Packed Agenda for Beverly Hills City Council on Oct. 13

The Beverly Hills City Council presided over two jam-packed sessions on Oct. 13, a Study Session and a Regular Meeting. While the body devoted the majority of its time to marquee topics like the proposed mixed use overlay zone, the Halloween trick or treat ban, and the RHNA numbers, it also heard numerous other matters of importance.

At the Study Session, the City Council recognized the nearly three decades-long career of Beverly Hills Police Department officer Sergeant Sean Smollen, who received a Certificate of Recognition by the Mayor and City Councilmembers. Smollen began his career with the BHPD as a Communications Dispatcher in 1991, but his connection with the City stretches back to 1970. When Smollen was just two years old, his father joined the Beverly Hills Fire Department.

“I can’t tell you how many times different residents and parents and students would talk to me about you and how you were just always there for them,” said Councilmember Lili Bosse. “Even the smallest things, you would make people feel comfortable and safe, and just really helped make our town feel like a small town.”

Over his career in the department, Smollen worked assignments with the Crime Suppression Unit, served as a School Resource Officer, a Field Training Officer, and a Detective. He achieved the rank of Police Sergeant in 2013.

Councilmember Dr. Julian Gold recounted a personal story about an experience with Smollen. “Apart from being a great policeman, you’re just a nice guy,” Gold said. “I think about that day at the blood drive with my dad, where you just came over and made him feel comfortable.”

Later in the day, at the Oct. 13 Regular Meeting, the Council recognized two new members of the Planning Commission and acknowledged two departing Commissioners. Alan Block and Farshid Shooshani have stepped down, with Thomas Hudnut and Dr. Myra Demeter taking their place.

“I have great expectations for you,” said Councilmember Dr. Julian Gold about the appointment of Thomas Hudnut.

Commissioner Demeter previously served as a commissioner on the Health and Safety Commissioner and as the President of the Beverly Hills Board of Education.

Vice Mayor Robert Wunderlich honored Shooshani’s years of service on both the Planning Commission and the Public Works Commission, investing in the “guts and the future of the City.”

The City also announced the winner of the ninth annual Embrace Civility Award,  recent Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) graduate Thomas Recupero. The current first-year student at Washington University in St. Louis, Recupero was nominated by his AP English Teacher, Loren Newman.

“Thomas embodies exactly what this award is about,” said Human Relations Commission Chair Ori Blumenfeld. “He is a wonderful role model of positive behavior, takes a stand supporting respect and responsible actions, and he acts as a positive ally in student to student relations.

During his time at BHHS, Recupero served in multiple leadership positions, including as the 2019-2020 Beverly Hills Unified School District Student Board Member and on the Head Row of the Associated Student Board.

“Thomas did not always advocate for the popular decision, but for the best decision for the students he represented,” said Newman in a statement.

“I do not know what the future holds for me, but I do know that I will continue to serve others and the Beverly Hills community in any capacity either as an involved community member or even as a City Council member one day,” Recupero told the Council.

The City Council passed the Salary Schedule for City employees, a State-mandated document that reports the salaries of all City positions, from City Arborist, to Crime Analyst.

The Council also approved a resolution to apply for a grant for affordable housing assistance through the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA). The $101,845 grant would go towards rental assistance for “lower-income households throughout the City who are facing either temporary or permanent job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic recession,” according to the Staff Report.

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