Many distinguished guests joined residents last week in saluting outgoing leadership on the Beverly Hills City Council and installing a new mayor and vice mayor.

State Senator Ben Allen said of incoming Mayor Julian Gold, “He’s a fantastic guy and always a fierce fighter for the city.” He also complimented Gold on his health care, renewable energy, and public safety initiatives.

Allen then presented outgoing Mayor Lili Bosse with a proclamation for her service, saying, “She’s such a force to be reckoned with, not just here in Beverly Hills but throughout our region.” He thanked her, “For all you do to keep our community safe, well, thriving, and successful.”

“I could not think of a better place to be tonight than to be here to honor such amazing public servants and people that I’m honored to call friends,” stated West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson. Of Bosse, he said, “You shine a light on this world that helps take away the darkness.” Adding, “When we’re around you, we feel safe and welcome.” He was also complimentary of incoming Mayor Gold and the new incoming Vice Mayor of Beverly Hills, Lester Friedman.

County Assessor Jeff Prang opened by joking, “I know what you’re all probably thinking – how do we really speak to the spirit of why we’re all gathered here today better than with a speech from the county property tax assessor.” Prang, who previously served on the West Hollywood City Council for 18 years prior to being elected assessor, kept it going with, “I can say, unequivocally, that Beverly Hills is absolutely the second best city in this county.” And then, taking a more serious tone, he said, “There are few cities that are as well run – both in terms of the vision and its leadership of elected leaders, as well as the professional staff – Beverly Hills is just a gem in L.A. County and everybody in this city should be so proud of this leadership.”

Of outgoing Mayor Bosse, Prang said, “You are just the best cheerleader Beverly Hills could ever have.” He praised incoming Mayor Gold for his extensive role in regional government, where he serves as an appointee to many boards and commissions.

Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, in whose district Beverly Hills rests, told a story about meeting a resident of Beverly Hills over the weekend who sings Mayor Bosse’s praises. She called Gold a friend, partner, and “Someone I’ve just been able to trust.” She highlighted that Gold will also hold the position of President of the Contract Cities of California this year, which is a pretty prestigious assignment.

After a few members of the public praised both incoming and outgoing leadership, it was time for the councilmembers to complement one another, with Friedman, Gold, and Councilmember John Mirisch all praising Bosse for both her tenure as mayor as well as her many years in civic affairs. Councilmember Sharona Nazarian was absent.

Then, Bosse stood to speak. “Really what I want to say is how grateful I am. This past year, we all came together after some very, very, very challenging years. And we were able to feel like a community again.” She thanked a lot of folks and talked about some of the city’s successes, closing with a personal message to the people of Beverly Hills, “I give you my heart and soul, and I give you my word – you will always have that.”

Gold, Friedman, and Mirisch then joined Bosse at the lectern and presented her with some commemorative gifts, including a really nice plaque. The group sat back down, and then Friedman was sworn in as Vice Mayor.

Friedman talked about moving his family to Beverly Hills 40 years ago so his children could benefit from the excellent school system. He then said, “What has always been remarkable about the city is its embrace of women in leadership roles.” He mentioned his own wife, Simone, and her leadership with the Beverly Hills Education Foundation and as Chair of the Recreation and Parks Commission, and the women leaders whose footsteps she followed. He pointed to Lili Bosse as being one of those people. He also praised the fact that the city now has a woman in the role of city manager, Nancy Hunt-Coffey.

The council then symbolically took nominations for a new mayor and voted in Councilmember Gold. In his inaugural speech, Gold praised Bosse and those in the audience who he thanked for their service on the council and boards and commissions. He thanked his wife, saying, “Thank you for creating a great life for us, and always being there for our family.”

Gold then turned to recognize the COVID-19 Pandemic and the city’s recovery from the pandemic, and the large investments in development projects like One Beverly Hills, Cheval Blanc, and discussion of development around the new Metro Purple Line stop that will be at La Cienega. On housing, he said, “We’re mindful of the pressure from Sacramento and elsewhere which would challenge our ability to determine our own zoning, and to determine for our city what housing should look like.”

Gold then laid out goals in three areas: finance, health, and electric infrastructure. After acknowledging the city finances have recovered to near pre-pandemic levels, he said that large, new development projects will provide revenue increases that will help take care of future capital project needs. He asked that the city develop a clearer understanding of what it wants in the next five to 10 years and how to pay for it.

On health, Gold praised the growing nurse practitioner and paramedic programs the fire department has undertaken, and the mental evaluation team that the police department is launching to serve community needs. He also spoke of expanded homeless outreach and services provided to the unhoused and said of all programs mentioned, they need coordination under an umbrella rather than continue to stand alone. “There should be one phone number where you can get the right assistance quickly,” he said.

“I believe the time has come for us to be electrically independent,” Gold said in transition to discussing renewable energy. He acknowledged Edison’s control of the electric infrastructure, but spoke to Beverly Hills taking control of “the acquisition of the electricity itself,” saying, “The technology exists for us to acquire, or store – or both – enough of our own energy to protect our critical infrastructure, and partially protect our residents from rolling brownouts and blackouts.”

Gold then turned to human capital, and a program he will call “People Helping People,” where he intends to showcase, in council meetings and elsewhere, the nonprofits and local leaders who provide tremendous service and other value to the city.

The program that followed Gold’s speech included video and award presentations that began to honor such local leaders.

Photo by the Author

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