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.

Banning cellphones from schools sounds like a darn good idea

May 19, 2017 - 5:00am

A school in Victoria is going to ban cellphones. Sounds like a good idea to me.

As of September, students of Central Middle School will have to leave them at home. It’s bound to rile some students and parents, but according to principal Christopher Macintosh, simply placing rules around how and when to use them hasn’t worked.

“The detrimental impact of cellphones on our school is clear and overwhelming” he wrote in a letter to parents.

Mayoralty by-election issue like a ‘who’s on first’ comedy routine

May 17, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: May 17, 2017 - 6:11pm

KAMLOOPS — We were supposed to find out yesterday if there’ll be a by-election for the mayor of Kamloops.

We didn’t. It’s getting to be like that old Abbott and Costello ‘who’s on first’ skit.

Instead of either resigning immediately and forcing a by-election, or taking a leave of absence until the end of the year — which would mean a by-election wouldn’t be needed — Peter Milobar, in effect, did neither.

Thanks, BC Conservatives, for setting the record straight

May 16, 2017 - 11:00am

KAMLOOPS — If all the talk of coalitions and minority governments is confusing you, one bit of clarity was offered on Monday — the BC Conservatives will definitely not form a coalition with the BC Liberals.

This is good to know. Never mind that the Conservatives ran only 10 candidates, elected no one, and received a miniscule number of votes. The Conservatives thought it important to be clear anyway.

So they issued a press release headlined “BC Conservatives reject talk of coalition.”

Minority and coalition governments aren't new in BC, and they don't work

May 13, 2017 - 9:20am

KAMLOOPS — It feels as though B.C. is entering brand new political territory, but this won’t be the first time the province has been governed by a minority government. And if we end up with a coalition, that won’t be new, either. 

In fact, B.C. was led by a Liberal-Conservative coalition for more than a decade. That coalition was followed immediately by a short-lived minority government. The province even once had an alternative voting system that turned out to be a dismal failure. 

Could be a very interesting by-election for the mayor’s job, but…

May 12, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Could be a very interesting by-election for mayor.

Coun. Ken Christian no sooner re-confirmed this week he wants the job than he got some competition, and credible competition at that.

His challenger is Prof. Cindy Ross Friedman, who tweeted and Facebooked Thursday that she will seek the City’s top job if a by-election is called, with special emphasis on the North Shore plus a clear stand against Ajax.

British Columbians just couldn’t decide what they wanted

May 10, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: May 10, 2017 - 6:37pm

KAMLOOPS — Time for a change?

To listen to all three party leaders, you’d think that’s what British Columbians voted for.

The NDP’s John Horgan and the Greens’ Andrew Weaver stuck to their well-worn campaign rhetoric in their speeches to party supporters last night — Horgan saying people voted for “a new government” and Weaver saying they “delivered change.”

Even Christy Clark talked about doing things differently.

OK. So what is it that British Columbians want done differently? Seems to me, they couldn’t decide at all.

Voting is a true mood enhancer; do it

May 9, 2017 - 11:00am

KAMLOOPS — If you've already voted by the time you read this, good for you. If you haven’t, and aren’t sure whether you’ll bother, reconsider.

It feels good to vote. There’s something about parking your car and walking into a polling station where a bunch of other people are there for the same reason you are — to do your democratic thing.

How the Greens will win Kamloops for the Liberals

May 6, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: May 6, 2017 - 8:39am

KAMLOOPS — Would you like to know who’s going to win the election? Of course you would, so I’ll tell you. The pollsters are calling it a horse race, too close to call. “It’s anyone’s to win,” a guy from Ipsos said this week.

The fact that the pollsters even disagree about whether the Liberals or NDP are slightly ahead gives more credence to the assessment that it’s very close. This is different from 2013, when the New Democrats were supposedly comfortably ahead, yet lost in the final days.

The pollsters say they’ve fixed whatever it was they screwed up so badly last time.

North Shore business ED indulges in election scare tactics

May 5, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: May 5, 2017 - 10:09am

KAMLOOPS — Fear-mongering is a common occurrence in election campaigns and this one is no different. The BC Liberals fear-monger about tax raises if the NDP wins; the NDP fear-mongers about exactly the same thing if the Liberals win. 

It happens at the local level, too, the latest shameless example being comments by Steven Puhallo, executive director of the North Shore Business Improvement Association.