Armchair Mayor

By: Mel Rothenburger

Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). He continued to write columns for The Daily News until it ceased publication Jan. 11, 2014, and did regular commentary for CBC Radio.

Trudeau was right to cancel plans for electoral reform

February 2, 2017 - 8:27am

KAMLOOPS — You’d think, by the way the Opposition is talking, that an election promise had never been broken before Wednesday.

Sometimes, election promises are broken for no good reason; at other times, breaking a promise is justified. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged during the last election campaign that it would the last under the first-past-the-post system. Yesterday, he changed his mind.

The free ride is over; media outlets need tax dollars

February 1, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: February 1, 2017 - 6:06pm

KAMLOOPS — I’m so very tired of listening to the Blame the Media game day after day. How easy it is to lay a guilt trip on mainstream journalists for every problem, big or small, because it relieves us of taking any responsibility ourselves.

Maybe it makes us feel better, too, about wanting our news for nothing. Well, the free ride is over and we’ll have to open our wallets to keep afloat the very media we so love to disparage, if we want to guard our Canadian values, lifestyle and democracy.

A solution for coffee-shop time hogs: charge them by the minute

January 31, 2017 - 8:00am

KAMLOOPS — Despite the omnipresence of the Internet, public libraries continue to be an essential and well-used part of our communities. Indeed, they’re a bulwark against the 140-character universe.

More than just shelves full of books, they’re a community gathering place, where people can meet, listen, take a load off, and learn. The current quarters for the Kamloops Library downtown date only to 1998 but in keeping with the changing and expanding role of libraries, they’re in line for some needed renos.

Triaging the waiting list: maybe there’s hope after all

January 28, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Got a call from HealthLink B.C. The message said to phone them back, so I did.

A pleasant woman there explained that they are fleshing out their information on people who are on the waiting list for a doctor.  She wanted to know if she could ask me a few health questions; I told her to fire away.

It was all about any chronic conditions, medications, surgeries, that kind of thing. It took a few minutes. She said if other members of my family wanted to get on the list for the same doctor, they should phone, too, and go through the same questions.

Pornographic or not, there’s lots to argue about with art

January 27, 2017 - 2:00pm

KAMLOOPS — For something that’s supposed to enrich our lives, art can sure be a divisive thing. Call something art, and someone will disagree. Call something pornographic art, and someone will leap to its defense. Lots of people, as it turns out.

In Wednesday’s editorial, I referred to a couple of paintings by Atilla Richard Lucacs — currently part of an exhibit at the Kamloops Art Gallery — as pornography.

For this, I have been taken to task.

Call it art if you like, but it's still porn

January 25, 2017 - 5:00pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Art Gallery has always liked to challenge us on the question of what's art, and what's not.

Among my favourite exhibits in this vein have been the one that featured hanging extension cords and another in which ball bearings were dropped from the ceiling. And there was one that consisted of a pile of logs, and another of a tangle of HVAC ducting.

All in the guise of art.

Raising the legal age for smoking not so crazy after all

January 24, 2017 - 3:00pm

KAMLOOPS — Raising the age for legal smoking from 19 to 21 isn’t as crazy and pointless as it sounds.

Health Minister Terry Lake has floated the idea, saying the longer people are legally not supposed to smoke, the better the chances they’ll never start.

The seemingly obvious problem with his theory is that no matter what the law says, people are going to start smoking when they want to. That’s why anti-tobacco campaigns focus heavily on trying to convince young people not to get hooked on it.

Who would you side with, the coyotes or the eagle?

January 21, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — One of nature’s dramas unfolded at our house last weekend.

We woke up to discover that during the night the coyotes had brought down a deer on the frozen river outside our back door. From the balcony we watched as the ravens and eagles got in on the feast.

Once in awhile, a coyote would return to scare them off and reclaim the prize for the pack. At least half a dozen eagles and 50 ravens circled or perched in the trees along the river, waiting till the coast was clear to swoop back to the kill.

Is it a coincidence, Mr. Trump, that it's raining today

January 20, 2017 - 10:15am

KAMLOOPS — Was it any coincidence that it started raining as Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States today?

The rain beaded on the shoulders of his trademark overcoat as he took the oath and gave a trademark speech — “We will make America great again.”

It was very probably one of the most ingracious, self-centered inauguration speeches in the history of that great country. One would have thought he was on the campaign trail.