Langley voters, don’t support special interests | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
July 25, 2011 · Updated 9:12 AM
To the editor:
Langley residents, don’t support special interests: Vote no on Proposition 1.
I am not a Langley resident, but like many here on the South End, I have been closely watching the politics of Langley.
Based on my understanding of the issues and having worked for local and regional governments for almost 20 years, I strongly encourage the voters in Langley to vote no on Prop. 1.
One of the main arguments for keeping Langley’s current council-mayor form of government has been made many times; namely, that it provides for checks and balances between the council and mayor, and also provides an important buffer between the council and the daily workings of the city.
Langley’s current form of government allows the council to set policy and direction for the city, while staff, working under the mayor, implement this, letting them do their jobs without interference, pressure or fear of reprisal from elected officials.
Before moving here 17 years ago, I worked as a planner for a city in northern California that was similar to Langley in its cultural and political makeup. It had a council-manager form of government.
During my time there, I often saw the city planner make recommendations and decisions that were not based on his experience or on correct interpretations of the city’s land use code, but were instead based on needing to please and placate the council.
And though this may have let him keep his job, it was not in the best interest of the city, nor was it fair and impartial, as preference was often given to projects that were favored by members of the council.
I don’t think this is the kind of government the voters of Langley would want to encourage.
I have read the pro-Prop. 1 website and also the recent letter from Jonathon Moses, who is a Prop. 1 proponent, Langley Passage opponent and candidate for council.
While I agree that there are some compelling reasons to have a city manager for Langley, I don’t think it should ever be at the expense of giving up the mayor’s current role.
The Prop. 1 supporters say they are acting in the best interest of the city, however, their position seems quite vindictive and appears to be based mainly on their opposition to the Langley Passage project, instead of broader issues relevant to a majority of the city’s residents.
This group blames the mayor and city staff (in particular, the city planners) for most, if not all, of the ills (or perceived ills) of Langley — despite the fact that on numerous occasions the majority of the council has expressed their support for the mayor and city staff. They also completely ignore the fact that it is the council who make the policies and decisions which they are unhappy with, not the mayor or city staff.
If I was a Langley resident, I would ask myself: Do I want to change the current form of government based solely on the special interest and discontent of a small group of residents? I think not. So I strongly encourage you to vote no on Prop. 1 in the upcoming special election.