Dear Mr. Mayor and Members of Bellevue Council,
I write to you today to express my frustration with the newly proposed ordinance before Bellevue council which would require Bellevue residents to contact the fire department prior to lighting a controlled burn on one’s personal property. Why does the council believe its primary function is to limit and control the rights of its citizens, businesses, and property owners?
In the not too distant past, thousands of citizens signed a petition that the council consider rescinding the ban on alcohol sales in restaurants and diners. Many council members and the mayor fought this desire for economic and personal liberty tooth and nail.
More recently a similar number of signatures were collected requesting that patrons of BYOB establishments be permitted to consume their libations at outside tables along Lincoln Avenue. I understand that some are putting up a fight concerning this move as well.
Then, out of the blue (or so it seems to the residents who are not within the inner circles of power in this borough), a handful of residents complain to the borough about smoke coming from their neighbors’ outdoor fires, and without delay, the council moves to limit the rights of its private citizens leading private lives on their private properties. Additionally, there is obvious confusion among the council and the general public of the limitations and restrictions that will be put in place if this ordinance is passed. And, yet, even in the midst of confusion and misinformation, the council seems dead set to move forward with new regulations, restrictions and fines upon its citizenry.
Again I ask, why does the council believe its primary function is to limit and control the rights of its citizens, businesses, and property owners?
Now, I realize that it can be annoying, and possibly even hazardous to one’s health, to breath in the smoke drifting from an outdoor fire. I truly sympathize with Ms. Wivell who was cited in the Citizen article as the one who expressed this concern to the borough. However, does the council honestly believe that its primary course of action is to limit the personal rights of residents and property owners? Rather than attempting to rectify the situation through constructive means such as a public health awareness campaign, or simply taking advantage of this situation to remind residents what it means to be a part of a community by interacting with one another, they immediately jump to regulate, fine, and criminalize.
Does Bellevue council truly believe it needs to protect us from ourselves? Does Bellevue council truly believe its residents cannot handle our grievances with one another on a personal level? Does Bellevue council truly believe we need a nanny that punishes all “the children” (read: Bellevue residents) when one person acts out of line? Or, is Bellevue council simply ignorant to the fact that the only changes that seem to come out council month after month are additional regulations, limitations, and restrictions of personal liberties?
I’ve been a resident of Bellevue for over two decades and in that time I have never heard anyone in an official capacity express concern over the rights and liberties of Bellevue residents, businesses, and property owners. I’ve seen council members and mayors come and go. I’ve been forced to endure new and further restricting ordinances. And after all that’s been said and done, I’ve seen nothing but further economic decline in this borough.
Could it be that restricting the rights of citizens and businesses is a failed modus operandi? Could it be that trusting the citizenry to live peaceably and respectfully, free of government restrictions is the key to growth, prosperity, and happiness in our little borough?
To be certain, this “burning ordinance” is a small matter when compared to the other violations of personal liberties in this borough (high taxes, prohibition policies, etc.), however, I, and the rest of the liberty loving residents of Bellevue, view this proposed ordinance as the proverbial straw that just might break the camel’s back.
I implore you to strongly consider whether you’re a person who supports freedom, growth, liberty, and prosperity or if you’re a person who will maintain the status quo of controlled decline in Bellevue. Make the right choice. Choose liberty before we are forced to rename our little borough to “The People’s Republic of Bellevue.”
600 Maryland Avenue