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.

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.

Finally, an enlightened strategy on drug overdose deaths

December 13, 2016 - 3:00pm Updated: December 14, 2016 - 3:07pm

KAMLOOPS — The last barriers to drug harm-reduction sites are falling, thanks to a drug-overdose crisis and some enlightened action by provincial and federal governments.

The federal Liberals announced Monday a new bill will eliminate 26 pre-conditions for “consumption” sites. Those pre-conditions have been so strict that for many years there was only one supervised-injection site — Insite in Vancouver — in all of Canada.

Kamloops City Hall is a very intriguing place these days

December 10, 2016 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — And people say local politics is dull.

I say, Pshaw. (Now there’s a word that should come back in style.)

At any rate, City Hall is a busy place. Mayor Peter Milobar has removed himself from the Industrial Tax Base Task Force, one of whose jobs is to negotiate the community compensation agreement with Ajax.

It was easy enough to do — he simply named Ken Christian to the group instead of himself when he rejigged the committee list for the coming year. Shuffles among committees are commonplace from year to year. No muss, no fuss.

At least half the trash talk about electoral reform survey is richly deserved

December 9, 2016 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Did you get your postcard in the mail this week inviting you to take part in the federal Liberals’ online survey on “democratic values”?

The Libs are getting lambasted for it, and at least half of it is deserved.

Critics, especially New Democrats and Conservatives, say the survey, intended to get feedback on the issue of electoral reform, doesn’t get to the point. They’re right.

Chief Gottfriedson joins list of politicians who self-destruct on social media

December 6, 2016 - 1:44pm

KAMLOOPS — Why is it that politicians are so determined to employ social media to self-destruct? The shreds of once-promising careers litter the political landscape thanks to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The latest victim is our own Shane Gottfriedson, who publicly apologized Tuesday morning for a social media indiscretion that’s hard to fathom.

Holding a by-election to fill mayor’s chair is crazy talk

December 3, 2016 - 5:00am Updated: December 3, 2016 - 9:40am

KAMLOOPS — Excuse the locker-room talk but this idea of holding a mayoral by-election is just nuts.

Here’s how the chain of events plays out, in simplified form. When the writ is dropped 28 days before Voting Day next May, Mayor Peter Milobar takes a leave so he can run full-time as a BC Liberal candidate (instead of what he’s currently doing, which is sort of half and half).

If he’s elected as an MLA on May 9, he then resigns as mayor. A mayorless Kamloops must decide what to do.

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