BEVERLY HILLS 2024/1/27 – In an unexpected mea culpa, Beverly Hills mayor Julian Gold said he takes full responsibility for the failures not only of the Beverly Hills City Council, but of the Beverly Hills Planning Commission and of the Beverly Hills School Board, that have happened during his 13-year-long tenure. The mayor was responding to questions from the audience during an “office hours” town hall in the Municipal Hall at Beverly Hills City Hall on Wednesday night.
“I will take responsibility,” said mayor Gold. “And, I am certain that each of the members of Council, who sat next to me, will take responsibility for the decisions that we made. When you take this office, you know that you’re gonna make decisions, and some people like it, some people don’t.”
Progressive City Council candidate Robin Rowe had asked the mayor who was responsible for the lack of affordable housing in Beverly Hills, the delays building the Beverly Hills Metro, the failure of the Beverly Hills Planning Commission to produce a workable affordable housing plan, the failure of the Beverly Hills Planning Commission to come up with a workable Louis Vuitton
Cheval Blanc Hotel plan and consequently rejected by Beverly Hills voters in the B|C referendum, and for the drastic academic decline of Beverly Hills public schools overseen by the Beverly Hills School Board.
“The notion that we’re not supportive of affordable housing is just not true,” said mayor Gold. “We’ve actually entered into an agreement to build 250 units of senior affordable housing at a corner, Foothill on Third Street.”
The Beverly Hills City Council has made many promises that affordable housing will be built in the future. Unfortunately, in the 13 years that City Council member Gold has been in office, almost none have been built. Time after time, the Beverly Hills City
Council and its Beverly Hills Planning Commission have produced unworkable plans and touted them as future solutions. Except for their diehard supporters, who believes it anymore? The Beverly Hills Planning Commission is appointed by the City Council.
The Beverly Hills School Board is independently elected, not appointed by the City Council. However, Mayor Gold stated during the evening that the City Council and the School Board have “never been closer together”. As they are of like mind, and the Beverly Hills City Council has often stated their full-throated support of the Beverly Hills School Board, it seems reasonable to judge the City Council by the School Board’s performance. Beverly Hills High School, that used to rank at the top academically in the whole world, has plummeted to 100th place even among local SoCal schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The Metro Scandal… The Beverly Hills School Board (BHUSD) receives millions of dollars in never-audited, no-questions-asked JPA taxpayer-funded grants provided by the Beverly Hills City Council to BHUSD to use any way they wish. During Metro construction, BHUSD diverted $16 million of taxpayer funds earmarked for Beverly Hills school building repairs to instead pay BHUSD lawyers to launch a series of nuisance lawsuits against the County and other government agencies. BHUSD lost all of their lawsuits. Metro construction was delayed by two years, at a cost to taxpayers of over $32 million.
Next, BHUSD was sued and lost, for lying about their efforts to stop the Metro, and for losing or destroying all of the related public records, of which the School Board claimed to have none. After copies retrieved elsewhere were presented as evidence, BHUSD settled the case and promised not to lose or destroy public records anymore in the future.
Mary Wells, a Beverly Hills City Council candidate, is a member of the Beverly Hills School Board. Wells previously served on the BHUSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee that failed to stop the misuse of BHUSD public funds earmarked for building repairs.
Mixed Use Retrofit Scandal…The Beverly Hills Planning Commission and the Beverly Hills City Council have promoted Mixed Use as their grand plan to address their 10-year backlog of unbuilt affordable housing that was mandated by State law. A requirement to build 310 affordable housing units each year. Beverly Hills has built only a few units in ten years. Beverly Hills is being sued to force the construction of all 3,100 units at once. Like other cities with NIMBY politicians, Beverly Hills blocked affordable housing construction for over the last ten years using City zoning laws. The mayor at that time said nobody wants it here.
No developer would be interested in building Mixed Use Retrofit because it is so expensive to retrofit. It would make better financial sense to tear down the typical low-rise Beverly Hills commercial building, to start over as Mixed Use. Everyone but the City Council and Planning Commission being aware, the State has rejected the Beverly Hills housing plan time after time as being unworkable. After the Beverly Hills City Council passed a Mixed Use Retrofit zoning law with great fanfare, and no developers came forward, the Beverly Hills mayor at that time blamed developers for being disinterested.
During his town hall, Mayor Gold explained preemption, a legal situation Beverly Hills and other municipalities that have resisted enforcing State laws are facing. The mayor explained that the U.S. Constitution states that it is the supreme law of the United States. The State is the supreme law of California, unless it conflicts with U.S. law. And so forth, down to the County and the City.
The difference between a Union of States, and a Confederacy of States, is whether the federal government can preempt state laws. A Union can make laws be consistent across states. In a Confederacy, state law comes first. San Bernardino politicians have said they want to secede from California, to avoid the State’s affordable housing law. Huntington Beach politicians claim their City zoning laws are supreme, that they are above State law, and will continue to do as they please. Asked in session how they intend to fight it in court, what legal right they will argue to plead their case, the Huntington Beach City Council had no answer.
Regarding preemption at the state level, the State of Texas recently fought for State’s Rights all the way to the Supreme Court. A Texas Appeals Court ruling to exclude and replace the U.S. Border Patrol with Texas troops to police the border was struck down. The Supreme Court on Thursday came within one vote of dissolving the Union and replacing it with a Confederacy. The Supremes voted 5-4 to enforce the Constitution, as it clearly states it is the supreme law of the land. The four conservative justices dissenting were appointed by POTUS45, who has since denied that he ever took an oath to support the Constitution.
Mayor Gold’s Legacy… Tiffany Davis, a candidate for Beverly Hills City Council, asked the mayor. “Is there one thing, if you had to choose one thing, that you’d like to be remembered for? That you’ve accomplished? Can you tell us tonight?”
“On a very high level you know, nobody knows about their legacies,” responded mayor Gold. “We don’t we kind of write our own history. But ultimately, that history gets viewed a retrospective lens.”
Candidate Davis describes herself on her campaign website as, “A single female living in the city with safety as her first priority.” Davis, who has no public safety experience, says she would rely on the experience of her grandfather, a retired Houston police officer, to guide her in making changes in Beverly Hills public safety. She’s has said that she would hire more police officers.
Progressive candidate Robin Rowe, who has experience in national security and served as a subcommittee chairman under the Director of U.S. Homeland Security. has said that the Beverly Hills City Council has mismanaged the Beverly Hills Police so badly that it has been made ineffective at preventing crime, with its best police officers demoralized. All nine of Rowe’s opponents in the Beverly Hills City Council race say their solution to crime in Beverly Hills is to hire more police officers.
Beverly Hills has 36 more police officers than the International Association of Chiefs of Police says a city of its size should need. Meanwhile, Beverly Hills is being sued for $500 million for systemic racism by the police. That includes racially profiling and stopping Black LAPD police officers driving through Beverly Hills to question whether they should be here.
During the mayor’s town hall, in recognition of his long service to the City, a child thanked the mayor and gave him a box of cupcakes. Due to term limits, mayor Gold and previous mayor Bosse, who together have dominated Beverly Hills elections for more than a decade, cannot run for re-election. (100% of U.S. Senate and 94.5% of House incumbents got re-elected 2022.)