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.

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.

Instead of taking shopping carts away, give them away

September 13, 2017 - 5:25pm Updated: September 14, 2017 - 5:22am

KAMLOOPS — Instead of taking sides in the shopping cart debate, why don’t we come up with a solution that will make everyone winners?

In case you haven’t heard, Kamloops RCMP are seizing wayward shopping carts — 33 of them so far — and returning them to the merchants who own them.

To the homeless, shopping carts are like rolling clothes closets, often containing all their worldly goods and necessities. But that costs merchants money, so what to do?

Parking at Royal Inland Hospital CAN be free

September 13, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: September 13, 2017 - 3:55pm

KAMLOOPS — Every time paid parking at Royal Inland Hospital comes up, the answer from the bureaucracy and the politicians is basically — too bad, so sad, gotta be that way.

But does it really? A new hospital officially opened in Campbell River just a few days ago and, guess what? Parking is free.

That’s because the City council there passed a zoning bylaw prohibiting the health authority from charging people to park at the hospital.

That’s not the only place where hospital parking is free. Delta has the same deal. So do Courtney, Duncan, Port Alberni and Mission.

BEING MAYOR, Intermission – Anatomy of a winning campaign

September 11, 2017 - 5:09am

KAMLOOPS — What makes for a winning election campaign? So many things influence a campaign that there’s no guaranteed winning formula, but there are some fundamentals.

With the Being Mayor series now at the point where I win election as mayor in November 1999, let’s take an intermission before Chapter 8 and fast forward to 2017 as we get close to a civic by-election.

Are there comparisons to be made? At the least, there are things to watch for.

Liberals’ tax plan is well-intended, poorly executed

September 7, 2017 - 5:14am

KAMLOOPS — For a man who is so media savvy, Justin Trudeau’s ham-handed handling of tax reforms is surprising.

He faces a major popularity crisis with his plan to restrict so-called “tax sprinkling” — in which business owners can lower their tax rate by “hiring” family members, whether or not they do any actual work. Stricter age requirements would be put in place.

There are other measures included in the plan, but the media focus has been on the perception that mom and pop businesses will face tough times under the new tax regime.