Corman and Wells Begin Their First City Council Terms

After months of campaigning in a crowded field of candidates, Mary Wells and Craig Corman triumphed as Beverly Hills’ newest City Council members. And now, the real work begins.

The pair were sworn in at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts during the City Council Reorganization/Installation meeting on April 2. They each took the oath of office surrounded by family members, while an audience of civic leaders and community members proudly watched.

“It was a very special evening for me personally. I really feel that it truly is a privilege and an honor to be able to serve as a City Council member for our city,” Wells told the Courier. “It just reaffirmed to me even more how important local government is and how much it affects our community.”

Prior to her election to council, Wells served as a member and the immediate past president of the BHUSD Board of Education. Her professional career includes experience in brand management for the Walt Disney Company and account management and municipal bond trading with Shearson Lehman and Hutton.

Now she is excited to leverage all of these skills, knowledge and expertise to help advance Mayor Lester Friedman’s agenda. 

“The issues I spoke about during the campaign—our safety and security, improving our resident services and planning for the future of the city—really align well with everything that Mayor Friedman has outlined for his focus for this next year,” said Wells. 

Corman, a former member and chair of the Planning Commission, is also looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and supporting his fellow council members. 

“Although I have extensive experience in city government, it takes some time to get acclimated to the council and so I want to support the more senior council members’ initiatives at the outset and really see where I can help the most,” he told the Courier. 

In particular, Corman feels that his development expertise honed through three terms on the Planning Commission will be an asset to City Council.

“I’m looking forward to helping any way I can on any subject, but obviously I have a planning background and development is a big issue facing the city right now,” he said.

“Development is good for the city in the sense that it does bring in revenue, it freshens up the built-out environment and brings in new businesses,” he continued. “But obviously you want to have a development that makes sense for the city, and I don’t think revenue development should be the only factor in determining whether you want to have a certain development or not.”

In addition, Corman hopes his career as an attorney will prove useful as the city navigates several legal battles. This includes ongoing litigation regarding the city’s compliance with state housing law, allegations that the city interfered with an abortion clinic’s opening and the removal of Ficus trees on Robertson Boulevard. 

Wells, for her part, believes that her experience in managing finances and serving on the school board will help address two of Mayor Friedman’s key goals: strengthening the city’s finances and opening an early childhood education center. 

“I’m really looking forward to supporting him in all of his initiatives, especially the early childhood education center,” she said. “I think it’s very exciting for everyone to see that start coming to fruition and I will always be a liaison for the schools.”

While on the school board, she helped right side the district’s troubled Construction Bond Program and saved taxpayers money by incorporating new accountability and transparency measures into the process for selecting construction contractors. She hopes that this experience coupled with her professional accounting background will be useful as the council explores new ways to cut costs and grow revenues. 

In their free time both new council members enjoy strolling the city’s streets and dining at its fantastic restaurants.

“One of my favorite things to do is walk through all the different neighborhoods and see the different character that each of them has,” said Wells. “For a small city, we have a lot of personalities.”

Corman can often be spotted walking his French bulldog Beau, who he jokes has become somewhat of a local celebrity following his frequent appearances on the campaign trail. Corman also enjoys golfing with friends and indulging in a good episode of TV with his wife Karen.

Both Wells and Corman are excited to work with their fellow council members and develop an even closer connection to the community.

“I think we’re going to have a very good council,” said Corman. “I think we’re all going to get along well and work together well. I’m looking forward to doing just that.”  

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