City Council —City of Beverly HillsMarch 7, 2017 —Local Elections
City of Beverly HillsCity Council
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About this office
- Get smart about traffic by using the latest technologies and strategies to get cars moving thru and out of the City.
- Build more parking on South Beverly and in the Southeast.
- Protect our 3-minute Police, Fire and Paramedic response time.
I have been a resident of Beverly Hills for over 32 years and with my wife, Simone, have raised our 4 children in this community. I am the managing partner of a small law practice that was started and has been located in the City of Beverly Hills for 25 years. Both Simone and I have been active in our community starting when our children attended Beverly Hills public schools. The Beverly Hills community has provided our family with safe, secure and fulfilling environment and we want to give back.
We have both served as City Commissioners - Simone on Parks and Recreation, which successfully built and opened the City's dog park. I am a Traffic and Parking Commissioner. The Commission has worked to minimize the impacts of tour buses in our neighborhoods and business district, protected residential street parking from abuse by workers and visitors and put in place a management plan for the Santa Monica Blvd. reconstruction.
But it's become clear that the solutions to the challenges we face can only be realized by the Council. That is why I am running for a seat on the Beverly Hills City Council.
My experience as a resident, Traffic & Parking Commissioner my experience as an attorney, mediator and Judge Pro Tem give me a point of view and understanding of where we need to go as a community and how to get there.
- Beverly Hills Fire Fighters' Association
- Beverly Hills Democratic Club
- Hon. Willie Brien
My philosophy reflects my experience raising our family and running my business in Beverly Hills. Our City needs strategic, long term thinking and goal setting.:
- Develop a vision for what we want to be in 10 years that doesn’t cost us our soul, sense of place.
- Protect our ability to finance our amazing city services: 3-minute Police and Fire response; beautiful parks, streets and neighborhoods; important senior services and the enduring partnership with our schools.
- Commit ourselves to the values we share and use those to find a way forward on the issues we don’t agree.
- Residential quality of life – Our City is attractive for residents and for businesses because of its distinctive character. We should invest in our City to ensure that the character of our city is maintained and enhanced into the future.
- Accountable government – Govern openly and inclusively. Implement an independent internal auditor, reporting directly to City Council, to ensure our City has proper checks and balances in place and to provide an independent public voice.
- Enhance infrastructure and walkability – Increase water conservation and develop sustainable water resources. Promote Beverly Hills as a walkable/bicycle friendly city. Mitigate traffic impacts from subway and Santa Monica Blvd. construction.
My background as an economist/business consultant, business owner, government official, and scientist/engineer each contribute to the capabilities and judgment I would bring to City Council. I describe my priorities for City Council in other parts of the Voter's Edge web site. However in addition to those priorities, there will inevitably be issues that will emerge that no one knows about now. I think the City’s stakeholders are best served by someone who will take a reasoned, principled, independent approach to making those decisions. I think I am that person.
In part it comes from my background. I was a scientist. I earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Columbia University, a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Harvard University, and later became a registered chemical engineer. I do not know if being a scientist makes you a reasoned thinker or you become a scientist because you are a reasoned thinker, but that is who I am. After working as a scientist, I earned my M.B.A. from UCLA with emphasis in finance. For the last 25 years I have been an economic and business consultant, across many of the industries vital for our area, including entertainment, technology, real estate, health care and fashion. I know budgets and I know financing.
I also know governance from my almost 10 years on the Board of Metropolitan Water District. Metropolitan is a larger entity than the city – a budget of $1.7 billion, 1,800 employees, and multi‐billion dollar construction projects. I have been Chair of the Audit Committee, Chair of the Personnel and Technology Committee, Chair of the Legal Committee, and Vice Chair of the Finance Committee. I have learned to work with my fellow board members by persuasion and cooperation. I always remember that it is other people’s money that I am spending when I act on behalf of the public. I seek to understand what principle is at the core of the decisions I am making on behalf of the public and whether I will be comfortable applying that principle in similar situations in the future.
I will bring all these parts of my background to my service on City Council.
- Kathy Reims, Beverly Hills City Councilmember
- West Hollywood - Beverly Hills Democratic Club
- Barry Brucker, Former Mayor Beverly Hills
- Alissa Roston, Beverly Hills Recreation & Parks Commissioner, Former BHUSD Board Member
- Mike Feuer, City Attorney, City of Los Angeles
Why I am running for City Council
Beverly Hills and our region face many challenges – growth, congestion, transportation, infrastructure, sustainable water supply, and others. Beverly Hills is a beautiful, walkable city with a sense of community and high quality of life. I want to be part of the solutions for Beverly Hills for now and for future generations. I want to ensure the City is environmentally sustainable, financially prudent, and a leader in providing police fire, and other vital services. I believe it will take a reasoned balanced approach to achieve that into the future. That is why I am running for City Council.
More personally I decided to run for City Council to continue my contributions to public service. I have served as the Beverly Hills Director on the Board of Metropolitan Water District, the government agency that is the water wholesaler for most of Southern California, for almost 10 years. It has been a wonderful, rewarding experience. I receive enormous personal satisfaction from my role as a public servant, addressing the many issues facing Southern California and intensifying my connection to the community. For me, the next step is City Council.
Beverly Hills must strike the right balance for now and into the future – maintaining a vibrant economy that provides the support we need for our city services, while ensuring that our commercial sector is always in the interests of our residents and is consistent with the character and sense of community of our city. Beverly Hills must ensure that the city is governed in an open, accountable, inclusive manner.
My priorities and specific means of addressing my priorities include:
Residential quality of life – Evaluate development based on what benefits residents. Our City is attractive for residents and for businesses because of its distinctive character. We need to preserve what has made Beverly Hills distinctive. We should invest in our City to ensure that the character of our city is maintained and enhanced into the future.
Financial responsibility – Manage taxpayer dollars prudently. Accelerate payment of unfunded pension and OPEB liabilities. Our City will save significant money by paying off these liabilities now, rather than transferring them to future generations to pay. We should dedicate a portion of one-time funds to accelerate payment of unfunded liabilities.
Accountable government – Govern openly and inclusively. Implement an independent internal auditor, reporting directly to City Council, to ensure our City has proper checks and balances in place and to provide an independent public voice.
Support Police, Fire and Paramedics – Ensure resources are available to serve the aging population. Increase neighborhood policing. Enforce traffic restrictions.
Enhance infrastructure and walkability – Increase water conservation and develop additional sustainable water resources. The City should dedicate a portion of one-time funds to provide funds for the Water Enterprise Plan, reducing the need for future water rate hikes. Promote Beverly Hills as a walkable and bicycle friendly city. Mitigate traffic impacts by ensuring that all conditions and timing of the Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction and subway construction are enforced.
- It's time to underground the utility wiring serving our City.
- The city needs to open to residents at all times with information clear and concise.
- As someone who spent 18 years as a LAUSD teacher, and whose entire education (from kindergarten through graduate school) was in public schools, I have a passionate and lifelong commitment to a world-class public education system.
- Vera feels strongly about maintaining Beverly Hills as a world-class city. If elected, Vera will work with the Police Department to reduce crime. Vera plans to allocate more resources from the City to fully support the Police Department.
- Traffic congestion is a county-wide problem. Beverly Hills is affected, not only due to tourism, but also because of construction projects around the city. Vera plans to create greater access to the Business Triangle and to local businesses.
- Small Businesses are the backbone of Beverly Hills. To compete with local retail giants, small businesses are at risk of losing customers. Vera will cut through the red tape so that small businesses can efficiently start up in Beverly Hills.
- Introduce a comprehensive approach to ease traffic making our streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike
- Ensure city government transparency and strengthen city council representation to reflect the stakeholders views.
- Respect and preserve the character of the community
I am a mother of two children - Michael and Maddie. They are 4th generation Beverly Hills and currently attend Beverly Hills High School and El Rodeo. I am married to Dorian Bilak, a real estate developer and investor, who attended Hawthorne and Beverly Hills High School. We have been married for twenty years and own a business in Beverly Hills - Bilak Enterprises, Inc. I am a retired attorney and practiced law in my own firm for many years in Washington, D.C.. I am a first-generation American, a child of Holocaust survivors, and a cancer survivor.
I have served on the Recreation and Parks Commission since 2013. This year as Chair, I opened our first Community Dog Park; rededicated the Electric Fountain; and successfully spearheaded our commission to support a Bike Smart ride-safe program for our children. Among my accomplishments as commissioner, I helped to bring a teen room to the new Community Center in Roxbury Park and established a Recreation and Parks liaison committee for the Joint Powers Agreement to ensure district recreation facilities are available to residents. I am also an active member of Beverly Hills Rotary Club, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, Beverly Hills Women's Club, Beverly Hills High School PTSA, El Rodeo PTA, and a founding member of the Temple of the Arts at the Saban. I am on the Board of Women for Israel with the Jewish National Fund (JNF). I was a founding member both of the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Orchestra and the International Network of Children of Holocaust Survivors.
- National Women's Political Caucus
- Beverly Hills/ greater Los Angeles REALTORS