Cottage Grove mayoral challengers want different directionThree running against Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Chad Rediske says he likes Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey — he just thinks the city needs to be led in a different direction.
Rediske — who waged an unsuccessful campaign earlier this year to win the local GOP nomination to oppose state Sen. Katie Sieben — is among three candidates who filed this month to challenge Bailey in the fall mayoral race.
“There’s still a lot of burn in the community about the city hall/public safety [building],” Rediske said of the $15 million project that drew fire from some when it was approved last year. “And, I don’t want to delve into that, but I want to see things run a little differently.”
The 40-year-old IT analyst said he began seriously considering a mayoral run after hearing from supporters following the Senate District 54 nominating convention in March.
“As I was leaving the stage, I got a good 40 different people asking me to run for mayor,” he said. “I kind of just said, ‘let me think about that.’ In the meantime I went around [and] I would see people at softball or in the neighborhood and ask what they think. Based on some of the comments received I decided to run.”
Rediske said in an interview last week he believed the city rushed into the decision to construct a new city hall and public safety facility, a move city officials have defended as long-planned and saved-for.
“Cottage Grove is kind of diverse. [There] are a lot of opinions about how things should be run,” he said. “And the reason I think I’d be the best candidate is I’m a reasonable guy. I get along with people and try to work through differences and still move the city forward.”
Others making a run
Chad Magle said he is making a mayoral run for a different, very specific reason.
“A $6,200 dollar assessment in the River Acres neighborhood,” he said, referring to assessments related to a 2010 road maintenance project in a rural residential area of Cottage Grove. “It seems like this City Hall is arrogant and lacks leadership.”
The $600,000 project that rehabbed streets, added a walking trail, improved storm drainage, constructed a truck turn around at a dead-end street and made improvements at a railroad crossing cost the roughly 100 residents in the River Acres neighborhood more than $5,000 in assessments. Nearly a third of those assessed filed complaints with the city.
City officials then said the neighborhood’s streets were deteriorating and not constructed to modern-day city standards.
Magle, 40, who owns a small construction business, said in an interview last week the road project was the final straw for him. His opposition of Bailey is his first run for public office.
“That kind of set me over the edge, you know, when 90 percent of the people are against it and the city basically tells us what we need,” Magle said. “It’s not right.”
Lezlie Schriver, another River Acres resident who is challenging Bailey, also cited her displeasure with the 2010 road project as one reason for running.
“I was opposed to that road renovation. I liked the train whistle," she said, referencing improvements completed as part of the project that allowed an at-grade rail crossing to become a train horn quiet zone. "And, I didn’t like the 7 percent interest [rate] that my husband and I had to endure until we figured out that we could get a loan and [finance the road assessment] much cheaper.”
Schriver, 53, is unemployed after working for more than 25 years as a social worker. She ran unsuccessfully for the District 833 School Board last year and says she has the time, ambition, skills and background to be a successful mayor.
“I know I’m a good team leader but I’m also a team player," Schriver said. "I respect other people's thoughts and opinions.”