The following is a guest post by Beverly Hills city councilmember John Mirisch, which originally appeared on the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page. We believe his observations on the June 21, 2022 Beverly Hills city council hearing, during which the way was cleared for 1001 Roxbury Drive to be demolished, are important and should be indexed by search engines, which isn’t always the case with Facebook posts. Video of the city hearing is here, with discussion of this item beginning around the 1:15 mark.
“When it comes to historic preservation, actions – not words – matter
Historic preservation in Beverly Hills is dead and we killed it.
Last night, at the behest of paid lobbyists and highly remunerated lawyers, the Beverly Hills City Council majority failed to protect one of the City’s most beautiful and iconic estates from the wrecking ball (I dissented).
Despite the false claims of paid consultants, the Carlton Burgess masterpiece at 1001 N. Roxbury Dr. has been a constant beacon of the elegance of Beverly Hills at the corner of Lexington Drive, the exterior largely unchanged for eight decades.
As was confirmed in testimony last night, the house has maintained its integrity; but sadly many individuals, including anti-preservationist interior designer Mark Ríos, who worked on an update of the interior design of the home, have not.
We are quite literally back to square one for historic preservation in Beverly Hills, when the definition of historic preservation Beverly Hills-style was – and once again is – taking a picture of a landmark building before tearing it down.
Those who actually wrote our ordinance explained in great detail that 1001 N. Roxbury indisputably met the ordinance’s criteria for the non-issuance of a “certificate of ineligibility” in the plain-language they themselves wrote.
It didn’t matter.
Listening to the tortured, warped rationalizations of people who should know better and who make a mockery of all of our “lying” eyes, represents government at its worst. Hiding behind paid staff, who constantly puts their elbows on the scale, and consciously choosing to believe the twisted angles of lawyers who would and do say anything for money is not a sign of civic courage; however, this behavior does expose how money has completely infiltrated and polluted our political system.
The pretense and attempts to gaslight the Community are infuriating and need to be called out.
If you don’t like historical architecture, just say so. If you think money trumps everything else, just be honest about it.
If you don’t respect our Community’s physical legacy, fess up.
But you can’t have it both ways. That’s not how it works. You can’t claim to care when your actions speak another truth. Gaslighting the Community only serves to divide us even more; it’s like spitting in the faces of and throwing salt in the wounds of those who truly do care.
Each time we lose a building like 1001 Roxbury, a mosaic piece that is so irreplaceable and so integral to the fabric of our Community, it’s like losing a piece of our collective soul, bit by bit.
It’s nothing short of heartbreaking for the Community, but at least there were many voices in the night who valiantly went on the record to say: “This is wrong. It’s can’t always be all ‘bout the money. Our Community matters.”
Many thanks to Craig Corman, Jill Collins, Linda and Jerry Bruckheimer, Alison Martino, Diane Keaton, and the scores of others who stood up last night to speak truth to power and truth to money. You get it. You give us hope that one day, perhaps, we will be able to value, respect, and honor our architectural legacy with more than crocodile tears, in a manner that actually means something.
Until then, RIP 1001 N. Roxbury.
RIP Community over cash.
RIP historic preservation in Beverly Hills
– John Mirisch, Beverly Hills City Council (June 22, 2022)