There has been a lot of bad mouthing of “agendas” as of late. I wanted to clear some things up. The word agenda isn’t necessarily a bad word…Unless you’re referring to a hidden agenda. Then I could see where people would be more inclined to drag that very useful word through the mud. In a LiB blogpost interaction yesterday, a man named Mr. Purcell made a statement about agendas that I’d like to address quickly, his comment read:
So Bellevue residents, what would you rather have pushing this town forward? ( Cathy Koder) With an obvious political and personal agenda… Or a group of people, just ordinary citizens with no personal or political ambitions, only interested in progress and prosperity within the community?
Me? I would rather see anyone, other than what I saw when I started attending meetings two years ago..That was;Cathy Coder insulting and putting anyone in a silent corner that disagreed with her. Now that she has lost that power I see she has found someone else to help her push her agenda of personal/political gain on the backs of the citizens of Bellevue.
You should have more self-pride, rather than let yourself be used for someone else’s political ambitions. Shame!”
(The rest of the blog can be read here: https://libertyinbellevue.com/2012/08/15/leadership-or-bullying-bellevues-future-is-in-the-balance-by-danina-dibattista/comment-page-1/#comment-226)
Let’s go ahead and break down this attempt to discredit the LiB team. By using his personal vendetta against Kathy Coder as a tool to group us together with a particular agenda, a citizen that has not been keeping up to date with Bellevue’s corrupt politics, would read this interaction and immediately be turned off by it. Very good work, Mark.
To be clear, I speak with Mrs. Coder often, and not once has she ever asked me to do her a “favor”, or anything of the sort. (Being that Mark is from Ross Twp, I wonder how many times he’s offered a favor, or helped to push the hidden agenda of his cronies on council?) Mrs. Coder’s agenda is very transparent, I think she’s been clear about why she ran for council, what she wants for the town, and where she thinks the town is heading if things don’t change.
On to the next part of Mr. Purcell’s statement, he asks if Bellevue residents would rather have a group of people pushing the town forward that have a personal and political agenda, OR:
“a group of people, just ordinary citizens with no personal or political ambitions, only interested in progress and prosperity within the community?”
That’s quite a statement. The only reason that most people run for public office is because they have personal or political ambitions. So the answer to that part of your question is NO, how does someone with zero personal or political ambitions have a place in politics? Ambition for the future of the Borough of Bellevue is lacking within the majority on council right now. An agenda to run on, with a vision for what the candidate sees as goals for his/her term is vital. It only gets dicey when that agenda is hidden. I’d much rather vote for someone with a personal and political ambitions that I can get behind!
The second part of that sentence addresses one of LiB core goals: “progress and prosperity within the community?”. And my answer to this question is YES! A government’s role is to enable its community to prosper and progress. The government’s role is to equip the residents, business owners and community with the means necessary for success, prosperity and progress. Government needs to stick with their role, not tie the hands of those that want to push forward. So yes, as a general statement, I would love to vote for an individual that is “only interested in progress and prosperity within the community” as I see these exact things to be very important first steps towards a successful town.
Now that Mr. Purcell’s comment has been addressed, I would like to publicly post some of my goals for the business district. This is my “agenda.” Nothing is hidden or a mystery. A small overview of my “personal and political agenda” (and hopes and dreams for the future of Bellevue), you may love it, you may hate it. Keep in mind that I am only covering some ideas for the business district and small issues on council. If I went into everything, this blog would be a book…
Every council member should have a section on the borough website with their agenda for their term. This would help to make things pretty transparent when it comes time to vote on issues. Saying one thing and doing another should be called out immediately.
More transparency: Add a “finances” tab to the borough website. Include an easy to read excel spreadsheet of the financials of the borough. Detailing what money is coming in, going out, where it’s going, etc… To be strictly updated once per week.
Untie the hands of the business district. Governments never make good business-owners; keep the council out of local business matters.
Encourage community groups to work together and MERGE to create fewer committees and organizations. There is far too much confusion and divide right now. After speaking with one of our neighboring towns, they explained that this same issue plagued their borough for years. A great group of individuals came in and began a marketing group for the town, and all of the committees, borough marketing groups, etc. decided that this particular organization was legit, and had a great business plan for the borough. Many of the committees, and borough groups swallowed their pride and are now working together under ONE name. It was the best thing for the town, and has proven to be a success. Residents don’t need 25 different groups and committees telling them things, having all of these groups working together, as subcommittees to ONE major marketing and advertising group is a great way to create flow and brand recognition within a community. Businesses and residents alike are more inclined to make donations to a single group to help the community, than to make donations to 25 different groups. People can make donations to ONE group, and it can be used appropriately where needed, instead of creating a divide. Merge talents and manpower, less divide = better results. This group would be responsible for borough marketing, event planning, advertising, signage, newsletters (both digital & paper), flyers, and fund-raising for all committees that join.
Within this “group” would be subcommittees for the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, and of course a CDC type committee, to seek out and encourage new businesses to open in Bellevue. Doing the legwork of recruiting entrepreneurs to town is the hard part. Freeing the hands of the business district is step one towards reaching this goal. Step two is to rid the town of its “dry” status. The business district in a town is one of the driving factors for home purchases, tax revenue, and providing local residents with a reason to STAY in Bellevue to spend their money. Restaurants fuel a town’s business district. If you get multiple quality restaurants to open in town, boutiques, specialty stores, and retail will follow.
New blood on council: The council has not been successful at reversing the decline in this town for nearly 20 years. It’s time for fresh, young, goal driven individuals to run and take office in Bellevue; people with transparent agendas for what they want for the town, the integrity to vote honestly instead of using a minority/majority vote tactic, the morals to cut ties with local media sources, and cut the puppet strings that these sources use to fuel personal hidden agendas. People with a better grasp of current economics, commerce, and understanding that the business district can make or break a town. Special attention to recruiting quality, unique businesses to town is important. But we can’t do any of this until the business district becomes a more desirable place to open a business. A council with a grasp on the importance of technology, social networking, and having an online presence to make a connection with more young professionals is essential. Young people will drive the town forward.
To the naked eye, many people think that there are only NINE members of council. To anyone that’s been paying attention to Bellevue politics, it’s blatant that there are far more than just nine…there are others with their hands in the pot, and that has to stop. Allowing favors and hidden agendas of the “friends” of council members to be pushed through for personal gain is not ok. Corruption within government will never cease, but corruption within small town government will destroy a town and its progress. It needs to be eliminated. It’s time to rid council of its “extra” (non-elected) members.
I hope this helps others to understand my point of view and agenda for this town. I recently closed my restaurant in Bellevue. It was a fantastic place, with a focus on quality ingredients, quality customer service, quality wait-staff that took great care of our patrons, a highly talented, trained chef, cooking fresh ingredients. All of this, at an affordable price point. We could have chosen many other towns in which to open this restaurant, but the passion to see Bellevue thrive and move forward kept us at home. So we opened in the town that we’re invested in, live in, and love. We knew that opening a place without the option of a liquor license would be risky, but it was worth the risk to ensure that there would not be another empty storefront in town that would quickly be scooped up by the next discount cell phone store or pawn shop. The council cannot be blamed for us having to close up shop and search elsewhere to open our restaurant. But the council(s) over the last 20 years have certainly had little success in moving the business district forward. The current council is voting based on personal opinions of residents that are proposing change. Instead of voting based on what’s working in other thriving towns, they’re voting based on their hidden personal agendas and personal vendettas against private citizens they dislike. I hope to see this borough move forward and prosper, as I would love to come back and give it another try with another business. But until there is less government interference, Bellevue will be stuck in the 1920’s forever.
I hope that this blog sparks a public conversation. These issues have been on the back burner for far too long, and it’s time for the public to get involved. DEMAND change, put the pressure on those in power to put their hidden agendas aside, and begin to make decisions that will move the town forward. It’s time, they know it’s time. It’s only a matter of letting go of their addiction to power, and embracing the position to propel Bellevue forward.