Odd Thoughts: Langley election proves The Rule

Columnist Bob Groeneveld offers his take on why the Township election is shaping up this way.

Anyone who is surprised that Kim Richter suddenly announced she would be seeking re-election as a councillor after ostensibly campaigning to be mayor for nearly a year doesn’t understand the realities of municipal politics in Langley the way she does.

After sending up a trial balloon earlier this summer, Eric Woodward (of Fort Langley development fame) also decided to shoot for the easier meat this fall.

They’re both smart enough to know that, in Langley, you can’t win an election against a sitting mayor.

It’s The Rule in this town.

And according to The Rule, the only way either of them – or anyone else – would be able to get Jack Froese out of that chair is if he loses.

Froese’s predecessor Rick Green didn’t win the election that pried Kurt Alberts out of the Mayor’s chair. Alberts lost it, both through an accumulation of community disgruntlement and by the failure of… well, practically everybody… to realize that Green was a real threat.

And then Green lost the next election because, in fact, he never should have been a threat in the first place – except maybe as a threat to common sense.

Despite some grumbling here and there, Froese probably feels he hasn’t stirred up enough enmity to clinch a loss this fall. Nevertheless, he may have been looking over his shoulder for the better part of the past year, while veteran Councillor Richter remained under the influence of wishful thinking.

With Richter’s name recognition and experience, The Rule could become fragile. And when that happens, chaos looms.

Mayor John Scholtens learned that lesson when then-longtime Councillor Heather McMullan challenged The Rule in 1999. She announced her intention early to run for the mayoralty, and in defiance of The Rule, she quickly became the clear favourite.

But the race between the two became so rancorous – you can find details in BC Supreme Court documents and proceedings over the following few years – that The Rule went into hiding, and Mayor Kurt Alberts emerged.

It’s because of The Rule that you generally only see real contenders face off against an incumbent mayor every three or four terms. It takes that long for most mayors (except Green) to make enough mistakes to lose an election.

This time out, Richter and Woodward both studied The Rule, and they both determined Froese is not yet ready to lose.

Just Posted

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

Doug McCallum claims he can build the line for the $1.65 billion already committed to light rail

Cascades Casino phase one renovations revealed

On Nov. 14, various community members were invited to tour the first phase of Cascades’ expansion.

Langley community dinner for ‘all walks of life’

Langley local Stacey Wakelin is hosting a community dinner that caters to everyone.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

Langley author pens tribute to the men and women of Canada’s military for Remembrance Day

‘A soldier, a sailor and an airman … stood before the Pearly Gates’

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Two more government pot shops to open in Kamloops

Two private applications are also in the queue to come before city council by the end of the year

2 B.C. men charged after allegedly stealing $1,400 worth of butter

The two men, ages 23 and 25, are facing charges of theft under $5,000, Coquitlam police said

Invasive fire ants join the tourist swarms at Hawaii Volcano National Park

Invasive species found at popular tourist destination

Ten-year sentence for man convicted of B.C. belt-strangling death

Shayne McGenn guilty of manslaughter in 2016 death of David Delaney, 63

Aldergrove Kodiaks outfox Trappers

Aldergrove Junior B hockey team’s 3-1 win puts them at 24 points in the season

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Most Read