EDITORIAL – Leave their families out of it when criticizing City councillors
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THERE’S NO LONGER any doubt, is there, that the current City council is the most dysfunctional in the history of Kamloops?
There’s plenty to complain about, and we do. We’ve all got our favourites to point fingers at.
But, sadly, a lot of folks insist on making it personal. Instead of challenging councillors on what they say and do, there are those who just can’t find it in themselves to stick to the issues.
I speak, of course, about a certain sub-set of society that makes a hobby and a habit of being mean. They feel it necessary to toss what they obviously believe are clever nicknames and biting insults at those who were elected.
Thus, Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson’s name is altered in unpleasant ways and his operation of a used-car lot is stereotypically mocked as somehow being an unworthy occupation, as if it impairs his ability to represent them.
And Coun. Dale Bass, in the thick of the controversy, is called some pretty nasty names.
But the worst stuff is when the trolls bring family into it. Take Coun. Katie Neustaeter, for example.
Her detractors have taken to making sly references to her father, who happens to be Kevin Krueger. Krueger, in the past, was a controversial figure himself, which is to be expected of someone who spent many years as an MLA and cabinet minister.
Maybe those who disparagingly make the connection between Neustaeter and Krueger could explain what it has to do with how Neustaeter votes and speaks on civic issues. Never mind, I can tell you — the answer is absolutely nothing.
Similarly, remarks are being made about relatives of Coun. Bill Sarai, with sly insinuations about Sarai somehow using his influence as a councillor. Such influence is impossible; such insinuations are ludicrous.
By all means, criticize council members for the job they’re doing; I certainly do. But let’s stop the over-the-top nastiness, and leave family out of it.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at email@example.com
Wondering what good it does to give press coverage to personal & family attacks by the Mayor….who is thriving on negative or positive coverage. Stay focused on the main issue….mayor and council’s inability to work together!….there is no “I” in “team”….subject to tomorrow’s in-camera meeting….I’m thinking Recall, Resignation, By-Election, etc……Grant
The meeting isn’t in camera.
While criticism comes with the territory, personal attacks are unecessary and detract from the merits of one’s argument. In that respect, I could not agree more.
As for the current council situation, you and I have some history in these roles. I suggest that the mayor should have consulted with council members to canvass their interests and core competencies before assigning committees.
This doesn’t mean every councillor gets their desired committee assignment, but there should be a more collaborative approach. In addition, because the council member(s) on a committee are the ones with a public mandate, they generally serve as chair or other leadership roles on that committee. Public members of committees are fine, but they should be selected as part of a reasonably transparent application process. While I understand that this is not the letter of the Community Charter, it is the spirit of good governance.
Sadly, the moves by the mayor appear to be retaliatory against real or perceived slights by council. I don’t know all that has transpired and I am not assigning blame here. What I am stating is that good governance and the community interest demand that mayor and council forge a functional working arrangement.
Council members represent a fairly wide swath of the political spectrum. As such, I don’t see the concerns they express as being particularly partisan. As I understand it, earlier attempts at mediation have been rebuffed. Perhaps the time has come for everyone to assemble some sort of working protocol so that local governance can function to an acceptable level. It’s what the taxpayers deserve.
The world has changed.
We are in a world where Canadian national leaders are not just professionally but personally derided and are nicknamed in inflammatory ways, literally for the fun of it.
One could say this is partly due to a politician … and I use that term very loosely … in the States who himself operates his mouth and moral compass towards others who cross him with locker room / potty mouth un professionalism … and the sheep just follow and now think its ok.
I remember (the lead off that initiates an eyeroll from those younger) when a politician would constantly and clearly be ostracized for the work they do or the decisions they make … or policies they throw at us, but it would never … ever … turn the corner towards any kind of a personal attack … ever.
These days, its perfectly normal and acceptable for a Prime Minister to be subjected to nothing BUT personal attacks as some form of political debate itself. Its gotten so if a commentor even uses the word ‘Trudope’ or whatever … I simply stop reading … their opinion has zero value.
Maybe thats bad on me, and I need to ‘get with the times’.
My personal experience (I am only on Facebook) has been the greatest amount of personal attacks towards the mayor (and his supporters) have come from Dale Bass and Sadie Hunter camp.