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.

Throne Speech masterfully vague, yet clear on key message

February 15, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Throne Speeches are always vague (governments preferring to keep the good stuff for budgets) but the one delivered Tuesday in Victoria was masterfully done — so bereft of specifics yet so clear in its key messages.

Most of it was spent praising what the Liberals have already done for us on jobs, healthcare, education and so on.

There was mention of external “risks,” especially a weak global economy and expanding protectionism. In other words, now wouldn’t be a good time to think about changing governments.

Will community be willing to invest in a new use for Stuart Wood?

February 10, 2017 - 2:39pm Updated: February 10, 2017 - 6:37pm

KAMLOOPS — Stuart Wood School is a good place for a museum. It would have been a good place for other things, too, but a museum is within the community’s reach when it comes to public spaces.

There are those who will object, and already have, to the cost of renovating the grand old building for a museum, just as they worried about what the cost would have been to renovate it and keep it as a school. They would prefer it be torn down because they believe that, of all the options, it would be the cheapest. And anything that saves taxes must be a good thing.

Daredevil drivers and windrow warriors will never change

February 8, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — This is kind of a rhetorical question, but will Kamloops drivers ever smarten up?

One would think they might get the big picture with the return of winter we had a few days ago, wouldn't you?

But, it seems, different conditions don't produce different drivers. The speeders, the red-light runners, the in-and-out lane dodgers, the tailgaters all carry on in the worst possible road conditions as if we live in a land where the sun always shines and the roads are always bare.

Urban growth isn't all it's cracked up to be

February 4, 2017 - 9:00am

KAMLOOPS — As you’re driving around, do you ever wonder about the massive infrastructure needed to meet the demands of the First World lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed?

When will we have enough big-box stores, coffee shops and drive-through restaurants? Is there a quota?

I think about it sometimes. So does Bill Bryson. I’ve been reading his book The Road to Little Dribbling. Bryson is an American-born British citizen probably best known on this side of the pond for a movie based on another of his books, A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford.

Trudeau was right to cancel plans for electoral reform

February 2, 2017 - 8:27am

KAMLOOPS — You’d think, by the way the Opposition is talking, that an election promise had never been broken before Wednesday.

Sometimes, election promises are broken for no good reason; at other times, breaking a promise is justified. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged during the last election campaign that it would the last under the first-past-the-post system. Yesterday, he changed his mind.

The free ride is over; media outlets need tax dollars

February 1, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: February 1, 2017 - 6:06pm

KAMLOOPS — I’m so very tired of listening to the Blame the Media game day after day. How easy it is to lay a guilt trip on mainstream journalists for every problem, big or small, because it relieves us of taking any responsibility ourselves.

Maybe it makes us feel better, too, about wanting our news for nothing. Well, the free ride is over and we’ll have to open our wallets to keep afloat the very media we so love to disparage, if we want to guard our Canadian values, lifestyle and democracy.

A solution for coffee-shop time hogs: charge them by the minute

January 31, 2017 - 8:00am

KAMLOOPS — Despite the omnipresence of the Internet, public libraries continue to be an essential and well-used part of our communities. Indeed, they’re a bulwark against the 140-character universe.

More than just shelves full of books, they’re a community gathering place, where people can meet, listen, take a load off, and learn. The current quarters for the Kamloops Library downtown date only to 1998 but in keeping with the changing and expanding role of libraries, they’re in line for some needed renos.

Triaging the waiting list: maybe there’s hope after all

January 28, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Got a call from HealthLink B.C. The message said to phone them back, so I did.

A pleasant woman there explained that they are fleshing out their information on people who are on the waiting list for a doctor.  She wanted to know if she could ask me a few health questions; I told her to fire away.

It was all about any chronic conditions, medications, surgeries, that kind of thing. It took a few minutes. She said if other members of my family wanted to get on the list for the same doctor, they should phone, too, and go through the same questions.

Pornographic or not, there’s lots to argue about with art

January 27, 2017 - 2:00pm

KAMLOOPS — For something that’s supposed to enrich our lives, art can sure be a divisive thing. Call something art, and someone will disagree. Call something pornographic art, and someone will leap to its defense. Lots of people, as it turns out.

In Wednesday’s editorial, I referred to a couple of paintings by Atilla Richard Lucacs — currently part of an exhibit at the Kamloops Art Gallery — as pornography.

For this, I have been taken to task.