Vice Mayor Nazarian Sees Bright Things Ahead for Beverly Hills

Sharona Nazarian made history when she became the first Iranian American woman on Beverly Hills City Council in 2022 and now, she’s stepping into an even bigger leadership position: Vice Mayor.

In this new role, Nazarian looks forward to working hand in hand with her fellow councilmembers to build a brighter future for Beverly Hills. 

“I’m actually very excited about what the future holds,” she told the Courier. “I think that in order to be a strong leader you have to be inclusive, and you need to foster good communication and partnership not only with those that you serve, but also those around you and the future leaders to come.”

When it comes to her personal leadership style, Nazarian is a big believer in the importance of responsive governance. To her that means paying close attention to the concerns and ideas of her constituents and clearly communicating what’s happening in the city with all of its residents. 

“I made it a mission to ensure prompt and accessible communication, whether it’s our staff or myself, I always want to make sure that our community is informed,” she said. 

As Vice Mayor she looks forward to helping enact Mayor Lester Friedman’s agenda, which she said closely aligns with her own priorities: ensuring top notch public safety, strengthening the city’s finances and fighting against antisemitism.

She is particularly passionate about the fact that Beverly Hills will host the 2024 North American Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism this December.

“Beverly Hills has always been a voice against hate and antisemitism, and this is a great program that hopefully will foster some awareness and unity to combat antisemitism,” she said.  “We want to make sure that our community feels safe and protected; that’s our number one job as elected officials.”

One of her proudest accomplishments on council so far is the work she and her fellow members have completed with the Beverly Hills Police Department to improve community safety. 

“While other cities are defunding their police, we’ve increased salaries and we’ve provided signing bonuses to attract new recruits,” she said. “And we have a state-of-the-art Real Time Watch Center that is getting recognized nationally.”

On a recent lobbying trip to Sacramento, she shared the achievements of BHPD’s Real Time Watch Center with state lawmakers, many of whom expressed interest in coming to the city to observe the surveillance system in person. 

While in city government, Nazarian has also been a strong advocate for sustainability. 

Several of the ideas she presented as a member of the Public Works Commission have since become city policy. This includes the city’s ban on single-use plastic and Styrofoam foodware and its efforts to promote tap water and reduce plastic bottle usage. 

Her motivation to give back to the city stems from her appreciation for the gifts it provided her and her family after they fled religious persecution in Iran.

But, growing up as an Iranian American immigrant in Beverly Hills, she didn’t see anyone who looked like her in city government and she’s proud of the trail she has blazed. 

“I aim to be a voice not only for the Persian community, but for all of our residents. As we build greater unity and collaboration, I want to empower and educate the next generation of leaders,” she said.

“I may be the first Iranian American woman in this position, but I certainly won’t be the last.” 

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