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While welcoming Beverly Hills residents to the first edition of Office Hours with Doctor Gold on May 9, a virtual conversation between residents and Mayor Julian Gold about city issues, Gold offered $5 to anyone who could name the composer of the classical music playing before the meeting started.
However, Gold gave a caveat: “I don’t think he actually exists, but I’d be curious to know.”
The quip set the friendly, lighthearted mood for an hour long Zoom meeting that addressed some of the issues most pressing to Beverly Hills residents. While Gold spent part of the meeting speaking to the approximately 10 residents who joined the call about his mayoral priorities, most of the conversation was dedicated to residents’ questions, which touched on homelessness, transportation, infrastructure and public safety.
“When I set this up the idea really was to hear from you,” Gold said. “I can tell you a little bit about what’s going on in town, what the [City Council] has been doing, what we’re going to do in the next little bit, but most importantly, I’m here to listen to you.”
In response to a question about a future police substation near the Purple Line Extension on Wilshire Boulevard, which is currently under construction, Gold said the city has not yet identified a site for the substation but is committed to having a police presence in the area.
“We already own some land very close to [a] station portal,” Gold said. “We’re talking with other landowners about what the interaction between the city and their properties might be and depending on how that all flushes out … [that] will help us identify a good location.”
He added that discussions are ongoing about which agency will handle policing in the area, as the Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department has expressed interest.
Another resident asked how the city responds to complaints of mold in multi-family buildings.
City Manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey said the city has traditionally directed residents to contact the Los Angeles County Department of Health, who has a team of investigators, but has often found the county’s response inadequate.
The city is now in the process of contracting with its own mold testing company so that it can handle reports internally, Hunt-Coffey said.
Residents also used the office hours as an opportunity to share news with one another about city services. Tara Riceberg, who owns a store on Canon Drive, recounted a security assessment that Beverly Hills Police Department officers conducted at her condo complex.
“They spent about an hour and a half with me and some of the residents walking the building, assessing how we can improve, either through landscaping, lights, security systems etc. They were incredibly helpful, and I don’t think that residents really know that service is available through the BHPD,” Riceberg said.
Gold added that the security assessments are a free service provided by the BHPD, and that “our police department is very happy to come to your home or your condo or your store and do a security assessment.”
In an interview, Gold said the goal of his office hours is to communicate with as many people as possible. While Gold said he would like to increase attendance down the line, he was happy that the residents were engaged and asked questions.
“As important as the number of people who were there was the fact that they were engaged and had good questions,” Gold said. “That’s really what you like, you like an engaged public and our ability to add to that knowledge space.”
Gold will hold office hours once a month on Zoom.
For information, visit the city’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages at twitter.com/CityofBevHills, facebook.com/CityofBevHills and instagram.com/cityofbevhills.
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