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.

Is the end of summer coming, or the end of days?

August 5, 2017 - 8:44am

KAMLOOPS — Is the end of summer on the horizon, or the end of days?

It feels more like the latter. We’ve come to commonly apply the term “Apocalypse” to wildfire season. A sense of doom hangs in the air like thick smoke.

Earlier this year, scientists moved the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight. We’re now two-and-a-half minutes from destruction, symbolically speaking.

They blame climate change, worldwide nationalism, and Donald Trump.

Raw nerves become exposed during times of great stress

August 4, 2017 - 6:07am

KAMLOOPS — During times of crisis, it’s natural for our sensitivities to be heightened.

It wasn’t surprising, then, to receive an angry response to a story yesterday about a Williams Lake evacuee being charged in connection with the trashing of a hotel room in Kamloops.

A window was broken, a fridge overturned and some items set on fire, according to a report released by RCMP. A suspect, who is a wildfire evacuee from Williams Lake, has been charged with arson and mischief.

Conservatives are not the next thing in B.C. politics

August 1, 2017 - 6:54am

KAMLOOPS — Oh, gosh, when will the BC Conservatives give up and find something better to do?

They can’t find a leader and remain virtually and thankfully invisible on the province’s political landscape, yet seem to think that with Christy Clark out of politics there’s somehow a chance people will notice them.

Alan Forseth, whose column “Thoughts on Politics” appears regularly on, announced Monday he has rejoined the party, convinced it’s the future.

All the party had to do was ask.

Being Mayor, Chapter 2: Damn the Torpedoes

July 31, 2017 - 6:14am

KAMLOOPS — This is the second in a series on my experiences as the mayor of Kamloops from 1999 to 2005, first published in 2008. With a by-election for mayor and two council seats scheduled for Sept. 30, I offer it for some insights into what goes on in City Hall. The original series ended at Chapter 10 but I'll update them and add new chapters to complete the story.

Chapter 2 — ‘Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead’


If only we were this kind to animals all the time

July 29, 2017 - 2:21pm

KAMLOOPS — One of the most popular places to volunteer during this wildfire summer is — any place with animals.

Some days, the agencies that look after evacuated pets have more offers of help than they can accept. (Other days, there are desperate calls for volunteers on social media, and they usually show up very promptly.)

Who doesn’t want to cuddle a purring cat or take a cute dog for a walk?


Nine billion reasons to use cloth shopping bags

July 27, 2017 - 8:00am

KAMLOOPS — While I was contemplating Wednesday’s editorial on plastic bags, I happened to pick up a copy of the National Post and looked at the World page. (Yes, an actual copy on newsprint, not online.)

There, in the righthand column, was a story headlined “Nearly all ‘plastics made since 1950 still with us’.”

It’s a fascinating story. Written by Seth Borenstein for the Associated Press, it says more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic has been made since 1950. In fact, most plastic has been made since then because it’s a relatively new material.


The horror of having to separate our recycling

July 26, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: July 26, 2017 - 3:03pm

KAMLOOPS — Imagine, if you will, a household recycling bin. We all have them, right?

We take a pop can and toss it into the bin, because we can return them and get some money back.

Now, imagine a second bin. We take a plastic shopping bag (we shouldn’t use them, but we all do) and toss it in.

Two separate bins. It’s called separation of recyclables. Yet that second bin has a lot of people in a lather. The City of Kamloops no longer accepts plastic bags with mixed recycling, and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District will soon follow suit.