By Robert Frank
Beaconsfield councillor Rhonda Massad says that the city’s municipal politics have deteriorated to the point that council meetings have become screaming matches.
Each month, city council faces the ire of citizens frustrated over issues such as tainted water, highway noise, green space development and zoning. Massad believes that most of the turmoil is needless.
“It’s a lack of cohesiveness,” the District 6 representative told The Suburban during an interview at her home. She attributed the problem to a lack of transparency on the part of Mayor David Pollock.
“We get a bad rap in the community because there is no relationship with the mayor,” Massad said.
“He just doesn’t answer the questions that citizens pose,” she observed, adding that the lack of transparency extends to elected councilors when they meet privately in caucus. “Clearly it’s not there for us either.”
“Often council has done good work but he doesn’t answer accordingly,” Massad explained. “A lot of the questions, if they were answered, would put so many peaple’s minds at ease.”
She said that councillors have repeatedly been blindsided on important issues that they first learned about when they were raised by citizens during council meetings. As a result, she told The Suburban, she has decided to run for mayor during the next round of municipal elections in November 2013.
“I don’t believe that anyone, including the mayor, set out to do a bad thing. Everyone came to the table with good intentions,” Massad acknowledged. However, she added, “I don’t believe that everyone is made for the job.”
Mayors should foster unity
Massad said that, if elected, she aims to attain the level of municipal solidarity that Mayor Bill McMurchie has achieved on Pointe Claire council, which last year agreed upon a plan for 21st century development.
“They’re enviable,” she observed. “That’s a united town.”
In contrast, she said, “Beaconsfield council is desperately trying to develop a vision.”
Massad—who together with her husband has run a manufacturing firm for the past 20 years, and is also a local real estate agent—announced her decision to run for mayor after her exchange of letters last week with local MNA Geoffrey Kelley “went viral” on the Internet.
Her missive vented the town’s longstanding frustration with the “glacial pace” of progress over noise complaints from Beaconsfielders who live near Highway 20.
“Politicians need to alter the way that they think,” she concluded. “A mayor needs to bring the city together.”