Get to Know City Hall
City of Beverly Hills is a small city relatively accessible to stakeholders. But concerning issues like transportation policy, the obstacles to making our city bike-friendly are maddening. Political capture is the culprit: for too long a small circle of influential citizens and business exercised outsized influence over city policy. That is changing, however, as councilmembers like John Mirisch and Lili Bosse make priorities of good government and transparency. Read on for more about how City Hall works, or simply consult our handy cheat sheet of city officials to know where to direct your inquiry.
Navigating City Hall
The first step is to figure out which department handles the issue that is of concern. Refer to the organization chart to see how the city says it is organized.
In Beverly Hills the City Manager has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the city. The City Council makes the policy (our five members represent every district in the city in an at-large system) and hires the manager. And our departments implement the policies and programs.
Commissions are merely advisory to City Council (with the exception of the Planning Commission which is a policy-making body).
A rough metaphor is that the Council runs the railroad; the City Manager makes the trains run on time; and the commissions & committees do the engineering.
Where mobility issues are concerned, Traffic & Parking Commission is the place to begin. It advises City Council on traffic and parking issues. Have a specific complaint? Introduce yourself to the Commissioners during public comment; describe your issue; then follow up with staff. Follow-up is key. Without persistence nothing will happen. Traffic & Parking meets once per month on the first Thursday at 9 a.m. Public comment comes near the beginning.
City Council meets twice monthly in both in afternoon study session and evening formal meetings (the latter is where important decisions are taken). The city publishes but does not promote a Policy and Operations Manual that clarifies how the process works.
Your Cheat Sheet for Contacting City Officials
- City Council is the key policy-making body for Beverly Hills. Five Council members represent every district in the city (an at-large system) so you need to talk to more than just one. Reach the City Council at (310) 285-1013 or email Council at email@example.com. The Mayor (currently Lili Bosse) is a ceremonial office on a 1-year term and the Mayor is elevated by the Council every March. The Mayor largely sets the Council agenda.
- City Manager is currently Mahdi Aluzri. The manager is hired by the City Council to run the city. Reach him at (310) 285-1014 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Traffic & Parking Commission is advisory to City Council on matters related to traffic, parking, and yes, mobility too. Reach Traffic & Parking Commission staffers at (310) 285-2452 or by email at email@example.com. Currently the Chair is Lester Friedman – no friend to riders.
- Transportation Division (now a part of Community Development) provides staff support to the Traffic & Parking Commission and implements programs and policies at the direction of City Council. Reach Transportation at (310) 285-1128 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For better results, contact deputy Aaron Kunz directly at (310) 285-2563 or by email at email@example.com.
- Recreation & Parks division (in Community Services) oversees parks, landmarks and recreation programming. Reach the division desk at (310) 285-2537 or drop director Nancy Hunt-Coffee an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Recreation & Parks Commission is advisory to City Council on matters of mobility. Policies come here first before reaching Council. Contact the Rec & Parks Commission staff at (310) 285-2536 or by email at email@example.com. Currently the chair is Simone Friedman.
- Planning Division of Community Development implements land use policies, reviews applications, and supports City Council with information regarding development issues. Reach Ryan Gohlich, Deputy Director of Community Development for Planning, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 285-1118.
- Planning Commission is the policy-setting body for land use. Reach a commission staffer at (310) 285-1124.
We always encourage cyclists to drop in on City Council and commission meetings in order to learn first-hand how your city government works (or doesn’t). Join us in reminding officials that safety matters. When you call City Hall, let us know what you find out.