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Langley officials say candidate for council has a 'cloud' over candidacy

Langley officials are raising doubts about whether Kathleen Waters can be a candidate for a vacant council seat.

According to records released by the city yesterday, Langley officials began reviewing Waters' eligibility in earnest earlier this week based on requests to the mayor's office from unnamed council members and community members.

In a three-page staff report to the mayor and council, Kathleeen Landel, special assistant to the mayor, said Waters provided two addresses to the city and had registered to vote in Langley on Sept. 22.

To be eligible to be appointed to the council, a candidate must be 18 or older, a registered voter, and a resident of the city for the past 12 months.

In the Dec. 16 staff report, Landel said the city contacted Municipal Research Services Center and city officials were told that Water's recent voter registration "could raise a cloud" if she was appointed.

Landel contacted Waters on Dec. 14 and raised questions about her residency. Landel asked if Waters had been a registered voter anywhere else since Dec. 20, 2009, and asked Waters if her driver's license listed her Langley address.

In an e-mail response, Waters questioned the city's sole scrutiny of her and recalled the recent criticism of her by a council member.

Earlier this month, Langley Councilwoman Rene Neff used the council's website, langelyelecteds.org, to criticize Waters, characterizing her as untruthful and a bully. Neff's comments spurred calls from others for Neff's resignation.

Waters has been a property owner in Langley since 1976, and has been a frequent critic of the council and mayor on financial and land-use issues.

"It is apparent that the city is trying to disprove my residency in Langley," Waters wrote to Landel.

"I believe that the city is compiling a rather perilous set of actions regarding me as an individual - it seems to be boarding on harassment," Waters said.

In another e-mail, Waters told Landel that she had contacted voter registration officials, who said she has two legal residences.

"I can choose which one I want to vote at, and if I am a registered voter, I can run for public office in that jurisdiction, it is entirely my choice," she wrote.

"Where I have my drivers license is also my choice, and has no bearing on my voter registration, nor holding public office," Waters told Landel.

Waters also said she met all the standards in the Langley Municipal Code for holding office.

The city's application for the council seat includes the questions "Are you 18 years of age or older?", "Are you a registered voter?" and "Have you lived in the City of Langley for the last 12 months?" Waters checked the "yes" box next to each question.

In another e-mail to the city this week, Waters reminded Landel that she had opened a business in Langley earlier in the year: "Has anyone thought about how easy it is to open a brand-new business on a brand-new business site while not living in the city?"

The city council is expected to interview candidates for the open seat on the council — left empty by Russell Sparkman's resignation earlier this year — at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 20 and appoint the new council member that same evening.

Three others have applied for the position: Hal Seligson, Thomas Gill and Robin Adams.

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