Julian Gold, M.D. was sworn into his third term as mayor, riding a wave of great excitement as he marveled at the prosperous state of the city and outlined plans to prepare it for the challenges that lay ahead.
The April 4 event (technically a Reorganization/Installation at a City Council Regular Meeting) was a joyous occasion that drew politicians, community members and non-profit leaders from the Beverly Hills and greater Los Angeles communities to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
Many of these leaders expressed their admiration for Gold and eager anticipation for all he will achieve during his term.
State Senator Ben Allen called Gold a good friend, a fantastic man and fierce fighter for the city.
“He’s left such a lasting impact on the community, and I just appreciate you a great deal Julian, and I want to thank you for all your public service,” said Allen. “I’m so excited about you being the next mayor, and I look forward to a lot of collaboration.”
County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath said Gold was a fearless leader and praised him for the regional work he does leading the Clean Power Alliance and the California Contract Cities Association.
“I couldn’t be happier to welcome the incoming mayor for Beverly Hills, Dr. Julian Gold, who has been a friend, a partner, and just someone who I’ve been able to trust, which is hard to do in politics,” said Horvath. “You are very well represented by him.”
Gold was sworn in by longtime friend Judie Fenton, while surrounded by three generations of family members, and proceeded to deliver a powerful speech mapping out his goals for the next year.
Gold took a moment at the outset of his oration to revel in all that Beverly Hills has achieved in its post-pandemic recovery but made it clear that these golden days are the perfect time to future-proof the city’s finances, services and infrastructure.
“John Kennedy reflected that the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. Well, today our sun is shining,” said Gold. “I believe now is the time to take stock of our circumstances, consolidate our resources and make thoughtful and deliberate plans for our future.”
To that end, Gold mapped out three key areas of focus for his term: finance, health and electrical infrastructure.
The city’s coffers are currently in an excellent position thanks to robust business recovery and a slew of developments in the pipeline. Nevertheless, spending on community programs such as policing, health services and the arts is considerable, and with a potential recession looming, Gold is eager to ensure such programs will not need trimming down the line.
“These are things that are important and that our residents want, but they come at price and of course we have seen how quickly things can change,” he said, referencing the turmoil of the pandemic. “We need a clearer understanding of what we would like to accomplish in the next five to ten years, how much it’s likely to cost and how we will pay for it.”
In order to obtain these goals, Gold has asked City Treasurer Howard Fisher to form a blue-ribbon commission to investigate the city’s finances and provide periodic reports to City Council.
Gold is also interested in streamlining the services provided in the community, both in the name of more efficient spending and faster care for residents.
Specifically, he would like to create a Health Services Department that consolidates the city’s existing mental, physical and emotional health programs under one roof. This includes services to assist people experiencing homelessness, mental health resources, social wellness events and more.
Gold’s last key priority is to explore investment in new city-run electrical infrastructure to shift dependence away from Southern California Edison.
This bold idea was sparked by deep frustration with the continual power outages across the community. While the city has done its best to address these problems, they have no control over the electrical wires owned by SCE that are prone to failure.
This is why Gold is thinking outside the box to pursue solutions for residents.
“Where we may have some ability to control our destiny is in the acquisition of the electricity itself,” he said. “Technology exists for us to acquire and store, or both, enough of our own energy to protect our critical infrastructure and partially protect our residents from rolling brownouts and blackouts.”
Specifically, Gold has his eye on small electrical systems known as microgrids that are often battery or solar powered.
Gold acknowledged that forecasting and fully understanding the city’s finances, launching a Health Services Department and creating a new electrical system are all big projects, which is why he has discussed them closely with Vice Mayor Lester Friedman.
Friedman, who was also sworn in on April 4, has agreed to continue any unfinished projects during his mayoral term next year.
“We hope this serves as a model for future councils and allows for larger, more ambitious programs, which cannot be completed in a single mayor’s term, to be completed,” said Gold.
In addition to these legislative priorities, Gold also unveiled three event series he will run during his term: Mayor’s Minute, People Helping People and Office Hours with Dr. Gold.
Through the Mayor’s Minute, Gold intends to visit a different local business every month and showcase their products and services on social media. People Helping People, meanwhile, will serve to draw attention to the incredible nonprofit work completed in the community through shoutouts in council meetings.
Gold officially launched the latter series by highlighting the city’s fire and police personnel, Music Mends Minds, NormanAid at Beverly Hills High School, the Sheila Clark Foundation and Sing for Hope during the installation.
“We must take time to recognize human capital and those who support our city and its residents through acts of kindness and acts of generosity,” said Gold.
Lastly, Office Hours With Dr. Gold will provide a regular forum for community members to meet virtually with the mayor, ask questions and offer their ideas for improving the city.
Gold has committed himself to being a good listener and giving the community his all during his third term as mayor.
“To quote Mahatma Gandhi: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” said Gold. “I can’t think of a better place anywhere in the world that I would rather do that than in our Beverly Hills.”