Saturday, January 20, 2018

City of Cote St. Luc's breathtaking moment of brazen self-aggrandizement lives on

   Cities would be hard-pressed to top the craziness of a handful of self-admiring Cote St. Luc councillors on Dec. 11, 2001.
    On that evening a half dozen sitting councillors of the city of 30,000 residents voted to name local parks after themselves.
     Parks in the area are still named after Ruth Kovac, Richard Schwartz, Glenn J. Nashen, Isadore Goldberg, Mitchell Brownstein and Allan J. Levine.
   None had done anything particularly exceptional to earn such honours but they deemed themselves worthy nonetheless.
   Provincial toponymy commission guidelines asks municipalities ensure that those so honoured be dead for at least a year and have "historical significance."
   Coolopolis has long been frustrated in its attempts to get an explanation for this bizarre event.
   None of the individuals in this brazen orgy of nominal self-aggrandizement has ever deigned to reply to emails requesting an explanation.
   Until now that is.
   The renamings were a spur-of-the-moment thing proposed by then-mayor Robert Libman in response to the impending megacity, which council feared would cost them their jobs.
   Well it turned out that these people stayed on the scene after all and Cote St. Luc returned to its old independent status within not too long.
   The names, however, stuck: Ruth Kovac Park, Richard Schwartz Park, Glenn J. Nashen Park, Isadore Goldberg Park, Mitchell Brownstein Park and Allan J. Levine Park remain on the map.
   The politicians forwarded a narrative that the councillors were worthy by virtue of performing the low-paid tasks of public service.
   At the time Libman was quoted as saying that the councillors "humbly accepted" that the parks be renamed after themselves. He confessed that the changes were a spur-of-the-moment thing that had not been discussed or planned before the meeting.
   Libman eventually embraced the megacity and played an important role on the executive council. He was voted out and his recent attempt to regain the position failed.
   Many of the councillors involved are out of politics and left little if anything to mark their legacy. Glenn Nashen, for example, lost two elections, won once narrowly and was acclaimed without opposition the other five times.
    Libman appears to regret the impulsive irrational and egotistical display that made a mockery of those who deserve to be honoured. He now pleads with those involved to ask for their names to be removed from the parks.
When the City demerged, these same councilors were elected back to their previous positions, I called upon them to relinquish the park names which would have been the right thing to do. I didn’t run for reelection at the time and left politics so I couldn’t do more than make a public statement about the issue.  They didn’t relinquish the park names and my successor wasn’t interested in pushing the issue. With all the prominent figures in the world with a direct or indirect impact on our community, it would be much more appropriate to rename those parks. 
  Coolopolis calls upon Glenn Nashen and those others to request that their names be removed from the parks.
    The list of worthy replacements is endless: Myriam Waddington, who lived nearby and won a battle to get Jews accepted into Hampstead School. Sarah Maxwell, who perished saving children from a school fire. Epic war hero and Montreal cop Jacques Cinq-Mars, reformist Herbert Ames, Al Palmer and if they insist on naming something after someone still alive, Twinkle (Sheila) Rudberg, who launched Leave Out Violence (LOVE) might be a good choice.


  1. Do you know what the original names of the parks were?

  2. What a bunch of inflated egos these people were and are. "The councillors were worthy by virtue of performing the low-paid tasks of public service". It kind of stops being public service when you look to compensate for your "low paying jobs". The bunch of Côte-St-Luc were hardly pioneers of this kind of ego trip as the councillors and mayor of the former city of Saint-Laurent also named parks after themselves in the 1980's. Public service isn't what it used to be.

  3. Egotistical, narcissistic people tend to have low self esteems. The fear of leaving public office without abusing the confidence of constituents is just desperate. Vaillancourt in Laval had the same mental condition but he was also a thief. My thoughts are with their families who have to endure them.


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