Bellaire voters will start returning to the polls today in the Dec. 9 runoff election for a new mayor, deciding between attorneys Gus Pappas and Aaron Perry.
The two closest polling places are at HCC West Loop, 5601 West Loop South, and Bayland Park Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet St. Early voting will run through Dec. 5, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily except for Sunday, Dec. 3, when the hours will be from 12 noon-7 p.m. Additional polling places, a sample ballot, and other information is available at HarrisVotes.com.
At 42 percent, Pappas — a former two-term councilmember and mayor pro tem — was the top vote-getter in the three-way general election, with Perry — a newcomer to Bellaire government affairs — garnering 30 percent to get past Councilman Nathan Wesely to force a runoff. They are seeking to succeed eight-year Mayor Andrew Friedberg, who reached term limits.
The race has been a costly one by Bellaire standards, with Perry raising $57,000 and Pappas about $14,000, according to forms they filed in the first two filing periods.
Following are the answers the candidates submitted in response to an Essentials questionnaire at the beginning of the election process about their backgrounds and motivation to run (in the order they appear on the ballot):
Occupation: Trial Lawyer, owns and manages a civil practice law firm in Bellaire.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Houston; law degree from South Texas College of Law.
Government/community involvement: Felony Prosecuting Attorney for the state of Texas representing victims in Brazoria County. Bellaire Little League; Big Brothers/Big Sisters volunteer, sponsoring a little brother.
Years in Bellaire: 10
Family: Wife, Tracy, is a practicing physician; sons Brooks and Jack, 9 and 12.
What is motivating you to run? This race is about our community and our future. I am motivated to run because our city calls for someone with leadership skills to step up and speak truth. Crime and public safety should NEVER be compromised. This cannot and will not happen in Bellaire under my plan. If you cannot contain crime, homelessness or public safety in your city, you have no city. Look nationally at what is happening and the increased crime spike in neighboring Houston. We should not minimize property crime and heed the warnings of what is to come. Our children’s future and the integrity of our city depend on us.
Gus E. Pappas
Occupation: Attorney at Law
Education: University of Houston, BBA in Marketing, 1984; South Texas College of Law, JD, 1988
Government/community involvement: Eight years on Bellaire City Council, four) as mayor pro tem; Bellaire youth sports coach.
Years in Bellaire: 25
Family: Spouse, Pamela; children, Elena, Lexi and Demi.
What is motivating you to run? The source of my motivation to be mayor of Bellaire arises from the deep sense of gratitude that I feel for being allowed to come to this country by, literally, an Act of Congress in 1964, and the personal joy that results from accomplishments, small and large alike, while a part of a team whose sole goal is the selfless commitment to public service.