One good leader needed for Kamloops

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
August 9, 2017 - 5:05am Updated: August 9, 2017 - 4:50pm

KAMLOOPS — The unfortunate withdrawal of Dr. Cynthia Ross Friedman — for family health reasons — from the mayoral race leaves civic politics in Kamloops in a bit of a pickle, for at this point the by-election is set to become nothing more than a coronation for Ken Christian, and that’s not a good thing.

Nothing against Ken, but without a serious opponent (and nothing against the other two guys in the race, either, but let’s face it, they can’t win) the local democratic process will be short-changed.

There will be nobody in the election to contest assumptions, provoke thoughtful debate, force the articulation of policies, question credentials.

Am I the only one who’s worried about this? I don’t even live or vote in the city and I find the whole situation disturbing. Look at me — I’m depressed.

Is there no one out there — that one good man or woman — who will hear the call, step up, be counted, propose an actual vision for their city, a plan for Kamloops?

No one with a little administrative skill, community experience, at least some name recognition, and a whole lot of leadership ability who will come to the aid of their city? Where are the consensus seekers, the communicators, the builders, the ideas people and the visionaries when we need them?

We’ve got lots of candidates who want to be councillors, but precious few who want to be mayor. Councillors are important, too, but it’s the mayor who sets tone and direction, who speaks for the people. Yet among 90,000 residents, nobody much is interested in the job.

I know it’s not easy raising $30,000 or so for a campaign, getting a team together, setting up an election headquarters, door-knocking until your knuckles are raw, main streeting and doing all those tea parties and forums and advertising and the social media stuff but I guarantee you it’s worth it.

If you win, it’ll be the toughest and most rewarding job you’ve ever had. If you don’t win, you can say you tried.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.