Opponents and proponents of Measures B and C filed official ballot arguments this week with the Beverly Hills City Clerk. Those measures seek to reaffirm city approval of the proposed Cheval Blanc Beverly Hills hotel project and will be decided by special election on May 23. The ballot arguments and any rebuttals thereto will be included in the Vote-By-Mail ballot all registered voters in Beverly Hills will receive beginning 30 days prior to the special election.
The Beverly Hills City Council set the special election pursuant to state law, after successful referendum petitions were submitted against the ordinances approving the Cheval Blanc project and development agreement. Those ordinances (Numbers 22-0-2866 and 22-0-2867) are now on the ballot as Measures B and C, respectively.
The ballot arguments filed this week are signed by designated “authors,” who, according to the state’s Elections Code, must declare the arguments “true and correct to the best of their knowledge.” Signatories to the ballot argument in support of a “Yes” vote on Measures B and C include Mayor Lili Bosse; Victor Gutiérrez, President of the Beverly Hills Firefighters’ Association; Alexander Duncan, President of the Beverly Hills Police Officers Association; Rose Kaiserman, Board Member of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation and David Mirharooni, Board Member of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce.
The ballot arguments opposing Measures B and C were signed by Councilmember John Mirisch; Charles Aronberg, M.D., Former Mayor of Beverly Hills; Rose Norton, Former Planning Commissioner of Beverly Hills; Deborah Blum, Director of Residents Against Overdevelopment and Darian Bojeaux, Proponent of Referendum Against Cheval Blanc Hotel.
Full Text of Ballot Argument in Favor of Measures B and C
The full text of the ballot argument submitted to the City Clerk in favor of Measure B follows below. Other than references to the ballot letter, the argument in favor of Measure C is identical.
“ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE B
Measure B, and its companion measure on this ballot, are simple questions: Should we reaffirm the unanimous vote of the Beverly Hills Planning Commission and the overwhelming approval of the City Council for a new world-class hotel on Rodeo Drive? The hotel will generate hundreds of millions of dollars to support public safety, Beverly Hills schools, and other critical City services for decades to come.
Beverly Hills Firefighters, Police Officers, Educators, and Community Leaders Agree – Vote YES on B!
Funding Public Safety, Our Schools, and Other Vital Services
The Cheval Blanc Hotel project will generate an average of $25 million in new tax revenue per year – an estimated $778 million over 30 years – for the City’s general fund, plus a one-time payment of $26 million to support schools, police, fire, paramedics, and other vital services. This unrestricted funding can also support affordable housing and other future needs. An additional $2 million will support City arts and culture.
Additionally, YES on B will create an active pedestrian connection between Rodeo and North Beverly, ensuring the long-term economic vibrancy of the Golden Triangle.
A Thorough Public Review
The Cheval Blanc Hotel project went through a rigorous environmental review process, including numerous public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council. More than 30 community and public meetings were held over two and a half years. The project was revised to address community input and ultimately received overwhelming support from Beverly Hills residents, businesses, and civic groups.
Creating Quality Jobs
As a world-class boutique hotel, Cheval Blanc will compensate its employees with top wages and benefits, assuring a living wage for workers and boosting the Beverly Hills economy. The hotel is owned by LVMH, a long-term local employer and globally renowned retailer of high-quality products.
Learn more at www.YESonBC.org and vote YES on Measure B!”
Full Text of Ballot Argument Against Measure B
The full text of the ballot argument submitted to the City Clerk against Measure B reads as follows:
“Vote No on Measure B which would rezone our lovely village to allow the building of a massive hotel along little Santa Monica, from Rodeo Drive to Beverly Drive, up to 9 stories in height, far exceeding our 3 story height limit.
The proposed rezoning would also give the developer the right to build more than twice the density allowed by our present zoning, and would relieve the developer from even providing adequate code compliant parking.
The proposed Cheval Blanc Hotel is nothing like the pictures the developer provided to news outlets, designed to make the hotel look like it was only 3 to 4 stories instead of up to 9 stories.
This is yet another project where a developer hired ex-mayors and insider lobbyists to seek special exemptions and privileges which ultimately render our General Plan largely meaningless.
The proposed monolithic hotel will bring about more traffic and congestion on little Santa Monica and in our village; it will block views; and it will be a drain on our infrastructure, water supply, and city services.
During the years it will take to demolish buildings and to construct the mammoth project, we will be choked with traffic, dust, and noise along little Santa Monica and in the Triangle.
Sometimes builders claim they cannot afford to build unless they are granted rezoning which allows them to ignore our long valued building codes. But this is the richest luxury builder in the world, and this developer can very well afford to build in a manner which would comply with our codes.
If we do not defeat this measure, bad precedent will be set and the flood gates will be opened with no way to close them, negatively impacting our quality of life here now and forever.
Full Text of Ballot Argument Against Measure C (same signatories as those against Measure B)
The full text of the ballot argument submitted to the City Clerk against Measure C reads as follows:
“We’re getting fleeced. Voting “No” on Measure C means that you reject the Cheval Blanc hotel with its bad deal, and are standing up for the residents of Beverly Hills.
Yet again, a wealthy developer hires a battery of ex-mayor lobbyists and City insiders to exceed the City’s height limits and zoning codes. These lobbyists clearly have the developer’s interests at heart, not the interests of the Community and our residents.
The hotel developer LVMH is the most prominent and richest luxury corporation in the world, owned by the world’s wealthiest man. LVMH paid $465 million for the properties on which the hotel would be built; but they are only offering the City $28 million for the right to more than double what they can build on the land.
The proposed hotel is taking a public museum and turning it into part of an exclusionary enclave for billionaires, including a private club, inaccessible to almost all of our residents.
Our City and our quality of life should never be for sale.
Even if you like the hotel project, we need to stop the City’s legacy of bad deals with developers. LVMH’s well-paid lobbyists and publicists will talk about the supposed revenue the development agreement will generate and try to link it to City services, like police, fire, and schools.
Yet the developer and its lobbyists won’t tell you about all the money the City is unnecessarily leaving on the table by not insisting upon a fair development agreement, in line with the unprecedented benefits they are receiving. Nor will they tell you that the project doesn’t generate a penny that is earmarked for much-needed affordable and senior housing within our City.
The development agreement for the Cheval Blanc hotel is a bad deal for Beverly Hills. Don’t allow our Community to be fleeced: vote “No” on Measure C.”
Vote Center at City Hall
An 11-day Vote Center will be open at Beverly Hills City Hall from May 13-23. The hours of operation for the Vote Center are 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. daily and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on election day. For additional information, visit lavote.gov or beverlyhills.org/elections, and monitor the Beverly Hills Courier and Beverlyhillscourier.com for continuous coverage of the special election.