District 6: Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury
Boston 2024 lauded Matt O’Malley on their Facebook page in March 2014, saying, “Boston City Councilor Matt O'Malley has been championing Boston's 2024 Olympic bid from the beginning! Thanks for your support Councilor O'Malley!” Indeed, he has been involved since the beginning. In March 2013, Councilor O’Malley introduced a hearing order to discuss the feasibility of bringing the Olympics to Boston. In May 2013, he testified in support of Senator Eileen Donoghue’s Boston 2024 feasibility study, taking a position in support of an Olympics in Boston. In September 2013, he told Boston Magazine, “The United States Olympic Exploratory Committee is very keen on Boston, and this may be our best opportunity to win a bid for the Games.” In March of 2014, Councilor O’Malley seemed to claim some of the credit for the Boston 2024 idea, telling the Jamaica Plain Gazette, “I was watching the Summer Olympics in London in 2012 and I thought, ‘Why not Boston?’” A Globe article on January 8, 2015 (after the USOC selected Boston) reported Councilor O’Malley as saying that “Boston’s proposal is appealing because it envisions an Olympics that uses very little public funds” and that “the process going forward should be open and transparent to ensure that remains the goal.” He remarked to the Globe, “As local city officials we need to make sure we are stewards of public funds. If we are able to achieve that goal at very little and no cost to the taxpayer to achieve that endeavor, then it’s an exciting night for Boston.”
Recently, Councilor O’Malley has been backing away from his early boosterism. At the City Council hearing on March 6, 2015, Councilor O’Malley called out Boston 2024 for lack of transparency. He said that if Boston 2024 can be financially sound, we should proceed, but that if it can’t be, we shouldn’t.
For an April 10, 2015, article, he told the Jamaica Plain Gazette, “I’ve always said we should explore it and have a robust feasibility study. I still maintain that. But I’ve been extremely disappointed with Boston 2024, in the roll-out, with the secrecy that has clouded the early steps.” He further told the Gazette that he has “many concerns” including cost and remarked, “If it doesn’t make sense for us, we should not pursue the bid.” He told the JP Gazette that he supports efforts by Josh Zakim and Evan Falchuk to place ballot questions regarding the bid.
Councilor O’Malley did not respond to No Boston 2024’s April 20, 2015, request for his current position on the bid.
At our invitation, one of Councilor O'Malley's aides attended No Boston 2024’s forum on housing rights and displacement on May 14, 2015.
At the City Council hearing on May 18, 2015, Councilor O’Malley began his remarks by noting that, “like everyone in this city,” he was “enormously proud” when Boston received the bid. He praised the Olympics as a stimulus for urban planning and mentioned his past calls for a feasibility study. However, he noted, that the “closed process and lack of concrete details” have “given [him] pause” and that, accordingly, he is “not yet convinced that we should indeed go forward.” He stressed the need for a concrete venue and financing plan and encouraged the idea of expanding the Games to New England in order to share the cost.
At the JP Progressives Candidate Forum on June 3, 2015, Councilor O’Malley noted that he's been calling for a feasibility study for hosting the Olympics for many years and that he was attracted by the idea of a privately funded Games. However, he criticized Boston 2024 for its insularity and lack of transparency. He referenced his suggestion of a New England Games from the City Council hearing. He expressed support for a statewide binding referendum and seemed to imply that it would obviate the need for a Boston referendum in November 2015.
At the June 26, 2015 City Council hearing on Olympic venues and financing, Councilor O’Malley asked Rich Davey whether Boston 2024 would commit to “unequivocally” refusing the taxpayer guarantee required by the IOC. He asked whether any cities that have actually won the bid have purchased an insurance plan along the lines of what Rich Davey claimed Boston 2024 and the city would secure. He asked about road closures during the Games, and he reiterated the point he made at the previous hearing about pushing for a New England-wide Games for the sake of “sharing the cost and sharing the glory.”
On July 20, 2015, Councilor O'Malley said that he supported Councilor Jackson's push to subpoena Boston 2024 in order to obtain the full, unredacted version of Bid 1.0. At the July 22 Council meeting, he spoke in favor of suspending the rules and passing the subpoena order, noting that Boston 2024's lack of transparency "is unfair to us [the City Council] and…feeds the cynicism that [Boston 2024] has earned over the last few months.” He stressed the importance that overseeing the expenditure of taxpayer dollars is to the job of the Council.
Contact Councilor O'Malley to tell him why you oppose the Boston 2024 Olympics bid.