Linda Briskman Main Menu

Home Page - About Linda - Support Linda

Briskman Campaign Logo

 

Beverly Hills Courier - Linda Briskman Interview - 12/18/08

“Dear Linda,

“We are writing to urge you to run for reelection to the Beverly Hills City Council. Now, more than ever, we are concerned about the state of the City.”

In the middle of November, more than 150 residents took out an ad in The Courier begging Linda Briskman to run for a third term on the City Council. 

The letter was signed by longtime residents of the community including Porta Via Owner Peter Garland; Michael Blumenfeld, former president of the Rotary and commissioner of the City's Recreation & Parks commission; Tom Blumenthal, president of the Rodeo Drive Committee; the Vericellas of il Cielo; the Gabbays, the Mahboubis, Lillian and Stuart Raffel, the Konheims and many more longtime residents. 

They asked Briskman to run because she has the “leadership and experience” to make tough decisions in the looming financial crisis and felt her “advocacy in Sacramento and Washington D.C.” was vital. 

Briskman's experience on the City Council started when she first ran for election in 2001. During her term she served with Tom Levyn, Mark Egerman and MeraLee Goldman. 

In 2005, she ran again and was re-elected. 

“There is a rhythm you get in the first term, by the end of the four years you have the skills to take you into your second term. It’s a natural progression,” she said. 

During her eight years on the council, it is easier to list what Ad-Hoc committees she has not served on, instead of listing the dozens she has. 

In 2005, Briskman led the charge to get the City more involved with federal and state lobbyists. Beverly Hills has a lot of political clout, most politicians come to the City to raise money, but at the time it was an untapped resource, she said. 

So she started a move to develop relationships with lobbyists, earning a seat as the City's national and state legislation liaison. 

She has served every year in the position since it was created four years ago. 

Since 2005 she has secured more than $2 million in grants, received money for the refurbishment of Santa Monica Boulevard and additional funds for securing homeland security. 

As an advocate in D.C. for many years, she has the “reputation, experience and respect” to lobby on behalf of the City, she says. 

“When (City Manager Rod Wood) or I call, they answer,” she says.

As mayor, Briskman solidified a relationship with Cedars-Sinai to provide programs for the City's seniors. It has grown throughout the last four years, offering many bonuses for residents. 

Briskman is a four-year member of the Westside City Council of Government (COG), a regional council between Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Culver City areas of the county overseen by Zev Yaroslavsky and nearby areas in Los Angeles represented by Jack Weiss and Bill Rosendahl. 

COG formed four years ago and the JPA was formalized under Briskman's direction. Serving as chair for one year, Briskman continues to address transportation, homelessness and sustainability on the council. 

“We recognize regional issues and how they affect our daily lives,” said Briskman. This includes looking at mass transit or advocating improvements in the City's infrastructure — roads, streets, lights. 

In 2007, Briskman was one of two council members who served on the Ad-Hoc committee that passed the smoking ban in restaurants.

At first, she had concerns it would greatly affect local hotels or restaurants where European clientele frequent. But after absorbing the community's input, and research, she says she supported the ban's approval 100 percent. 

Aside from her efforts at the state and national level, combined with her implementation of the smoking ban, Briskman said she has:

  • Reduced City expenses without cutting services.
  • Been instrumental in the efforts to restore Greystone Mansion.
  • Approved the largest joint powers agreement between the City and the school district in the history of its establishment. She approached the decision to increase the JPA with great caution. “I will preface the approval with caution,” said Briskman. “Those who receive money, I want to make sure there is accountability for the money.”
  • During her term the Council approved development projects that gained local and national attention, Montage Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hilton. 
    After spending hundreds of hours reviewing the projects, Briskman voted “yes” on these two issues, commenting she looks for “good, smart and reasonable development for Beverly Hills.”
  • She said no to projects like the Gelson proposal, the Casden development, the Sav-On, projects. “I believe there is a place for good development,” said Briskman. “We look for smart development with high revenue and low traffic.”

If re-elected Briskman said she intends to:

  • Control the City's expenses.
  • Find new sources of smart revenue.
  • Continue advocating in Sacramento and Washington.
  • Look into mass transit.
  • Keep the community safe, which includes maintaining police and fire.
  • Promote the business community.
  • And, one of the most important issues that has not gained enough attention, Briskman says, is directing the City's focus on water and energy issues. When mayor, she said she will bring back, “Mondays With the Mayor,” something she created during her first year as mayor in 2005. Every first Monday of the month, any resident can book 15 minutes with Briskman to talk about anything they want. The 30-year Beverly Hills resident is married to Gary Briskman. They have two daughters who both graduated from Beverly Hills public schools.

“I am very fortunate to live here, work here, and contribute to community,” said Briskman. “I appreciate very much my relationship with the community. I have a reputation (that) people can count on me. I'm honest and I'm forthright. Although sometimes people might not agree, people can count on me for an informed decision.”