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EDITORIAL – Ex-councillor’s proposal on City-speak is worth talking about

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

TWO AND A HALF MONTHS after Donovan Cavers lost his seat in the civic election, he remains a regular fixture at Kamloops City Council meetings.

As a parting gift before he left, Cavers tabled a host of notices of motion — 11 of them, actually — on a variety of subjects. Slowly, they’re coming up for debate.

So far, his notice of motion limiting the locations of campaign signs has been defeated, along with expansion of bus service to holiday season stats, and one on establishing a public engagement advisory committee has been postponed.

Another one will come up on Tuesday and this one is kind of interesting. It proposes a change of wording in the way City documents refer to the public.

Kamloops residents would be referred to as “residents” instead of “customers” and “clients” would be called “citizens” instead of the way it’s done now.

As well, the City’s official mission “Making Kamloops Shine” would be referred to as “our public service mission” rather than “our corporate mission.”

I like what Cavers is getting at. Words matter. City Hall is not the boss; it’s the servant.

I cringe every time I hear somebody say governments should be run like businesses. No, they shouldn’t. If they were run like businesses there would be user fees for everything and a lot of services simply wouldn’t exist.

I don’t know if this new motion has any better chance of being approved by council than his other ones but, never mind, he has a whole bunch more that haven’t come up for discussion yet — everything from growing berries and gourds in City flower beds to commercial tax rates to youth recreation and which chairs councillors sit in at their meetings.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6314 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 – Ex-councillor’s proposal on City-speak is worth talking about

  1. I didn’t always agree with Donovan’s behaviour (including making these motions on his way out the door), but so far I have agreed with all of the motions he chose to put forward. I’m sorry that the new council hasn’t seen fit to take them seriously so far – I hope they consider good ideas regardless of the source!

  2. Sorry to say that the federal government has the market cornered on the word ‘citizen’. Many Kamloops residents, short and long term, are not citizens. Many of our elders became citizens by default when Canadian citizenship was first created in 1947! Prior to that we were all British subjects. Can you believe that? AFTER WW2. References to ‘people who live in Kamloops’ should just stick with ‘residents’.

  3. Robert Bruce // January 7, 2019 at 2:26 PM // Reply

    I disagree, Pierre. Business is not run as a democratic institution ( I’ve run a few). Our city should be ….it’s not. There is too much “business” going on. I’ve been to council and the experience left such a bad taste in my mouth…the rules have to be changed in council. We don’t count…and they don’t do their job, don’t hold the staff accountable, and cave to any business interests that ask…

  4. Bronwen Scott // January 7, 2019 at 12:56 PM // Reply

    i think the city should be run like a household–economies are important, but sometimes other criteria, like quality of life, take precedence.

  5. Tony Brumell // January 7, 2019 at 11:47 AM // Reply

    Buisnesses are only accountable to themselves and do not have the well being of the citizens first and formost on their agendas.Donovan is correct as he often was.

  6. The City should be run as a well-run business. With innovation, forethought, accountability, efficiencies as their guidelines and council should make sure of that.

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