Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Xmas Lites In Aldergrove! - It's Not What You Know, But Who You Know

The Background
Rookie councillor Jordan Bateman says that he was told by an unnamed person in his church that Xmas lights/wiring supposedly worth about $2500.00 were stolen from the Aldergrove Fire Hall. These lights were used 2 years in a row to help collect charitable donations with a volunteer driven 'Fire & Ice' Christmas light and ornament show run by the Aldergrove Firefighters.

The Jordan Bateman Motion
Based on this background, rookie councillor Jordan Bateman presented a motion to Township Council last night to give $2500.00 of Langley Tax Payer monies to the Aldergrove Fire and Ice Committee to replace their lights/wiring.

Valid and Reasonable Questions
Councillor Richter asked Cllr. Bateman if any official or formal request was submitted by the Fire Hall or from any of its organizing group members. The answer was 'no' and that the information had only come from someone (again unnamed) who told him about it at his own church and who was aware of this supposed theft.

The Result
Council after much discussion and no confirming evidence or facts voted to provide up to $2500.00 to replace the Xmas lights. Cllr. Richter was the only Cllr. to vote against Bateman's motion.

Richter's Rationale and Concern
No actual or externally qualified confirmation of the theft of the lights, details, replacement costs, etc. whatsoever were given to Council. All they had was a Notice of Motion by Cllr. Bateman. Many other organizations also frequently ask for funding for equally valid and justified volunteer requests and confirm their requests with proper procedure, information and documentation. Heck just last month, the Langley Community Services Board Chair & President with a personal appearance & appeal to Council got turned down, yet an unknown source's off-the-cuff comment garners $2500! This Xmas light replacement was based solely on an unnamed someone in Bateman's church, who said it happened and that it would supposedly cost about $2500.00 to replace. No paper, No confirmation, No proof, No proper procedures, No details, No names!

Richter's major concern was that approving such an unsubstantiated request for taxpayer monies sends out a very bad message and precedent because it essentially says that if you know someone on council, you can get something simply and easily just by having an insider conversation with a friendly Township council member!

LFP's Summary
Rash financial exuberance and enthusiasm can be costly and dangerous especially for us poor Township taxpayers in the end. This current example just highlights the poor financial acumen and lack of due financial diligence that has caused the $3-4-5-6- million dollar grandstand fiasco overruns and the most recent highest ever historical tax increases imposed on us by this current slate of Township Council "good ole boy's club".

All of these were financial horror stories with motions first moved by rookie Councillor Jordan Bateman who with now just a year to go in his first term is now clearly trying to position himself as a born-again financially and fiscally prudent councillor. LFP finds it interesting that he consistently votes contrary to all the fiscally responsible recommendations of Councillor Richter and also made sure that the Township was saddled with the historically highest ever tax hikes and major spending projects since he has been elected! It's simply too little, too late, Cllr. Bateman.
The Xmas lights is just another symptom and blatant example of rash procedure and decision making by the "good ole boys" on Township council. As Richter pointed out, she would be the first to agree to the $2500.00 if it was confirmed and properly handled. This Township once got rid of a council that used questionable processes. That LLT Council at least were the last Council to not increase taxes and they eliminated our Township debt. This "good ole boy's club" has implemented historic tax increases, outrageous and constant spending, and over budget project spending as well as they have brought back multi million dollar Township debt as well!

The Sad Moral of this story IS...
It's not what you know, but who you know! So why bother to get in line for a Township grant - that takes time and effort. Call a Councillor instead!

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