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.

Good City Hall communications is worth paying for

November 20, 2017 - 5:36am Updated: November 20, 2017 - 3:18pm

KAMLOOPS — Call them communications strategists, communications specialists, public relations practitioners or spin doctors, people are skeptical of them, especially when they work for governments.

So I’m guessing council members are getting more than a few indignant emails about the fact Kamloops City Hall is hiring a new communications manager.

The horse-and-buggy days of news media are over

November 18, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: November 20, 2017 - 8:59am

KAMLOOPS — Any time there’s a tremor in a local media outlet, it rattles news junkies.

Kamloops is full of news junkies. We worry about where our news is coming from.

According to a report this week, much-respected sports reporter Rick “The Bear” Wile is the only newsroom casualty among recent layoffs at NL, which was acquired earlier this year by Nova Scotia-based Newcap Radio.

So, it looks like it’s news as usual at 610 AM. But changes in the news industry as a whole are picking up speed.

Growing marijuana is one thing, selling it is something else

November 16, 2017 - 6:33am Updated: November 16, 2017 - 3:47pm

KAMLOOPS — Among the many questions still to be answered on how best to deal with the legalization of recreational marijuana is — who should sell it?

In B.C. there are several options, depending on which vested interest group is doing the talking. A string of them made submissions to the government in its recently ended online input exercise.

What if our own leaders were as candid as Rodrigo Duterte?

November 15, 2017 - 6:46am Updated: November 15, 2017 - 11:54am

KAMLOOPS — Have you ever been to a meeting and later heard someone else who was there describe what happened, and wonder whether you were at two different meetings?

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte got together during a summit in Manila, with Trudeau raising the issue of human rights in connection with Duterte’s violent war on drugs, in which thousands have been killed.

Using the last word on guns and parking

November 13, 2017 - 5:15am Updated: November 13, 2017 - 1:26pm

KAMLOOPS — One of the great things about this job is having the last word. Today, I’m going to use it twice.

First, quite a few gun owners told me last week I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to firearms, especially the AR-15. My argument was that we should pre-emptively ban all forms of the AR-15 in Canada before it starts showing up on our streets.

Wars and soldiers we have forgotten

November 11, 2017 - 7:33am

KAMLOOPS — Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the Charge of the Light Brigade

Talk to war veterans, and one of their biggest worries is that we’ll forget them. We understand this, so we’ve adopted a line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Recessional” as the slogan and commitment for Remembrance Day.

Some people think it’s taken from In Flanders Fields, written by Canada’s John McCrae, but it was Kipling who wrote “Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, lest we forget — lest we forget!”

Distracted-walking laws go a step too far

November 9, 2017 - 5:47am Updated: November 9, 2017 - 11:17am

KAMLOOPS — Higher fines for distracted driving are now in effect, and the B.C. government announced this week that the next step will be higher auto insurance premiums.

In addition to penalty points and fines, those collecting distracted driving tickets will have to pay a special premium that could add as much as $2,000 to their bill.

Instead of relaxing the law on AR-15, let's ban it

November 8, 2017 - 8:46am Updated: November 8, 2017 - 1:28pm

KAMLOOPS — Every time the gun debate flares up south of border, WE Canadians are drawn into it. So it is now, as funerals are arranged for the 26 people slaughtered in a Texas church this past weekend.

Police say the killer, a man named David P. Kelley, used an AR-15 semi-automatic, a civilian variant of the military M-16 assault rifle.