Get to Know City Hall

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 mayorandcitycouncil@beverlyhills.org. The Mayor is a ceremonial office with a 1-year term and is elevated by fellow councilmembers each March. The Mayor largely sets the Council agenda.
  • City Manager is Mahdi Aluzri. The manager is hired by the City Council to run the city. Reach him at (310) 285-1014 or by email at maluzri@beverlyhills.org.
  • Traffic & Parking Commission is advisory to City Council on matters related to traffic, parking, and mobility. Reach Traffic & Parking Commission staffers at (310) 285-1128 or by email at transportation@beverlyhills.org.
  • 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 transportation@beverlyhills.org. For better results, contact deputy Aaron Kunz directly at (310) 285-2563 or by email at akunz@beverlyhills.org.
  • Community Services oversees parks, landmarks and recreation programming. Reach the division desk at (310) 288-2220 or drop director Nancy Hunt-Coffee an email at nhuntcoffey@beverlyhills.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) 285-2537.
  • Planning Division of Community Development implements land use policies, reviews applications, and supports City Council with information regarding development issues. Reach Planning at (310) 285-1141.
  • 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.

Our Plans: The Policy Context for Making Pro-Bike Change

Recent Posts

Complete Streets Plan Draft is Posted: We Need Your Input

City of Beverly Hills has released the draft Complete Streets Plan for public review and feedback. We need your help to make this the best plan on the Westside. But we have a long way to go.

The draft plan is 240+ pages of community context and best practices that begins to point the way toward safer streets, but the draft is relatively light when it comes to substance. Look past the pictures, tables, colorful charts and icons to see that the infrastructure, policy and program options comprise only 30 pages. Just three additional pages suggest the proposed implementation.

Despite its heft, this draft is light on vision: it doesn’t even begin to suggest what the bikeways network should look like. Beverly Hills is already a decade or more behind our municipal neighbors when it comes to striped lanes and measures to calm motor traffic. What I see in this draft plan are half-steps and some equivocation over the safest and most efficient crosstown routes. Where is the ambition?

We who ride Beverly Hills streets have a job to do: We must make sure that the final complete streets plan reflects our hard-won seat-of-the-pants wisdom about how to navigate this city safely.

So mark your calendars for THIS WEDNESDAY May 8th at 6pm at Beverly Hills City Hall to hear a presentation from city consultant Iteris. We had great support for Santa Monica Boulevard lanes but we need to get this band back together!

Come to share your perspective on the draft plan. You have your ideas about mobility and we need them in the final complete streets plan.

Please download the draft plan and give a close read to these sections of the technical report:

  • Chapter 7: Recommended infrastructure (p. 85)
  • Chapter 8: Recommended policies (p. 101)
  • Chapter 9: Recommended programs (p. 109)
  • Chapter 10: Implementation plan (p. 115)

Have a few minutes to add a few comments to the online version of the draft plan? Find it here: http://completestreets.beverlyhills.org/draft-plan-technical-report/

There is much work to be done in order to make the final complete streets plan the roadmap to safer streets that we need. Otherwise we will be stuck with only more well-illustrated shelfware. And the shelf is too crowded already!

Got any questions? Give me a shout!

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