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EDITORIAL – Sept. 16 would be a dumb time to hold civic by-election

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ELECTION CAMPAIGNS can seem too long sometimes, but holding a by-election for a new Kamloops mayor and two councillors on Sept. 16 is a ridiculous idea, and here’s why.

Nothing meaningful is going to happen, politically speaking, during the months of July and August, when Kamloops goes to the beach. Everybody knows how hard it is to get a meeting of even a few people together during summer, because they’re all “too busy.”

So let’s just write off those two months in terms of voters taking any time whatsoever to learn about the candidates and the issues.

Traditionally, the city comes alive again in September. Summer festivities are over, people are back from vacation, and the kids go back to school. Political bodies and community groups get rolling again. Brains change from neutral into first gear and gradually speed up during the rest of the month until everything is back to normal.

It all starts after the Labour Day weekend. Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September, which this year is Sept. 4. Then the kids go back to school and mom and dad are busy that week getting them dressed and giving them breakfast and walking them to the bus.

By the second week, time to take a breath and settle back into some semblance of normalcy.

A by-election on Saturday, Sept. 16 would give voters about one week to figure out who’s who and what they stand for and whether they’re the kind of candidates they’d like to see running the city. A week. That’s no way to run a civic democracy.

Television networks never start their fall seasons until the last week of September. Why? Because they know nobody’s watching before then.

Ken Christian wants the by-election Sept. 16 because, he says, it’s important to get it done as soon as possible. Here’s what he told CHNL yesterday (Monday):

“I would think that mid-September would have been a better time. I think that obviously in the summer time, it’s not going to be conducive to a large voter turnout, but I think certainly after the Labour Day weekend and people are back at home and the kids are back in school I think that they would be able to organize and conduct an election in mid-September.”

Sure, a by-election could be held mid-month, but who wants it, other than Christian? It’s tough enough as it is getting the public interested in a by-election, without throwing it at them before they’re ready.

Christian is fixated on getting it done ASAP. Must have a full bench, as he puts it. Two weeks isn’t going to amount to a hill of beans as far as the business of council is concerned, but it means a lot to the people who have to vote.

Dr. Cynthia Ross Friedman, Christian’s opponent for mayor, thinks his idea is OK. “No problem there,” she told NL.

Yes, problem there. They should both think again. And when City council receives a report from administration today (June 27, 2017) recommending Sept. 30 as the date for a by-election, it should accept that recommendation because it makes sense.

mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (4913 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.

6 Comments on EDITORIAL – Sept. 16 would be a dumb time to hold civic by-election

  1. Just your shaded opinion.

  2. Huh??!! How on earth could 2 weeks make any difference whatever. That is still 2.5 months away and yes, that is during the summer but contrary to your belief,, people do not close their minds completely during the summer I would bet that most people who are actually going to vote already know which way they are going…….as for trying to “suppress voter turnout”, again, huh??!!

  3. Christian is in a hurry because he knows that the smaller the turn out, the better his chances are. He has done absolutely nothing since he has been on council, except encourage every fanciful whim of city staff to spend money, and of course, show us that he is not really interested in being there at all judging by his lazy posture in his council chair. If you think that Peter M was a lousy mayor, vote for Christian…..you ain’t seen how bad it can be yet.

  4. Agreed! My first thought was to wonder why Ken C wanted to suppress voter turnout.

  5. Two weeks or four weeks into September…the ones with an “ear on the rail” are aware the others won’t even bother.
    Most importantly though, it would be so nice if the Kamloops scribblers’ elite would dedicate a little time in finding out what the hell these candidates are willing to do. For example, in Ken Christian case what’s the chance he is going to sit upright in that chair and be a little more than a “bum in said chair”.
    Or KK…what’s the chance that man would bring a little innovative forth-thought into curbing the wasteful ways of the City?
    I already know the answers, but it would be nice to start a conversation….

    • Cindy Ross Friedman // June 27, 2017 at 12:19 PM // Reply

      I also do not think a couple of weeks makes much of a difference, and do like the idea of ME getting down to work for all of us ASAP. And from my knowledge of Kamloops, many people start to actually get overwhelmed with school by the end of Sept. But whatever the people want…i wonder what is preferred by most? Oh wait–I know–no by-election…

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