City Council Addresses Parking Program, Trees and Israel Celebration

The Beverly Hills City Council’s March 7 formal meeting addressed a variety of topics, including the city’s Preferential Parking Program, the ongoing tree removal on Robertson Boulevard and a request for the use of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for Israel’s 75th Independence Day celebration.

The council approved the request from the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles for one of the city’s free-use days at The Wallis. Israel’s Independence Day is commemorated on April 25-26.

During the meeting, the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) provided an update on the city’s Preferential Parking Program. BHPD Lieutenant Robert Maycott and BHPD Sgt. David Tomlin were in attendance and delivered a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation on conducting outreach efforts about the program at city events, including the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market on Sundays. They also shared about efforts to register residents for the program through community workshops, customer services staff, warning citations, physical mailers, and email reminders. 

Warning citations for those who haven’t registered for the program have been issued as of March 1. Full enforcement of the program is planned to take effect April 1.

“Success is based on education and continued support,” Maycott said. 

The recently introduced program uses license plate reading technology as an alternative to hangtags for vehicle verification. The automated parking system program, the police officers said, is an opportunity to provide more flexibility, access and convenience to residents, visitors and businesses through a new parking citation and permit management system with technological service provider Data Ticket, Inc. It will enhance security measures that have already been in place in conjunction with the city’s effective Real Time Watch Center.

Addressing the council with Tomlin by his side, Maycott said the police department is striving to make the parking program “fair and equitable.” 

“I can assure you we’re striving to ensure this is fair and equitable across the board for every resident here in the city–for all 76 [parking] zones,” the BHPD officer said.

As of Feb. 27, the police department has issued more than 7,500 parking passes under the new program, including daytime legacy hangtags, caregiver passes, and overnight passes.

At the beginning of the bimonthly meeting, many audience members commented over the phone, in person and via email about a non-agenda item: the ongoing controversy over the removal of 87 Ficus trees on Robertson Boulevard. In one comment after another, individuals, including those representing the Robertson Boulevard Special Task Force, spoke in opposition to the tree removal. 

Attending the meeting in-person, Tiffany said the trees provide a much-needed shading canopy in a warm climate. 

“I’m here on behalf of the trees on Robertson Boulevard,” she said. “And I can’t help but thinking…they’re needed in this urban city.”

Another speaker, Laura, a self-described sustainability advocate and native Angeleno, called into the council and spoke in protest of the removal. 

“These removals are aberrant and discrimination against stakeholders who can’t contribute more profoundly to your campaign coffers, plain and simple,” she said. “This must stop.”

During a segment devoted to councilmember comments, Councilman John Mirisch expressed a desire to pass a resolution against antisemitism. His comment led to a debate among councilmembers. Councilmember Lester Friedman said the council’s stance against Jew-hatred has been made clear; he did not think it necessary to pass a resolution. The conversation was prompted, in part, by Mayor Lili Bosse sharing an experience she had walking into the meeting: a community member gifted her a book about the Holocaust that contained details about her family.

The Beverly Hills City Council’s next formal meeting is scheduled for March 21.