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November 2009

We must stop merging of school board and municipal elections!

The Quebec government appears poised to bring down legislation to extend the present mandates of
 public school boards in the province and merge their elections with those of municipalities in 2013.

Why is the twinning of school board and municipal  elections such a bad idea? My colleague Marcus Tabachnick of the Lester B. Pearson School Board shared with me some excellent points.

First of all, the board-by-board territories do not match the municipal boundaries. In addition, the ward, or riding, boundaries do not match. It is possible that people will have to go to two different polling locations to cast both sets of votes.

There is no proof that twinning actually increases election turnout results. Newfoundland has just untwinned their municipal and school board elections. Voters in our territory will just be confused. And what about available poster space?

There are more acclamations in municipal elections than in school board elections. Take my case for instance. In Côte Saint-Luc, Mayor Anthony Housefather was acclaimed as was I. Therefore, nobody in District 2 had to go vote. How would this help the two school board candidates?City Mayor, Borough Mayor, City Councillor(s), Borough Councillor(s), School Board Chairman, Commissioner, and who knows who else ? Some people could have to fill out as many as six or seven ballots!

The electoral lists do not match and for the school boards there has to be separate English and French lists.

Quebec’s Minister of Education should focus on better promoting school board elections and providing voters with more incentives to cast their ballots.

I did raise the matter with D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman. He is the chairman of the government caucus. The Quebec English School Boards Association did a follow up meeting. Will Lawrence see the light on this one? I hope so. In the meantime I would like to hear what folks like Alan DeSousa, Michael Applebaum and Marvin Rotrand think.  And how about Richard Bergeron's Projet Montréal?

Mitchell Goldbloom's brother shares eulogy and photos

A few weeks ago I wrote about the tragic passing of Mitchell Goldbloom, 42, from cancer. A native of Côte Saint-Luc and the son of my dear colleague on city council Sam Goldbloom, Mitch had everything going for him. A successful law practice in Toronto, a loving wife and two adorable young daughters. Less than two years ago he was stricken with a rare form of cancer. He fought hard, but lost the battle in October.

Mitch's brother Mark was kind enough to share a copy of his eulogy and some photos of Mitch and his girls.   Here it is:

I want to thank you for being here today to honour my brother.

I could not have asked for a better big brother. Mitch was 7 years older than me and growing up he was my idol and role model

. As a child, I would follow him everywhere and he was always there for me, to play with me and give me advice. I believe some of my best qualities are the result of Mitch’s influence on me. Even though he remained my role model, as we got older the age difference became insignificant and we became best friends.

Mitch wasn’t only a great brother, he was a wonderful son, bringing enormous joy and happiness to our parents throughout his life. Mitch was also a tremendous grandson, nephew, son-in-law, brother-in-law¸ uncle, cousin and a great friend to all of us. Most of all Mitch was a devoted husband and loving father.

Everyone who knew Mitch, knew he had a big personality.

He had a real joie de vive. Mitch was extremely gregarious, loved to laugh and had an amazing sense of humour. One of the most unique qualities about my brother is that when Mitch entered a room everyone seemed to get happier. He always brought joy and happiness to others. Mitch was a good person, a unique person and it was a privilege to know him.


My brother lived 42 years and left us far too soon. However, Mitch lived life to the fullest. Mitch accomplished in 42 years what many people would not accomplish in 82.

For instance, when Mitch was younger he told me of his dream to have a beautiful wife, children, a golden retriever and an SUV. Well, he met his beautiful wife Dana, his partner and love of his life, and after a long courtship they got married 15 years ago. A few years into their marriage along came their beautiful daughters Talia and Jordan. Along the way Mitch even went out and got Katie, their golden retriever and his SUV.

Mitch did not stop there. Mitch built up a successful law practice working with people he loved at Landy Marr Katz, making partner. He maintained lifelong friendships and developed new ones. Despite having an incredibly busy career, volunteering on the board at Bialik and other responsibilities, Mitch always found time to pursue his passion in sports, playing basketball and baseball. Most importantly Mitch always made time for what mattered most to him, his family, especially making sure to spend as much time as possible with his beloved children. Family vacations were the utmost priority for Mitch and he became a foremost expert on planning vacations to Disneyworld.

My brother was by far the strongest person I have ever known. Over the past 18 months, with the cancer occurring three times, Mitch endured radiation, chemotherapy, a 13 hour surgery, a stem cell replacement and other invasive procedures. True to his incredible strength of character, Mitch never gave up.

June 20072

While composing this eulogy, I was looking for insight and wisdom on what to write about and about the future, and it occurred to me to do what I have done in the past, look towards my brother for guidance. Three points of wisdom that I learned from Mitch occurred to me:

 The first is that Mitch had a very long memory for happy occurrences and a very short memory for difficult ones. Mitch would want us to celebrate his life, not mourn his death. After the requisite shiva period Mitch would want us to quickly begin to enjoy life again; the second is that when Mitch saw a problem he would always help try to solve it.  When Mitch was struck with a rare and vicious form of cancer, my brother fought courageously against it and was adamant that he did not want to leave us. Well, we will help Mitch not to leave us by keeping him alive in our hearts and minds.

I know my brother has influenced everyone who has known him in a way that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. While visiting with Mitch in the hospital I heard so many wonderful stories about him from friends and family, particularly about his sense of humour, his accomplishments and his kindness. It is important that these wonderful stories continue to be told. Most of all Mitch continues to live on in his remarkable children, not just in their DNA, but with his spirit, personality and sense of humour in them.

 Lastly, I looked to Mitch for guidance on how to express how much we truly love him.  When tucking his children into bed each night, he would tell them how much he loved them with a unique and special phrase. It sounded like hyperbole, but it truly wasn’t. It is with this phrase that I think I may express how much we love Mitch. That we love him to the moon, to the stars, to the whole wide world.

Ceremony to remember Col. Ilan Ramon

Six years ago a new street was born in Côte Saint-Luc: Ilan Ramon Crescent. I am proud, as the city councillor for District 2, to have this street as part of my constituency. It is like a little shtetl. Virtually everyone knows their neighbours. There are lots of young families and the residents have a keen interest in municipal affairs.


While Côte Saint-Luc, then a borough of Montreal, did have a ceremony on June 26, 2005 with the family of the late Ilan Ramon on hand some residents contacted Councillor Dida Berku and myself about installing a plaque. I thought that was a great idea. In fact, as the city councillor responsible for toponymy, I have been working with our Public Affairs and Communications Department to develop a booklet providing the history of most of our street names.

On Nov. 15 we held a ceremony to unveil the plaque. Mayor Anthony Housefather was out of town on business, but I did have with me Councillors Berku, Allan J. Levine, Glenn J. Nashen and Steven Erdelyi. Avi Kimchi, a native of Israel, was on hand as were a few other residents of the street. Avi encouraged us to take this extra step with the installation of a plaque. I would like to thank Regine Banon and Darryl Levine from our Public Affairs and Communications Department. This plaque sits on a stand and has a photo of Ilan Ramon and the other astronauts who perished with him on February 1, 2003. There is a description of whom Ilan Ramon was, as well as his colleagues.

Councillor shared with us some inspiring words about Ilan Ramon, as did her husband Jacob Kincler (a native Israeli) and Councillors Levine and Nashen.

Ilan Ramon (1954-2003), colonel dans l’armée de l’air israélienne, et le premier astronaute israélien. Trouva la mort lorsque le vaisseau spatial Columbia s’écrasa lors de son retour sur terre le premier février 2003.

Ilan Ramon est né à Ramat-Hen et à grandi à Béersheva. En mille neuf cent quatra vingt quatre il acheva le cours de pilote, avec la mention "excellent" et commença son service actif dans l’armée de l’air comme pilote de combat. Au début de sa carrière dans l’armée de l’air, il pilota des avions "Mirage" et "Skyhook", et dans les années Quatra vingt dix, il fut parmi les premiers à partir aux Etats-Unis pour apprendre à piloter l’avion de combat F-Seize. En tant que pilote d’un F-Seize, il participa à de nombreuses opérations, parmi lesquelles l’attaque contre la centrale atomique en Irak.


Ilan Ramon took very seriously his role as the representative of Israel and the Jewish people in space. He carried with him a microfiche of the Bible given to him by president of Israel, a tiny Torah scroll given to a Holocaust survivor at a Nazi concentration camp and a small pencil drawing titled "Moon Landscape" by a boy killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Quite appropriately for our ceremony, two gentleman joined us with a Torah. Though Ramon was not particularly religious, he decided to eat kosher food in orbit, saying that he wanted "to respect all kinds of Jews all over the world." He died at the age of 48, when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon descent after a 16-day flight in space. He was married and the father of four children.


Sadly, on this day, we also paid homage to the eldest son of Ilan Ramon. Only a few months ago, Captain Asaf Ramon of the Israeli Air Force – who always said he wanted to become an astronaut like his father - was killed when his F-16 jet crashed over South Mount Hebron.

 See a brief video of the ceremony by clicking here.



Remembrance Day 2009

I was honoured and priveleged to participate in a Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 11 at Veteran's Park next to Côte Saint-Luc City Hall. The ceremony was coordinated by the Brigadier Kisch Branch #97 of the Canadian Legion. We are very fortunate to have a large number of veterans still residing in our community. They served our country with honour.

Remembrance Day 2009MikeJordy

 Legion President Carl Garber laid a wreath with Councillor Allan J. Levine, our de facto Minister of Veteran's Affairs. Allan has taken on the Legion and Seniors portfolios on council. His late dad was a veteran so he is passionate about the subject. I laid a wreath (right) with Jordy Reichson, the city's director of public safety. We all look forward to our much larger VE Day ceremony next May.

At this event we had two present day members of the Canadian military. A soldier who has just returned from Afghanistan and a gentleman who went to school in Côte Saint-Luc and is now part of the Canadian Navy. Jonathan Lang (no relation to ex-Mayor Bernard and pictured below with me) attended the former Wagar High School. One of his teachers was none other than Allan J. Levine. Remebrance Day 2009Jonathan Lang

There was a time when we all felt that the day would come when there would not be any veterans left. Regrettably, the Canadian military must remain active abroad in peacekeeping and combat missions. In Afghanistan there have been many casualties. One day these men and women will be veterans of our present-day wars and we will honour them.

Street Sign Sale Update

I am pleased to report that our  plan to sell old Côte Saint-Luc' street signs was a success.

Number of signs sold: 72 

Amount of money raised: More than $2,500 

Signs remaining: 78 

Signs from side streets sold very well, whereas signs from major streets (such as Kildare Rd.) were not as popular. If we remove the major streets from the sale statistics, more than 65 percent of signs were sold. 

The remaining signs will be sold at our annual Spring Fair in May. 

From my original announcement of the sale on Facebook, interest came from former CSLers now residing across Canada and in the United States. Even CTV News anchor Mutsumi Takahashi, who grew up on Westbourne Ave., called and personally came to City Hall to buy her sign. We only did the sale for a two week period.

Mayor Housefather Announces Council Portfolios

I am pleased to be returning to my same portfolios as the previous mandate - corporate identity, communications, sponsorship and intercommunity relations. Over the last four years we launched a fully functioning Public Affairs and Communications Department. Darryl Levine was hired as the director and Regine Banon as manager. We created a new city website, enhanced our Courier newspaper, introduced district newsletters,installed new street signs, developed guidelines for sponsorship and naming rights, increased the number of press releases issued and worked on a wide array of promotions and new publications. As for the intercommunity relations dossier, we created a data base from scratch which showed the wealth of community organizations that operate out of Côte Saint-Luc. We've had a few meetings a year, hosted by different organizations, and a whole new dialogue has been developed. I look forward to greatly expanding this process over the next four years.

Here is the press release issued today with the complete list of portfolios:

 PRESS RELEASE                                                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Côte Saint-Luc announces portfolios of council members

Côte Saint-Luc, November 10, 2009 – The City of Côte Saint-Luc today announced the portfolios for its council members.

“At the start of our first mandate in 2006, I entrusted each council member with one or more portfolio,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “As we begin our 2010 to 2013 term of office, I am happy to announce the new distribution of portfolios.”

The portfolio model is based on the cabinet system where elected members represent not just their individual districts, but the city in general through specific portfolios.

Mayor Anthony Housefather will be responsible for issues related to human resources, legal matters, purchasing, information technology, and for relations with the Agglomeration of Montreal and other levels of government.

Councillor Dida Berku will be responsible for issues related to finance, the Cavendish Mall re-development (with Councillor Ruth Kovac), the environment including the preservation of Meadowbrook, the implementation of a code of ethics, and the Cavendish Blvd. extension.

Councillor Mitchell Brownstein will be responsible for issues related to parks and recreation and the construction of the Intergenerational and Aquatic Centre (with Councillor Kovac).

Councillor Mike Cohen will be responsible for issues related to corporate identity and communication, sponsorship, and inter-community relations.

Councillor Steven Erdelyi will be responsible for issues related to public works and engineering.

Councillor Sam Goldbloom will be responsible for issues related to the library and culture.

Councillor Ruth Kovac will be responsible for issues related to city planning as chairperson of the Planning Advisory Committee, the Cavendish Mall re-development (with Councillor Berku), and the construction of the Intergenerational and Aquatic Centre (with Councillor Brownstein).

Councillor Allan J. Levine will be responsible for issues related to seniors, the Royal Canadian Legion, the establishment of an English-language public high school by the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), the rail yards, the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club, the construction of tennis courts at Rembrandt Park, and a feasibility study on the construction of indoor tennis facilities by the city or in partnership with a third party.

Councillor Glenn J. Nashen will be responsible for issues related to traffic, and public safety—which includes the EMS first responder service, public security, vCOP, emergency preparedness, and fire prevention.

The nine members of council were re-elected on November 1 or by acclamation.


For more information: Darryl Levine, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, 514-485-8905,

District 2 Residents Shine in Maison Fleuries

The annual Maison Fleuries award ceremony, which honours residents who beautify their gardens, took place recently at City Hall. As Mayor Anthony Housefather so accurately pointed out, "I am proud to see such beautiful gardens in our community. Those who carefully tend to their lawns, gardens and flower beds enhance the beauty of our city and enhance everyone’s appreciation for our all-too-short summer months."

Awards were presented to residents in the following categories: single-family home, duplex or townhouse. All apartment buildings, commercial establishments and public buildings were automatically entered in the contest. Each of the eight city districts had a winner in each category. Judges assessed front gardens according to the cleanliness of the property, the appearance of plants and flowers and general landscaping.

The Maison Fleuries contest was chaired by former Councillor Harold Greenspon   and present-day Councillors Allan J. Levine and Steven Erdelyi.

Taking first place in District 2 was Ilan Ramon resident Frank Palucci (below right with his daughter), a man I am proud to call my constituent. Frank takes tremendous pride in his garden. In the Apartment/Condominium category first place went to Le Rothchild, I condominium at 6500 Mackle (accepted by Stephen Segal and Jay Kazenel) and second place to Le Bellagio at 5840 Marc Chagall (accepted by Jacques Berkowitz and Mackle Manor—actually in District 8 ( accepted by Anna Mercer and Brenda Soobis), all pictured bottom left.MaisonsFleuriesPalucci

There were a few other winners from District 2: in the Town House category Bonnie Solti of Cambridge Court came in second place ; in the Town House Elite category, Angéline Lawrence of Merrimac Road came in third place. Manoir Montefiore on Mackle Road finished in third place in the Senior Residence category.

Congratulations to Rami Negev who once again took the very beautiful photos of all the arrangements.

At the ceremony itself, Edwin Orian Brownell was at the keyboard. He played a different tune as each winner came to the stage. It certainly added to the festive atmosphere. Check out the man I called "Sir Edwin" at


Ilan Ramon Residents Pleased

Traffic engineer Charles Senekal and I  received a very nice message from Boris  Myschokowski (pictured below) of Ilan Ramon Crescent, recognizing the measures we have taken to maintain  traffic safety there.


Dear Mike and Charles,

I would like, on behalf of Ilan Ramon residents, to thank you for your intervention to affix new traffic signs on our block. These signs together with "slow down" painted on both curves on our block will most certainly help with slowing down traffic and ensure more safety for the numerous young children living on our block. For some time now, myself with a majority of residents on Ilan Ramon, have asked Mike Cohen and the city of CSL to consider different measures to increase the safety of children on our block and reduce traffic speed. By taking such measures, you demonstrate that you pay close attention to the needs of your constituents and we thank you for doing so.

Once again thank you Mike and Charles.

By this same occasion I congratulate Mike Cohen for being recently acclaimed to a second mandate as our district representative. I wish Mike Cohen and Charles Senekal from the CSL Traffic Engineering Dept. much success in their endeavours.



Note: On Sunday, November 15 at 11 a.m,. at the corner of Ilan Ramon and Sir Walter Scott Avenue, we will unveil a plaque honouring the memory of Colonel Ilan Ramon and the six other astronauts who perished aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.