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.

A topsy-turvy week of politics

September 30, 2017 - 12:11pm

KAMLOOPS — It should come as no surprise that, when politicians get together, they talk about politics.

They also talk about the weather, the spouse and kids, their golf games, and hockey, but politics is always at the top of the list.

So when 2,000 civic politicians met in Vancouver this past week, along with a couple of hundred provincial politicians, pretty much every possible nuance of politics and current political issues came up during workshops, policy sessions, luncheons, a big trade show, hallway chitchat, and the ubiquitous hosted receptions.

What did John O’Fee do wrong?

September 25, 2017 - 5:21am

KAMLOOPS — The best day for releasing bad news is Friday. Governments know that people don’t pay as much attention to the world on Fridays — or, at least, that was always the prevailing wisdom.

In today’s age of social media, where people can’t walk a block or sit for five minutes without checking their phones to see what’s going on, bad-news Fridays don’t make as much sense as they used to. Now, it’s more like a tradition than having a practical purpose.

Key civic by-election issue is about the money

September 23, 2017 - 8:01am



The Kamloops civic by-election is a week away, and it’s coming down to money.

Public money, that is. Tax money.

The poster child, er, building, is the deceased Kamloops Daily News HQ at Fourth and Seymour, slowly but surely being crushed and soon to be paved over.

This daily spectacle in the downtown core provides a visual reminder of how things can go wrong, and a rallying point for those unhappy with City Hall.

Those would ban election signs are party poopers

September 21, 2017 - 6:55am

KAMLOOPS — I’m a fan of election signs. Always have been.

A lot of people aren’t. They say they’re a blight on the landscape, that they pollute urban boulevards, that they should banned, and that they’ll vote for any candidate who doesn’t use them.

Well, then, I ask you, which candidates do you intend to vote for?

Because I’m willing to bet that in the upcoming Kamloops civic by-election, the chances of knowing who’s running are pretty slim if you haven’t seen their campaign signs.

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize political parties

September 20, 2017 - 7:06am Updated: September 20, 2017 - 6:07pm

KAMLOOPS — It really is hard to know who to cheer for in Victoria these days.

The NDP government is ending the so-called “Wild West” days of campaign financing in British Columbia.

However, taxpayers will have to pay through the nose to make it happen.

On the face of it, the NDP deserves kudos for curtailing corporate, union and foreign financing of election campaigns, something the Liberals only came onside with when they were on the verge of defeat.

Do politicians have feelings?

September 16, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: September 16, 2017 - 7:35am

KAMLOOPS — Twenty-seven residents of Kamloops are heading for a whole lot of hurt.

For 24 of them, it will hit them hard on Saturday night, Sept. 30. That’s when they’ll receive their rejection slips from the electorate.

Some will miss the prize by a whisker. Others will be soundly repudiated.

It’s hard to know which is worse — thinking about what almost was, or realizing it never could have been.