Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 – 3:32 PM
Buried in the seventh attachment of seven attachments, the City of Beverly Hills City Council agenda has the following clause:
“LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY ALLEGATIONS AND DETERMINATION – During the processing of the applications for the Proposed Project, the City received several letters alleging that former Mayor Barry Brucker promoted the One Beverly Hills Project and urging the City Council to deny the Project on that basis. Beverly Hills Municipal Code Section 1-9-207 provides that any violation of the City’s legislative advocate ordinance “shall be grounds for the city to disapprove any contract, approval, permit, or transaction that was related to any such violation.”
“The City Attorney’s office has investigated the allegations, and summarized the conclusions in the memorandum to the City Council dated November 3, 2016, which was included in the agenda materials prepared for the November 7th hearing on the Proposed Project. For the reasons set forth in the November 3rd memorandum, we recommend that the City Council find that the actions taken by Mr. Brucker with respect to the Proposed Project, to the extent that they constituted legislative advocacy, had little effect on influencing the City Council, and the City Council declines to deny the project on the basis.”
To be clear, Brucker was hired as a lobbyist for the Wanda project, even though he was on the City Council that approved the project in 2008. City transparency laws strictly forbid lobbying for a project that an elected official voted on. Brucker insisted that his defense was that the Wanda project is a NEW project.
The Wanda Supplemental Environmental Impact Report was a SUPPLEMENTAL EIR – not a new one – based on the insistence of the Community Development staff, Mayor John Mirisch, the Wanda project team, and City Attorney Larry Wiener – who insisted that despite the addition of 200,000 square feet of commercial space – this did not constitute a NEW project.
And now, it appears that any former mayor can simply lobby for a project if their lobbying had “little effect on influencing City Council.”