Welcome to a new day in Bellevue! Today, Monday, January 4, marks the first day of a promising new borough council. A council we believe is finally poised to pursue the cohesive vision and effect the necessary changes our community desperately needs to join the ranks of the numerous revitalizing communities flourishing in our region.
About five years ago, when Liberty in Bellevue first launched, our mission was simple: to pursue a government that is accountable to the community and capable of leading Bellevue to a brighter future. After many years of woeful disengagement and very little accountability, our local government was led by one or two powerbrokers and their friends/family. To say Bellevue Council was ripe with corruption and driven almost entirely by personal agendas and vendettas would be the understatement of the decade.
After more than a year of putting the chaos that had become of our local government on full display for the voters via unedited, raw videos and regular blog posts, in 2013 everything changed when the public responded in dramatic fashion by blocking three of the four problematic members of our council from returning to office.
Throughout the past two years, our most recent council has served its constituents better than its predecessor while still leaving some essential areas for improvement. While we haven’t seen the endless chaos and in fighting that was once a mainstay of the monthly meetings of Bellevue Council, our current council has still struggled to proactively lead our community towards a cohesive vision necessary for holistic community health and progress. If we’ve learned anything from many of the healthier, redeveloping communities throughout the Pittsburgh metro region it’s that pursuing a cohesive, strategic vision is absolutely vital. Today, there’s no discernable vision for Bellevue’s future. Our council serves primarily from a reactive posture, merely responding to the tell tale symptoms of a struggling community rather than leading us past them.
This is why we are absolutely thrilled to celebrate the addition of two proven leaders and lifelong community servants to Bellevue Council tonight. We have every confidence that Tom Fodi and Grant Saylor will provide the visionary leadership Bellevue desperately needs to help it become the next big thing in the Pittsburgh region’s ongoing renaissance. We are also hopeful that this new council will elect a visionary and effective leader as its next president. Along with the swearing in of all newly and re-elected council members, reorganization meetings are opportunities for the new council to shuffle their leadership around. With former president Mark Helbling no longer a member of Bellevue Council, a new president must be chosen. We truly hope to see the new council make the right choice in nominating and electing Kathy Coder to serve as president for the coming term. Councilwoman Coder has proven herself time and time again as the key visionary our community needs throughout her service on council. Additionally, Coder has created a network of power players, influencers, and leaders from around our region who all now have their interests peaked in what the future of Bellevue could look under her leadership.