Bellevue Election 2015: It’s Time for a New Council, It’s Time for a New Bellevue!

When was the last time you proudly proclaimed, “I live in Bellevue!”

We used to. When many of us were children, we did. Bellevue was the envy of many communities. We weren’t “the city,” but close enough to it to reap the benefits. We once had gorgeous turn of the century homes that could house large families at reasonable cost. We once prided ourselves with a top notch school district which had the resources to provide ample opportunity for our students. We once had a walkable business district that included fabulous arts and craft stores, boutiques, toy stores, candy shops, multiple grocery stores and hardware stores, unique eateries, a bowling alley, and movie theater!

Despite the fact that it’s now 2015, we still don’t have the ability to travel through time. We cannot go back and magically transport Bellevue’s glory days from the past to the present. The past is firmly left in the past, but the opportunities of Bellevue’s future are plenty and just waiting to be harnessed.

We recently sat down and had a conversation with the three candidates ready  to lead the charge of Bellevue’s renaissance: Tom Fodi, Grant Saylor, and Aaryn Hogue. Here’s what they told us about why they’re running and their dreams for Bellevue.

Tom Fodi (Ward 3):
Bellevue is just begging to be the next big thing in Pittsburgh. It has everything every revitalized community throughout our region has, and then some. I spend a lot of time throughout the metro region. I visit towns like Carnegie, Dormont, Braddock, the East End, etc fairly often. The one thing I find in these regions which is sorely lacking in Bellevue is cohesive, proactive, and visionary leadership. Bellevue has a council the currently majors in the minors. They argue for months over what rules we should employ in the park or how much to charge people who actually want to park their cars along Lincoln Ave, meanwhile significant portions of our business district (which is the life blood of our town) rots and decays. Bellevue Council should be directing the full might of its power towards revitalizing the business district. Are there other issues in Bellevue? Of course! But what these other towns have discovered to be true is that as their business district goes, so the entire community goes. If Lincoln Avenue sees new investment and growth, the property values of our homes and the revenue in our school district will begin to increase for the first time in a decade!

11012165_10204738955010521_5483587425360357590_nGrant Saylor (Ward 3): I agree with Tom. Our council must bend over backwards to make it desirable to do business in Bellevue again, because right now it’s anything but. I would also add that our local government needs to operate transparently. LiB did a good job when it started filming council meetings and making them available to the public. I believe we were told council would start filming and posting meetings themselves,  but every time I’m in a council meeting their camera is turned off and unused. We don’t even get minutes from our business meetings in a timely manner. It’s nearly impossible right now to know what our government is doing with our tax dollars. Ordinances, resolutions, the budget, our spending vs income, and Bellevue’s policy on anything that may concern local residents and business owners should be but a mouse click away. Government works to serve the people, not the other way around. We are elected to serve the people.

12006256_316078511849769_2094661880344696714_nAaryn Hogue (Ward 1): I’m 100% on board with everything Tom and Grant have already said. One of my primary focuses if elected would be what I call “getting Bellevue dressed for success.” Successful leaders often say, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That same truth applies to Bellevue. We need to clean up our act. This is a multi-pronged issue but in effect it means cleaning up our streets, getting code enforcement to do its job consistently, working with business owners to beautify our main street, and overall just making Bellevue a far more attractive community. I’d also add, a serious detriment to our community growth are our egregiously high property taxes. Recently the mayor announced his 2016 Bellevue Budget Proposal. He patted himself on the back for not needing to increase property taxes to meet his budget. That’s great. But, when are we ever going to see a decrease in our property taxes so that we’re actually competitive with our neighboring communities again!?

Tom, Grant, and Aaryn represent the new energy, new ideas, and new leadership Bellevue sorely needs. Their opponents, the long standing incumbents Linda Woshner and Jim Scisciani, have been on council for a quarter of a century combined. While we applaud anyone who willingly steps forward to serve their community, we stand firm in our conviction that if Bellevue is going to turn the corner and thrive once again, it simply won’t do so under the reign of the same old people with the same old ideas.

Election day is Tuesday, November 3rd. Depending on your ward, your polling places are scattered throughout the borough. Refer to the Ward map linked here for more information on where to vote. Please be sure to make time to vote on Tuesday. Do not skip this election. Your vote matters. Bellevue has had elections decided by a single vote on more than one occasion (it happened last election cycle, in fact!). Your community needs you. Get out and vote!!


5 Responses to “Bellevue Election 2015: It’s Time for a New Council, It’s Time for a New Bellevue!”

  1. Ms. Hogue, I looked over the letter to Council and cannot, for the life of me, find where I patted my self on the back. Best of luck in the election. If you are successful, I look forward to working with you to improve Bellevue.

    • Mr. Mayor, I don’t mean to diminish the importance of balancing a budget without raising taxes because I know it’s no easy endeavor. However, it’s precisely what you SHOULD be doing. For far too long governments and school districts have not done what the individuals and families who ultimately foot the bills are expected to do (live within their means). Thank you for the well wishes. If elected, I too look forward to working with you to not only hold the line, but to forge ahead for the sake of our community and the taxpayers who ultimately support it.

  2. I see you corrected the main article’s election date. Are you going to send a correction e mail announcement in case people do not link to your main article?

  3. Are you going to correct the mass e mail? Am I the only subscriber? Your peeps might not make it to the polls.   From: “Liberty in Bellevue, PA” To: Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 2:25 PM Subject: [New post] Bellevue Election 2015: It’s Time for a New Council, It’s Time for a New Bellevue! #yiv6632106848 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6632106848 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6632106848 a.yiv6632106848primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6632106848 a.yiv6632106848primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6632106848 a.yiv6632106848primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6632106848 a.yiv6632106848primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6632106848 | Admin posted: “When was the last time you proudly proclaimed, “I live in Bellevue!”We used to. When many of us were children, we did. Bellevue was the envy of many communities. We weren’t “the city,” but close enough to it to reap the benefits. We once had gorgeous ” | |

  4. What we need to starting working on to reduce our high property taxes is a merger between Bellevue and Avalon. Consolidation of services is required and the elimination of some jobs is a must in a merger. It is not the responsibility of government to provide jobs but to provide services and promote safety.

    The business district is a mess and code enforcement must be a priority. The signage on some of the businesses and lack of upkeep of storefronts make Lincoln Avenue look like a third world bazaar. And the parking meters have to go. People will not shop if they have to worry about parking tickets. Simply create and enforce two hour parking. And instead of wasting money on bump outs repair the sidewalks and bury the overhead wires.

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