briefs • City Council adopts resolution to not briefs • Specialty Surgery Center wins rudy cole •

take a position in support of Measure J
Page 3 appeal hearing on 2-1 vote Page 3

Food and politics

Page 6

Issue 682 • October 25 - October 31, 2012

Beverly Hills


Beverly Hills’ First Lady
Dr. Connie Brien discusses politics, family and life in Beverly Hills

cover story • pages 8-9


Dr. Connie Brien discusses politics, family and life in Beverly Hills
By Andrea Aldana
So you and Willie met when you were both medical students at UCLA? That’s correct. We met when we were third year medical students and we were both working on a general surgery rotation at Wadsworth VA, UCLA’s veterans’ administration hospital, and surprisingly we were both working on a urology rotation which pretty much was taking care of expressly male patients who had lots of problems with their reproductive anatomy, so it was kind of humorous that we were working at the same time on this particular rotation, but we got to know each other and had some fun after that and made medical school really great. He comes from a very political family. Was that intimidating at all? Oh, absolutely. I grew up in Riverside and Laguna, and my family were engineers. No one was in medicine, but no one was involved in politics at all either and there were things that were imposing about Willie that had little to do with who he was. I already thought it was intimidating the fact that he was a resident of the city of Beverly Hills. That was an intimidating thing because I had all of these preconceived notions about who lived in Beverly Hills and I felt that it wouldn’t be anyone that I had anything in common with. When we met I thought, “Oh, this is kind of a negative. We’ll see how this works out.” And when I learned about his mother and her father and the legacy of the Warren family, it was just another thing for me to be intimidated by. So at the beginning, I wasn’t very sure about whether this boy and I had anything in common other than medicine, but then again, it turned out great. So, were you surprised when he went into politics? Not at all. In fact, I knew it would happen by the very nature of how he participates in everything. He tends towards a leadership position of any group he’s ever involved with. When he began participating in coaching the kids in AYSO soccer, it was just irresistible to him to start to merge into the commissioner role and division directors. He assumed leadership positions in all of the kids’ sporting events and organizations that they were involved in, so in soccer he moved onto the board of directors. When our kids started playing little league baseball, he started participating with the board of directors. He can’t help himself. He enjoys helping to organize things, so it was never a surprise that he would try to help organize things on the city level. You lived in New York City after medical school for a while. We did. Yes, one our children [Brent] was born there. From 1988 to 1989, we lived in Manhattan. Willie was in training doing his fellowship at Sloan Kettering Hospital and that’s affiliated with another hospital called the Hospital for Special Surgery and in the world of orthopedic surgery, the Hospital for Special Surgery was and probably continues to be one of the most prestigious places for training in the world. Tell us about your full time medical practice. I’m an obstetrician. So I’m a board certified OB/GYN and I did additional training in a subspecialty called maternal fetal medicine and its a subspecialty that’s involved in helping take care of patients with more complicated pregnancies and very much study science and math. Those are essentially the subjects that came easy to me so I took science and math classes because they required less effort than things where you had to use words. I’m not a writer. My parents encouraged me to pursue a path as a pre-med student for traditional medical school. I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted but I knew I wanted to take the science classes so to please my parents I applied to medical school. I really didn’t think I was going to get in so then I had the enormous good fortune to be able to stay at UCLA for medical school and I do have to say UCLA medical school was the best four years of my life. I loved all of it. During undergraduate, you go through the motions of taking all these classes and you’re just concerned with getting decent grades and taking the classes but you weren’t really sure this is what you wanted to think about all the time. Then, when you got to medical school, it all came together. Just the thirst for the infor-

“The magnetism of Beverly Hills at bringing these very successful, well-educated individuals back to the city was unusual for me. Everybody wanted to come back to Beverly Hills. I thought, ‘This is kind of a special place.’” --Connie Brien
involved in the area that is called prenatal diagnosis, that is, the opportunity to learn about the health and wellbeing of the fetus. I do a lot of genetic counseling -- genetic testing of the fetus and amniocentesis and certain genetic screening tests – so I work as a consultant for obstetricians. Patients come to me by a referral from their obstetrician to evaluate, to tell them that the fetus is fine and that the mother is fine. The other part of my practice is taking care of women that develop medical problems during pregnancy and they maybe would require medications for a variety of different medical treatments. I participate in helping to decide what the proper medicine is that would be both safe for the baby as well as the mother. Even though I’m an OB/GYN, my practice doesn’t involve any GYN. It’s all based on the care of a pregnant patient. Why did you pursue a field in medicine? So, when I was an undergraduate, I went to UCLA and I entered thinking I loved to mation became obvious so I thought it was fantastic. And I still love practicing medicine because I love the science. In medical school, I loved surgery, really. It was very satisfying to fix something. As a math person, it is nice when there’s an answer. So, in surgery, its precision was very appealing to me. But I wasn’t sure that I was like all the other surgeons because I think I like to talk a little bit more. I also liked talking to my patients and learning about them and socializing and OB offered a little more opportunity to participate in people’s lives when it was a wonderful time in their life. The anticipation of a newborn is pretty exciting. I also get to work as someone who’s making a decision and I get to be the end of the specialty. Is it difficult to manage your time between a full-time practice and attending events with the mayor? Oh yeah. My whole life has been pretty crazy as far as juggling. I mean, raising four

kids while working and have a husband who’s doing a lot of things at the same time, it’s been a real challenge. I don’t think every woman wants to be working full time or be a professional. There are a lot of other options that everybody has and I think they’re all great. I think every individual gets to choose now whereas 50 years ago, everybody didn’t have the choices. I actually have probably more of like a three-quarter practice. It’s not really full time. I do have a lot of afternoons off. I have the enormous good fortune of having a business associate who is flexible and equally dedicated to his family, so the two of us, over working together for 22 years have managed to figure out the balance so that I really could, if there was an emergency, leave the office and run home. I honestly didn’t miss soccer practices, baseball practices, swimming practices, and horseback riding lessons. I mean I’ve been running around sporting events to participate with my kids the whole time. To have an equally busy husband, now my kids are in college, to attend events is just another thing that was going to happen in the afternoon. There are times when Willie’s responsibilities overlap some with my business responsibilities, so I can’t attend every event or I can’t leave town on some of the opportunities he’s had to go on some of the mayor’s conventions and things like that. I have to say, Willie and I have found a pretty good way to balance things. We didn’t miss much with raising the kids and having them play sports. So I think that it’s been a good journey. I did have another wonderful situation where my in-laws were within walking distance of my house. So my kids’ grandparents participated with them on a daily level, which was great. Tell us more about your family. Oh they’re great. They’re so much fun. My oldest, his name is Willie Jr. He attended Beverly Hills schools and went to Yale undergrad and now he’s at Harvard as a third year law student. He is a relaxed, unpretentious, wonderful smart kid who makes everything look really easy. He’s looking forward to returning to Los Angeles and he will be working at a law firm starting next year when he graduates. It’s very satisfying to me that my eldest will be returning home. The second child, Brent, he also attended Beverly Hills schools. Brent went to Carnegie Melon University. He was a Bio major thinking he was pre-med and finished as a business major and now he’s a first year law student in the University of Minnesota. He’s our entrepreneurial son. He started several businesses when he was in college. He also set up a non-profit for consumer protection and consumer advocacy. He initially entered law school with the intent of concentrating on consumer advocacy and apparently the University of Minnesota has a very good consumer advocacy program so that’s why he landed there. My third, Kelly, is now a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder completely enjoying Boulder and everything it has to offer. I think it will require a lot of effort for us to get her to come home. She should be finishing in December and I really want her to come home. She was

Page 8 • Beverly Hills Weekly

a swimmer at Beverly and she was a very good equestrian as well. She didn’t spend as much time as my other daughter but she loved riding horses, too. She’s a psych major and she’s not exactly sure what she wants to do when she graduates. The fourth child, her name is Ashley. She just graduated from high school, and she is a freshman at Duke University. She’s the equestrian and so, she’s settling in and getting to understand North Carolina a little bit. I’m an empty nester. It’s a little bit sad. You’re an equestrian as well. I started riding as a child when we lived in Riverside. I rode mostly western and then I started riding English there and jumping. I had my own horse. [It was] not a sophisticated, competitive environment. I just loved being there. There was something that was so peaceful about being around the horses and being able to take care of them. When the kids got older, I decided that I wanted everyone in the family to ride horses because I thought it was an important skill. They all learned how to ride somewhat reluctantly and then it was with the fourth child [Ashley] when it finally stuck. Although every vacation, I take the entire family horseback riding, wherever we are, in any country, I can always find horses. But the little one, when it cooked with her, that was when we bought our first horse, and we bought her a little pony when she was 9. Then she started competing and then it became really her passion, so now she and I have had a chance to share the sport, although she competes and I do not. I did when I was in high school. I actually think I will in the future, but all of our effort was helping her to be in an area where she could be competing. She’s riding in college. She rides on the equestrian team at Duke. There are opportunities to compete even in our 50s so I probably will start competing at some point, but to me it’s just about being there and riding. I love it.

What do you love about Beverly Hills? So, first off, my introduction to Beverly Hills was through my husband when I met his friends who he attended high school with. When I got to know his friends and I saw how close they all were and they all loved Beverly High so much and they all maybe they went away for their undergraduate education but everybody seemed to come back. The magnetism of Beverly

who the people of Beverly Hills are. When we began raising children, we moved to Beverly Hills, deliberately -- both of us were professionals and we wanted to live near one set of grandparents. I was again somewhat intimidated thinking I’d never be able to fit in to such a fancy place and when we began meeting other families who were raising their children, you realize it’s a community of genuine, hardworking, hon-

Have you ever considered a life in politics yourself? Oh no. [laughs] I recognize it’s important and I think that there are people who are really very good at it. I am a social outgoing person. I thoroughly love taking care of my patients and I love meeting people. I’m not a public speaker. I’m very uncomfortable in terms of being in front of large groups of people speaking formally. I had a great opportunity to participate as a commissioner on the solicitations commission for six years and I thoroughly enjoyed that which was more getting at the nuts and bolts of philanthropy and understanding the challenges of fundraising from the opinion or the perspective of the fundraising organization, but also from the perspective of the commissioner where our charge in our commission actually was to protect our generous citizens from participating in charitable events or fundraising endeavors that really weren’t efficient or helpful to the designated charity. I would love to be a commissioner again, when I have more time. Public works would be my passion. Maybe because I’m kind of a scientist and public works is kind of like the physiology of the city, isn’t it? Isn’t it about the set up and the architecture or the infrastructure? How the city works is very interesting to me, maybe because it’s kind of like a human body. If I was going to serve on a commission again, that’s where I would go. Where do you see yourself in five years? I don’t know, probably traveling around to visit my kids wherever they’re living at that time. In five years, my life will be different because my children will have finished with the majority of their education. I imagine I will still be working. I always thought I’d be working because I enjoy it that much. I love the science and I love my patients. Maybe working a little less and traveling more and enjoying my family and the next part of their lives. Angeles, arrested on 10/16/2012 for indecent exposure and soliciting anyone to engage lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place. DANIEL PATRICK MYERS, 51, of West Los Angeles, arrested on 10/16/2012 for BHPD bench warrant-misdemeanor and outside felony warrant. JEAN PHILIPPE EDO, 29, of Beverly Hills, arrested on 10/15/2012 for resisting or obstructing public officer. JEROME LAMONT BERRY, 32, of Beverly Hills, arrested on 10/15/2012 for outside misdemeanor warrant. JOSE ALBERTO RIVERA, 32, of Van Nuys, arrested on 10/14/2012 for BHPD bench warrant-misdemeanor. RANDOLPH EDWARD RODRIGUEZ, 22, of Venice, was arrested on 10/13/2012 for BHPD bench warrant-misdemeanor. THOMAS ZACHARY HANDS, 25, of West Hollywood, was arrested on 10/13/2012 detention cont. on page 10 October 25- October 31, 2012 • Page 9

Hills at bringing these very successful, well-educated individuals back to the city was unusual for me. Everybody wanted to come back to Beverly Hills. I thought, “This is kind of a special place.” Why are these people so close? I think it has to do with growing up in a small community and the way the school system was set up, they had an opportunity to really develop life long friendships. That was very appealing to me as far as raising my own kids. And the other thing I found was so nice was that I realized how uninformed I was on

est people. It’s such a remarkable place and it really isn’t a group of wealthy pretentious individuals, which is what other people might assume. I find that it’s inspiring that so many great people work so hard to participate in their community and also raise their children here and try to make the city and southern California a better place. I’ve lived in Beverly Hills now for 23 years and I feel like it’s my home town, too.

Beverly Hills Weekly receives the information that appears below from the Beverly Hills Police Department. This information is released each week to the public. We assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions in the Detention and Arrest Summary. OLEG BUDNITSKIY, 39, of Los Angeles, arrested on 10/21/2012 for burglary-commercial and grand theft. LINDSEY ORLANDO ZAYAS, 44, of Santa Monica, arrested on 10/21/2012 for failure to give written promise to appear and pedestrian on roadway. CESAR ALFONSO JUAREZ, 21, of Santa Monica, arrested on 10/21/2012 for possession or control of syringe or hypodermic needles. JONATHAN JORDAN, 32, of Los Angeles, arrested on 10/20/2012 for public intoxication. PAUL ANTHONY OLIVER, 37, arrested on 10/19/2012 for outside misdemeanor warrant, vandalism: misd/deface property, and resisting, delaying or obstructing of any public officer. LIHUI KE, 30, of Los Angeles, arrested on 10/19/2012 for driving under the influence. BITA HASSID, 40, of Beverly Hills, arrested on 10/18/2012 for BHPD bench warrant - misdemeanor. CRYSTAL CATHLEEN FAMBRINI, 32, of Los Angeles, arrested on 10/18/2012 for driving under the influence. MANSOOR KARAMOOZ, 67, of Burbank, arrested on 10/17/2012 for driving under the influence. ASHKON DAN NOORIAN, 22, of Culver City, arrested on 10/17/2012 for burglary-

commercial. DELBERT HAROLD NOWLIN, 48, of Beverly Hills, arrested on 10/17/12 for outside felony warrant. LUCCIANO CHRISTO, 21, of Los Angeles, arrested on 10/17/2012 for outside felony warrant. CLARENCE HOWARD SMITH, 73, of Beverly Hills, arrested on 10/17/2012 for outside felony warrant. MARIA CHRISTINA SASS, 28, of Los Angeles, arrested on 10/16/2012 for driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence. MALLORY BRADLEY, 23, of Redondo Beach, arrested on 10/16/2012 for outside misdemeanor warrant CHRISTOPHER GEORGE SABOL, 42, of San Diego, arrested on 10/16/2012 for driving with a suspended license. MITCHELL JACOB SMITH, 61, of Los

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