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Beverly Hills Weekly
Beverly Hills, California
December 19, 2013     Beverly Hills Weekly
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December 19, 2013

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briefs Mayorkas nominated for No. 2 job at Homeland Security Last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved President Barack Obama's nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas, a 1977 Beverly High graduate, for Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas, former United States Attorney for Southern California and cur- rent lawyer and director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, is one of the first cabinet nomi- nees considered under new senate rules that permit confirmation with a major- ity vote. The sen- ate approved Mayorkas' nomina- tion with- out a single Republican vote. In a Alelarrlro MaJ# letter to Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), the committee chairman, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) cited their objections on the grounds of an ongoing investiga- tion into allegations that Mayorkas mis- managed the operation of a visa program for wealthy foreign investors. Mayorkas denies the charges. The Washington Post reported that Mayorkas has strong backing from the White House, several advisers to for- mer president George W. Bush, and for- mer homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano. If confirmed as deputy, Mayorkas would be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Department of Homeland Security which includes the U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration and other agen- cies. "I believe there is an overwhelming need for leadership at DHS and over- whelming case that Director Mayorkas will be an excellent Deputy Secretary and should be promptly confirmed," Carper wrote in his own letter last Tuesday. As of Monday, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary is former Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson. Planning Commission approves resolution on Kobor settlement Last Thursday, the Planning Commission approved a resolution by the city staff which finalizes their Nov. 22 decision to deny applying a medical over- lay zone to the Kobor Project Building located at 8767 Wilshire Boulevard. The medical overlay zone would allow the building, initially designated for gen- eral office and commercial use, to be par- tially devoted to medical purposes, 45% of which would go to medical offices and a pharmacy. The Planning Commission also evaluated the proposal for a vehicle showroom on the ground floor of the building. "The applicant insisted on a 'thumbs up/thumb down' settlement. Although there were different parts of the applica- tion- for example, the automobile dealer- ship and the restaurant--they didn't want to present it in pieces," said Vice Chair Howard Fisher. While the restaurant would have pre- sented parking concerns for the build- ing, other components might have been admissible to the commission. "The high- end auto dealership probably would have been approved, since it would have been low-volume use," Fisher said. The building was originally approved by the Planning Commission on September 14, 2006, for general office, retail, and restaurant uses, specifically prohibiting medical uses among others. This final decision of the Planning Commission is appealable to the city council within 14 days. Kobor's attorney, former mayor Tom Levyn, declined to comment on whether Kobor will appeal. After hesitation, City Council approves resolution adopting 2014- 2021 Housing Element Update Director of Community Development Susan Healy Keene presented the 2014- 2021 Housing Element Update to the City Council on Tuesday. Keene said the Update closely reflects the 2010-2014 Housing Element, with the same goals, accounting for the change in population as reflected in the Census. After a dis- cussion of their hesitations, the Council unanimously approved the update, stipu- lating that certain issues would return to the Council for discussion. "I am very happy with the update, except for the Historic Preservation sec- tion," said Councilmember Nancy Krasne. "Not all buildings fit all times." Krasne, along with Councilmember Willie Brien, suggested that Historic Preservation codes be a matter of resi- dents' choice. "This is now imposing upon people the inability to make upgrades that cause loss to the historic value of the home," said Brien, alluding to Krasne's discussion of dual glazed windows, which improve the quality of life for residents but do not align with Historic Preservation codes in houses such as Krasne's. "I don't think the point of the [cul- tural heritage] ordinance is to protect non- historical buildings. That being said, if someone is trying to tear down Greystone mansion, there will be a process they will have to go through," said Mayor John Mirisch. Mirisch further stressed the importance of the city's authority to protect renters from abusive landlords. "I do think we need to take serious action on some of the violations we've seen against our ten- Steve Zoet, Director of Community Services, and Barbara Linder at the California Parks and Recreation conference where Linder received the award Linder receives "Champion of the Community" award The City Council presented Barbara Linder with the highest honor given annu- ally by California Parks and Recreations for dedicated non-parks officials. "There's no one I can think of better than Barbara Linder," said Vice Mayor Lili Bosse. "She's educated the community on sustainable gardening." Linder is the first "Champion of the Community" winner from Beverly Hills. The award is granted to individuals, agencies, community organizations, founda- tions, businesses or educational institutions for outstanding public service in the support of "Creating Community Through People, Parks and Programs." Linder initiated the community demonstration garden at Greystone Mansion in 2011, which trains volunteers on growing sustainable food with urban fanning techniques and donates all produce to local food banks. Linder's other contributions to the city include six years on the Human Relations Commission, serving as the PTA president of Horace Mann, 12 years of volunteer work with All Saints Beverly Hills, and membership of the Friends of the Beverly Hills Public Library. A Beverly Hills native, Linder has gardened in the city since she was seven years old "My family has lived in Beverly Hills since the 1930's. We greatly value all the years of fine public education they have received," said Linder in her speech. At the City Council meeting, Linder broke the news that corporate represen- tatives from Armstrong will sponsor the Greystone garden project beginning Wednessday. "I am honored to have been recognized for my 25 years of volunteer service to my city, and I plan to be there for the city for the foreseeable future," said Linder after the meeting. ants," Mirisch said. Public Works Commission mitigates driest year on record Metropolitan Water District representa- tive Demetri Polyzos presented an update to the Public Works Commission regard- ing the current water supply and water storage plan. Polyzos reported that we are experienc- ing the driest year on record. In spite of that, "because of all the investments and the storage, our levels are good. We're doing well," said Polyzoz. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) on November 19 sent a memo tO the State Water Contractors--which include the Metropolitan Water District-- stating that their initial allocation is going to be 5% of their requests for water. Polyzos predicts the DWR will increase this allocation, because it is warranted by the year's developing hydrologic and water supply conditions. "[November 19's] allocation is a stark reminder that California's fickle weather demands that we make year-round conservation a way of life," said DWR Director Mark Cowin in a press release. "Are there any discussions about restrictions or conservation efforts that we should talk about?" said Public Works Commissioner Steven Weinglass at Thursday's meeting. briefs cont. on page 4 December 19- December 25, 2013 Page 3