An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
KAMLOOPS VOTERS were cautious Saturday, electing a steady-as-she-goes City council they trust will be good day-to-day stewards of their interests.
But the fine tuning results in a council with a noticeable lack of experience.
Besides four brand new faces — Bill Sarai, Dale Bass, Mike O’Reilly and Sadie Hunter — another councilor, Kathy Sinclair, has only a year on the job. Similarly, Ken Christian has only a year as mayor under his belt.
So, there are actually only three of nine council members — Arjun Singh, Denis Walsh and Dieter Dudy — with experience in their jobs prior to the 2017 by-election.
But, it will all be OK. New members will go through a detailed orientation about City structure, procedures and issues. They’ll receive workshops from staff, plenty of homework and get the grand tours of various City departments.
With the swearing-in ceremony Nov. 5 and their first regular council meeting the following day, they’ll have to be quick studies.
The first thing they’ll find out is that campaign rhetoric about asking tough questions doesn’t cut it in office. Councillors have to be able to answer tough questions as well.
The second thing they’ll learn is that the wheels of civic government turn slowly, very slowly. Change is a work in progress.
The issues are clear cut — taxes, affordable housing, drugs, crime, biosolids, business development. There’s no disagreement on that. Where the rookies can make their mark is in finding new and creative ways to deal with them.
But what happened to Donovan Cavers and Ray Dhaliwal?
Dhaliwal’s loss after only 12 months on the council might be because he was too quiet.
Cavers, on the other hand, had no trouble speaking up, but just maybe his decision to run for both a council and school board seat was a factor. Whatever it was, he brought a unique perspective to council chambers, one that was valuable.
But, congratulations to the winners. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what this election means to women in politics in Kamloops.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at email@example.com.