An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
SO THE RACE is on. Coun. Marg Spina has given written notice of her resignation, Peter Milobar will do likewise with his mayoralty, and Ken Christian is resigning as councilor to go after Milobar’s job. (By the way, Milobar’s leave of absence officially starts today, but it won’t last past the end of the month, when his resignation will kick in.)
Dr. Cindy Ross Friedman will challenge Christian, which promises to make for an interesting battle and one that could be a lot closer than people think.
It’s the by-election that wasn’t needed, but Kamloops taxpayers are going to have to spend well over $100,000 for it anyway.
Theoretically, another councillor or two could resign to run for mayor, but don’t expect it. Arjun Singh and Dieter Dudy have clearly stated they have no designs on the job, at least for now.
Tina Lange isn’t likely to run and neither is Denis Walsh — the latter having said in the past he’s not interested. Which leaves Pat Wallace and Donovan Cavers, and for various reasons it would be a huge surprise if either does anything but sit tight.
It does seem likely, however, that at least one or two other outsiders will run for mayor, and at least half a dozen will probably run for the two vacant councillor seats.
Christian probably won’t have any competition from the business community, as his conservative approach to his council job will get him a lot of support from that corner. Any further additions to the slate will likely be people with minimum name recognition and a yen to get their political feet wet.
For councillor, there are so many possibilities that it makes for a pretty long list. Kevin Krueger has said he’s interested in giving municipal politics a try and would have to be considered a frontrunner — albeit a controversial and possibly divisive one — which still leaves an open seat for those who came close in the past or who will jump in as newcomers.
By-elections are tough for council candidates. Instead of eight opportunities to win a seat, they’ll have only one or two. And the turnout for by-elections is historically lousy, in the single digits.
That makes luck a much bigger factor than in a full election. And the reward is a partial term of barely a year.
Those who do enter this uncertain fray deserve a lot more attention than they’re likely to get.