Beverly Hills at 100: who sets the style for this style-setting enclave?


11 November 2014 Michael S Berlin Complaint against 430 South Crescent Drive Domum Delendum Esse (1)  (for an extended discussion of this topic on-line, see, well, actually, “listen to”:  http://www.starktruthradio.com/?p=890)

There is a real estate broker and investor in Beverly Hills, California, (He’s Greek so I’ll call him “Gottlieb von Griechenland” for purposes of this article only) whom I’ve known and with whom I have worked since about September or October 2009.  He is a treasure trove of local knowledge, heritage-details, and inside gossip on this (possibly) most-gossiped about City/Elite Urban Enclave in all of North America, possibly in the whole world.   Gottlieb has lived here for 30 years now and, what can I say, he’s quite a character.  He says proudly, “my daughters were born here, they have always lived here, and they will probably die here.”  And indeed, his “model-worthy” beautiful blonde teenage daughters seem to epitomize everything, all the material qualities, for which this city is so justly famous. 

Living up to the lifestyle of Beverly Hills year-round is never easy, so Gottlieb takes these daughters for six weeks every summer to an idyllic island in his native Greece, where Gottlieb is also engaged in everything from resort real estate to Dairy-Goat-Yoghurt. He also collects sportscars from friends because he thinks they’re sexy (the friends and the cars) and he just can’t help himself when it comes to getting exceptional deals on such vehicles, shrimp, lamb chops, chocolate ice cream and candy bars, even Hersheys, anything at all.

In the time that I have known him, Gottlieb, formerly married to Susan Prinz-Brites, daughter of the most elegant gentleman Mr. Reinhardt Prinz of the “Hollywood 1933” Club, has introduced me to many of the most interesting people in this city, not necessarily the most famous (because they’re all “managed”).  Specifically, Gottlieb has introduced me to truly remarkable people like his ex-wife Susan and her daughters, and Dr. Michael S. Berlin, M.D., one of the originators of glaucoma laser surgery and founder of the Glaucoma Institute of Beverly Hills on Beverly Drive.  They say that “familiarity breeds contempt” and Gottlieb is extremely familiar with everyone in Beverly Hills, particularly those who arrived roughly at the same time he did, namely the Iranian Jews, and for no one does Gottlieb have greater contempt and scorn. Having married into the local German-Jewish aristocracy, he is mostly envious of their stability and success at the top of the Los Angeles social hierarchy and “food chain.”  Russian Jews and his fellow Greeks (and Armenians) are all somewhere in the middle….

The City of “Perry Mason”, “Dragnet” and “LA Confidential”, the Anglo-Saxon Protestant city of Los Angeles, might as well be an adolescent fantasy of my early teenage years with which Gottlieb (and his daughters and his ex-wife Susan and her daughters) have little or no familiarity.  They’ve all heard of “the Beverly Hillbillies” but they’ve all heard of Superman and Batman too….

Dr. Berlin may not be a movie star, although his great uncle was the famous composer Irving Berlin (“God Bless America” and all that), but he’s a man of much more substance and practical achievement and contributions to the world than some who just “live off their beauty”—which would be a large proportion of the “Movie-Star” inhabitants of 90210, 90211, and 90212.  And yes, to non-natives Beverly Hills really is big enough for 3 zip codes—Gottlieb, together with his aforementioned lovely daughters “Cruz” and “Marbella” von Griechenland used to live in legendary 90210, a couple of blocks from Rodeo Drive and “All Saints” Church (one block to the west of Rodeo) about which I’ve written a great deal, and not-just because I was confirmed there in 1974, but now Gottlieb lives “down” in 90212.

Anyhow, Dr. Michael S. Berlin has a problem with his house.  He travels around the country and the world so much of the year I’m surprised he even remembers he has a house, but he’s very attached to his home, and he’s outraged that his “California Hacienda-Bungalow” style home has been literally buried under the shadow of a new next-door neighbor, just to the north—a crude “McMansion” built under the strangest of circumstances by some Iranian Developers.  Already in the late 1980s a book had appeared under the title Irangeles and my former wife and I were once invited to the coronation in abstentia of the heir to the throne Shah (overthrown by the Iranian Revolution in 1979), but I did not realize until I met Gottlieb von Griechenland that Beverly Hills has been all but totally taken over by Iranian Jews.  

Clearly not all Iranian Jews are bad or undesirable.  Another one of my best friends anywhere in Los Angeles is Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, founder and director of the J.E.M. Community Sports Center at 9903 Santa Monica.  As I have written before, Rabbi Illulian is one of the most gracious, distinguished, eloquent and sincere men I have ever met in my life, an individual of remarkable resilience, a socio-cultural conservative in the most liberal and depraved of cities, who refuses to accept homosexuality or “free love” or any of the other modern “norms” of the Brave New World.

As Gottlieb explained it to me in detail, the Iranian Jews felt under tremendous pressure to leave after the Ayatollah Khomeini took power, precisely because they had been so supportive of the Shah and of the general Westernization of Iran, against which the Revolution had taken place.

What had happened to Dr. Berlin’s home on Crescent Drive was that some Iranian Jewish developers had solicited the City of Beverly Hills to build a two-story house in a uniformly one-story relaxed California bungalow/hacienda style neighborhood.  These developers, the Samadi family, had, according to Gottlieb von Griechenland, represented to the City of Beverly Hills and to the neighbors on South Crescent Drive, including Dr. Berlin, that they planned to live in the house they proposed to build.  They showed pictures of their children, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren, and emphasized how they needed a two-story house for their extended family. In Beverly Hills, as long as an extended family is rich, nothing else matters.

As Gottlieb goes on to explain, however, the Iranian Jews know just how to hoodwink the older, more established (oldest, 1930s arriving Nazi-refugee) German Jews (such as his ex-wife Susan Prinz and her father Reinhardt, true modern Hollywood and Beverly Hills aristocracy, along with Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse and Councilman Gold) and (somewhat later arriving) “Russian Pale” Jews who had transformed the originally WASPY demographics of Beverly Hills into something else.  Even Dr. Berlin wryly describes Beverly Hills now as “a rather above-average Ghetto”.  And indeed, there are very few people with Anglo-Saxon names like Clampett, Drysdale, or Hathaway (of “The Beverly Hillbillies” Fame) in Beverly Hills anymore.  And almost all of those who remain go to All Saints Church or one of the three adjacent Christian Church on Santa Monica Boulevard west of Rodeo—a kind of “inverse” Christian “Ghetto”, one might say, following Dr. Berlin).

Iranian Jewish fraud, according to Gottlieb, is the most widespread and pernicious in all Los Angeles, “they are the absolute worst”, he says.  “They come in and show you all their family: their little children and tell the City they are going to live there, but from the beginning they are going to just flip it immediately, sell it as soon as they are done.  These people are the worst of the worst.  All the Jews, they are famous you know, for wanting money, but these Iranians they came here with Jewels in their girdles, their bras, and their panties.”  (Gottlieb clearly has a low opinion of Iranian Jews, but he is not alone: another friend of mine, Julia Gelb, a “Russian Pale” Jew from Belarus, once filed a Federal Civil Rights Complaint against her Iranian Jewish landlords in Beverly Hills alleging genocidal intent of the Iranian Jews against the Russian Jews.  Dr. Berlin simply allows as how “they are not my favorite people.”).

Anyhow, the Complaint attached above raises a number of very interesting constitutional issues concerning the Beverly Hills Municipal Planning Code and Planning Commission regarding regulatory takings, administrative discretion, arbitrary and capricious application and enforcement of the laws, and other issues.  

One response to “Beverly Hills at 100: who sets the style for this style-setting enclave?

  1. Pingback: Charles Lincoln talks about life in Beverly Hills « Attack the System

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