After attending council meetings over the last 8 years, listening to all candidate meetings, reading questionnaires and meeting with various candidates, I am endorsing the following candidates:
About the council candidates…
First, the known entities: the incumbents. Incumbents have a voting history so they are easier to analyze (and criticize). I’ve disagreed with all 3 incumbents over many issues. More importantly, they know this and still speak respectfully and engage with those who oppose them.
Of the three incumbents, I likely have most in common with Michelle Sparrow in terms of policy and vision. She believes in urban planning, strongly protecting the ALR and appears to consider each policy on its own merits. In the next 4 years I would love to hear her speak up more, but also consider working with more passionate urban planning advisors. Sometimes her voting pattern seems contradictory to me, but I do see her as an open minded and civil candidate.
Petrina Arnason is another stalwart defender of the ALR and environment. She often speaks up quite passionately, challenging the status quo in a respectful and civil matter. She has positioned herself over her first term to be a possible bridge between warring camps. The Township of Langley needs Petrina’s voice. She is one of the most knowledgeable candidates when it comes to sustainability and tree protection.
I also endorse David Davis. While he may not share my vision on density and planning, he is one of the strongest supporters of the ALR and we cannot lose his vote for food security. While passionately fighting for farmland, I also believe that David’s readily apparent and admirable humility makes him open to reasonable discourse when it comes to planning in the Township even if he doesn’t have the ideas himself.
Moving on, the strongest of the challengers looking for Charlie Fox’s “vacant spot” is probably Eric Woodward. Eric is one of the more controversial figures as he has spent the last decade or so revitalizing Fort Langley: updating the facades on a strip mall, building the LEED-certified 3 story Coulter Berry (2.0?) building, pushing for underground wiring, fighting with the Township about a recent development, and building a pocket playground. I have sat on at least one committee with Eric and while we disagreed on many things, he showed himself to be mature & civilized – the opposite of what many people say about him. We appear to agree on the basic tenets of smart growth, environmental stewardship, and ALR protection. He is probably the only candidate that offered tangible solutions to many of the Township’s issues. I think Eric could offer probably the best vision for planning in Langley.
I also endorse Harold Whittell as perhaps a dark horse candidate who has run a strong campaign despite being a relatively late entry. Harold stands with conviction on his principles and appears to share a similar understanding of planning, smart growth and ALR protection as I do. I also have seen him run a clean, positive campaign despite knowing that he often disagrees with other candidates (including some that I support) and the majority of council. My hope is that, if elected, that Harold will tackle issues with an open mind and continue to consult with individuals on both sides of all controversies.
Moving on to the three candidates that I didn’t know much about prior to the election. I was pleasantly surprised by Craig Teichreib. I must admit that I often disagree with the choices made by the local firefighters union so I may have subconsciously painted Craig into that corner when he first announced a candidacy. Bad Brad. Craig has campaigned for smart growth, spoken for aggressive support of the ALR and appears to be one of the truly independent candidates in the Township (notice how those who are independent rarely say it, while those who claim it rarely are…). He has ideas of his own but is also seems to be open to learning about what he doesn’t know.
Phyllis Heppner is another surprise candidate who knows her stuff and stands on principles. She was part of the early Brookswood planning process and you can tell she is a bit miffed about a lot of their input not being adopted. Whether or not I agree with what went on with Brookswood, Phyllis has taken an articulate stand for walkable neighbourhoods and hasn’t backtracked or flip flopped when challenged. I may not agree with her positions 100% but she is someone that I think will definitely make Langley a better place.
Finally, I must admit that it was only Michael Pratt who was able to change my mind with his questionnaire, knocking off another great candidate. With Michael I have the greatest hope and fear in one person. He obviously has a lot of very strong connections to the established majority that runs the Township and the various provincial and federal parties that certainly influence municipal affairs, but I have seen an independent streak that sets him apart. I read Michael’s urban planning blog in the past so I know he knows what he is talking about – if you put me, Eric, and Michael in a room, we could probably geek out all day long about urban planning. If Michael can continue to rise above potentially contradictory influence of those around him and work to implement his ideals, Langley will definitely be a more walkable, sustainable community.
Disclaimer: I am NOT sponsored by any of the above candidates. I have no financial interest in the results of the election. This message is authorized by Brad Richert, registered under LECFA, firstname.lastname@example.org.