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Blog: Renters in Beverly Hills Get a Voice

Important policy changes for the renters of Beverly Hills may be coming soon with the help of John Mirisch.

For a while, I found it hard to believe that a government that’s for the people by the people existed. Recently within my own city limits, I have had a renewed sense of hope that we have a government that listens and cares and wants to make the right choices for the people of this community. While I can’t speak for the White House and Capitol Hill, I can say Beverly Hills may be onto something.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a commentary to Patch when my son and I were forced to relocate due to the demolition of our apartment building for condo-ization. I thought I was just venting about the lack of relocation fees and the process of this relocation for myself and the other families within the five housing developments that were forced to vacate our homes. I never in a million years would have guessed that someone would have paid any attention to my post. But alas, soon after my commentary was published, one council member stepped in and made comments about the importance of keeping apartment stock, limiting condo-ization and providing relocation fees to the families forced to leave their homes. I was beside myself.

This council member was Vice Mayor John Mirisch. He promised through his comments to get these very important topics put on the agenda for a future city council study session. Much to my surprise, someone listened. Someone heard my cries from one little apartment down on the south side of Wilshire and he did something about it.

On July 3, 2012, the issues I mentioned above, amongst other important issues, like rent stabilization, were discussed in a City Council study session. Vice Mayor John Mirisch fought hard to get the other members of the council to review these antiquated policies and make changes that protect the renters of this city. However, much to my dismay, each one was shot down. Please click the link below to watch a video podcast of the study session in which these important topics were rejected.

http://beverlyhills.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2754&meta_id=151213

Now, more than ever, I believe that it’s important to come together as renters and people that believe these policies need to be changed. I encourage you to write letters to our council members on these topics and the importance of them to you as an individual as well as to our community. Use our local media, the Patch, the Courier, etc. to write articles that will be read. In addition, I ask you to please re-elect John Mirisch to our city council next year on March 5 so we can continue to have a voice representing us that will help change these very important policies. After all, the renters of this city make up over half of the population and just like the rest of the city, we pay our taxes, we work hard and we spend our earnings within our city limits too. Our voices need to be heard and we need to be protected.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

lalins January 28, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Blogs are a lot like Editorials...very deliberate but often inacurate. When a merger lead to the formation of WME the City retained them on Camden and they were replaced with the internationally known MGM as the tenant on Beverly Drive....so where's the loss? When it comes to The Montage you are not well informed. When former Mayor Mark Egerman and I as Council liaisons negotiated this deal it was for a price fixe construction contract for all the City interests which included ALL subsurface parking with hotel dedicated parking for residents exempted, the Liner building where Bouchon is the major tenant and the Gardens. All that for $32M when in fact by occupancy those costs had escallated to $60M. The Montage is a 5 star hotel and the City wanted nothing less than 5 star Gardens to protect it's investment. The maintenance was in the total package of negotiation. As for TOT, on the contrary, the City gets 5% more than any other hotel in the City pays in taxes on each room night. Personally, I would have preferred a percentage of the condo sales over a base amount but community naysayers said we shouldn't be "in bed" with the developer. Sadly, some estimate that amount to be about $40M so far that the City would have gained. "That monstrosity" is a hugly valuable asset to our City and an award winning example of how public/private partnerships can work. Your personal preference may not favor the style but it's success is undeniable.
Ace T January 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Living in Beverly Hills since 1985 I think the Montage was a huge improvement of that area. It was an ugly parking lot which looked out of place, and the old corner building with questionable tenants. The reality is L.A. and BH are changing and we need bigger better projects and I think the Montage is a great example of that. I think the city should do revenue share with developers; were else in L.A. county can you sell a 6000 sq foot condo for almost $20 Million. That happens in only ONE city named Beverly Hills. I've been to Bouchon many times in the past year compared to never to the old parking lot and corner building in over 20 years. I almost also chose to get Married at the Montage, it has given the resident a great place to hold events, eat, celebrate, walk, and increase the quality of life over a parking lot. My only question is what percentage of property tax dose Beverly Hills benefit from these type of projects. With almost all units sold at the montage it must generate close to $1 Million a year to L.A. county tax rolls. What percentage of that dose the city get back?
cutop January 28, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Since WME stayed in the city and MGM left Century City for Beverly Hills, not only is there no loss, there's actually a huge gain. Mark Elliot, the gist of my response before reading Linda Briskman's reply was actually going to be quite similar... though lacking the facts-and-figures which she has provided. I follow that neither the Montage nor MGM's new home isn't aesthetically-pleasing to you. There are certain buildings in our city that I don't care for either. But these are our opinions. The fact are that the hotel, residences, the gardens, the restaurants, shops, office space, and parking structure are successful providing status, function, and revenue for Beverly Hills. I agree with you that having council members who asks "Why?" is valuable. In Mirisch, however, we don't have that. Rather we have a council member who just says "No". No to smart growth. No to smart development. He claims to put residents first, when in actuality he is putting his opinions first. A clear example of this is Measure J. Despite his efforts to get that defeated, 58% of Beverly Hills residents still voted in favor of it. Does Mirisch now change his position to align with the majority of residents of Beverly Hills? He has not. And I doubt he ever will. So how is he putting residents first when his positions contradict the majority of Beverly Hills' residents?
Mark Elliot January 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM
I appreciate that some folks may like visiting the Montage or Bouchon, and even may like its architecture. All according to taste. It's simply not for me. But I'm not sure I can agree that the hotel is a hugely valuable asset. I haven't seen the city's revenue from the hotel or condos so I can't speak to financial specifics, but I have heard anecdotally that the hotel hasn't met projections. If true, that can only be a hit to the taxpayer wallet. I'd like to hear more about that development agreement! Since the cost overrun for the construction package has undeniably overrun estimates - and by nearly double, according to the post - then I have to wonder about the assumptions made by the policymakers who approved it. The park is a particular issue of concern: why should this park be created and maintained to higher standards than any other park in the city? Even our landmark park on SM Blvd? What investment was protected if not that of the developers behind the hotel? I recall in Council a few years back when one of our veteran council members (who liked a regular Bouchon lunch, I'm told) actually said in session that the monthly cash handed to the hotel for park upkeep - which bears no relation to the hotel's expense I'm sure - was important because occupancy was below projections. And let's not forget that Bouchon has come to City Council for their rent reduction (they rent from the city). I don't see that rent reduction reflected in pricing.
William D. Webster March 13, 2014 at 09:37 PM
I caught attorney Jennifer K. Brugger committing 10 counts of perjury/suborning pejury in Kitsap County Superior Court.(its a matter of record in Kitsap County.) The Port Orchard police filed charges, but Brugger is a past Kitsap County prosecutor so they wouldn't prosecute (Kitsap County Washington, the most corrupt county in America) I also caught the judge (with pictures) partying (during trial) with Brugger and accepting gifts of alcohol (with pictures) at a political fund raiser for Kitsap Legal services (Jennifer Brugger Chair person) Kitsap Country Superior Court Judge Leonard Costello is no long a judge as he retired two years into a 4 year term (rather than face truths/corruption carges during the next election) The corrupt/feminist Northwest Justice Project wasted US government funds to bring in a mega law firm to defend Brugger. It was me, a pro se against 7 attorneys and a judge that was in the pocket of the Northwest Justice Project. Ask your Congressman to cut off funds to the Legal Services Corporation/Northwest Justice Project as it our tax many sponsoring attorney welfare for attorneys like Brugger who can't make it in the real world.

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