I’ve just finished polishing up my weekly column for tomorrow’s edition of The Daily News; I’ll also post it to this blog. I’ve tentatively headlined it A Tale of Two Mayors And Why Open Government Is Important.
In the column, I criticize Mayor Peter Milobar for his handling of an in-camera City council strategic planning session last weekend. I just know somebody out there is gonna moan, “Aw, geez, there he goes again. Will a politician ever do anything right in his opinion?”
So let me say this about that. I like Peter Milobar a lot. We did a lot of work together on the Tournament Capital project. In fact, we laid the ceremonial first brick together at the Tournament Capital Centre when construction got underway. We travelled to Ottawa together looking for federal money for Kamloops. We’ve always gotten along.
So, I think he will make a good mayor, overall, and I don’t intend to spend column after column taking him to pieces. Indeed, I’m looking forward to a bit of a reprieve, just as I’m more than happy to have a Member of Parliament who doesn’t make me tear my hair out week after week.
Some people say I was too harsh on Terry Lake. I had nothing against him, either. He was a good councillor and a lacklustre mayor. He had good style and less substance. His record, when dissected, was hardly outstanding. During the three years of his term, I found myself consciously avoiding writing about him at times because it would have been negative.
Betty Hinton was, in my view, one of the worst MPs I’ve ever seen. Not even Lake could get along with her. I wrote about her screwups frequently, but sometimes I purposely chose other topics, just as I did with Lake.
Commenting on politics and politicians is what I do. I confess to a certain delight in holding politicians to account but, for the record, politicians do many good things. For close to 40 years I’ve been writing about politics and politicians in Kamloops, since long before I served two terms as the mayor of this city.
Writing about them now has nothing to do with the fact I was mayor, except that the experience did provide me with some added insight into politics. I don’t believe that, simply because a mayor does something differently than I did or would, it must be wrong.
I do, though, hold to the same principles that were the very reason I went into politics for a time. One of those principles is transparency in government. Peter Milobar isn’t making the grade so far, so I’m going to write about it.
When he does good stuff, I’ll write about that, too.
From Peter Milobar 2009/01/23 at 6:52pm: Haven’t seen the editorial yet Mel, but no problem. As is the case more often than not in the political world, people have a different way of doing things. Given that you campaigned on open government almost ten years ago now, I would have been surprised had you not had a comment to make about our planning meeting. I’m sure over the next three years, there will be other viewpoints that we will have to agree to disagree on.