During his closing remarks near the end of the final 2017 council meeting, Bellevue Councilman Tom Hrynda offered a glowing review of all that he and “his team” accomplished throughout the year. Speaking largely of Bellevue’s 150th Celebration, Hrynda had much reason to take credit for what his team was able to accomplish. They did a fantastic job and Bellevue was honored by their efforts. However, at the very end of his remarks, Hrynda encapsulated why our local government has historically been so dysfunctional with four little words. Just as he wound down his remarks, Councilman Hrynda turned towards me and said, “After all that happened this year, I guess we win, you lose.”
We win. You lose.
I get it. Politics can be brutal and, as the recent Bellevue election demonstrated, local politics is anything BUT immune to this fact. But, it doesn’t have to be. And, especially now that the election is over, I’ll never understand why the “We win. You lose” mentality persists.
The only true losers when elected officials, especially local elected officials, operate from the philosophy of “We win. You Lose,” are those who make up the community. Bellevue has gotten the short end of the stick for years as various age-old political factions have waged war against one another for control, and once gaining control, fighting tooth and nail to keep it.
None of this serves to the benefit of Bellevue. It has to end now.
Tonight at 8PM a brand new council and mayor will be sworn into office. Along with being brand new, this new council stands in stark contrast to countless others before it by being quite young, politically speaking. As of tonight, only one member of council will have been in office for more than two years. While in many professions, lack of experience may be a reason for concern, in local politics I see it as having far less political baggage and unhealthy political allegiances to wade through.
I’m excited to work with this new council and the new mayor. I’m excited to serve, lead, and improve the community we all know and love together. We have an all too rare opportunity to put to rest the old political philosophies of “We win. You lose” and finally work together saying, “We win when Bellevue wins!” The election is over. The choices have been made. The only thing which remains to be seen is whether or not Bellevue will benefit or suffer by the choices the voters made. My prayer for this new council is that when we look at back at our service together two years from now, Bellevue will have improved dramatically by the service we offered together and the old petty political divides that once dominated the local tabloid are as archaic to us as tabloid newspapers are themselves.
The official reorganization meeting begins tonight at 8PM in Bellevue Council Chambers. Join us if you’re able!