Bellaire Voter Guide 2019: Mayoral candidates

Bellaire residents will choose between two mayoral candidates in November, incumbent Andrew Friedberg and opponent Robert Riquelmy.

Community Impact Newspaper sends questions to candidates ahead of local elections and publishes their responses. For fairness, each candidate is asked the same questions and given a word limit to answer each question. Answers may be edited for length, spelling and grammar.

Riquelmy did not respond to requests to participate by the Community Impact Newspaper deadline.

Andrew Friedberg (incumbent)
Occupation and experience: Attorney in the oil and gas industry; Mayor, 2016-present; Council Member, 2010-15; Chair, Sunset Review Committee, 2011-12; Planning & Zoning Commission, 2007-09; Bellaire Historical Society, Webmaster; Bellaire Masonic Lodge; Six years in U.S. Army National Guard

Bellaire High School; B.A. (Economics and Government), B.B.A. (Finance); University of Texas at Austin J.D., Harvard Law School

What issues do you care most about addressing in Bellaire?
Friedberg: I believe in Bellaire. These past few years we’ve had our share of challenges, and we’re working through them toward an even brighter future.

Flooding remains our top priority. We’ve taken the lead working with our regional partners while continuing to make systematic progress on local drainage improvements.

Commercial redevelopment should be consistent with and supportive of our residential character. We must continue guarding against undesirable impacts, while also seeking to harness the benefits.

Among such benefits tax base growth and diversity, as we strive to balance the premier services our residents expect against the rising costs of providing them.

What is your position on Bellaire's approach to zoning?
Friedberg: Our zoning is one of the primary things that sets us apart and makes us who we are. It directly contributes to our quality of life, even in ways not always recognized.

While zoning protects our residential character against undesired development outcomes, it also provides tools to attract the kinds of development we want. I’m proud to have played a role in drafting our comprehensive plan when on P&Z, and since then in implementing it on Council. It’s gratifying seeing its vision fulfilled with exciting new development including restaurants and retail residents enjoy and support right here in Bellaire.

How would you approach balancing the city's budget amid state limits on property tax increases?
Friedberg: Nobody likes taxes. But we also understand that the city services we expect and depend on cost money, and the budget is about what’s important to us and what we’re willing to pay for. State revenue caps are not new, and neither is the need to replenish our declining ending fund balances, something we’ve been paying careful attention to for years.

We’ve significantly cut non-recurring expenses and deferred capital spending to keep the budget in balance, without compromising service levels. We should also continue developing alternative revenue sources and diversify our tax base to ease the burden on residential taxpayers.



I-59 highway
Southbound lanes on Loop 610, I-69 to have nightly closures until Friday

Two southbound outside lanes from Westheimer Road down to the Fournace Place ramp on Loop 610 will be closed 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning tonight until Friday, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Pier 1 stores closing
Amid nationwide closures, local Pier 1 stores to shut down

Pier 1 Imports stores in Meyerland and Rice Village will be closing their doors, though a store in River Oaks will remain open.

New studio aims to bring the fun in coding for kids

A fully interactive coding studio is bringing its high-tech features to The Galleria in June.

A Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County study on eliminating ride fares left both METRO board members and officials seemingly unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO board of directors say free fare 'not feasible' for transit authority

A METRO study on eliminating ride fares left board members and officials unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County.

Houston City Council approves revisions to 2015 flood buyout processes

New guidelines adjust single-family and multifamily home buyout process for those affected by 2015 floods.

Breathing Center of Houston moves therapy rehab to new location

Breathing Center of Houston has moved one of its locations to 6108 S. Rice Ave., Houston, on Jan. 8 from its old location on Beechnut Street. The new center offers a more modern decor along with the same program offerings, including outpatient rehabilitation, which focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with lung disease or chronic lung issues. Patients interact one-on-one with medical therapists to learn breathing techniques and strength and endurance exercises. 713-660-0663.

Meyerland HEB
H-E-B announces Meyerland store opening date

H-E-B will open its new Meyerland Plaza location Jan. 29 at 4700 Beechnut St., Houston.

(Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concert tickets go on sale Jan. 16

Lower-level seating options are already very limited.

Texas oil and gas industry could see a major slowdown in 2020

The oil and natural gas industry paid a record-setting $16.3 billion in taxes and royalties to local governments and the state in 2019, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

HGA driver Derek King picks up a patient from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in Spring before transporting her to the Texas Medical Center. (Courtesy Derek King)
Houston Ground Angels seeking volunteers to drive patients to Texas Medical Center

Houston Ground Angels is a nonprofit organization that provides transportation between local airports and the Texas Medical Center for patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases and illnesses.

Chevron Houston Marathon
Chevron Marathon 2020 street closures, places to watch and cheer on

This year’s Chevron Houston Marathon will bring 27,000 estimated participants into the area on Jan. 19.

Image courtesy ABC 13
Bellaire PD: Suspect arrested in connection with shooting death at Bellaire High School

Via ABC13: A student shot at Bellaire High School has died, sources told ABC13 Tuesday. Officials say the suspect is still on the loose.

Back to top