Monday, November 19, 2012

Everything you wanted to know about Mayor Michael Applebaum

 Michael Applebaum became mayor of Montreal today, following a rise to the top that every media outlet failed to predict.. umm.. except Coolopolis.
   Now here's a few things to know about Applebaum, who is the first anglo mayor of Montreal since 1910 but is also the city's third straight squeaky-voiced mayor since we were spoiled by the wonderful baritone of Jean "The Moustache" Dore.
   Firstly, in spite of what his Wikipedia page says, Applebaum did not quit being a realtor when he entered city politics.
  Indeed he kept brokering real estate transactions straight through, a fact that he confirmed to me a couple of years ago.
   He told me then that that he still does a small number of deals a year for people close to him, such as his family.
   Moonlighting as a real estate agent while serving on the borough's zoning and architecture committees has led some to wonder if there has been any conflict of interest in his deals, but there is no way of researching those transactions, as the province does not list such details in their deeds of sale. Hopefully someone will ask Applebaum for a list.
   Applebaum, like his predecessor, changes his tone when asked a question that makes him uncomfortable, but unlike Mayor Tremblay, also has a great politician's knack of quickly redirecting a conversation to folksier ground.  
    His favourite story is of how he got into politics as a maintenance volunteer for his local outdoor skating rink.
  You can practically see a misty-lensed Sidney Crosby hauling a Tim Horton's cup to a moonlit outdoor rink whenever Mikey recounts his Canadian Field of Snowy Dreams political origins myth
   He also talks of how his dad owned the old Applebaum's shoe store on Notre Dame, (south side, just west of Atwater, between the China Boy Cafe and Corona Meat Market) which he says was one of the oldest wood building in St. Henry before it was replaced. My mom used to shop there so I possibly sported shoes from there as a child.
  As mayor, Applebaum has vowed to operate a coalition-style administration with a spirit of cooperation, welcoming voices from all sides. That's quite unlikely to happen.
   Expect his faction as well as Coderre, Harel, Bergeron to get scheming soon, as they position themselves to look good for next November election.
   Much has been said of how Applebaum's Union Montreal, for which he was second-in-command, mercilessly attempted to make life miserable for the Project Montreal Plateau stronghold, particularly by launching financial curveballs onto their turf.  
   As borough mayor, Applebaum also repressed the lone voice of opposition in CDN-NDG, as his Union councillors always refused to second any motion made by the sole member of the opposition, though those motions might have been terrible for all I know.
  Applebaum also oversaw a volunteer architecture committee which offered bylaw exemptions to mob-related developer Tony Magi's condo project at Upper Lachine and Wilson, resulting in an urban eyesore that is much reviled in the neighbourhood.
   And he also oversaw a disastrous decision to pave over 14,000 square feet of green space in Oxford Park last year, a part of the borough which lies in the opposition councillor Peter McQueen's district, suggesting that his team might've been slyly attempting to subvert his opponent by supporting a terrible plan.
   Applebaum was once physically threatened in his own borough, as he went to look into the complaints of chronic rowdiness among fans at a Caribbean soccer league. The threats finally got him to act on a longstanding grassroots plea to transfer that league to another facility.
   More recently he has angled the upcoming renovation of the Empress Theatre in a way that appears to increase his own glory, the same can be said for his opponents however.
   That being said, I've spoken to Applebaum many times since he entered politics in 1994 and he seems like a reasonably likable guy and will hopefully do good things.


Marc said...

Interim Mayor. Not Mayor.

Very important nuance there.

Kristian Gravenor said...

Heard a discussion about the usage of 'interim' in his title this morning.

Someone (MiTak) noted that Kim Campbell was PM but nobody called her "interim Prime Minister."

Same thing for Pierre-Marc Johnson and Daniel Johnson in Quebec.

Mtlaise said...

Puzzled as to why you were posting just so SO very many of your (admittedly popular) "Q" & Ole Fotos of late.
Know V. Well how p'ed off you are bout Oxford's destroyance.
And Peter McMQueen- will he ever have a place?!
So I truly hope his governship,albeit short, will be be good for us all (especially those Anglos that are currently so endangered.)

Wayne Dayton said...

Maybe he will tell the truth about how Roy Kemp of the Union Montreal slate came to meet his maker after his fateful trip to Cuba. Gerry Tremblay abruptly changed the subject when I asked him.

Anonymous said...

Acting as chair of the borough urban planning committee and being an active real estate agent at the same time...When suggestions of conflict of interest were made, he threatened to sue those who alleged.

Tuesday's la Presse has an interesting tale of how unliveable slums continue to fester in CDN while Applesauce was responsible for Housing on the Executive Committee.

On CBC today, he said the City was a business.

Kaï in Côte-des-Neiges said...

His being Anglo is to me neither here nor there. What matters more (besides the ubiquitous corruption) is the neglect of infrastructure (slums, yes, but more than that.) For instance, as someone who bikes through Appelbaum's arrondissement(s - both CDN & NDG - I've never understood how/why they got lumped together) frequently, I note the increasing number of bike lanes that are being painted on local streets, that's fine and all, but the surfaces of those lanes are still third-world quality and downright dangerous in parts. I'd taken to calling the worst potholes, cracks, etc., "tremblays" (BAM! - "tabarnak! maudite tremblay!"), and I hope I won't have to start calling them "appelbaums", but I probably will have to. I note the periodic mailers Appelbaum's people send out touting all the allegedly wonderful things he's done for his district, and they just strike me as typical insubstantial puff pieces, including little greenwash flourishes like the bike lanes and a little bit of green roof at the community centre.

ndgguy said...

Kristian I guess all these questions have now been answered , including how he removed all traffic off his street to the detriment of his neighbours. He always lacked in social skills , was a snake from when I first met him. BTW Mike Held did all the work at the community rink.