Mayor Edward I. Brown said last week that he will not run for reelection to the Beverly Hills City Council.
Brown, a veteran of two terms on the council and six years on the Planning Commission, said Tuesday that he has spent up to 80 hours a week on city duties since becoming mayor earlier this year.
He wants to devote more time to his family and to his businesses.
"After 12 months of being mayor, you're exhausted," he said.
Other members of the council hailed the timing of Brown's announcement because it came more than a month before the Jan. 9 opening of the candidate filing period. Filing closes Jan. 30 but will be extended to Feb. 4 if Brown stays out of the race.
Councilwoman Annabelle Heiferman, whose term also expires next year, said she plans to run for reelection.
'Wealth of Talent'
Brown's announcement, she said, "opens up a seat for someone to have the opportunity to run, and, of course, we have a wealth of talent in the city of Beverly Hills. I do hope that the citizens that are out there will share their talents and expertise."
Council members noted, however, that the cost of a campaign may be prohibitive--as much as $100,000--and that financial disclosure rules require the publication of information about private investments.
The top two vote-getters in the April 9 election will be named to the council, whose members are elected from the city at large for four-year staggered terms.
Brown's decision not to run "may open up the field a little bit," said Vice Mayor Charlotte Spadaro, who frequently finds herself in the minority when the five-member panel considers development issues. Brown and the majority on the council have supported limited commercial growth in the city while Spadaro has opposed development beyond current zoning restrictions and frequently raised doubts about individual projects.
Spadaro, who was elected to the council in 1984 after losing her seat on the Beverly Hills school board, is slated to take over as mayor next year--a change that would have taken place even if Brown decided to run for reelection. Council members, who take turns serving as mayor, are paid $260 a month and put in roughly 15 to 20 hours a week each on civic duties.
Planned on 2 Terms
"I think it's good that he made his position known early, so that some people who might be interested would have the opportunity to think about it and perhaps enter the race," Spadaro said.
Brown said he always intended to serve no more than two terms.
He said the defeat of two Spadaro-backed candidates in the last school board election convinced him that residents will not elect candidates whose views were opposed to his. He said that if he believed otherwise, he would seek to stay in office.
Brown, a financial consultant who is also involved in other businesses, said his major achievement in office was the creation of a citywide task force to set goals for the future.
The program, which involves more than 100 residents, is intended to provide raw material for a new general plan to guide the city's development, a matter of frequent debate in the council.
"I can't believe anybody favors no growth at all," he said. "I think the dispute comes up as to whether we should encourage more controlled development."
Brown cited last year's hotel controversy, when he and a council majority were overruled by a referendum in which voters rejected a proposal to allow hotels to exceed the three-story height limit in the city's business district between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.
Although that was voted down, he said, "a city has to continue to renew itself, has to continue to survive and to grow, or otherwise business becomes fickle and goes to other areas where they see profits will be."
Brown said fast-paced development in surrounding areas of Los Angeles has been a major frustration, since there is little Beverly Hills can do about it.
"The (political) climate has changed in Beverly Hills," he said. "It's much more demanding. The people are more demanding, probably because of the development around us, the increase in traffic. People are not as satisfied as they once were with Beverly Hills."