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.

Parking at Royal Inland Hospital CAN be free

September 13, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: September 13, 2017 - 3:55pm

KAMLOOPS — Every time paid parking at Royal Inland Hospital comes up, the answer from the bureaucracy and the politicians is basically — too bad, so sad, gotta be that way.

But does it really? A new hospital officially opened in Campbell River just a few days ago and, guess what? Parking is free.

That’s because the City council there passed a zoning bylaw prohibiting the health authority from charging people to park at the hospital.

That’s not the only place where hospital parking is free. Delta has the same deal. So do Courtney, Duncan, Port Alberni and Mission.

BEING MAYOR, Intermission – Anatomy of a winning campaign

September 11, 2017 - 5:09am

KAMLOOPS — What makes for a winning election campaign? So many things influence a campaign that there’s no guaranteed winning formula, but there are some fundamentals.

With the Being Mayor series now at the point where I win election as mayor in November 1999, let’s take an intermission before Chapter 8 and fast forward to 2017 as we get close to a civic by-election.

Are there comparisons to be made? At the least, there are things to watch for.

Liberals’ tax plan is well-intended, poorly executed

September 7, 2017 - 5:14am

KAMLOOPS — For a man who is so media savvy, Justin Trudeau’s ham-handed handling of tax reforms is surprising.

He faces a major popularity crisis with his plan to restrict so-called “tax sprinkling” — in which business owners can lower their tax rate by “hiring” family members, whether or not they do any actual work. Stricter age requirements would be put in place.

There are other measures included in the plan, but the media focus has been on the perception that mom and pop businesses will face tough times under the new tax regime.

BEING MAYOR: Chapter 7 – ‘A Desire for Change’

September 4, 2017 - 7:27am

KAMLOOPS — This is the seventh in a series on my experiences as the mayor of Kamloops from 1999 to 2005. 


“Well, so much for barbershop polls.” 

— Election speech, Nov. 20, 1999. 

Neil Morrison and I became friends during the 1970s, when we served together on the Kamloops School Board. He represented Barriere, where he lived on a small farm with his family, commuting daily to his job as a sociology instructor at University College of the Cariboo. 

Kamloops Daily News building had more years to give

September 2, 2017 - 9:33am Updated: September 2, 2017 - 11:01am

KAMLOOPS  I watched the demolition work at the old Kamloops Daily News building for a couple of minutes the other day.

The sign says “Daily News Site – Demolition.”

It should say, “Daily News Site – Demolished Dreams.”

From the newspaper company that gave up on its daily paper, to the failed vision for a performing arts centre, to the City council that couldn’t see past a parking lot — this building hasn’t gotten a fair shake in recent years.

And now it’s being hauled away in pieces.

How can coming to see for yourself be inappropriate?

August 31, 2017 - 4:59am

KAMLOOPS — Environment Minister George Heyman’s refusal to come to Kamloops to talk about Ajax defies the normal bounds of logic, but politics is only occasionally logical.

Heyman says in a letter to City council through Acting Major Arjun Singh: “it would be inappropriate for Ministers to engage in discussions with parties regarding the Ajax project and the forthcoming environmental assessment decision at this stage of the process.”

Time SD73 got a fair shake on school upgrades

August 30, 2017 - 6:32am Updated: August 30, 2017 - 4:53pm

KAMLOOPS — This booklet tells an interesting story — it was announced by the School District 73 board of education this week and makes for some fascinating reading about how Kamloops schools have been shafted when it comes to provincial funding.

“Shafted” is my word, certainly not the trustees’. They’re more polite about it but numbers tell a shocking story about where Kamloops stands in the pecking order of access to capital funds for renewing schools.