Heritage Corner: Early Bellevue Newsmakers – James Ditty and the Bellevue Observer

The course of Bellevue’s development did not always run smooth. In the years immediately following incorporation, some citizens objected to the actions of the City Council and other government officials, especially regarding zoning and land-use regulations. One of the most outspoken critics was long-time Bellevue resident James Ditty, who had substantial holdings in the downtown corridor. Ditty went one better than most dissenters when he began publishing his own newspaper to air his objections.

Heritage Corner is a weekly feature of the Bellevue News. Material is provided by the

Eastside Heritage Center.

The course of Bellevue’s development did not always run smooth. In the years immediately following incorporation, some citizens objected to the actions of the City Council and other government officials, especially regarding zoning and land-use regulations. One of the most outspoken critics was long-time Bellevue resident James Ditty, who had substantial holdings in the downtown corridor. Ditty went one better than most dissenters when he began publishing his own newspaper to air his objections.

The Bellevue Observer, advertised as “Bellevue’s Independent Medium of Comment and Opinion,” ran for only a few months in 1959. Two to four pages in length, the paper contained editorials by Ditty and his co-publisher W. E. “Chili” Brazda, as well as business-related news items.

A photograph of historic Bellevue usually appeared on the front page. The paper focused on the actions of the City Council and was highly critical in tone. Despite its short run, the Bellevue Observer is valuable as a snapshot of the political climate of early Bellevue and a glimpse into the mind of a strong-willed individual who cared deeply about the future of his city.

To learn more about Bellevue and Eastside history, contact the Eastside Heritage Center at 425-450-1049 or visit www.EastsideHeritageCenter.org.