O’Malley seeks return to city governmentA more transparent city government would be a priority for Scot O’Malley if he is elected mayor of Hudson on April 3, he says. The former District 5 alderperson also said he would encourage the City Council “to see beyond day-to-day city maintenance and look to a coherent path to our city’s future.”
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
A more transparent city government would be a priority for Scot O’Malley if he is elected mayor of Hudson on April 3, he says.
“…Bringing out details of city business presently kept out of the public eye,” is how he defined transparency in his response to a questionnaire from the Star-Observer.
The former District 5 alderperson also said he would encourage the City Council “to see beyond day-to-day city maintenance and look to a coherent path to our city’s future.”
He said he would work with all community organizations to make Hudson more attractive to potential home-buyers.
“We have too many homes sitting unsold,” he said.
The 66-year-old O’Malley served 10 years on the City Council before being defeated by two votes in the spring election a year ago. Alderperson John Hoggatt won the election by a 181-to-179 margin.
In announcing his candidacy for the mayor’s office last November, O’Malley said his time out of city government had provided him a chance to “get a big picture overview” of the city by talking to people and attending a variety of city government meetings.
“I’m not running against anyone. I’m running for the opportunity to express some ideas about the future of Hudson,” he said shortly after announcing his candidacy.
When asked recently why he would make a good mayor, O’Malley pointed to his more than 30 years of business ownership and “hands-on” management, his City Council experience, and his involvement with Hudson community groups.
He owns Midwest Radio, a company that handles national-level radio advertising for medium-size stations in the Upper Midwest.
Three years ago, he and his son, Sean, formed Hudson Ventures LLP, a company that buys vacant houses in the city, restores them, and rents them out.
O’Malley has lived in the same house at 1024 Third St. (which he shares with his wife, Cynthia) since he moved to Hudson 36 years ago. He says his long residency here gives him a perspective some people don’t have.
He grew up in Vadnais Heights and White Bear Lake, Minn., and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a major in theater. He became involved in radio while a student at the U, managing the campus station WMMR his senior year.
He later worked as a deejay in Anoka, Minn., was the news director at a Duluth station, sold advertising for WDGY-AM, was the first sales manager for WCCO-FM (now BUZN-FM) and a station co-owner, before forming his own advertising company.
“Our first goal should be to move Hudson into ‘top of mind’ as a desirable community in this area by potential home-buyers, while still maintaining our small-city charm and being fiscally sound,” O’Malley replied to a question about the challenges ahead for the city.
“To help meet this goal, but to also benefit our current residents, we need to improve our infrastructure and move ahead in technology,” he said. “We can do more road repair and provide free Wi-Fi (wireless Internet connection) in city parks without raising taxes.”
O’Malley is proud of his service on the City Council’s Public Works Committee. When he announced his candidacy, he said the annual street maintenance budget went from $75,000 to $275,000 during his tenure on the committee.
“We did that without raising an extra penny in taxes — simply by identifying other areas that we could take money from without hurting services,” he added.
“I have a long record of being fiscally conservative,” O’Malley went on to say. “I would stack my record against anyone’s. So if anyone believes that improving the look and experience of our city means raising taxes, they’re wrong.”
When asked recently whether he supported rezoning the St. Croix Meadows dog track property for use as a secondary school site, O’Malley replied, “Unfortunately, even if elected mayor I would not have a meaningful vote on this issue.”
He pointed out that zoning changes require two-thirds approval by the City Council and the mayor doesn’t have a vote unless a tie occurs. If there was a tie, the mayor’s vote wouldn’t be enough to bring a two-thirds majority, he said.