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.

Getting more comfortable with death

August 12, 2017 - 11:51am

KAMLOOPS — Death has been much on my mind this week. Not just the fact that it’s the end of life, but what it’s really all about.

You’d think we’d be more at ease with something that happens so often.

Twenty-one years ago, on the B.C. Day weekend, my mother, Nora Maye McLean Rothenburger, died in her sleep at Royal Inland Hospital.

Political arithmetic of pipeline, dam and Ajax worrisome

August 11, 2017 - 4:54am

KAMLOOPS — Is anyone else feeling a little nervous about a possible unfortunate connection between the Trans Mountain pipeline, Site C dam and Ajax copper mine projects?

The provincial government announced yesterday it has hired Tom Berger as external counsel in a legal action on the pipeline.

"We are committed to fighting for B.C.'s interests and it is government's desire to seek intervenor status in legal challenges to federal approval of the pipeline expansion and increased oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s coast," said Attorney General David Eby.

How much should designated drivers drink?

August 10, 2017 - 6:34am Updated: August 10, 2017 - 8:02am

KAMLOOPS — The concerns by restaurateurs over a federal proposal to lower the blood-alcohol limit for impaired drivers from .08 to .05 are a trifle over-stated.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould suggests that lowering the limit would reduce the dangers posed by impaired drivers and has asked the provinces to consider it. She cites a study in Ireland that showed reducing the limit level, combined with obligatory testing, resulted in a 50-per-cent reduction in deadly accidents, and a reduction of about 65 per cent in the number of criminal charges.

One good leader needed for Kamloops

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.

Does wildfire volunteer effort need a second wind?

August 8, 2017 - 4:26am

KAMLOOPS — You could call it volunteer fatigue, or maybe volunteer dropout. After a few weeks of high-energy response to the wildfire evacuations, the ranks of volunteers seem to be thinning out.

When an emergency hits, we’re all anxious to do something to help. We go looking for phone numbers, Facebook pages, or news stories that will tell us where to take our humanitarian instincts. The very best in us comes to the fore.

BEING MAYOR, Chapter 3: ‘Let’s unlock the doors to City Hall’

August 7, 2017 - 9:16am Updated: August 8, 2017 - 4:24am

KAMLOOPS — This is the third in a series on my experiences as the mayor of Kamloops from 1999 to 2005. I offer it for the interest of anyone who cares about civic politics and our community, and who might be wondering — as we approach a civic by-election Sept. 30 — what really goes on inside civic election campaigns and in City Hall. 

Chapter 3 — ‘Let’s Unlock the Doors to City Hall’


Is the end of summer coming, or the end of days?

August 5, 2017 - 8:44am

KAMLOOPS — Is the end of summer on the horizon, or the end of days?

It feels more like the latter. We’ve come to commonly apply the term “Apocalypse” to wildfire season. A sense of doom hangs in the air like thick smoke.

Earlier this year, scientists moved the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight. We’re now two-and-a-half minutes from destruction, symbolically speaking.

They blame climate change, worldwide nationalism, and Donald Trump.

Raw nerves become exposed during times of great stress

August 4, 2017 - 6:07am

KAMLOOPS — During times of crisis, it’s natural for our sensitivities to be heightened.

It wasn’t surprising, then, to receive an angry response to a story yesterday about a Williams Lake evacuee being charged in connection with the trashing of a hotel room in Kamloops.

A window was broken, a fridge overturned and some items set on fire, according to a report released by RCMP. A suspect, who is a wildfire evacuee from Williams Lake, has been charged with arson and mischief.