The race is on: Bellaire mayor will run again (with possible opponent), 3 declare for council

By Charlotte Aguilar

Mayor Andrew Friedberg is running, but he may face opposition for re-election in November, with Councilmember Roman Reed saying he is “definitely considering” a run for the top spot as he faces term limits for his council seat.

“Serving Bellaire as mayor has been a very fulfilling experience, and I appreciate the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to our community,” Friedberg said to InstantNews. “The response I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m both grateful and humbled by that.”

Reed, who has served two terms as Position 1 councilmember, denied that he is using his current attempts to review and possibly overturn a ban on dogs in Bellaire parks as a springboard to a campaign.

“I promise you this: I will never use an issue for political gain,” he said. “My weakness might be that I speak my mind from the heart and don’t play the political game, but I am proud of that.”
With two months until filing can begin officially and six months until the election, races are also beginning to shape up for three council vacancies.

Position 5 incumbent Michael Fife, who won election to fill a two-year term left when Friedberg ran for mayor, said she’s “not ready to retire yet” and will file “unless something significant would intervene. I think there is still unfinished business for the current council,” she told InstantNews by email, “and I have really enjoyed working with my colleagues.”

Incumbent Position 3 Councilmember Gus Pappas has not responded to InstantNews’ question about whether he’ll run for re-election.

Two other candidates have come forward and will literally jockey for “position” because of Bellaire’s council structure where candidates are elected by and represent the city at-large but are elected in position match-ups. Neither has decided which seat to seek.

Saying, “there are issues I still feel strongly about influencing,” two-term councilman Jim Avioli, who was term limited in the last election, said he will run again. He has been serving on the city’s Board of Adjustment since leaving council and said he has remained plugged into what council is tackling with “no learning curve required.”

Kevin Newman, who ran unsuccessfully in 2015 on a platform emphasizing public safety and transportation issues, also confirmed he will seek a position again. He has been serving on the city’s seniors advisory board since the last election.

The first day to apply for a place on the ballot is July 22, with the general election set for Nov. 7.