If we spot a problem, we try to bring it to the responsible people quietly and give them a chance to address it,” Smith said. “We are not here to throw rocks at our community. We are here to support our own community.”
Beverly Hills might be best known for pampered TV housewives and refined shopping on Rodeo Drive. But it’s also the home of bare-knuckle politics and a publisher who tries to influence events, both from behind the scenes and in the news pages of his newspaper.
Smith delivers his opinions on civic matters in the heavily Democratic city through tart editorials that lean libertarian.
He rails against plans to tunnel beneath the Beverly Hills High School campus for the Westside subway. He bristles at “out of town” publications, such as the Los Angeles Times, that sponsor community events he sees as the province of his paper.
Smith, 61, is not a Beverly Hills resident. He lives in Pasadena. But he practices law in Beverly Hills and said that, because he has a deep affection for the city, he has strong opinions.
When then-Mayor Willie Brien had his photo on the cover of the rival Beverly Hills Weekly last summer, an item in the Courier suggested it was a favor because the council had directed an extra $20,000 in city advertising to that paper. Josh Gross, the Weekly’s publisher, said that his paper got far less than the Courier contended and that Brien was on the front page because he attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Orlando, Fla. “We always put them on the cover when they go,” he said.