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.

Pearls of wisdom about life and death in 2016

December 31, 2016 - 5:00am Updated: December 31, 2016 - 6:32am

KAMLOOPS — Mostly, 2016 sucked. The weather was awful, politics was a mess, and a lot of good people died.

We all look at the past through our own filters. Here are some abbreviated pearls of wisdom, offered by this biased observer as the year unfolded, that give but a taste of 2016.

Jan. 12 – It seemed Monday as though the tributes to the late rock star David Bowie would never end….

Indeed, Bowie, who died Monday from cancer at the age of 69, was a legend who did music differently and arguably better than anyone else.

Cenotaph vandalism both reprehensible and misguided

December 29, 2016 - 10:52am

KAMLOOPS — The graffiti vandalism at the Kamloops cenotaph that occurred over the holiday season is disturbing on two fronts.

First, the desecration of a revered community monument is outrageous. Second, the words “The native did lots” in the graffiti raise special concerns.

There is no art in this graffiti; it’s vandalism in its crudest and purest form, scrawled with a marker pen. Therefore, we must be careful not to give credence to whatever message — if there really was one — the criminals who did it were trying to convey.

Kamloops has a history of gutsy female councillors

December 28, 2016 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Our governments have a shortage of representation from women — that’s nothing new. In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tried to address it, appointing 15 women to his cabinet of 30 members. Still, of the 335 Members of Parliament, far less than half — 88 — are women.

In B.C., we have a woman premier but of the 22 cabinet ministers, nine are women, and of 85 MLAs, 32 are women.

Frootloops city council makes up its Christmas wish list

December 24, 2016 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — IT’S CHRISTMAS EVE, and the Frootloops Council is holding its AGM in the former Kamloops Daily Snooze building — they have to use it for something, after all — to tidy up some important last-minute business before heading out for the holiday. His Plentiousness Mayor Kris Mistletoe, resplendent in his amazing Technicolor Christmas coat, peeks his head in the door.

MAYOR MISTLETOE: Is it OK to come in yet?

COUN. TINA TINSEL: Come on in, Your Snowflake, we’re finished talking about the Acme project for now.

Santa Claus and other fake news: how do we know what’s real?

December 17, 2016 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS —There is no Santa Claus.

We know that statement is a bald-faced lie. It is fake news.

Newspaper editor Francis Pharcellus Church of the New York Sun fact-checked it in 1897 and concluded, “He lives, and he lives forever.”

Fake Santa stories aren’t new. The latest is about a five-year-old terminally ill boy who died in Santa’s arms after the jolly old elf rushed from a department store gig to hospital to be with him.

“They say I’m gonna die,” the young boy supposedly told Santa. “How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?”

City manager deserves medal for debunking the two per cent budget fallacy

December 16, 2016 - 9:06am

KAMLOOPS — Surely, very few people feel as passionately about their community as Kelowna City manager Ron Mattiussi. As he defended his staff’s proposal for a tax increase of 4.4 per cent on Thursday, he broke down and cried.

That’s right. In mid-sentence, he suddenly stopped, attempted to regain his composure, and wept as he carried on.

Knowing city council would strive for what has become a traditional two-per-cent increase, he reviewed the results of past two-per-cent budgets.

B.C.’s liquor reform laws getting dumb and dumber

December 15, 2016 - 6:51am

KAMLOOPS — Just great. Now we can look forward to riding the hotel elevator with a drunk guy sucking back a gin and tonic.

John Yap, the Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform, announced the latest liquor-law changes on Wednesday — hotel guests will soon be able to carry drinks from the hotel bar or restaurant back to “the comfort of their room.”

Not only that, hotels and resorts will be allowed to offer guests a drink when they check in. Welcome to our hotel, sir, have a shot of rye.

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