New Commissioners Recommended at Study Session

During a June 18 Study Session, the Beverly Hills City Council approved recommendations for three new Cultural Heritage Commissioners and agreed to sunset the Rent Stabilization Commission. 

After interviewing six applicants on May 24, the Cultural Heritage Commission Interview panel recommended Lori Gordon Green, Andy Licht and Robert Alan Block, and a formal report will be prepared for the June 27 regular City Council meeting. 

“Great choices,” Councilmember John Mirisch said. “[These] are people we know and have served on other commissions in the past.”

Green and Block will both begin their terms on July 1, while Licht’s term will begin on Jan. 1, 2025.

As vacancies on other commissions remain open, Vice Mayor Sharona Nazarian encouraged interested residents to apply and become leaders in the community.  

“We’re a city of over 32,000 people, and I would like to encourage my colleagues to look at finding some … people who have not served our community yet just to be able to have some differing perspectives and views,” Nazarian said. 

The council also agreed to “sunset”—or dissolve—the Rent Stabilization Commission, after the Commission Standardization Ad-Hoc Committee concluded in May that the commission had fulfilled its original mandate and that its structure made it difficult to reach a quorum. 

Nazarian, one of the ad-hoc liaisons, also said the committee recommended that disruptive tenant hearings be handled by a professional hearing officer, instead of a city councilmember. The council unanimously agreed. 

“Our job is not to remove tenants from their homes,” Nazarian said. “I think that needs to be presented to trained professionals.” 

Councilmember Craig Corman clarified that the council’s decision does not have any impact on tenants’ rights under the rent stabilization ordinance, and he also backed a suggestion by BH Renters Alliance founder Mark Elliot that former rent stabilization commissioners get preferential treatment if they decide to apply for a different commission. 

Assistant City Manager Ryan Gohlich said the city requires a one-year break between serving on commissions, but Corman, Nazarian, Councilmember Mary Wells and Mirisch all advocated for waiving that requirement for this case.  

Mayor Lester Friedman, however, said he was concerned about ending the commission without establishing another public forum for tenants and landlords. 

After some back and forth with the other councilmembers, Friedman directed staff to investigate the possibility of hearing landlord and tenant disputes before the Human Relations Commission, which had “limited jurisdiction” over such disputes before the Rent Stabilization Commission was established.  

“I would only be in favor of sunsetting it if we have alternatives for the tenants to have a voice,” Friedman said. “If, when it comes to council, we vote to sunset it by a majority, I am going to immediately agendize the next step, which is to have some sort of replacement there. I think that’s extremely important. 

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