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.

Mayoral election looks like a zero-sum game

August 21, 2017 - 5:21am

KAMLOOPS —  When voters elect a mayor, how much of what he or she says can they expect to come about? How valid, in other words, are their promises?

The number “zero” came to the fore last week in two different ways — one by design, one not — as the Kamloops mayoral election got underway. The two presumptive front runners, Bill McQuarrie and Ken Christian, each declared priorities.

Media can’t be objective about Trump

August 19, 2017 - 3:52pm

KAMLOOPS — Almost everything Donald Trump says and does is so utterly loathsome to me that I fear I’ve lost all sense of objectivity about the man. And that is clearly what has happened with the major mainstream media as well.

In the wake of the abhorrent racist terror in Charlottesville, Trump has shown himself incapable of saying the right thing at the right time. Sometimes I think he actually means well, at least during fleeting moments, but has no idea of how to go about showing it and saying it.

City Hall mad as hell over Ajax

August 16, 2017 - 6:13am Updated: August 16, 2017 - 4:50pm

KAMLOOPS — An exciting thing happened in Kamloops City council chambers yesterday.

After years of being oh-so-properly-neutral on Ajax, the council and the staff that council employs stood up on their hind legs and, in unison, called BS. Together, they spoke up for Kamloops and I felt proud just watching it unfold.

BEING MAYOR, Chapter 4: ‘Kamloops at a crossroads’

August 14, 2017 - 5:43am

KAMLOOPS — This is the fourth 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 their community, and who might be wondering — as we approach a civic by-election Sept. 30 — what really goes on in City Hall.

Chapter 4 — ‘Kamloops At A Crossroads’


“Well, he’s pretty smart. He knows a lot about the community. So why not?”

Has anybody been listening to us on Ajax?

August 13, 2017 - 12:56pm


There’s enough in the joint federal-provincial report on Ajax to make you wonder whether anybody in senior government bureaucracies has been listening.

The book-length report, entitled the Joint Federal Comprehensive Study/ Provincial Assessment Report, released this week, acknowledges the damage that Ajax would do to First Nations rights and enjoyment of the land, but is complacent about environmental concerns, taking the position that mitigation measures will address them.

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.