An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
CAN ANYONE TELL ME what this year’s mayoral election is about?
There are five candidates in the running to become the next mayor of Kamloops and so far it’s not clear what their vision is for the City.
Not that there aren’t issues. Reid Hamer-Jackson wants to do something about street crime. Ray Dhaliwal has similar concerns and also wants to encourage business development.
Dieter Dudy has mentioned the need for a performing arts centre and wants to fight homelessness. Arjun Singh promises us “bold ideas” and we wait to find out what his idea of a bold idea is. (I wouldn’t call holding open office hours — which has been done before — or broadening the tax base “bold” and certainly not new, but he’ll probably come up with more before election day.)
Sadie Hunter, the newest mayoral candidate, doesn’t even have a platform yet. She says she’ll figure it out after she listens to people. (One wonders what’s been going on the past four years.)
It’s all a bit fuzzy. Where’s the vision? I hope I don’t sound critical when I say these things — being a candidate for civic office isn’t easy (just ask me; I used to be one). But all candidates — whether for mayor or council — should keep in mind the most fundamental tenet of leadership.
That tenet says leaders have to know when to lead, and when to follow. Trying to be popular with everybody isn’t the path to political success and is, in fact, pretty much impossible.
Assuring everyone you’ll “listen” is a good thing but it’s not everything. There are times when politicians have to take the lead on issues and see if they can bring the public onside.
But candidates should make it clear why they’re running, then embellish their ideas as time passes. Let us know they’re listening but also tell us how they’ll lead, and where they’ll lead us.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.