Alcohol Referendum in the News


Bellevue’s second attempt at an alcohol referendum this May was the subject of an article in the Post Gazette today. In the article published in today’s paper, A Better Bellevue core leader, Liberty in Bellevue founder, and current Bellevue Council candidate, Tom Fodi, was interviewed at length, along with other prominent business owners, residents, and leaders in the Bellevue community.

Mr. Fodi, a pastor of The Hills Church in the South Hills and the owner of Dignity Home Care Professionals of Green Tree, believes that the economic market will allow things to unfold as they should: The voices of 8,000 or so residents will encourage entrepreneurs to bring to the borough reputable restaurants that will serve to bolster the town as a destination for both locals and those who live outside the limits.

“We know that people enjoy wine or beer with dinner, going out and having a good time. Now, you can’t have wine with dinner unless you bring [a bottle] with you [to a restaurant],” he said. “Being able to obtain a liquor license is an incentive for restaurants to come to town and that could contribute to a domino effect. This is all about economics.”

Aware that coming out in support of the alcohol referendum could hurt him in the polls in his bid to replace long time Bellevue Councilman, Jim Scisciani, Fodi wrote on his campaign Facebook page:

I’ve been told I shouldn’t publicly express my support for the Bellevue alcohol referendum, I’ve been told that I should just let it play out and be like some current politicians who like to play the fence, never taking a side.

Well, I guess that just makes me a bad politician, I can’t hide behind a shroud of mystery and play politics by not taking a position on something that stands to dramatically improve our community. I fully understand the concerns of those who are currently against this potential change. Anything worth doing comes with risk. However, after months of research and digging, I firmly believe the pros out weigh the cons in support of ending the dry laws in Bellevue.

Coming out publicly in support of the referendum may cost me some votes in November. I understand that. But, I simply cannot honestly represent and serve the people of Bellevue by acting like many of our current representatives who refuse to get involved on one side or the other out of fear of reprisal. That is not leadership. It’s simply cowardly and dishonest politics. If nothing else, I am painfully honest. I am an open book. You never have to guess my opinion on matters as I will tell you plainly after a thorough amount of research and consideration of both sides.

In other referendum related news, though he claims to be sympathetic to the referendum vote and stated explicitly during the 2013 election cycle debate that he supports the move (after being firmly against it in 2011), last week Bellevue Mayor Paul Cusick reportedly threatened a legal battle to have the referendum forcibly removed from the ballot due to what he claimed to be a significant number of questionable signatures. On the final day allotted for such a challenge, Mayor Cusick unexpectedly chose to drop the suit and decided not to threaten the right of the people of Bellevue to cast their vote on the matter. For the record, Liberty in Bellevue and members of A Better Bellevue have not yet been able to independently corroborate Mayor Cusick’s claims.

To read more of today’s article in the Post Gazette click here. 


5 Responses to “Alcohol Referendum in the News”

  1. I was told by a reliable source (my spouse)that Mayor Cusick specifically stated to her that he was not sure that allowing liquor licenses in Bellevue was such a good idea. How backward and close minded can people be? Bellevue and Wilkinsburg and Forest Hills are the boroughs I know of that are dry. Are Bellevue and Wilkinsburg and Forest Hills three of the better and more prosperous places to live in Allegheny County? I think not. We need to rid Bellevue of the backward thinking people still holding office or influence in the boro. We also need to rid council, democrat or republican, of the people who only give lip service to supporting the commercial sector of Bellevue.

  2. The Count – Upon signing the petition, I noticed some irregularities on the two sheets on the table. I felt that someone should make sure that the signatures were valid. I compared the petition with the street lists from the county and check the county computer for new registrants and other possible errors. The filed petition with 650 signatures contained 148 invalid signatures (22.7%). Of those, 9 were from Avalon, 9 from Ross Twp., 5 from Ben Avon and 1 from McKees Rocks. Two signatures, those of Tom Fodi and Skyler Hinklin, were duplicated on other petitions. The rest were signatures by unregistered residents. This meant that there were only 502 valid signatures, 4 short of the needed 506. Because the amounts were so close, I decided to abandon my objection. I did not threaten a legal battle. As a courtesy, I informed Tom Fodi of my actions. LIB and members of A Better Bellevue could have corroborated my claims at any time. The information is always available at the County Election Department. On Friday, 3/27, I gave the data to Mark Helbling to make things easier. I will be glad to sit down with anyone to review the process.

    Opinion – It seems that any difference of opinion is immediately met with accusations and ad hominems. Just because someone may see things from a different perspective does not mean that he or she does not care about the future of Bellevue. Many of us have put in years of time and energy to make Bellevue a better place. We can use more help. Alcohol is not a panacea. Although, I would like to see restaurants permitted to sell alcohol with their dinners, the prediction of an economic boom for Bellevue is premature at best. I believe that we should have an open discussion about the laws, possible controls and guidelines. To that end, I have asked Representative Ravenstahl to help us with information from the PLCB so that we can be informed before taking this irreversible step. As mayor, I will set up an ad hoc committee to have the public forum before the vote. Any volunteers can contact me at

  3. Since the meeting will be held by the proponents of the referendum, will the opposition be given an equal chance to speak?

  4. Everyone will be given an equal chance to speak absolutely.

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