Long-time Beverly Hills resident and civic leader Vera Markowitz has announced that she is running for one of the three City Council seats on the June 7 Beverly Hills City General Municipal Election ballot.
A resident of Beverly Hills for 50 years, Markowitz is an alumna of Team Beverly Hills, and has long served the community in developing programs ranging from citywide emergency preparedness to work internships for Beverly Hills High School students.
In the last year, Markowitz has become the force and familiar face behind JustInCase BH, the city’s emergency communications and response program proposed by Vice Mayor Lili Bosse. JustInCase BH links neighbors with each other and the Beverly Hills Police and Fire Departments to keep everyone safe in the event of major emergency, be it an earth- quake, terror attack or anything in between.
Born in Czechoslovakia, Markowitz’s parents and maternal grandparents survived the Holocaust. Her paternal grandparents and countless relatives perished at Auschwitz. She lived in several countries before becoming a U.S. citizen and speaks (in addition to English) Hungarian, Yiddish, French and Spanish.
Markowitz arrived in Beverly Hills after an early childhood in Israel, and spent time living in or attending school in London, Montreal, Paris (at the Sorbonne) and even- tually returning to Canada. It was there that she met and married her husband Harold, a young orthopedic surgeon and captain in the U.S. Air Force.
The newlywed couple moved to California and settled in Beverly Hills. They originally lived in Trousdale and became parents to their first two children. Markowitz took the little ones to school with her as she finished her political science degree at Immaculate Heart College.
More than a decade later, the Markowitz family moved to the Beverly Hills flats for more space when their third child was born. Markowitz’s three children (the eldest two are physicians and the youngest, an attorney) are now grown and married. She has six grandchildren and one on the way. Her husband, Dr. Harold Markowitz, passed away in 2020 after a long illness.
For 30 years, Markowitz worked as the manager of her husband’s large orthopedic practice in Beverly Hills. She also co-founded a world-class children’s museum that was purchased and relocated to Santa Monica a few years ago. She also served as president of Amie Karen, a multi-million-dollar cancer foundation, and provides expertise as a member on numerous community and nonprofit boards.
While participating in Team Beverly Hills in 2015, Markowitz discovered that in a large emergency, police and firefighters would be occupied with major damage and likely unable to respond in a timely manner to individual residents. Markowitz decided that it was important to fill this gap. She began speaking regularly at City Council meetings on issues of safety and quality of life. As a result, she developed close bonds with police and firefighters.
“I had police calling me every single day to tell me what is going on. I have always had the best intentions to make the department the best it could possibly be. Making people safe again is huge. People are very fearful today, but I don’t dwell in fear. I dwell in what we can do to make it better,” Markowitz told the Courier.
She ran for City Council unsuccessfully in 2016. This time, Markowitz is running to fill what she describes as a leadership gap.
“As a member of this community, I have seen the Council serve the citizens of Beverly Hills with distinction and know first-hand what can be accomplished. But I have also seen it fall woefully short and abuse the public trust. I cannot sit on the sidelines and watch our City Council continue to slide under the weight of leadership more concerned about headlines and photo ops than real reform that would have a positive impact on our community. This is a key moment. I felt I must answer the call to serve.” Markowitz said. “Even though I am not a politician, I feel I owe it to my neighbors in Beverly Hills hungry for leadership and positive reforms.” Markowitz can be reached at Vera@Vera4Beverlyhillscitycouncil.com