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Courier Endorsements: Brucker, Brien, Finkel And No On Measure P

The Beverly Hills Courier endorses Mayor Barry Brucker and former School Board President Willie Brien, M.D., for Beverly Hills City Council.

Brucker has served the City with honesty, integrity, diligence and humility.  He is so concerned about learning the views of residents, he has spent nearly every day for two months walking the blocks of Beverly Hills to meet and speak with every resident he can.  That is true dedication.  He deserves a second term on the council.  In discharging his duties, he has thoroughly studied every line of the City’s budget (we know, we asked to borrow his copy of the City budget and found his notations throughout the book).

To promote to the City, he has broken the stranglehold city and Chamber of Commerce bureaucrats have had on promoting (or rather, in our view, NOT promoting) the City for years.  The China initiative begun by former Mayor Jimmy Delshad and championed by Brucker is now bearing fruit.  Without Brucker’s intervention and strong support, Beverly Hills would still be at the mercy of the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau, LA, Inc., which has never sent one visitor to Beverly Hills.  The Chamber farmed out to LA Inc. all tourism promotion in China.  LA Inc. represented Beverly Hills in China as a district of Los Angeles, not the proudly independent city we are.

The long-term consequences of this mislabeling of Beverly Hills could have been disastrous for tourism from that emerging giant.

 The Beverly Hills Sister City Committee,comprised of all volunteers who have paid all their own expenses, reversed that trend.  Brucker has come under criticism by Chamber insiders and their supporters on the city council for taking this stand.  The Courier commends him for refusing to allow entrenched bureaucrats and city insiders to defeat a great example of volunteerism in Beverly Hills.

Brucker, a former School Board president, is also to be commended for respecting the role of the Beverly Hills USD Board of Education.  Instead of trying to do two jobs at once, he has stayed out of school district affairs as he should.  While he has strong views on school matters, he recognizes that we have elected a school board and it is the school board, not the mayor or city council, that must control school affairs.

 Brien has distinguished himself as both physician, hospital administrator and school board member and president.  In our meetings with him, we have been as impressed as the entire community has been by this thorough study of each issue, his quiet demeanor and good judgment.   

We have serious funding issues ahead of us.  Brien has confronted these issues before during his tenure on the school board.  When the school budgets were cut by the State of California, Brien found ways to balance the budget without hurting the classroom.  He found efficiencies, creative solutions to staffing problems, and worked with other board members to reach consensus.  To him, the classroom came first; the administrators last.

 Measure P, the Tax Hikes deserve overwhelming defeat.  The Courier exposed this poorly thought-out blow to local businesses and it quickly achieved pariah status, as it should.  City staff continue to search for more and more revenue, but the City should shine as a place that allows businesses a competitive advantage, not equal to Los Angeles.  Los Angeles is in bad shape.  We continue to fail to see how using Los Angeles or Santa Monica or Culver City as examples is good.  What were they thinking?  Get more money, and that’s all.  Now is not the time to raise taxes.

 Elliot Finkel has done a fine job as city treasurer.  He is running unopposed, which makes sense.  Nonetheless, we welcome him back for a second term in the volunteer position.

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