Applebaum’s critics skeptical of new role
Published Saturday, November 24, 2012 12:39PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 24, 2012 12:55PM EST
A chorus of voices in NDG-Cote-des-Neiges has piped up to say they’re skeptical Mayor Michael Applebaum can usher in a new era of openness at City Hall.
At the naming of his new executive committee Thursday, Michael Applebaum said in the wake of political scandals that have rocked the city, he's committed to working together for the good of all citizens.
Not everyone agrees, however.
In particular, activists and community workers in of Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Cote-des-Neiges, where Applebaum served as long-time borough mayor, say Applebaum has proven to be testy.
“I have my doubts,” said David Hanna, an urban planner and NDG resident. “I have serious doubts, given the track record, which is not very good.”
Hanna once ran for mayor against Applebaum because he says Applebaum wasn't open to ideas and criticism.
“I ran against him because he dared intimidate me and because he closed our library,” he said, now one of several critics who say Applebaum will pose problems when seeking a unified council.
Long-time city councillor and community worker in NDG, Sharon Leslie paints an unpleasant picture of Applebaum.
“It's been extremely disturbing to see how disrespectful he's been to many people,” she said. “He's the ultimate ‘my way or the highway’ man.”
There is, however, support for Applebaum among some borough residents.
Monkland Ave. merchant Danny Roseman said Applebaum’s commitment to the community has been proven.
“He's always been there, no matter how busy he was,” he said.
Community worker Marlo Turner Ritchie is among the dissenters, saying she fought to keep a recreation centre open after finding out it might be slated for closure.
It was saved and is now being renovated, but not without some strife from Applebaum, she said.
“I found his tone to be very condescending and not open to collaboration at all,” she said.
Applebaum responded to the criticism by saying it’s the nature of the job.
“When you're a politician, you're not going to be 100 per cent supported by everybody in your community,” he said, adding that most of his critics are political rivals or people who didn't get what they wanted.
“The proper consultation has to be that you do exactly what they want,” he said.
Michael Applebaum speaks to reporters in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. (Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS)