They say, “You can’t fight City Hall.” Well, I believe that we shouldn’t have to fight City Hall. Local government exists to serve the residents, not the other way around. When I first campaigned for City Council, I pledged to put residents first. That meant I wouldn’t put special interests ahead of the public interest. Nor would I look to developers or other outside groups for direction. Instead I will prioritize our residential quality of life and put you first.
In my work on the Council, and as Mayor this past year and in 2013-2014, I hope you agree that my record proves that I’ve honored that pledge. Let me highlight some of my accomplishments in office.
Fiscal responsibility is one of the core duties – or should be — for any elected official. Unfunded pension liabilities loom large over many municipalities and Beverly Hills is no exception.
- I stood firm against giveaways in our contract negotiations with city employee associations.
- And I urged Council to limit increases to our generous salary and benefits packages.
- I also opposed what I believed to be unwarranted increases in water rates.
- I have taken a firm line on city costs.
Transparency is a cornerstone of accountable government.
- As Mayor I created the Sunshine Task Force to promote openness at City Hall and to increase public participation among residents.
- We were able to change the City’s e-mail retention policy from a very short thirty days to a full two years. Had that outgoing policy been in place today, we might, for example, never have learned the story behind the improper clear-cutting of trees on parcels 12 and 13.
Technology is crucial to keeping Beverly Hills a world-class city. We have already taken important steps toward making ours a ‘smart city.’
- We are moving forward with Fiber to the Premises to provide fast, affordable Internet connectivity to households. But there is more to do.
- Autonomous vehicles is the leading edge of transportation research today, and I want Beverly Hills to become an early adopter. My proposal for a municipal autonomous shuttle system, I believe, will address our city’s congestion and parking challenges. It would also put our city at the forefront of outside-the-box thinking where it comes to problems like reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- I support the increased use of close-circuit cameras and ALPR’s (automatic license plate readers) along with other emerging technologies, which can be a valuable force multiplier for our police and make our City even safer.
Protecting our city
Protecting our city is every elected official’s first responsibility. I will continue to fight for the City’s unique charm and quality of life.
- In 2010 I helped to craft a General Plan that aims to keep Beverly Hills a low-rise, human-scale and livable city. It is not just a suggestion; the General Plan must be respected. Yet there are unending efforts to circumvent the planning process. Measure HH, for example, divided our community and it was completely unnecessary.
- In contrast, along with Councilmember Lili Bosse I negotiated the best development agreement ever in our city’s history. It will bring an estimated $820 million in revenue to City coffers over thirty years. And it didn’t require an initiative to do it.
- As one of the original proponents of our Dog Park, I have proposed converting most of the rest of the City’s adjacent five acres in the ‘Industrial Zone’ into a park or another municipal use, such as a museum. This would truly be a public space for all of our resident to enjoy.