Sunday, August 31, 2008

LFP Rumor Mill - You Heard It here First! - Paterson to Run For Township Council

Very reliable sources advise that Sonya Paterson, the hard working President of VALTAC and currently a sitting Langley School Board Trustee will in the next few weeks announce that she will be running to be elected this November as a Langley Township Councillor! Reliable sources suggest that she has decided to instead run for Township Council because of the recent Provincial government reported study of rail for the valley being delayed until after the provincial election. This, in LFP's opinion as well as many others, essentially is deep sixing the promised study. I am told this was the final straw that convinced her to now seek political office in the Township to help fight for light rail transit in Langley and the Valley.
It is also no secret that as often reported in LFP that even though most of council talks a great talk about needing light rail in the valley that it is clear that the Mayor Alberts Township council "Good Ole boy's Club" slate is essentially just paying lip service to any real action on this urgent item and essentially supports the Provincial Liberal Transportation agenda whatever that may be. The "Good Ole boy's Club" has never walked the talk.
In fact, even Councillor Jordan Bateman has essentially in this Editor's opinion helped minimize and obfuscate the LRT interurban urgency by ridiculously advocating streetcars in addition to the interurban which a recent expert said would cost $50 to 100 million for a very small steetcar route and primarily be built in Langley City only! To suggest and promote streetcars in rural Langley and the Fraser valley when more densly populated Vancouver urban areas would clearly merit getting any streetcars first is absurd indeed. See this link about Bateman's own transportation blog reported about here before.
This Township council's connections with the BC Liberals is quite extensive and overly partisan. Councillor Bateman is Langley's Provincial Liberal Rich Coleman's executive riding association VP and was a communications consultant for him and the Liberals as well. Liberal minister Rich Coleman recently publicly endorsed Mayor Alberts and Langley City Liberal MP Mary Polak who also attended Mayor Alberts fund raising event as well.
This Editor asked sitting Councillor Kim Richter what she thought of the rumored Sonya Paterson run for Township Council, Richter said: "Sonya would be a very welcome addition to council because she knows the issues and she is a very hard worker."
You heard it all here first on LFP.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gone Fishing ! Back Next Week!

Everyone needs a break! Going deep water fishing again! Maybe even in political deepwaters! LOL! I will try to post some of Bob Richter's camera pictures though this week. By the way, September is the start of Langley election silliness. On your mark... Get ready....Go VOTE them out!

In the mean time feel free to comment away here on this string on any issue, ideas, thoughts or even questions you may have.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Langley MP Mark Warawa's Cons. Party SPAM Flyers Questions Left Unanswered

Following this introduction, you will find the posting from Jared Butcher of "The Butcher Shoppe" blog. Jared Butcher of Victoria, British Columbia caught this Editor's attention when he was sent multiple propaganda flyers from Conservative MPs including multiple flyers from Langley's very own MP, Mark Warawa just like we all in Langley are having to endure. You all have recently gotten the same multiple flyers that have silly poll questions that provide no real info but really are in my view unadulterated propaganda spam and pure political pollution.

So we contacted Jared and asked him to inform us Langleyites about this issue with MP Warawa and what he is doing about it. He has been trying to contact Warawa to no avail yet. I guess if Mark can bother him with multiple flyers maybe he should out of courtesy respond to Jared too! Jared will keep us up to date as the issue develops or probably doesn't!

Oh, by the way on the above LFP editorial political pundit spoof picture of a Warawa banner erection team (lol), you may jump to conclusions as to what my intent was in nicknaming his propaganda team the "Blackwater.." boys. To help you out, view these next 3 links and tell me which one you think I referred to or which one I should be referring to! Blackwater Option One or Option Two or Option Three. Without further delay, on to Jared.

Conservative MP Roll Call by Jared Butcher of Victoria BC
A Special Submission For Langley Free Press
In the recent weeks I have written on my blog ( about the flood of Conservative Party flyers ( here - here & here) I have been receiving in my mail box. However my anger and frustration with these mailers goes back for over a year now. I first received similar ones that would ask a question like “Do you believe in a strong stance on crime?” and the only answers were ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I think that most Canadians have a slightly more nuanced position on how to deal with such a vast and complicated problem as “crime.”
Each of these flyers comes courtesy of a Conservative M.P. and encourages you to send it back to the M.P., courtesy of the Government Caucus Service in Ottawa. As a member of the internet generation I decided why send this by mail? I’ll just look up that M.P. and email my answers and concerns about having these materials delivered to my house.
I was raised to believe that our M.P.’s and M.L.A’s were there to serve their constituencies. An example that was set for me by my grandfather who was a B.C. M.L.A. for 13 years, even after he had retired he would still do some light work for people in his former riding. So I sent off my email to a few Tory M.P.’s assuming that although I wasn’t in their riding that if they felt strongly enough about people outside of their riding to send them flyers they could at least reply to my email right?
This brings us to the last two weeks, in which I have received a grand total of eight flyers from 7 Tory M.P.’s, including two on every Thursday, and two on every Friday. So rather than just emailing these folks I’ve decided to give their offices a call. Now sadly I haven’t been able to reach a real live person so far or get a reply back. I say so far because I haven’t called the two M.P.’s from today’s flyers yet. What can I say I’m an optimist.
Now this being the Langley Free Press I suppose I should make some comments directly about your Conservative Member of Parliament, Mark Warawa. I received a flyer in his name on Thursday August 7, 2008. The topic of the flyer is “The Senate Must Change.” Inside the flyer it contrasts a “Conservative Senate” against a “Liberal Senate.” The key features of the Conservative senate are: Elected by you, Limited terms, Accountable to you.
Right, so let’s take these points one at a time.
“Elected By You,” should really read “Elected By You, unless we need an unelected cabinet minster from Quebec.” The Conservative commitment to an elected senate is laughable at best, after two years in power there has been zero movement on this issue. Whatever your feelings on the senate are the issue here is that the Harperites are saying one thing and doing another. Like appointing Michael Fortier, an unelected party operative, to the Senate so that he could sit in Cabinet. So if Mr. Warawa is so concerned about the Senate that he allowed his name to be put to this flyer where was he when his Prime Minister was appointing unelected party friends to the Senate? I looked and I can’t find any record of Mr. Warawa speaking to this issue at all.
“Limited Terms.” This would be perhaps the easiest and cheapest reform that the Government could introduce. I also see this being something that would get all party support or at least a majority. And yet two years in there has been zero movement on this issue either, ask your self, people of Langley, do you think Mark Warawa is talking to his caucus colleagues and the Prime Minister about making sure that this issue is moving forward? It would seem to be important enough to him that he sends someone on Vancouver Island a flyer about, what action is he taking on this file? And if he is not acting on it how can he be trusted to act on the things that matter most to you?
“Accountable To You” is kind of vague and I’m not sure what is really meant by this. Does it mean that if we do the above things then it will be accountable? If so shouldn’t the accountability start with the M.P.’s like Mark Warawa ensuring that these promises are held?
No matter where you stand on any of these issues or what your political stripe is I believe, personally, that you should ask yourself some serious questions.
1.>When was the last time you received a mailer or information from you M.P.?
2.> If Mark Warawa is so concerned about the Senate and yet takes no action on it, then how can he be trusted to follow through on anything else?
3.> Why is Warawa wasting time sending campaign flyers to a riding (Esquimalt-Juan De Fuca) where the Tory’s have never finished higher than a distant third?
4.> And finally why isn’t Warawa spending that time in his community?
Now I should point out that I have placed a call to Mr.Warawa’s office and I left a lengthy message on his voice mail, listing my concerns and inviting him or someone from his office to call me back and discuss all of this. So far I have not heard back from him or his office. Maybe Warawa has been fighting in caucus for a reformed Senate, maybe Warawa has good reasons for sending flyers to people on Vancouver Island, but that is a lot of maybes and a lot of questions that Mr.Warawa does not seem willing to answer.
Jared S. Butcher is a political science student at Camosun College and The University of Victoria .
LFP Editor NOTE: Thank you Jared. And by the way, am I the only one that finds it tragically amusing that the Conservatives' environmental secretary, Mark Warawa, to Environment (oxymoron) Minister John Baird is essentially mass mailing with our Canadian clear cut trees a deluge of paper product propaganda flyers multiple times to Langley taxpayers as well as to who knows how many other Canadian ridings including Jared's Victoria riding? Is this proper & responsible governance that you condone of your Langley MP?

Friday, August 08, 2008

VALTAC - Country Picnic in the Park - We Need Light Rail Now!

Photos and comments courtesy of Bob Richter.

LFP's own Photog, Bob Richter, was at today's event and posted above his picture album report of Valley Transportation Advisory Committee or VALTAC's 2nd annual Picnic in The Park to help raise awareness about the need for better transit options in Langley and other parts of the Fraser Valley.

The highlight was the unveiling of VALTAC's outstanding latest mural decorated mobile 53 foot long trailer with it's banner headline, “Bring Community Rail back to the Fraser Valley Now!” as reported in today's Langley Times (why the Times choose to publish this story on page 6 of their paper is unbelievable to this Editor but not surprising).

By the way VALTAC, this Editor likes your new web page format. For way more directions and further information scroll all the way down below to the LFP calender and select Sat. Aug. 8th, VALTAC picnic calender posting. Don't forget to tell Bob when there, that you are there because you read about it on LFP and not buried on page 6 of the Langley Times! LOL !!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

LAPS - High Time For A Reality Check?

Langley Times letter to the Editor of August 6th, 2008: ' The mandate of LAPS is “to promote the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of companion animals in Langley." ... This was clearly not the case when I called. ....On July 25 I called Langley Animal Protection Society to report a mother cat and kittens at the side of the road at 216 Street and 88 Avenue. I asked LAPS to come and rescue them and was told that they do not pick up cats, only dogs. .....

.....If I caught the kittens, I asked, could I bring them into the shelter? No, the shelter was at capacity for kittens. The receptionist told me to leave them there. Wouldn’t that lead to more kittens in the future, I asked. I told her that I would catch the kittens and bring them in. She said they would turn me away. ' - excerpts of letter by Dana Bis of Walnut Grove
The Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) which lobbied and took over the former SPCA contract for it's community animal protection for Langley was an excellent choice by the Township Council at that time a mere 4 or 5 years ago. So what happened to the LAPS since? This Editor's alarm bells have silently been chiming for quite a while because of all of the following below listed concerns about LAPS in the last couple of years. Today's letter from Dana Bis above has finally broken this Editor's back and begs many questions that need answers. Let's look at the concerns this Editor has:
  1. Two years ago the LAPS's Board lobbied for and got the Township of Langley to fork up $1.5 million for a replacement building after Township Taxpayers paid for an existing kennel property and facilities for in excess of $600,000.00 as well as installing sewer upgrades. One of the arguments were that better digs were required to attract and retain volunteers.

  2. Between July 2007 & January 2008 the Laps Board asked for just under $1,000,000.00 more for their new building due to cost overruns and expenses in addition to the initial $1.5 million for a new grand total of now about $2,500,000.00 and the Township Council approved and funded this increase. This is about a 75% cost overrun! Actually this is old hat and nothing new for the existing Township council because they seem to approve all manners of cost overruns in all facets of township spending! It's the business norm of the Mayor Alberts council club of "Good Ole boy's"

  3. At the January 2008 Council meeting where the LAPS Board sought the extra money they also revealed to council that LAPS now employed and had a payroll of 11 people IN ADDITION to all the volunteers that were initially to be the real backbone workhorses of LAPS when first presented to council only a short 4 or 5 years previously. Just a few years ago LAPS only had two employees I believe. In fact on their website there are three positions advertised for LAPS employees right at this moment. This really shocked this Editor to the core in January. I remember clearly the arguments about replacing the professional paid employees of the SPCA contractor with LAPS because their volunteers would care much better for Langley's animal protection than the paid and then very controversially expensive and gold plated SPCA operation that the council was contracting to before changing to LAPS at that time.

  4. This Editor also understands that the price of dog licenses have now doubled as well since LAPS took over. These funds go to help fund LAPS operations.

  5. This Editor also understands that the cost of adopting a pet at LAPs is now about $250.00. Again it used to be $125.00in the previous years. These funds also go to help fund LAPS operations.
Patti Dale, was the visionary out in front volunteer that spearheaded the drive to replace the SPCA originally. She along with the purely volunteer driven group of local women were clearly very energetic & a dedicated group of volunteers who demonstrated their strong animal advocacy focus & vision again only 4 or 5 years ago was . I still remember their passionate appeal to have the Township council replace the then very controversial SPCA organization. Sadly Patti passed away at far too young an age a couple of years ago.

The final concern that this Editor has is that I no longer see ANY of this original group of volunteers in evidence when reporting to Township Council. In fact at the January 2008 appeal for more funding none of the original women were anywhere to be seen or heard. Where have they all gone? And why?

I'm sure there will be lots of flak for this Editor's observations but given my festering concerns previous and especially now the letter from Dana Bis of Walnut Grove, questions must now finally be asked and answers must be given. Have we simply replaced the previous professional and gold plated Langley animal protection contractor with another one that is now starting to morph into an SPCA bureaucratic professional and gold plated clone? I certainly hope not. So don't shoot the messenger. I'm just asking the questions that the local newspaper Editor's should be raising too, but won't. Should we be concerned given all the above? And if not why not? Just very concerned and asking the questions. The final question is; when is LAPS's contract with the Township up for renewal and why should it not be out for public tender or for request for proposals?

To be fair this Editor is very aware of a lot of great things that LAPS now does like dog walking and especially the jailed prisoner inmate programs where they loan dogs to prisons for training and essentially provide inmate and even pet companionship. I'm sure they do many other innovative and wonderful things as well. Kudos. But as the messenger here, I sure hope that they never lose track of the core services and respective costs, checks and balances that the taxpayers and all Langley animal owners and lovers expect. Just another little reality check spurred on by this Editor. Where all others will certainly fear to tread, no doubt! In the meantime, keep up the fine work & programs LAPs and be ever wary and vigilant of the temptations of excess similar to your predecessors! And most especially those of your sponsors, the Township of Langley "Good Ole boy's Club" Council! LOL.