An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
CONSISTENCY AND POLITICS don’t necessarily go together, a fact Kamloops City council made abundantly clear at its most recent meeting.
After most council members argued against deferring a vote on a Code of Conduct for itself, they did the opposite with a proposal to reduce parking requirements for new developments.
What’s interesting is that basically the same argument was used in both cases but in opposite ways.
After Councillors Arjun Singh and Denis Walsh argued that the Code as worded was vague, overly prescriptive and open to interpretation, other councillors said there was no reason to send it to a committee for further discussion.
Why? Because, claimed Mayor Ken Christian, Coun. Dieter Dudy and others, it’s just fine that it’s flawed. If it’s not any good, it can be changed later. It’s the good intention that counts.
As Singh and Walsh challenged clause after clause in the proposed Code, the answer from corporate officer Natalie Garbay to most of their questions was that the wording came from a provincial working group template, or from other cities. Not exactly an explanation.
So, the Code went through as presented, almost unscathed. Not so with Singh’s parking proposal. According to Singh, reducing parking-space requirements would help both affordable housing and the fight against climate change.
This time, though, Christian, Dudy and others supported sending it to a committee because it’s vague and needs further discussion. According to Dudy, there was too much “ambiguity” in Singh’s motion. Christian noted that the idea hasn’t gotten much traction in the community and isn’t a priority.
Singh’s motion does, indeed, require further discussion, and I suspect Singh and the rest of council will back off of it entirely as public opposition grows.
But the Code of Conduct also needed further examination because it’s very poorly written and, in some respects, too restrictive. Yet that one, according to the majority, needed to get passed right now.
Sometimes, politics is simply absurd.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.