On Tuesday evening, in an outdoor setting at Beverly Hills City Hall, the City Council installed its new and returning members of the city council, elected subsequent to the statewide primary election on June 7. The city also introduced the elected City Treasurer.
With pomp and ceremony reminiscent of a national holiday, former City Clerk Byron Pope sang “God Bless America” prior to the inaugurations. And an invocation was given by Reverend Andrew Eagles of Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church and Rabbi Nicole Guzik of Sanai Temple.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer was also on hand to commemorate the occasion. “I used to represent Beverly Hills in the Legislature a decade ago,” said Feuer. “And it’s great to be back for this moment.”
City Clerk Huma Ahmed then presented the certified election results for the municipal election of 2022 and asked for the results to be recognized. She confirmed that Howard Fisher was re-elected City Treasurer for a second term and that a term limits measure passed overwhelmingly. Turnout was near 40 percent, which bested the 2017 municipal turnout of 25 percent.
Outgoing Councilmember Bob Wunderlich, who finished fourth and was not re-elected, was thanked for his service by Ahmed and given a standing ovation by the crowd and fellow council members.
Fisher was sworn in first, with his family joining him on stage. In a short speech, he encouraged the citizenry to get involved in Beverly Hills and called this an extraordinary time for the city. He declared, “Beverly Hills is the best place in the world to be.” Each council member was then invited “off script” by Mayor Lili Bosse to speak to Fisher directly, where they all provided affirming thanks and support to Fisher for his ongoing service.
Mayor Bosse then invited Wunderlich to address the community as an outgoing council member. “It has really been an extreme honor to serve on city council and as Mayor of Beverly Hills,” said Wunderlich. He then launched into things about which he’s confident and others that worry him. “Climate change is absolutely real and a huge issue,” he said, “Our police, as great as they are, cannot be everyplace.” He also said that the city needs young families to want to live in Beverly Hills.
“Thank you,” he concluded. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve Beverly Hills.” The mayor then invited council colleagues to say a few kind words to Wunderlich. “Bob, I think you’ve been a great colleague, a great collaborator, and a great councilmember,” affirmed Vice Mayor Julian Gold. “You’ve been willing to listen to others, and been willing to compromise when necessary,” he added. “In my mind, you’re a model for what a councilmember should be.”
Following some kind words and a presentation of the Key to the City to Wunderlich, it was time to inaugurate Councilmember Lester Friedman. He thanked donors and supporters, many by name, and called out colleague Vice Mayor Gold for “spending more time on my campaign than I think you did on your own.” He later added, “The City of Beverly Hills is well-positioned for the future, and I am glad to be serving for the next four years.”
A new council member, Sharona R. Nazarian, who was serving as a Public Works Commissioner, was next. In her remarks, she said, “In this divided world, I choose unity, and I look forward to serving with my Mayor Bosse, and I look forward to serving with my fellow councilmembers.” She also declared, “Public safety will be my number one priority.” She also affirmed her commitment to sustainability and keeping water rates affordable.
Finally, it was Councilmember John Mirisch’s turn. Joined by his two sons, he took the oath and spoke humorously of the national dedication days with which he shares his inauguration, including National Cow Appreciation Day. “I am both humbled and honored to be standing here again,” he added on a more sober note. To Wunderlich, Mirisch said, “Bob, I will miss working with you, but I know you will keep a watch full eye.” Mirisch reminded the audience that he was not only the only Swedish and Canadian member on the council but also the only Republican. As many disagreements he has with the national Republican Party, Mirisch warned that a one-party state is very harmful to democracy.
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