Langley mayoral races gain candidates

Ray Lewis is a longtime Langley City resident, Serena Oh is a relative newcomer to the Township, but both of them are now running for mayor in their respective communities.

Lewis is making his first run for elected office in decades, having last run for school board back when former City mayor Peter Fassbender first ran.

“I’m really not a political animal,” said Lewis. At the time he had children in school and saw problems with the system.

Now he said it’s problems in the City that have prompted him to run for mayor.

“I live in it, I live right down in the core,” he said.

Lewis is worried about crime, mental illness, drug addiction, and homelessness in the City, and says not enough is being done to fight those problems.

The City is a “soft target” he said.

“We are rapidly losing control of our City to lawless transients,” Lewis said in a brochure. “In many cases we import and enable these problem persons.”

Social service organizations feed and clothe them, said Lewis.

Other issues he wants to address includes City finances. He wants to build up a bigger reserve fund from the casino revenues, and he wants to look at ways to reduce policing costs.

He is also worried about transportation and said freight trains need to be diverted outside of the City.

His father was once an engineer on the trams and cargo trains that ran through the City, Lewis said. Working with TransLink and consulting with other cities on a number of issues, including transit, crime, and finances would be on his agenda, he said.

Oh moved to Langley last year, but said she’s been coming here since the late 1980s to attend a Buddhist temple on the Surrey-Langley border. The beauty of the area attracted her to the community, she said.

Among other issues, she said transportation should be expanded to places including 208th Street in Willoughby and MacMillan Island north of Fort Langley.

Other issues she mentioned she would like to see tackled are climate change and poverty. Unemployment should be dealt with through job training, she said.

Common sense and wisdom is needed by politicians, she said.

Oh is most well known for a clash with the City of Burnaby that started in 2008 and ended in court several years later.

She owned a duplex with an illegal suite, and refused for some time to remove it.

In 2010 she appeared before Burnaby city council to plead her case.

Burnaby’s city council was unsympathetic and said it was simply a matter of seeking compliance with the rules. Burnaby did not allow secondary suites.

The case eventually went to court, and Oh was found in breach of the zoning bylaw. She said she represented herself through several years of legal proceedings.

“I’m a survivor,” Oh said. “Those things have made me stronger.”

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