Letters to the Editor 6-22-12

Lacking Leadership

Editor:

It takes courage, integrity, morals, and honesty to lead. I do not see this reflected in the current [Bellevue] administration. Yes, there are some borough council members who I admire and have been in contact with that I greatly appreciate and indeed do have the aforementioned qualities. But a few do not, and most notably the mayor does not.

I was at the last council meeting on Tuesday, June 12, in support of the new outdoor burning ordinance along with a group of like-minded citizens. I witnessed the mayor consistently interrupting proceedings to bring up the fact that his son was not hired by the borough this past spring. Also, once the burning ordinance was favorably voted on by council (and I thank the council members who voted in favor!) the mayor had an angry tirade about how he was going to veto it because it was "unenforceable." Isn't it his job to help make safety and health ordinances enforceable? [Mayor George] Doscher later advocated "civil disobedience," daring citizens to try calling in a complaint because it would be ignored. This came across as a temper tantrum of someone who did not get his way. It could have been said differently or solutions been
offered.

The most disappointing and sad part of that meeting was afterwards, when the mayor took myself, my husband, and my son (who is of college age and wanted to witness a democratic council meeting) aside to tell us that we wasted our time coming to the meeting and that nothing would be enforced. My husband was upset and mentioned that this attitude was just one more thing about Bellevue that was causing people to move away... and that word was out that the Mayor himself was leaving the borough. At that point the mayor became extremely agitated and started yelling and throwing a fit, and to add insult to injury, the mayor's wife appeared and launched into a profanity- filled frenzy, which I know would not be published here if I would write it. I have never been so embarrassed in front of my son.

If the mayor would put as much zeal and energy into improving the borough, or making residents feel protected and safe, then we would be somewhere. But
sadly, he is placing his own interests and emotions above our welfare.

A bad mayor can have a large influence on a town within a very short amount of time. There is such a thing as "recalling" a mayor, when enough citizens band together. The trend of recalling wayward mayors in the United States has been steady since the 1950s.

I ask all residents to think about the fate of Bellevue as a community, and what is at stake right now.

Debbi Overly
Bellevue

[Editor’s note: Mayor Doscher was given the opportunity to present his side of the post-meeting interchange described above. His response is printed below.]

I did invite the couple to the hallway after the meeting to explain to them that the Bellevue burning ordinance was largely the same as what Allegheny County has had in place for many years and that it probably would not solve any of the issues that the wife had voiced in the meeting. I also said that I doubted very much if the section on grill placement could be effectively enforced. I did not, nor would I, ever tell anyone that Bellevue would not enforce an ordinance, as this would be outside the scope of my authority. The husband was indeed upset and went on to state that I closed the Bellevue movie theater and bowling alley. I responded that I had no ability to keep a business open or to close one and that was a decision by that business. When the wife made the statement that we (my wife and I)were the problem and we think Bellevue is so bad that we put our house on the market and are leaving town ([my wife] Barb, who was present for the entire conversation) replied that the issue of our home being for sale was irrelevant to this conversation and not their concern for they knew not the reason. At this time the husband used profanity to Barb and she replied with the same to him. I then asked Barb to walk away. I did not throw a fit or have a meltdown, but I did loudly and forcibly "suggest" that the husband watch his mouth when addressing my wife, and he needed to address me that way if he would so choose.

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