Langley Inside and Out
All about the City of Langley from The Record and other sources
Langley’s Civil Service Commission will meet later this week to talk about the appointment of an acting police chief.
The acting police chief will step in for Police Chief Bob Herzberg, who is retiring this year after more than 30 years of service to the city. Mayor Paul Samuelson has indicated that two of Langley’s current police officers have expressed interest in the job.
The commission will meet at 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10 at Langley City Hall.
Officials from the Washington State Auditor’s Office are returning to Langley for their final meeting with city officials before the state audit on Langley is released.
An “exit conference” has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 15.
All of the council is expected to attend, and the meeting will be open to the public, said City Treasurer Debbie Mahler.
The meeting is at 2:30 p.m. at city hall.
During the exit conference, representatives from the state are expected to lay out what their review has discovered, and give city officials a chance to respond before the final version of the audit is released to the public.
The State Auditor’s Office launched its review of Langley early, on Nov. 3, because of the large number of calls made to the state’s fraud hotline. Some of the complaints centered on Mayor Paul Samuelson, who was at the center of controversy last year over vacation pay issues.
State officials said earlier that the review was an “accountability audit” that would cover the city’s compliance with state laws and regulations on contracts and agreements, compensation of elected officials, hotel-motel tax disbursements, the Open Public Meetings Act, records retention, whistleblower policy, citizen advisory committees, manual warrants and charges made to utility funds.
Langley was jumpin’ Saturday night. The Saints & Sinners opening at MUSEO was a combination of happy people, outstanding art, creative artists, costumes, fire throwing, music and energy. The crowd’s gaiety flowed out MUSEO’s doors, onto the streets and then moved to the restaurants and bars. But, don’t believe me, watch the video: Saints & Sinners by Robbie Cribbs.
Wednesday, January 26 @ 5:30
Music For The Eyes Rug Shop
314 First Street, Langley
Individuals interested in serving on an interim Board of Directors or as an interim Committee Head of a new non-profit economic development and town preservation group for Langley (associated with the national “Main Street” program) are invited to attend the first organizing meeting.
Participants need not have attended either the recent Langley Focus Group Meeting at the Whidbey Children’s Theater or the Main Street Presentation by Sarah Hanson at the Langley Methodist Church. However, participants should be willing to accept a leadership position in helping to organize this new Langley group. Anyone attending this first organizing meeting should make themselves familiar with the national Main Street website and its information.
While this first meeting is intended for those willing to put in the time and effort in leadership positions in the new group, subsequent meetings will be open to all those willing to help out on committees or in other less time-intensive capacities.
Kim Tiller (Whidbey Soap Company) recently called together another exciting community meeting this last week around the concept of Main Street. Sarah Hansen, Main Street Program Coordinator, Washington State Trust of Historic Preservation, came to Langley to talk with the community about the benefits of adopting the Main Street approach to revitalize a city’s downtown core.
It was a great turn out at the Methodist Church comprised of merchants, business owners, Langley Chamber members, property owners and citizens concerned about helping Langley continue to move forward. (Thank you to Kim Tiller for making this happen!) The meeting generated a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for Langley adopting the Main Street model.
The Main Street model is a framework that helps cities organize themselves to improve their economic prosperity. The benefit of being a Main Street city is it provides a comprehensive program involving a variety of stakeholders all working together to help build and maintain economic stability. City’s can start incrementally and the State will provide technical assistance and direction. Main Street capitalizes on Public/Private partnerships marshaling the expertise and assets within a community. This program is recognized as a successful program that has helped to revitalize many cities across the country. There are economic incentives we can begin to take advantage of such as channeling B&O taxes into the city via Main Street to help support the organization. This program would make Langley eligible for a variety of grants and programs such as historical preservation grants. Being a Main Street program gives a city more clout when going after grants because it has such a strong record of success.
Three years ago, myself and several city officials attended the State’s Annual Main Street Conference in Vancouver, WA. Not long afterward Langley applied to become an affiliate member of Main Street which affords us the opportunity now to move forward toward the goal of becoming a full fledged Main Street city. Mayor Paul and the Council have put into place some of the underpinnings such as the Economic Council of Health and the Historical Preservation Commission. There have been several other things happening in town that allows Langley to be well positioned at this time to move forward on becoming a Main Street city. Of course this will take the whole community stepping up to support this idea and lending their energy and expertise to make it all happen.
Next steps will involve putting together an Organization Committee that is represented by Langley businesses, property owners, bankers, public officials, Chamber members and others. The four arms of the Main Street program are: Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Restructuring. The Organization Committee could draw upon pieces Langley already has in place such as: the Merchant’s PR Initiative which could become the Promotional arm, the Mayor’s Council on Economic Health and the Historical Commission could become the Economic Restructuring and Design arms. Members from each of these groups would be representatives to the overarching Organization Committee that will help hold it all together and coordinate efforts among the different branches. Main Street does not replace organizations such as the Langley Chamber, but instead works in tandem with them.
Fred Lundahl has volunteered to pull the Organization Committee together. The first thing this committee needs to do is apply for non-profit status so it can begin to collect money from various sources to sustain itself and begin the work it will do for Langley. It seems essential that we tap into the positive energy and enthusiasm afoot in the community between the various stakeholders. It feels like the time is ripe to work on a concerted effort that best utilizes the scant money and energy available yet taps into the vast talent Langley has to offer and move into this exciting opportunity Langley has before it.
My position on reading the comments posted on line in response to “In Our Own Words”, printed in the Record, is this: If they are constructive in the first line or two, I read on. For example, I just finished reading the second posting of GotJobs in response to my most recent posting, “Moving Into The Future”. GotJobs included a site in his/her posting which is excellent in describing the new public square via social media. It is well worth reading.
When I was sitting in the audience at the Content Marketing retreat, my mind was flowing from social media in relation to the city government’s communication as well as the use of social media in the economic promotion of our town. Both are high concerns of mine and both require a great deal of time, attention and expertise. I will be writing up what I can in this regard. But, I am not an expert; I need help. If any readers of my blog postings on social media have expertise, ideas or want to volunteer to move these concepts forward, I’d love to hear from you. 360 730 3924
What do words like Prezi, Foursquare, QR Codes, Paperclip, Gist, Quora, Thought Leader, Google Insights, Twitter, Google Analytics, Facebook, and Flickr all have in common? These were the words swirling through the air, fast and furious, at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts these past two days as expert presenters talked about innovative content marketing strategies.
That we can boast a cutting edge social media company headquartered right here in Langley on the corner of Second and Anthes Streets, Fusionspark, along with its educational and training division, The Langley Center for New Media is awesome, providing us with vast new local opportunities, such as:
- The social media innovation we can learn here at home can be applied to growing our town;
- The followers of these local media experts will relocate here, start new businesses and call Langley their home;
- The personal knowledge for growing our own businesses can be gleaned from our local experts;
- The exposure from the seminar presenters and guests (some from as far away as Toronto, Vancouver B.C., Pittsburgh, and California), as they talk up Langley to their friends and families;
- The excitement I heard the seminar visitors express about our town, with their raves emphasizing our charm, our smiles, our shops, our friendliness, our talents, and our passions;
- The business generated in Langley in support of this event – B&B’s, restaurants, wineries, breweries, WICA facilities and merchants – was extensive, and
- The opportunity for Langley to be the center of this new, fast growing social media movement.
Russell Sparkman, President & CEO, founded Fusionspark in 1999, and was the organizer of the Content Marketing Retreat. Thanks Russell.
In the next few days I will be writing more on the opportunities for Langley in using content marketing strategies.
Langley merchants and others interested in the Main Street revitalization program will meet tonight at 6 p.m. at Langley United Methodist Church.
Sarah Hansen, the Main Street program coordinator with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, will be the featured speaker. Langley business and property owners and interested community members are encouraged to attend.
Main Street is a philosophy and a comprehensive self-help approach to downtown commercial district revitalization, organizers say. It has been used by 1,600 cities and towns in 40 states with the help of the National Main Street Center and statewide downtown revitalization programs.
The city of Langley has posted the vacancy for its community planner position and has started to accept applications for the job.
The new hire will replace Fred Evander, who will leave his position as the city’s community planner on Friday.
According to the job announcement posted on the city’s web site, the annual salary will be between $47,940 to $62,352. The minimum qualifications are a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, geography, environmental studies or a related field, and two years of experience in a planning-orientated job.
Larry Kwarsick, Langley’s contracted city planner, will review the applications.
The deadline for applications is Feb. 1.
I would like to add my voice to welcoming Hal Seligson to Langley City Council. I look forward to working with Hal and am excited about what he will bring to the council. Langley looks strongly positioned going forward into this new year. It was very humbling to have so many candidates for the position and was a very difficult decision to make. Langley is a great community and we all have so much to offer. Its heartening to see strong candidates willing to step forward and be part of the positive energy at City Hall. I was away right after the vote and then again during the holidays so was not able to post a welcome to Hal. So, welcome Hal!!