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Friendswood voters have choices for two council seats

March 6, 2017 GMT

Friendswood City Council seats 2 and 5 will be on the May 6 ballot.

Position 2

Sally Harris Branson and Omar Peck are running for Position 2, after councilman Billy Enochs announced in January he would be making a run for Galveston County Commissioner in 2018.

Branson is a financial advisor for Raymond James Financial Services. She serves as a branch manager for the corporation in Friendswood.

“My parents moved me to Friendswood when I was younger and it didn’t take long for it to feel like home here,” she said.

Branson also has worked on several city events, including the Texas Music Fest, an annual event bringing country music headliners and hundreds of visitors to the city.

“Sometimes you don’t know it’s the right time to do something until you’re in the middle of it,” Branson said. “That’s what I’m experiencing now. I had always wanted to run for council because I very much want to give back to the community, but I wasn’t sure when it would be the right time. I had several people ask me if I was running and I thought that was enough to show me that the right time was now.”

Branson has also worked on the city’s planning and zoning committee. She is also interested in the revitalization of downtown.

“It’s so important to me that our residents have the best that we can give them,” she said. “We also want visitors to Friendswood to know who we are - revitalizing downtown would go a long way in doing that.”

Peck believes that the city is a wonderful example of the microcosm of America.

“Friendswood is a small community, and here, we respect God, family and country,” he said.

Peck said that he wants to assure good stewardship of taxpayer’s money in addition to being mindful of growth outside of Friendswood’s city limits. He said that as areas like League City, Manvel and Alvin grow, it brings additional traffic through Friendswood.

“Our town is small, but the communities around us are growing,” he said.

“That’s bringing extra traffic and people through Friendswood every day. I think it’s important that we look at what this could mean for Friendswood and try to mitigate any potential negative impact it could have before it happens.”

These considerations, he said, should include traffic studies and potential upgrades on roadways and other infrastructure to mitigate traffic issues.

Peck said that the decisions he would make as a councilman are not decisions he would take lightly.

“Council has a responsibility to the community to do what’s right for Friendswood as a whole,” he said. “My whole family lives here – this is my home and I want to run because I love the city and the people in it.”

Position 5

John Scott, who could not be reached for comment, will run for his Position 5 seat against challenger David O’Farrell.

O’Farrell, a Realtor, has been a commissioner on the planning and zoning commission. He said if he is elected, he wants to maintain the stability and momentum Friendswood has seen in recent years.

He also wants to make upgrades to current infrastructure.

O’Farrell wants to revitalize downtown Friendswood.

“I want to make sure that we plan not only for the future, but keep the assets that we already have in mind. Our downtown area could use some revitalization - cities all over the country are revitalizing their downtown areas and making them destinations. That’s what I’d like to see happen in Friendswood,” said O’Farrell.

O’Farrell said that there are many business owners in the area who drive out of the city every day for work.

He believes revitalizing downtown and the surrounding area might make Friendswood a more attractive location for some of those larger companies whose owners already are based within city limits.

“Not only would that benefit the business owners, but it would also benefit the city as far as bringing jobs and other positive economic impact to the area,” he said.

proposed charter amendments

Residents also will be voting on some proposed amendments to the city charter.

Proposition 1 proposes that the charter be amended to state that no elected person will serve more than a total of four three-term years.

Proposition 2 suggests updating the listed year in which each city council position goes up for election.

Proposition 3 would allow for city council to appoint someone to fill a council vacancy if there is less than one year remaining in the office at the time the vacancy occurs.

Proposition 4 requires that all ordinances proposed for an agenda would need approval from a majority of all county council members before forwarding to the city attorney.

Proposition 5 would eliminate the requirement that proposed ordinances be posted at City Hall at least 72 hours before the first reading of that ordinance. Proposed ordinances would still need to be posted in a public place at least 72 hours before the first reading, however.

Proposition 6 would allow ordinances that require two readings to be carried at either a regular council meeting or special council session.

Proposition 7 clarifies that an ordinance which requires two readings and does not receive approval of the final reading within 90 days is rejected

Proposition 8 would make clear that removal or appointment of the city manager requires a positive vote from at least five council members.

For more information on the election, go to www.ci.friendswood.tx.us/Elections/