“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
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
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,”
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,
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
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