Burning Ordinance: Who is Serving Whom?

In this nation, it used to be that the government served the people.  It used to be that the government’s primary function was to protect the rights and liberties of the people and enable them to freely pursue their private lives however they desired.  In our little borough, today, it seems like it is us, the people, who have taken on the role of the servant and our government has taken on the role of the one who does at it pleases.

Contained within the language of the new burning ordinance before Bellevue council is a requirement that the residents of Bellevue contact the fire department and/or borough at least an hour prior to lighting a small, controlled fire on private property.  On the surface it might seem that the only thing Bellevue council is asking its residents to do is make the fire department aware of a fire in case someone calls 911 reporting a suspected structure fire.  However, the language of the ordinance goes on to require the individual who contacts Bellevue about the fire to given the name(s) and phone number(s) of the property owner and adult(s) responsible for the fire.  If this ordinance was simply a notification that there will be a small fire on private property there would be no need to give the government one’s personal information.

Now, I know this might border on sounding a bit conspiratorial, but the truth is that many people have real reservations giving any government agency their personal information.  I have a problem with the requirement of notifying Bellevue of what a I, a private citizen, am doing on my private property.  However, I have an even greater problem with any government agency requiring that private citizens hand over their personal information as if they have a right to it.

If I refuse to give out my phone number will I not be given permission to burn on my property?  If I refuse to hand over the names of “responsible adults” joining me as I enjoy a small fire in my backyard, will the police arrive to break up my party?

Since when am I required to seek the permission of the local government to enjoy life on my private property?  There once was a time when the government feared the people.  It used to matter what we thought of them.  Today, however, our government wants us to live in fear of them.  They intimidate us to hand over our private information in order to seek permission to enjoy our private lives on our private properties.

Bellevue council has planned a special meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 6:30pm.  They are hoping to gather quickly, take a vote on this new burning ordinance and press on with their taking more and more control of our private lives.  Do not stand for this Bellevue!  Put your foot down and demand liberty in Bellevue!  Demand that Bellevue council serve us and not vice versa!

Attend the council meeting and make your voice heard.  Be part of the solution.  Stop rolling over to the demands of this tyrannical government that has run amok and taken advantage of its power for far too long.

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6 Responses to “Burning Ordinance: Who is Serving Whom?”

  1. What concerns me about this is my location. My wife and I live two houses from the Ross Township line. Right across that line is a house that burns outside just about every night out of the year. They watch Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates games around a fire pit with a crowd. The Bellevue ban doesn’t protect the air quality of my family from that house.

    Meanwhile, both houses on either side of ours sit vacant. The one closest to the Bellevue/Ross line has been vacant for two years and is wildly overgrown with raccoons now frequenting the property. A stained glass window remains smashed. The home on our other side has construction materials scattered around the yard for kids to play with.

    Our neighbors also have a peculiar living arrangement: two adults, two children, a cat, and a full grown Newfoundland dog living in a one bedroom apartment. How is that acceptable but grills and camp fires must be monitored?

    • Scott, you make an excellent point in your first paragraph:
      “What concerns me about this is my location. My wife and I live two houses from the Ross Township line. Right across that line is a house that burns outside just about every night out of the year. They watch Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates games around a fire pit with a crowd. The Bellevue ban doesn’t protect the air quality of my family from that house.”

      You’re right, we really need to get restrictions on this noxious burning enforced throughout the whole of Allegheny County – consistently!

      The vacant houses on either side of you sound pretty spooky. Bellevue has a code enforcement office. You should request inspection of those properties for these hazardous conditions.

  2. Your article is a little over the top, Tom. I support asking the question, “where does it stop”, but the issue is really nothing more than keeping people safe. There are many points to make through questioning but let’s keep it to two. 1) Did you actually read the ordnance? From my understanding of it the Borough is just making their standard of controlled burning compliant with that of Allegheny County. 2) What are they going to do with your name and phone number? Really. If you are a resident, then they have far more damaging information than your phone number.

    I understand that you’re fighting the principal of the ordnance and not so much the ordnance itself. I also agree that people need to be more involved. However, the council had this meeting set for weeks now – meaning it’s not as if they are trying to hide what they are doing. The meetings of our local elected officials are not attended by enough people. I encourage you and everyone else to go to the meeting, but before doing so do your homework about the issue and take a holistic look at the problem – meaning from multiple points of view (i.e. historical fires in close residential districts, the volunteer firefighters, precedent of law, etc.).

    • John, perhaps now you know how we feel about this council and our mayor. A little over the top doesn’t begin to describe it.

    • When even our fire fighters and paramedics are saying the ordinance is uncalled for, I think we can safely say that it is certainly unnecessary. It seemed that the majority of the council had already made up their minds. I can only hope that they heard the large number of us who were there to speak against is as opposed to the few who spoke in favor of it (I use “in favor of it” loosely).

    • John Noll, you seem like a reasonable person. Refreshing.

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