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.

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.

Pipeline decision imperfect, but let's get on with it

November 30, 2016 - 6:24am Updated: November 30, 2016 - 3:54pm

KAMLOOPS — The pipeline decision is so typically Canadian, isn’t it?

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway is a no go and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain twinning gets the green light. 

It only looks as though the baby is being cut in half, of course, because the prime minister assures us the decisions were based on science, not politics.

Mayor Foghorn would be anything but boring

November 26, 2016 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — It’s enough to tickle the fancy of any political junky, the prospect of Kevin Krueger directing traffic in City Hall, sitting up there in the mayor’s chair presiding over council meetings.

For Krueger, who got his nickname Foghorn back in the days when as a Liberal MLA and cabinet minister he relentlessly heckled and bellowed at the hapless New Democrats on the other side of the Legislature, is suddenly a player in the complicated web of possibilities in civic politics.