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Beverly Hills News – Video Purported to be ‘Impartial’ No Better Than HH Ads

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2016 – 2:18 PM

By Victoria Talbot

“This presentation features an impartial overview of the Hilton Condominium Tower Initiative by Community Development Director Susan Healy Keene, followed by Q&A with responses from both proponents and opponents of the measure,” says the description. 

But does it? 

The video is available both on BHTV and on demand through the website at

The purpose of the program is allegedly to provide unbiased balanced and factual information about the initiative, but the truth is, the video is only as good as those providing the information. 

With an initial presentation by City Attorney Laurence Wiener to explain the initiative process, the film commences with a synopsis of the City’s own 9212 Report, delivered by Director of Community Development Susan Healy Keene. 

That is the end of any objectivity.

From there, the film turns to questions allegedly submitted by voters. According to Beverly Hills Communications Manager Therese Kosterman, the questions were submitted anonymously and only duplicate questions were eliminated. 

Then, if you are able to remain awake after the monologues by Wiener and Healy Keene, 44 questions are answered first by the proponent and then by the opponent. Several of the 44 questions ask for the same information, making the 90-minute video needlessly more tedious. 

But if you were expecting to get new information that peels away the deceit of campaigning to expose a crystal clear truth – you will be disappointed. 

The answers are provided by the same people who write the campaign literature, make the robo-calls, provide the door-to-door canvassers with their scripts and write the advertisements. 

In other words, its all the ads you have already received in one 90-minute presentation. 

Nowhere on the video is there a disclaimer to warn viewers that this is not necessarily the truth.

In fact, the video begins with a speech by the moderator, Director of the Masters in Communication Management Program at USC, Rebecca Weintraub, Ph.D. from the Annenberg School of Communications. After she introduces herself, the next line begins:

“The purpose of this video is to provide factual information and a balanced presentation of opposing views…”

The answers are so skewed as to be even more confusing. One answer tells viewers that the gray water requirement at the Waldorf Astoria has been dropped in the Hilton plan, for example, which is simply not even possible. 

So, unless you have a lot of extra time on your hands, there is no new information that will help you make a decision on the HH campaign. However, if you missed the 9212 Report, Healy Keene gives a good summary. That is about the most factual part of the vid.

The total cost of the video has not yet been tallied, according to Community Outreach Manager Huma Ahmed. But it brings into sharper focus the question of why the City made the video and why the City has become involved in an election matter at all. 





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