Alongside her inauguration into mayorship earlier this year, Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse has commendably been able to encourage community unity, provide a therapeutic outlet for citizens, and advocate a healthier lifestyle within a number of months.
Every Monday morning, a group of about 150 to 200 people gather outside Beverly Hills City Hall at 8:30 am to partake in a “Walk with the Mayor.”
Though some have to leave before the official conclusion of the walk at 10 am in order to go to work, the fact that many take time out of busy mornings to participate clearly implies the value and the impact that this simple walk has had in their lives.
“This walk is a part of my Healthy City initiative,” Bosse said. “When I took office, an initiative I started was ‘Beverly Hills Healthy City,’ and to me that means healthy people, healthy economy, and a healthy government.”
The flock of friendly, energetic Beverly Hills locals can easily be spotted on Monday mornings, as they are all sporting complimentary orange caps that don Bosse’s “#BeverlyHillsHealthyCity” hashtag across the front.
Of course, everyone is busy socializing and enjoying each other’s company. Bosse takes the extra effort to reach out to everyone on the walk, particularly those who are new to the activity.
“I want us to have a very transparent government,” Bosse said. “I want to be a mayor that is accessible.”
This unsuspecting, casual 90-minute walk has had tremendous results in terms of both physical and personal growth.
Whether it be parents utilizing the walk as a form of exercise, locals voicing their opinions about neighborhood concerns, or those who are simply looking to make new friends, the walk with the Mayor serves a plethora of citizen needs and wants in Beverly Hills.
“We have a lot of regulars,” Bosse said. “But we also have a good share of first-timers every week. When this walk first started we had about 50 people, so it’s really grown.”
Newcomers and mother-daughter pair Alma and Stephanie Ordaz shared their sentiments about the walk.
“It’s a fabulous way of bringing the community together,” Alma Ordaz, Beverly Hills local, said. “My daughter and I were both born and raised here and it’s great to see everyone come together on Monday mornings. I’m definitely making this a routine.”
One of the benefits of this walk is the fact that it is never mundane – the group takes a different path almost every time.
“Today we did a loop up Santa Monica Boulevard,” Stephanie Ordaz said. “We stopped at Saks Fifth Avenue and learned a little bit of history. I heard that today was a short walk, but usually they range from three to five miles.”
Pastor Jeff Freeman of the Beverly Hills Foursquare Church elaborated on the versatility of the destinations, several of which carry fun facts about the recent history and pop culture of Beverly Hills.
“One time we went to La Cienega Park,” Freeman said. “We’ve also been to the Edelweiss, which is the chocolate factory that inspired an ‘I Love Lucy’ episode, and we’ve been to the Montage as well, where they put on the loveliest spread for us.”
Freeman moved to the town less than two years ago. The weekly walk has left a lasting impression on him.
“This walk provides the most incredible sense of community,” Freeman said. “Lili Bosse is one incredible human being with a huge heart for the city. People from all walks of life can come on this walk and feel welcomed. This needs to spread to the rest of Los Angeles.”
Bosse, Ordaz, and Freeman all referred to the walk as a great place to connect, whether it be doing business together, seeing familiar faces, or forming new relationships. Any and every topic – from the quintessential SoCal issues like traffic and parking to the deepest of personal issues – are addressed on the walks.
Above all, however, Bosse’s core objective is to be a resource, a helping hand, and simply a friend to the people of Beverly Hills.
“I want people to be able to come to me at any time and be able to share with me their ideas and concerns,” Bosse said.
All Walks with the Mayor begin on the Crescent Dr. side of Beverly Hills City Hall every Monday morning at 8:30 am. There is free two-hour parking available at the Civic Center Structure on Rexford Dr. next to the Beverly Hills Public Library.
For more information, visit beverlyhills.org.