City of Beverly Hills
Deadline for City Candidates Arrives
The time for electoral speculation comes to a close on March 11 at 5 p.m., when the deadline to file to appear on the 2022 ballot for Beverly Hills City Council or City Treasurer ends.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Robin Rowe has qualified to run for City Council and Gabrielle Pantera-Rowe has qualified to run for City Treasurer, according to the City Clerk’s office.
The time for electoral speculation comes to a close on March 11 at 5 p.m., when the deadline to file to appear on the 2022 ballot for Beverly Hills City Council or City Treasurer ends. As of press time, nine candidates for City Council and two for City Treasurer have officially qualified for the June 7 ballot.
The period to qualify as a write-in candidate begins April 11 and ends May 24. An updated list of the final candidates will appear online at bhcourier.com.
City Council candidates will be vying for three open seats currently held by Councilmembers John Mirisch, Robert Wunderlich, and Lester Friedman, all three of whom are running for reelection.
In addition to the three incumbents, the candidates include Shiva Bagheri, Akshat “A.B.” Bhatia, Darian Bojeaux, Kevin Kugley, Andy Licht, Vera Markowitz, Sharona Nazarian, and Robin Rowe.
Kugley, who has not previously publicized his candidacy, owns a local financial planning firm and is running on a platform of improving public safety and supporting small businesses.
In comments to the City Council in June 2021, he described the county’s indoor mask mandate as “totalitarianism.”
Bhatia, another newcomer to the field, works as a real estate agent. He told the Courier that he supports the recall of District Attorney George Gascón and, if elected, would work to “find a long-term solution to address the homeless crisis” and “strengthen ties between the City Council and School Board.”
While some candidates have already started holding campaign events, the election season traditionally begins with an all-campaign day of kickoffs, scheduled this year for March 27. Candidates open their homes to voters on the same day for a meet-and-greet and speeches, coordinating time slots so no two candidates overlap. Kickoffs in former years have seen hundreds of people cram into houses and yards for photos, food, and campaign swag.
In the race for City Treasurer, current Treasurer Howard Fisher is running for reelection against Jake Manaster, a former BHUSD School Board member and Traffic and Parking Commissioner. Gabrielle Pantera-Rowe, who is married to City Council candidate Robin Rowe, is also running for City Treasurer.
Fisher, who has served in the position for the last five years, is running on a platform of “instituting a periodic zero-base budgeting process for all City Departments,” Fischer said in a statement.
“This will supplement the current process which starts with last year’s budget and asks only what has changed and what do we expect will change. The current process serves to preserve rather than address inefficiencies,” Fischer said. “We should periodically undertake a top to bottom review of all aspects of our departments and examine what is needed and what is not.”
Fisher oversaw the city’s finances over the pandemic, managing an investment portfolio of over $500 million. He previously served on the Planning Commission, Public Works Commission, and Traffic and Parking Commission. He is an active tax and business attorney.
Manaster, who currently works as president and CEO of a flooring business and has a background as an entertainment and business attorney, has promised that he would resurrect the Budget Review Committee, a defunct commission of Council-appointed residents with business background who review the city’s budget.
In addition to the City Council and City Treasurer, voters will decide whether they want to implement term limits for elected positions in the city. They will also cast ballots for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat currently held by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and for the County Sheriff.
Like in 2020, all voters will automatically have the option of casting their ballots either by mail or in person. Voters will receive a mail-in ballot no later than May 9, according to the Los Angeles County Clerk. While the election officially takes place on June 7, voting can begin as soon as voters receive their ballots.
Newly registered voters can request a mail-in ballot by May 23.
Voters can also return ballots at official drop boxes. Beverly Hills has two vote by mail drop boxes, one at City Hall (455 N. Rexford Drive) next to Kelly’s Coffee and Fudge and the other at Roxbury Park Community Center (471 S. Roxbury Drive). The city will announce additional drop boxes at a later date.
Beginning on May 28, voters will have the option to cast their vote in-person at City Hall.