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

If there’s a byelection for mayor, we’ll be seeing Ken Christian signs, but he’s not the only one. (Image: File photo)

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

COULD BE 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.

There could be at least one or two more contenders, but even if it’s just those two, it will make for a fascinating race.

It’s a study in contrasts. Christian is a classic, measured and thoughtful former bureaucrat, a conservative kind of guy. Dr. Ross Friedman is an outspoken award-winning academic at TRU.

Christian, though outgoing with a good sense of humour, is reserved in comparison to the gregarious Ross Friedman.

Christian supported winning BC Liberal candidate Peter Milobar in the just-completed provincial election; Ross Friedman backed the NDP’s Barb Nederpel.

Christian is solidly on the fence on Ajax, refusing to say whether he supports it, or doesn’t. Ross Friedman makes no bones about her opposition to the proposed mine.

Christian has said several times over the past several months that he wants to be mayor whenever Milobar chooses to vacate the chair. Ross Friedman, as stated above, is declared as of yesterday.

Though they run in very different circles, both are respected, active members of the community. Both would mount strong campaigns. The debates would be great fun to watch.

But wait — we’re getting ahead of ourselves. A by-election? As stated here previously, it’s a really bad idea. A $160,000 bad idea. Expensive, and totally unnecessary.

By the time a by-election is held, it would be at least September, meaning whoever wins it would serve as mayor for barely a year before the next general civic election.

There are two alternatives, one of which isn’t much better. That’s to leave the monthly rotating deputy mayor roster in place. That’s where current councillors take turns being mayor month by month. No continuity, and not everyone could put in the full-time work that the job demands.

The other, and logical, option is for council to choose an interim mayor. Most councilors favour that option. So do most taxpayers, based on the response every time this comes up.

The holdout is Peter Milobar, who, for whatever reason, has refused to say before and during the provincial election whether he’ll force that by-election. All he has to do to avoid it is to take a leave of absence from the mayor’s job until next January, which legislatively would mean a by-election wouldn’t be needed. If he resigns immediately, the by-election is on.

Milobar is expected to make his decision known at the next council meeting or, at least, to bring it up.

Ross Friedman has already thrown down a gauntlet, though — she said on social media Thursday she wouldn’t accept a paycheque for the year that would be remaining in the term.

mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca

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About Mel Rothenburger (5147 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on EDITORIAL – Could be a very interesting by-election for the mayor’s job, but…

  1. Grouchy 1 // May 12, 2017 at 8:06 AM // Reply

    What is Peter M’s problem here. It’s a simple decision, or is he now going to show his true Liberal leanings, and force the city to spend money that doesn’t need to be spent. Maybe it is his final revenge on the city for not letting him have his legacy project, the PAC.

    Christian for Mayor ?? Please, just no.

  2. I have been thinking that Dan Hines would be a perfect mayor. 🙂

    • Cindy Ross Friedman // May 12, 2017 at 11:18 PM // Reply

      I have been thinking that it would be perfect to have a non-partisan but progressive woman as Mayor ☺

      • Oh yes, Cindy. I will certainly support you for this position. It is time to shake things up a bit at Kamloops City hall!

  3. THere is more going on in this City than Ajax. Ross Friedman is a one issue candidate.

  4. Time for a real change, go Friedman go!

  5. Cindy is a great person and a straight shooter; not in it for herself, prestige or personal gain.
    The savings in wages for the year will help offset the cost of the by-election.
    Is there a way she could get the job by acclamation?
    One word comes to mind (as spoken by a different person years ago): “Others”.

  6. Cindy Ross Friedman // May 12, 2017 at 5:38 AM // Reply

    Thanks, Mel, for the colourful analysis! I do agree with you that the interim Mayor path is the way to go. I am also serious in that I would not take a stipend in the pre Municipal Election stretch if there (a) is actually an election; and, (b) I would actually be elected. Kind of hard to believe that I would be elected in conservative Kamloops, but I have vision and love people, so you never know…

    I suppose my declaration here is all it will take to prompt Milobar to appoint Arjun Singh as I-Mayor. Kamloops would be in good hands.

    I will formalize my intent the day we know Milobar’s.

  7. Things are looking up today, and not only weather-wise!

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