A few weeks ago I submitted a Dear LiB letter in which I challenged Bellevue Council Members to move beyond short sighted, reactionary leadership and begin leading with a long term perspective of community growth and development. Well, it appears we need to return to this very same issue once again.
The headlining article of last week’s The Citizen was a short piece concerning Councilwoman Linda Woshner’s proposal that the borough again spend tax dollars they keep claiming we don’t have, on yet another band aid to fix a symptom of a larger, systemic problem in our community.
There’s litter along Lincoln Avenue. No one can deny that. As a tax payer, home and business owner, and council candidate, I find the litter both unattractive and frustrating. However, what I find even more frustrating is Bellevue Council’s seeming ineptitude to properly address the systemic problem behind it. Bellevue has no vision for attracting and encouraging the kind of investment in our community that would organically and naturally deal with litter and other symptoms common in stagnant and declining communities. Instead of reacting to the blight of our business district with expensive new machines to give the appearance that they’re doing all they can, Bellevue Council should be bending over backwards to bring in the sort of business owners who will take enough pride in what they’ve built to clean up their own portion of the sidewalk. The next time you patronize our community’s myriad of small businesses, look around the sidewalk. Compare what you see in front of stores like Happy Baby Company, Dietz Floral, Muddy Cup, Good L’Oven Bakery, Fodi Jewelers, The Pitt Stop, Bellevue Business Center and others with what you see in front of the pawn shop, dollar store, the discount cell phone and electronic stores, or the numerous vacant store fronts. It shouldn’t take long to see what I mean.
The long term, visionary solution to the litter along Lincoln Avenue is NOT to purchase some fancy contraption that will inevitably require repairs and upgrades (not to mention training to operate). The solution to the litter is the same solution for all the symptoms of our stagnate community: a vision and incentives to attract the growing number of investors and business owners just begging for opportunity to take pride in what they create (not to mention, our community).
How about temporary tax abatements/exemptions to reduce the capital necessary to launch fresh start ups? How about matching investments for facade and ADA Accessibility upgrades? How about personal income tax deductions for every resident based upon properly documented purchases in local businesses?
In the meantime, while we wait for Bellevue Council to pursue this sort of visionary style leadership, might I suggest we consider using the only sort of technology anyone’s ever needed to clean up litter throughout history: the flexibility to bend at our hips and the use of our opposable thumbs to grip items laying on the ground! Instead of paying DPW employees to learn how to use some new kind of equipment, why not ask them to use the God-given equipment they already have??
Just a thought…
Candidate for Bellevue Council in the Third Ward