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.

Site C ‘deadline’ passes; game of chicken still on

June 12, 2017 - 1:00pm

KAMLOOPS — The four-day deadline on Site C came and went on the weekend and the sun still rises in the morning.

Last week, Premier Christy Clark gave the NDP and Greens until Saturday to decide whether they’ll ask that work on the $9-billion dam be stopped. Otherwise, she wrote in letters to the two party leaders, the province risks a $600-million, one-year delay of the project.

In the end, we're all just roadkill

June 10, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS —There was a marmot on the road one day as my son and I were driving home from town.

It lay there in a small pool of blood, it’s little buck teeth sticking out, its eyes wide open, its body crushed. I pulled over, got out, took hold of it by a hind leg, and deposited it just off the shoulder in some weeds.

 “I hate it when people just leave dead animals on the road,” I explained as I got back in the truck. “Sometimes they’re there for days. There’s no dignity in being squashed by every tire that comes along.”

‘Fringe’ candidates have a role to play in civic elections

June 8, 2017 - 11:00am

KAMLOOPS — The presence of so-called “fringe” candidates in municipal elections, as I’ve often said, is a re-affirmation of democracy.

They prove that anyone can run for office at the local level, and be heard.

Every election, there are several of them, folks with no name recognition, little if any community credentials, scant knowledge of issues, no means of mounting any kind of a campaign, and virtually no chance of winning.

Still, they attend candidates’ forums and are profiled by local media as they express their views about what needs to be done at City Hall.

Instead of a ward system, why not assign council ‘liaisons’ ?

June 7, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: June 7, 2017 - 6:28pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops by-election isn’t even official yet and already it has at least one issue — besides Ajax, that is.

Mayoral candidate Dr. Cynthia Ross Friedman wants everybody to start thinking about two words — “ward system.”

Changing from the city’s at-large system of electing councils isn’t a new idea but it’s been a long time since it was taken seriously. The city tried it once before — in the early 1970s — and quickly dropped it because it was a dud.

There's no more time to delay Ajax decision

June 6, 2017 - 8:26am

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops City Council candidate Kevin Krueger wants to know why Council is in a rush to make a decision on whether it supports the proposed Ajax mine.

The Ajax question has been hanging over Kamloops for the past six years — it’s hardly been a rushed process. Krueger need only look at the calendar for the answer to why time is of the essence.


On March 18, 2016, SLR Consulting presented council with its preliminary findings, raising many questions and highlighting numerous deficiencies in the 18,000-page application submitted by KGHM and its consultants.

Removal of Judge Begbie statue misguided

June 5, 2017 - 6:14am

KAMLOOPS — How far should we go in erasing recognition of those who played a role in wrongs and perceived wrongs of the past? At what point does it become tantamount to rewriting history?

Recently, a 16-foot bronze statue of American Civil War General Robert E. Lee was removed from its place of honour high above a street in New Orleans, where it had stood since 1884.

Lee is known as an exceptional soldier and military tactician. He didn’t want the war, nor did he support the secession of the south.

City council — throw the bums out, or steady as she goes?

June 3, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — City councils come in cycles, and Kamloops is about to start a new one.

Those cycles consist of long stretches of stability followed by dramatic change. The current stability has lasted almost 20 years, and it will end in 2018.

I define stability as minor turnover from one term to the next, with maybe a new mayor coming into a vacant chair, a vacant council seat or two being filled, and maybe an incumbent defeated.

Mayoral hopeful should leave provincial politics out of it

June 2, 2017 - 5:00am

Kamloops municipal politics has thankfully remained untainted by partisan politics throughout its history, and thankfully so. Other than a couple of failed attempts at forming and sustaining civic parties, City council has been free of political labels.

Away from the council table, members support the full range of provincial and federal parties from left to right, but they don’t bring those biases into City Hall. Now is no time to start.