Friday, December 19, 2008

NEW - Events Centre P3 Bombshell Local Newspapers Fallout Continues (Part 6 of 6)

The local papers have extensive coverage and new developments that this LFP Editor will probably expand on this weekend. But for the moment here's the latest exploding events and news with their associated links:

Langley MP Mark Warawa categorically denies that any formal application for any $5 million from Langley Township was ever formally submitted for a federal Building Canada Fund and that he "communicated (this) to the Township of Langley on April 23, 2008" (7 months before the municipal election) as reported in yesterday's Aldergrove Star.

Township Councillor Jordan Bateman in a long diatribe strongly disputes MP Warawa's statement on his website posting and He says that the formal notification of no federal funding for the Events Centre was given by Conservative Senator only on December 1, 2008 (2 weeks after the municipal election).

Today's Langley Advance further covers covers the blatant & mysterious broadcast email lie that accused both Mayor Green & Councillor Richter of trying to kill the Langley Events Centre. This anonymous broadcast email circulated throughout the proprietary Langley sports associations mailing of thousands and thousands of participants and parents. The source and individual originators have not yet been made public. Also in today's Langley Advance is another article that expands on the Event Centre P3. It covers the fact that Council did not second the motion to refer the extra $5 million funding for the Events Centre that has increased from it's initial $45 million to $56 million. The Bob Groeneveld Editorial in the same Langley Advance fumes " NO Signature Is A Bad Deal" and continues to say " Is Mayor Rick Green angry? You bet. Maybe not even angry enough." He also chastises MP Warawa for, "has never demonstrated that he has the political strength in Ottawa to draw on that kind of money for Langley - or that he has the political will to stand up and fight that hard for his constituents."

There is no advance comment what-so-ever to the claim in today's paper about the Bateman website statement that perhaps the Langley Advance misinterpreted Bateman's statement about mayor Green's releasing in camera information. In fact, quite the opposite in fact, in today's Langley Advance the same reporter, Mathew Claxton, once again reports the exactly same that he did a few days ago, specifically he again says: "Bateman told the Langley Advance that Green had brought the matter out of in camera meetings without a motion from staff."
See Part 5 of 6
See Part 4 of 6
See Part 3 of 6
See Part 2 of 6
See Part 1 of 6

Officials investigate ministers (The Province, 19 Dec 2008, Page A11)

More on the the Langley MLA Rich Coleman & Mary Polak complaint investigation as reported by by Province columnist Michael Smyth.

Officials investigate ministers
The Province
19 Dec 2008

VICTORIA — B.C. cabinet ministers Rich Coleman and Mary Polak say they did nothing wrong by endorsing a slate of school board candidates in last month’s municipal election in Langley, despite a complaint they may have breached the Local more...

Two B. C. cabinet ministers probed by RCMP (The Vancouver Sun, 19 Dec 2008, Page A4)

Langley MLA s Rich Coleman and Mary Polak and a group called Parents for Independent Trustees are apparently being investigated after a complaint lodged by former school trustee Sonya Paterson about last November's Langley School Board election and a series of 3 ads in local papers that endorsed specific candidates.
Two B. C. cabinet ministers probed by RCMP
The Vancouver Sun
19 Dec 2008

Two B. C. cabinet ministers, the Liberal Party of B. C. and a Langley parents’ group are under investigation by RCMP after a complaint alleged that they violated sections of the Local Government Act during November’s municipal election. more...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Councillor Jordan Bateman Apologizes for Confusion & Misinterpretation of Reported Statements That Mayor Released In Camera Info. ( Part 5 of 6)

As of 3:21Pm today, Councillor Jordan Bateman is quoted on his website to say amongst other things: "It has come to my attention that some of my comments to The Langley Advance regarding the Mayor's Report on Monday night could have been interpreted incorrectly." In another excerpt from his website, Bateman further states; "I apologize for any confusion that may have come up over this." and he also says: "I want to make it clear that the Mayor did not disclose in-camera information on Monday concerning the Events Centre." To see what the newspapers did actually report on, go this LFP link to see their articles.

Is this a correction or an apology, or both? Does Councillor Jordan Bateman in his comments really mean that the Langley Advance newspaper misinterpreted his comments? What he is saying now strikes this LFP Editor as being very reminiscent of Bateman's response when he 'clarified' his position about the alleged improper lottery fundraiser issue a year ago that local hotelier Wally Martin filed an official complaint about. At that time he said it was essentially an error and the fault of his election campaign underlings. See here for details.
See Part 6 of 6
See Part 4 of 6
See Part 3 of 6
See Part 2 of 6
See Part 1 of 6

Breaking NEWS - Mayor Rick Green Did NOT Release In Camera Information (Part 4 of 6)

I just received confirmation that The Township Administration advised the Langley Advance at 11:00AM this morning that Mayor Rick Green did not release any Council In-Camera information as claimed by Councillor Jordan Bateman. Furthermore Mayor Rick Green's speech was reviewed by Township Administration prior to its delivery and no erroneous information was found by staff. Mayor Green's full speech in question is available for viewing at this Township website link. Should Councillor Jordan Bateman apologize for misleading the public as quoted in the Langley Advance by reporter Matthew Claxton?
See Part 6 of 6
See Part 5 of 6
See Part 3 of 6
See Part 2 of 6
See Part 1 of 6

Cllr. Jordan Bateman Accuses Mayor Green of Unauthorized 'Secret Council In-Camera' Release of P3 Partnership Status (Part 3 of 6)

Councillor Jordan Bateman has accused new Mayor Rick Green of a very serious offense as reported by Bateman’s newspaper colleague, Mathew Claxton. It was published by Bateman’s former employer, the Langley Advance, yesterday. Specifically, "Bateman accused the mayor of bringing the issue out of an in camera meeting without a council motion to do so."

These comments from Councillor Jordan Bateman come as a result of Mayor Rick Green's Bombshell Revelation (also reported by the Province newspaper) at the last Council meeting (December 15, 2008) that no P3 agreement was, or is, in place for the Langley Events Centre on 200th Street which is scheduled to be opened in April 2009.

Today's Langley Times also quotes Councillor Jordan Bateman who said Tuesday that it is clear that Green “does not understand the process,” and a construction contract has been in place since the project’s inception.

The Langley Advance reports that Councillor Jordan Bateman said "he found Green's comments disappointing". Bateman was further reported to say "I'm disappointed the mayor made a public issue of it".

As reported in The Langley Advance, Bateman's excuse was that "all partners were waiting to see what stipulations the federal government would attach if they joined as a funding partner."

Really? At what point should a government sign an agreement to get the best deal for the taxpayers it represents? (Most people would think this should be done well before the ribbon was cut - Langley however seems to be cutting this a little close given that it’s now December and the ribbon on the Events Centre will be cut in 4 months [just before the next provincial election] and there’s still no official/legal deal!). One has to worry more now, what this will cost the taxpayers at this late stage?

Many are puzzled by Bateman’s rationale of waiting for the Federal Government mainly because the Feds would have been a very small minority partner with only $5 million of the total $56 million project. Up until Councillor Bateman's recent comments, there was never any public illusion that the federal Government would be a partner in this Events Centre P3. In fact, all public comments up until now were that the Township was only seeking a one time $5 million federal grant. Not a partnership. The partnership was with the provincial government. Specifically via Rich Coleman, (former) Minister of Forestry and Langley Township MLA who wanted to showcase BC lumber in his home town.

Interesting too how this project was never in the Township’s long term financial plan until 6 months after Councillor Bateman got elected who just also happens to be Rich Coleman’s former Communications Officer and is now Coleman’s Constituency President.

It’s also funny how “in camera” issues are now front and center according to Councillor Bateman.

Just recently, other Council “in camera” issues were leaked concerning firefighting resources. Funny how that particular “in camera” leak generated no public comment from Councillor Bateman, yet caused a flurry of broadcast emails to Council similar to those that Mayor Green referred to on Monday.

One of Mayor Rick Green's major election platforms was transparency in Government. In fact, Mayor Rick Green's inaugural speech specifically focused on transparency.

In contrast, Councillor Jordan Bateman’s inaugural speech was silent on the issue of council transparency.

Within less than one month of being elected, could all this political nonsense simply be because Mr. Bateman intends to challenge Mr. Green for the Mayoralty in 2011?

If so, Mr. Bateman should just come clean now and spare Township residents all the political muck that it looks like he intends to sling over the next 3 years.
See Part 6 of 6
See Part 5 of 6
See Part 4 of 6
See Part 2 of 6
See Part 1 of 6

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New mayor ‘steaming’ over P3 deal (The Province, 16 Dec 2008, Page A6) - (Part 2 of 6)

What's this latest Financial Langley Township Fiasco going to cost Langley taxpayers? Is this another Langley Grandstand Fiasco in the making? Who's Accountable? Should an audit investigation be started? See Additional LFP Postings at (Part 6 of 6) (Part 5 of 6) (Part 4 of 6) (Part 3 of 6) (Part 1 of 6)

New mayor ‘steaming’ over P3 deal
The Province
16 Dec 2008

Langley’s $56-million events centre was advertised as a public-private partnership, but an agreement to operate it was never signed, Langley Township’s new mayor said yesterday. Mayor Rick Green, who took office this month, said the “serious” more...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mayor Rick Green Drops Langley Events Centre Bombshell - There Is No Signed P3 Agreement! (Part 1 of 6)

Tonight's Langley Township Council council meeting was shocking in it's revelations. First Mayor Rick Green drops the P3 bombshell of an announcement followed by even more that:
  • There is no signed, nor has there ever been a P3 (Private, public Partnership) agreement in place for the Langley Events Centre. Yet it is almost complete! The township taxpayers are exposed to financial risk negotiating a P3 agreement after the fact with only a simple construction contract in place. This is highly irregular and could be very costly for Langley Taxpayers.
  • The Langley Events Centre was initially started as an equal partnership of of 3 parties of $15 million paid by each of the 3 partners. $15 million Township taxpayers, $15 m Private Partner and $15 m Province of BC. Mayor Green announces that while the private and BC portions are still $15 million the Township taxpayer paid portion has ballooned to $22.9 million or a 50% increase over the initial budget announced to the public. Sadly everyone can still say rightfully so that its on budget but this is because the previous Township Council has continually approved increasing it's budget just as they did last week when Cllr. Richter was away.!
  • He also stated that the recent ANONYMOUS broadcast emails about the Langley Events Centre are lies, just as the previous Fire Department ANONYMOUS broadcast emails were. He essentially said that there is no choice due to important commitments but that the project must and will be completed and funded from other Township taxpayer sources and/or acquiring more Township taxpayer debt. He has never had nor will have any intentions to not properly fund completion. Hence he essentially said that the broadcast emails are lies.
  • Mayor Green says the anonymous broadcast emails besides being lies are being promoted by those who are still fighting the last election and/or the next election. He says it would take no more than 5 seconds to determine and to point to the source of the emails and that they are purely politically motivated.
  • Green asked the council in his same Mayor's report to rescind last week's funding decision on the Events Centre and to send it to the Township finance review committee. He pointed out that it would not affect the completion of the project at all.
  • When Councillor Richter after his speech put this very same motion forward NOT one of the councillors seconded the motion, not even for discussion! In fact when Councillor Richter was attempting to read out her motion both councillors Bateman & Kositsky interupted her presentation on a point of order in an attempt to truncate her presentation of her motion.
To view the whole sequence as it happened view these fascinating three (3) videos. To view each video mouse click minutes before description:
  • (6:23 min) Mayor Green's Bombshell of the P3 not being signed.
  • (1:43 min) Mayor Green's continuation about Broadcast email lies
  • (1:41 minutes) Cllr. Richter's motion to refer last week's Events centre budget update to the budget process which was not seconded, not even for discussion even after Mayor Green's very same plea and his P3 bombshell announcement!
  • To view Mayor Green's speech in PDF written format.
See other related LFP Postings Parts: (6 of 6) (5 of 6) (4 of 6) (3 of 6) (2 of 6)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Aldergrove Xmas Parade Short Of Councillors!

The annual Aldergrove evening Christmas parade went on despite below zero temperatures as shown on the attached LFPYouTube video (1:41 Min). Kudos to the organizers and all the participants! Will these 3 council members who took the time to attend be Mayor Green's promised Aldergrove task force? Did former Mayor Alberts take the traditional Township council horse wagon parade vehicle with him when he left? Since when did gas become cheaper than horses!...

West Vancouver’s political groups probed (The Vancouver Sun, 13 Dec 2008, Page A10)

Thanks to the newest Langley Political Blog (amongst lots lately -lol-), for the heads up on this Vancouver Sun article of today. Of note are these comments in The Sun Article:

"West Vancouver police are investigating complaints that two organizations that endorsed candidates in the November municipal election breached the Local Government Act.

In Langley, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman and Liberal MLA Mary Polak endorse school board members, raising the question of whether Coleman, Polak or the B. C. Liberal party may have acted improperly by failing to register as an elector organization.

Without enforcement of the election rules, special-interest groups can, in effect, buy and sell council and school board seats.

Without enforcement, voters may never know who is behind the elected officials who have the power, not only to tax and spend our money, but to reshape our communities."

Good points above. Should this be followed up on and by who? Also I believe to lodge a complaint there is only a months grace period to do so which would be Monday. Not sure about that but just a suggestion.

West Vancouver’s political groups probed
The Vancouver Sun
13 Dec 2008

West Vancouver police are investigating complaints that two organizations that endorsed candidates in the November municipal election breached the Local Government Act. Both groups — West Vancouver Citizens for Good Government and Low Tax, Low more...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Langley Events Centre Enhanced !? But Still On Budget!? And How Does A $5 Million Budget Over Run Magically Disappear!

Double click on each picture of this press release to read it and you can also enlarge the picture then as well if need be to better read it. If you have problems email this Editor and I will guide you through the process. So let's get this straight. The Township private/public consortium have spent or will still spend the $5 million that MP Mark Warawa was hoped to bring to the Events Centre project from the Federal Government.

This $5 million will not apparently come through from Warawa's feds. Then this sudden press release comes out (only after Councillor Richter breaks the news and informs us about the $5 million shortfall) that says Council is adding way more stuff to the project and that it remains on budget! Confused & flabbergasted? You betcha! Add to that more confusion and questions about the numbers shown in the press release that says we the taxpayers are on the hook for $19.9 million but the province pays $15 million, and the private partner pays $15 million! Did I miss something here? From the start of this partnership we the taxpayers were to be equal financial partners. This meant $15 million each! Why is it suddenly $19.9 million (sounds like a $99 marketing special mark down price to me!) and we are still on budget? Fast talking shell game is the only thought that comes to this Editor's mind!

Oh, by the way Councillor Kim Richter who was out of province and missed the last meeting advises us that she is tabling a motion to reconsider the funding of the $5 million that MP Warawa did not come through with. Betcha dollars for donuts this motion won't be seconded, not even for discussion. As said before, "So what really has changed with this council"? But who really cares because according to this Press Release the project is still on BUDGET!!! Did Councillor Jordan Bateman and Councillor Charlie Fox move and second as usual, that we the taxpayers fund the $5 million shortfall or did they go along with it? How many motions exactly were there on this issue? Were they in the open or secret? If in secret, why? My predictions seems accurate again! Thanks guys! The last time this dynamic duo supported a loser was to fully fund the severely over budget $ 3-4-5-6-7-8+ million dollar and still not complete white elephant grandstand project. So now we will have both a concrete and a plywood financial Township Council monument that were way over budget! But remember the press release says it's on budget? Go figure. By my simple calculations the Langley taxpayer's portion of our budget is at least 33% over budget and the private and provincial portions are on budget. Are there any other surprises on these two projects (financial & otherwise) Jordan & Charlie? That you guys will rush to fully fund in the future? Why is it that this talk of a $5 million problem only came out conveniently shortly AFTER the Council's election? Convenient coincidence? I find this a very important question worth looking into deeply, don't you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

B.C. Libs expected to launch studies of Surrey, Vancouver SkyTrain extensions

The Vancouver Sun reports that Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon is expected to announce plans Thursday to launch studies for rapid transit lines to Surrey's Guildford area and the University of B.C. The Surrey expansion will likely leave from the King George Station, travel along 104th Avenue, down 152nd Street to Fraser Highway and terminate at 168th Street. Is this a way to kill light rail Interurban to Langley and beyond?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

2009 Township Budget Orientation Shows Previous Council Left Us $11 to $16 Million Deficit! - With Commentary From Kim Richter

MLA Coleman's Event Center $5 million over budget - Will NEW Council fund this cost overrun once again just like the Grandstand financial fiasco?

Commentary on 2009 Budget Orientation by Councillor Kim Richter
The real issue is the economy and prudent/responsible use of taxpayer's dollars as well as a strong financial oversight on the part of Council. This is, I think, the very definite mandate that the taxpayers sent us in this most recent election by their decision to replace the Mayor.

Council had its first budget meeting on Wednesday. At this meeting, Council was informed that the major cost drivers affecting the coming year's budget means that with a 0% tax increase, the Township will be in an $11 Million deficit position - and this is just to maintain the status quo (i.e. no new service additions).

The chickens have finally come home to roost. I'm not surprised. It had to happen. Sooner or later, the free-spending actions of the previous Council had to catch up.

Added to this very dismal financial picture, the federal government has refused to financially support the Langley Events Center. The previous Council was depending on this support and increased the scope of the project. Unfortunately, federal support did not materialize. (So much for photo-ops, Mr. Warawa). Now this project is $5 Million short and guess who will have to pick up the difference if this building is to open on time?

If you guessed the Township, you're right!

An extra $5 Million for this project equals an 8.3% tax increase this year, unless we increase our debt as we have in the past.

So our township financial position will go from an $11 Million deficit to a $16 Million deficit assuming a 0% tax increase this year.

The enemy here is not each other - it's inaction. We need to get on the same page fast or the Township will suffer.

P.S. - LFP Editor comment. Kim Richter's above comments are from the previous postings comments section that she wrote in a comment. It was edited in context with this posting.