Beverly Hills Vice Mayor John Mirisch launched his re-election bid Sunday by highlighting his efforts to reform city pensions and to encourage City Hall to be more responsive to residents’ needs.
“…[C]hange is slow. That is why I would like to continue for another four years. I feel this is something I have to do, not just something I want to do,” Mirisch told supporters at his campaign kickoff.
In introducing Mirisch, former Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education member Gerald Lunn praised the vice mayor for trying to change the city’s tradition of giving employees lifetime pensions of at least 75 percent of their highest annual salary.
“John’s re-election is critical to making sure we residents do not suffer from severe budget cuts when the pension obligations peak in 10 to 20 years,” Lunn said.
The vice mayor said that he was running on five main points.
- Fiscal responsibility: “I support pensions which are fair and sustainable, both to the employees and to the people public… I will continue to oppose egregious hikes in city water rates.”
- Support for city schools: “As a result of a great education at Beverly, I was able to get into and go to Yale... Our schools are so important and I have proposed financial support for the schools.”
- Transparency and ethics: “We cannot continue with business as usual. I have proposed a number of measures [aimed at transparency] unfortunately which did not pass, but I will continue to do so.”
- Improving infrastructure: “I am looking to upgrade our infrastructure, particularly in the southeast...and promote more bikability and walkability.”
- Honoring the past. “I am very proud that we now have a Cultural Heritage Commission. When I first proposed this two years ago it got rejected by the council...change is possible when it comes to attitudes.”
Mirisch’s speech resonated with supporters.
“John recognizes that as much as we appreciate the hard work of our staff, it’s truly the residents who are the heart and soul of this city,” said Isabel Hacker, a member of his campaign steering committee.
A parent of two Hawthorne students, Hacker also praised Mirisch for his consistent opposition to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s plan to dig a subway tunnel under Beverly Hills High School. As a fourth-generation resident, Mirisch himself attended Hawthorne and BHHS. His son is enrolled at Horace Mann.
Board of Education members Brian Goldberg and Lisa Korbatov both spoke in support of Mirisch at the kickoff. Board Vice President Noah Margo has also endorsed him.
There are six council candidates running for three seats on the March 5 ballot.