The Beverly Hills Courier splashes a front page story this week attacking the city's decision to pay a higher rate for legal advertising in the rival Beverly Hills Weekly, with an editorial from publisher Clifton S. Smith Jr. speculating whether it's a tradeoff for favorable coverage of a hotel controversy.
Is there a connection between The City of Beverly Hills subsidizing another newspaper in town and coverage of elected officials? We hope not. We also hope the hysteria over the Montage Hotel project has not infected The City government where the way to get higher advertising rates is to criticize the project until you get paid. We hope that is not the case, either. But judge for yourselves. Read the documents. They speak for themselves. Is there a different explanation why The City would circumvent the competitive bidding process and give a vendor 250 percent more than his competitive bid? Why would The City pay one vendor 10 times more per copy per notice than it pays another vendor for printing the same notice?
We also hope this is an aberration with City Manager Roderick Wood and the city council is actually doing a better job supervising the city manager than this instance makes it appear. All members of the council deny any knowledge of the affair. But how in the world can any vendor get away with a 250 percent price hike, with no warning, no justification and no council vote, especially after the original price was set in competitive bidding?
I'll be sure to check the Beverly Hills Weekly this week for a response.