Mary-Margaret McMahon gets prepared for takeover Dec. 1
New councillor will start new rein after beating Sandra Bussin
(Written Nov. 9 for Town Crier.)
It was the first day of school and Mary-Margaret McMahon was hitting the books.
Though she doesn’t officially start until Dec.1, the newly elected Ward 32 Beaches East-York councillor and her fellow newbie colleagues were at city hall on Nov. 9 doing an orientation session. McMahon came away with “homework” – a think binder of council protocol.
And, judging by the amount of calls she’s been getting, McMahon better get up to speed – fast.
In a post-election interview at city hall, McMahon said she’s trying to get one step ahead, meeting with residents, businesses and developers to discuss ongoing files and projects in the ward.
In a stunning win over embattled incumbent Sandra Bussin, McMahon got 65 percent of the votes on election day, Bussin walked away with 25 percent.
But faced with controversy after controversy this past election term proved to be her undoing.
McMahon even counts herself as a previous Bussin supporter.
“I voted for Sandra every time,” said McMahon, who’s lived in the ward for 19 years.
Beyond Bussin’s troubles, McMahon attributes her success on election day to a number of factors. She knocked on doors daily for about 16 weeks. Three other candidates dropped out of the race to support her and she got some high profile endorsements.
She admits there was a lot of anger towards Bussin, especially over the sole-source Tuggs beach café deal.
“There was an … ‘anybody but Bussin’ movement,” she said.
But McMahon brings her own local experience in the community, including co-founding a local farmer’s market, which attracted new businesses to Danforth.
McMahon said she’s a woman of action and promises the same approach as councillor.
“I will host regular town halls at three libraries so people can bring up joys and concerns and a vision for the community,” said McMahon, who lives in the Danforth and Woodbine area with her husband, Jim, and children, Liam and Becca.
She describers herself as a “doer” who doesn’t like to “burden” others by asking for help. She said the transition into her new job is going relatively well even without help from outgoing Councillor Bussin.
“I have not heard from (Bussin) or her staff. It’s disappointing.”
Returning veteran Councillor Pam McConnell has reached out by having many of the 15 females on council to her condo on Nov. 8, said McMahon.
And she’s met with many of the new councillors for coffee to talk shop.
“One councillor said, ‘it’s nice to know you have friends before you get to school.’”