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.

BEING MAYOR – Life at City Hall, Chapter 1

July 25, 2017 - 7:55am Updated: July 25, 2017 - 10:21am

KAMLOOPS — In 2008, I began writing a series of articles on my experiences as the Mayor of Kamloops from 1999 to 2005. With a by-election for mayor and two council seats coming up Sept. 30, I thought it might be of interest to renew this series, so I will start with the first chapter and follow it through, adding more chapters as we go. I'll update it in some places based on new events and information, so I've renamed from its original "Behind Closed Doors" to simply, "Being Mayor." It will run weekly. We begin at the beginning, with my decision to run for mayor in 1999.

Why machine politics wins election campaigns

July 22, 2017 - 7:25am

KAMLOOPS — The by-election for mayor got more interesting Friday, but the outcome more predictable.

Dr. Cindy Ross Friedman, one of the declared mayoralty candidates, sent around a media release late in the day.

Or was it a guest column, or a letter to the editor or, as she put it, “whatever you want…. I am atypical.”

This is true. And she intends to run what she regards as an atypical campaign. Unfortunately, it’s not as atypical as she might think.

Premier Horgan off to a good start on his first day

July 19, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: July 19, 2017 - 5:55pm

KAMLOOPS — Considering all the doomsday prophecies and predictions of instant failure for the NDP-Green alliance, Premier John Horgan got off to a good start yesterday.

His cabinet is roughly the same size as Christy Clark’s was, but he took a page from Justin Trudeau’s book on gender and ethnic equity, appointing 11 men and 11 women, including several visible minorities and B.C. ‘s first female First Nations cabinet minister.

The main downside of the cabinet is a lack of representation from the Interior, but then, the NDP didn’t elect many MLAs here.

Five plus one oppose Ajax – council’s position now crystal clear

July 17, 2017 - 4:00pm

KAMLOOPS — There’s now no question that the City of Kamloops is officially opposed to Ajax. Had the vote been held three weeks ago, it would have been 6-1 against the mine.

As it was, today’s vote was 4-2 in favour of a modified input letter to federal and provincial environmental officials stating an “unequivocal no” but including a list of concerns.

A humble proposal to reword council’s letter on Ajax

July 17, 2017 - 6:00am

KAMLOOPS — Here’s what the letter from Kamloops City council on Ajax SHOULD say:

July 17, 2017

Tracy James, Project Assessment Manager, BC Environmental Assessment Office

Kevin Inouye, Project Manager, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Hon. Jordan Sturdy, BC Minister of Environment

Hon. Catherin McKenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change

RE: Proposed Ajax Mine Project – City of Kamloops Council Decision

Council should just say no to Ajax, period

July 15, 2017 - 5:00am

Kamloops City council has a big decision to make Monday, and it’s not as cut and dried as it seems.

True, the council will vote no on Ajax, because at least four out of the six members — Denis Walsh, Dieter Dudy, Tina Lange and Donovan Cavers — oppose the mine. Pat Wallace and Arjun Singh are question marks.

After that, it gets more complicated. It will be tempting to ask for conditions on the mine if the province and feds approve it despite council’s opposition.

Martin Mars a pricey symbol of hope against wildfires

July 14, 2017 - 5:00am

Where’s the Martin Mars?

That’s a question that’s been all over social media during the past week since the big outbreak of wildfires that resulted in a provincial state of emergency being declared.

In many people’s minds the huge Martin Mars — which can carry more than 27,000 litres of water — is a savior come wildfire season. Lives are at stake, after all.

The Mars is a majestic, impressive machine, and people love it. So pretty much every day, somebody asks why it isn’t being used, and the media scramble to get an answer.

Calm heads needed in row over evacuation order

July 13, 2017 - 5:00am

If an RCMP officer knocked on your door and told you to evacuate your home due to an approaching wildfire, what would you do?

Most of us would get out as fast as we could.

But, as it turns out, an evacuation order isn’t really an order; it’s just a very strong suggestion. They’re issued only reluctantly and under dire circumstances, but if you decide to stay in your home, you won’t be charged with anything.