No Bars? No Worries! (Part 2)

signLast week we introduced the concept of “Conditional Licensing Agreements.” CLAs give local community members, residents, business owners, concerned citizens, etc full authority to negotiate conditions with which any applicant for a liquor license must adhere in order to obtain their license. The local wrist slapping comunity nanny group known as No Bars in Bellevue responded to our article by effectively saying, “See! No matter how small, there’s still a chance dive bars could saturate Lincoln Avenue if the referendum passes. The only way to absolutely guarantee there will never be a bar in Bellevue is to vote no on May 19.”

And, we need to make something perfectly clear, they’re right. The only way to absolutely guarantee that someone will not show up in Bellevue, invest about $250,000 to open a nuisance bar which would likely get immediately shut down within months (much like Bloomfield and Lawrenceville have been effective in shutting down more than 21 nuisance bars in their region) is to vote no on May 19th.

However, here’s the other side of that same coin: while it might be guaranteed that no one will have the freedom to chuck a quarter million dollars into a failure of a business if the referendum fails on May 19th, there would also be absolutely no reason to expect any substantial deviation from Bellevue’s road of stagnation and economic decline. As Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Bellevue has some great businesses. A few new ones have even popped up in recent months. But, if we want to fully capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit which has reached near cruising altitude in countless communities around Pittsburgh, our community needs a spark. For Bellevue to follow in the footsteps of communities like Aspinwall, Dormont, Carnegie, Braddock, Regent Square, Zelienople, etc and become the new buzzworthy, destination community it needs a bold new vision and bold new opportunity for growth.

Those of us who have spent our time, resources, and energy investing in this town have learned in no uncertain terms we will not see our residential areas improve without a dramatically improved business district. According to every single economic development expert, we will not see improvements in our business district without new, destination restaurants and entertainment venues. We will not see new destination restaurants and entertainment venues without giving investors the freedom to apply for a liquor license.

Is there a calculated risk? Sure. But, every time you climb into a moving vehicle you take a calculated risk of being hurt, even killed, in a terrible accident. Yet, last we checked, just about every one of us either drives or rides in a motor vehicle on a daily basis.

Just as motor vehicles have made dramatic safety improvements over the years, the PA Liquor Control Board has learned from past mistakes and made dramatic safety/community control improvements in recent years. The Conditional Licensing Agreements are those dramatic improvements. As a member of the Bellevue community, thanks to CLAs, you are now empowered to be a proactive member of your own community. You have the power to keep undesirable institutions from acquiring a liquor license. Additionally, if an established business with a current license takes an undesirable turn, you are empowered by the PLCB to protest the renewal of its license (which occurs every two years).

Again, it takes work to make a community thrive. We all want a better Bellevue. But we will never see an improved community if we do not open it up to the kind of investment so many other communities around us are seeing every single day. There is risk involved, but nothing worth doing comes without it.

Before wrapping up this post, we feel it essential to point out something you may not know. Four years ago, the group which championed the referendum was opposed by a formidable opposition in an organization known as “No Bars in Bellevue.” This year, though that organization’s signs are being recycled we found it strange that there wasn’t any new material coming from them on their website or Facebook page. After some significant research we believe we’ve figured out why that is. Without naming names, many of the individuals who originally led “No Bars” behind the scenes no longer live in Bellevue. Many of them have moved to areas with better economies, more attractive business districts, higher property values, lower property taxes, better schools, and the freedom to sell alcohol in their restaurants.

So, while our opposition has declined to little more than someone who knows how to block dissenting voices from a Facebook page, those of us championing the amazing benefits of finally passing the referendum have grown and dug even deeper roots into our community. Some of us have further invested in new property. Some of us have launched businesses here. Some of us have run for office and are actively serving our neighbors. And ALL OF US have poured our time, resources, and energy into acquiring and distributing the facts on this very important issue in our community.

Let’s create a better Bellevue. Let’s vote YES on May 19th!


5 Responses to “No Bars? No Worries! (Part 2)”

  1. I have a quote that would disagree with the other economists:
    “Well, permitting alcohol sales will surely not revitalize your town. Tell them an economist in Bellevue, Nebraska told you that—and you can take that to the bank.
    Businesses are attracted by a favorable climate of low taxes, access to a strong labor pool, and little regulation. Good infrastructure is helpful, too. Encourage a clean healthy environment. Bellevue needs to look and be attractive—like Bellevue, Nebraska!”-Dr. Patton
    (Professor Emeritus in Economics,Bellevue University,Bellevue, NE

    • Hi Beth
      I can tell from reading his post that the situation he is referring to is a separate issue to what we are referring to. Everything he says is absolutely right however he mentions it as if we are presenting alcohol sales as the cure all for everything. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I view alcohol sales as just another tool in the toolbox that can make Bellevue more attractive to restaurants and entertainment facilities to better round out our business offering and generate additional tax revenues that are sorely needed in our community. Keep in mind that the tax base of Bellevue is set. We can’t build more homes or develop more property to generate this additional revenue. We need to start brining outside money in not just through businesses but by attracting more people to spend their money in Bellevue.

      I am going to email this professor. I do see in the email you forwarded to me that he does have some bias based on his religious beliefs that alcohol negatively impacts a persons moral character so his views from an economist perspective are questionable.


    • Hi Beth,
      Nice to hear from you again. can you please post the exact email (word for word) of what you sent to this person? I’d like to see the entire conversation from start to finish. If he in fact has some religious bias against alcohol, then his opinion is a bit skewed. Let’s not forget that we can’t legislate morality.

      • I’m not the morality police.
        For me it is about another tax.

        Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table At which he’s fed.
        Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule.
        Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts Anyway!
        Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat.
        Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
        Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he tries to think.
        Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries, then tax his tears.
        Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass.
        Tax all he has Then let him know, That you won’t be done till he has no dough.
        When he screams and hollers Then tax him more,
        Tax him till he’s good and sore.
        Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he’s laid.
        Put these words Upon his tomb, ‘Taxes drove me to my doom.. . ‘
        When he’s gone, Do not relax, Its time to apply The inheritance tax.

  2. If this economist knew about our obscene property taxes and recent attempts at unnecessary regulation in comparison to neighboring municipalities, he may actually go back on his statement.

    Alcohol alone will not revitalize this town, but it may be the small step that starts progress. Bellevue is stagnant at best. We have the demographics of a college town and a nearly-tapped tax base. Nightlife will spur development and investment. No other single attribute about Bellevue is enough to spur development and investment over any other similar community. Millvale is a great example of how alcohol has led to investment and revitalization. A former Catholic church converted to a concert hall (with alcohol sales) has led to two destination craft breweries, new shops and restaurants, and additional tax money to start their first library. It actually is putting the dive bars & greasy spoon restaurants out of business and attracting young families to Millvale of all places.

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