 'Editor Star Wars'! (But how could you not beat an editorial that says the Township Council "earns their money"?)

And finally a letter to the Editor dedicated to our lost Reform hero, Eric, titled "how quickly the Conservatives went from crying for accountability to ignoring their promises". Then, there is Ed Monteith who calls the Council's Fort Langley museum idea a "money hole". Mr. Mayor, for your info, I don't think Ed and a lot of others like the museum idea too much.

Langley Times – Sunday February 12, 2006
The Langley homeless and the hungry naturally gravitate to places that traditionally help them but this report speaks to them being told to find another place to sleep rather than around a church. Sad. It seems that this problem is escalating exponentially. No more talk. We need action from our elected officials to care for and rehabilitate these people.

Once again a report on Warawa’s appointment to Environmental Secretary. On top of his $144,300 salary as MP, he will receive another $14,600 for his new responsibilities (Environmental Secretary). The $14,600 definitely caught my eye. But he’s worth every penny of it, isn't he?. My oh my, Harper sure picks good and qualified talent: Warawa for Environment Secretary as he has tons of environmental experience? A new Defense Minister who was a defense company lobbyist (fox in the chicken coop syndrome)? A defecting Liberal who joins Conservatives as a key Minister? And a non-elected back room political hack from Quebec, Fortier, to run one of the largest budget ministries in government from his appointed Senate seat. Don’t you just love democracy according to Garp/Harper?

The Editor writes of the Jaw- Dropping (gee, didn’t we see that word somewhere else) defection of Emerson. His synopsis as we decipher it is: 'heck, other parties have done it so the party I love, the Conservatives, can do it too!'. With the Conservatives in power, of course we don't have to worry about a democratic deficit - the term just doesn't exist in their dictionary.

The same Editor also writes about the City & Township getting it together to help addiction problems and the need for more than shelter. The problem is the Municipal politicians tend to talk more than act, especially around a free coffee urn and sandwiches. The answer is to have only one 2 hour meeting by the politicians, figure out which organizations and which non-elected key citizens to appoint to a committee and let them get at it. Then just get out of the way and give them money and support. The kiss of death will be meeting after meeting with partisan politicos running and attending these meetings. Let the politicians do what they do best, rewrite history publicly when they screw up.

Langley Advance - Friday February 10, 2006
Mark Warawa’s appointment as Secretary to Environment Minister Rona Ambrose is covered by the Advance and Warawa says he now has to get “up to speed on environmental issues”. Really Mark? Good luck…good luck to all of us! Reporter Claxton goes on about the lengthy experience and things that Warawa has advocated for the environment. I must have missed all this. In the last two years, all I heard from him is crime and jail and jail and crime (and the odd comment on the need for anti-theft devices in cars). Maybe he can incorporate his first true love of crime busting and incarceration with the environment somehow - perhaps anti-theft devices for trees?

A new Social Planning Committee has been set up in Langley City by Council. Great news - about time. We await much needed initiatives and hopefully soon.

Gateway Executive Director Mike Proudfoot talked with Council about the major initiatives including the Port Mann twinning. While the bridge will accomodate light rail and bus corridor transit, he said that is Translink's responsibility. We are lucky because our Mayor, Kurt Alberts sits on Translink now and we are sure that he will get them to listen to him about getting plans on the table for public transit across the bridge to Langley. Sigh….

The GVRD's Livable Region Strategic Plan will be reviewed says Gail Martin who says that GVRD Chair Lois Jackson says they need to review the plan. Every plan we have seen from GVRD and Translink always seems to cost us more tax money in Langley and merely throws us an odd bone if any thing at all. Sorry but I am skeptical.

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