Content about Law


Okay, folks, get comfortable. This is going to take a while. Not nearly as long a while as Tuesday's three-hour Bellevue Council meeting, but there's a whole lot of muddy ground to be covered once your brain thaws out from that experience.


Imagine the following scenario:


In law school, we liked to call it advocacy, and litigators-to-be practiced and polished the various techniques of presenting a position in a compelling -- and hopefully convincing -- manner. Bottom line, though -- it was arguing. :Lawyers elevate arguing to an art form, but it's still arguing. Two sides present their reasons why a specific conclusion should or should not be reached -- you know, they argue.


Planting trees has become an international movement. Who doesn't realize the massive impact trees have on everything from the economy to the climate? In a world that is slowly realizing that the earth's resources are not finite, trees are the poster children for the green movement.

So why the fuss over spending $2,500 to plant some trees in a Bellevue park?


Bellevue officials have spent most of the past month drowning in the issue of how to manage the Memorial Park swimming pool this year.

Some officials say that the pool is safer and better run with a professional pool management company. The other side denies that, and says running the pool in-house takes a lot fewer tax dollars.


My favorite TV show has returned to ABC -- "What would you do?"

This show sets up scenarios, using actors, that present innocent bystanders with what essentially are moral dilemmas. Most people know what they SHOULD do, but the show explores why some people just don't do it.

For instance, one of last night's scenarios involved people in a restaurant who observed someone stealing another patron's laptop computer. The responses ran the gamut, from people who did nothing, to people who chased down the culprit.


I hope a lot of Bellevue residents are planning to attend the budget hearing on Monday. Bellevue Council needs to hear your voices when it comes to their plan to increase property taxes by a quarter-mill and raise the sewer surcharge.

The fiscal situation in Bellevue was summed up quite brilliantly by council president Kathy Coder at the last meeting: "It's like having cable t.v. when you have no food on the table."

She was referring to Bellevue financing a swimming pool while not having money for the necessities.

She gets it.

Some others clearly do not.


To say that I am disappointed in the proposed 2012 budget for the Borough of Bellevue is putting it mildly.

It's not so much the tax increase. It's not even the sewer surcharge increase.

It's the fact that this town obviously is governed by a whole bunch of people who just don't get it.


I checked to see if there was a full moon on Wednesday. Given the jaw-dropping displays that occurred in government settings across the North Boroughs, I was sure the moon was exerting some major influence.

Nope. No full moon. Not even a new moon, or even a quarter moon. The moon could not be responsible.

There must be something in the water.


Although Bellevue Council meetings have been lengthy and full of redundancies lately, the outright hostility of meetings past has been a bit muted.

At least in public.

Out of the public meeting chamber, the skate plaza and resignation of the assistant DAS have lit the simmering embers of outright loathing that exist among some members of council.

Apparently some members of council blame some of their colleagues for the loss of ADAS Katie Hale, even though it has been reported that personal circumstances may have played a major role in her decision.


Let me just say up front that I have no problem with events at which alcoholic beverages are served and/or imbibed.

I also do not have a problem with adults using alcohol as a means of fund-raising for youth-related activities. I have been to any number of nights at the races, octoberfests, oldies dances, etc. to support a variety of community organizations, including such youth programs as football, cheerleading, bands, etc.

There were, however, no youth present at any of these fund-raisers.


The more cynical among us have probably already noted that the Northgate School Board waited until after the primary election to decide that, darn it, they were going to have to raise taxes after all.

The rest of you better catch up fast.

Because after telling everyone that there would be no tax increase this year, that's exactly what this board plans to do Monday night, as announced one week before they planned to vote.


The fourth annual Summer Solstice Spectacular will be held June 23 - 26.

The “Pampered Pooch Promenade” will lead the way at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, from the YMCA patio at 629 Lincoln Ave. Registration for pooches to participate is $5. Proceeds will benefit The Bellevue Dog Woods.

Friday, June 24 is the “meet and greet” in Bayne Park. Residents can pack a picnic basket and meet their neighbors at street signs in the park.


We tend to expect a great deal of our elected officials, even on the local level. This results in varying degrees of disappointment on many occasions, and perhaps we need to realign our expectations.

The one thing that I have always maintained is a fundamental expectation that must be met is attendance. The least anyone can do is show up.

Whether it's students attending school, employees going to work, or elected officials making it to meetings, if you can't show up, the likelihood of you accomplishing anything else of notable significance is pretty iffy.


I have never laid claim to being a math whiz, but sometimes it just comes down to common sense. Sometimes -- no matter how fast you talk -- things just don't add up.

The proposed Bellevue vacation policy is one of those things -- just doesn't add up.

Right now, if you get hired full-time by Bellevue Borough, you get two weeks of paid vacation after you have worked for a year. So if you are hired on June 1, 2011, on June 1, 2012 you can take off for two weeks.


I have to applaud the Avonworth School Board and administration for the creative thinking that has gone into dealing with the district's budget deficit.

No one wants to lay off employees or cut programs, but Avonworth officials have demonstrated that they are willing and able to do what has to be done to live within their means.

At this point, any thinking is good thinking, and we're seeing no thinking coming out of Northgate officials.


I wish I could be kinder about the idea to increase parking meter rates in Bellevue, but it's such a horrendously bad idea that I really can't. It's a dumb idea just about any way you look at it.


I hope that I am not the only person stunned by a suggestion made at Bellevue Council's meeting on Tuesday, but given the lack of horrified gasps in the room, that may very well be the case.


When I was in college, I took a class on Native American culture that introduced me to the writings of Carlos Casteneda.

Now, Casteneda -- in spite of, or perhaps because of, the ingestion of various natural mushroom-type substances popular at one time in our not too distant history -- imparted several fascinating personal philosophies. The one that has stuck with me over the decades is that reality is a relative concept.


Being an EOE (equal opportunity editorialist), it is only fair that we take a look at Avalon's proposed "excessive calls" ordinance with the same jaundiced eye used to evaluate Bellevue's "nuisance tenant" ordinance a few years ago. Both fall into the same category of well-intentioned efforts that have taken the form of terrifyingly bad laws.


A letter to the editor in this week's paper asks whether property tax millage increases being considered by both local school boards are justified.

Good question.


The vast majority of Lincoln Avenue building and business owners missed a great meeting this week about the Allegheny Together program.

By "vast majority" we mean all but about a half-dozen. Actually, less than that.


Most societies -- like most religions -- find that things work a whole lot better when they have rules. Given the boundless creativity of human beings, it's just a whole lot easier when people are told very clearly what they can and cannot do.

There are some, of course, who will argue that it is possible to create a utopian society in which boundaries are determined by the individual. That's why there are a bunch of 40-year-olds walking around with names like Moonbeam and Lettuce. Hippie communes died out real fast once those kids hit junior high.


Angelo Cammarata Angelo H. Cammarata, 101, of Ross Township, husband of the late Marietta Cammarata, died Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Passavant Hospital.