By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Departing Co-Honorary Mayors Billy and Janice Crystal virtually passed the gavel to incoming Honorary Mayor Eugene Levy in a well-attended Zoom inauguration ceremony hosted by the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday evening, January 26.
Emceed by Palisadian Sam Laganà, the evening featured words from Chamber President and CEO Bob Benton, Chamber Chairwoman Sarah Knauer, Councilmember Mike Bonin, the Crystals and former Honorary Mayor Martin Short.
“I’m glad we’re kicking off 2021 on such a positive note and such a worthy mayoral candidate,” Benton shared at the start. “Billy and Janice Crystal, you two were fabulous. Anytime I called you, you answered, and you even called me just to see what was next.”
Billy and Janice Crystal then cracked jokes as they detailed accomplishments over the course of their time as co-honorary mayors—some factual and some fiction.
“We do look back with pride on our accomplishments,” Janice said.
“The peace treaty we negotiated with Brentwood,” Billy joked. “That was a big deal.”
Next to speak was Short, who, between jokes about Levy, said that he is “one of the kindest people and one of the funniest, most brilliant people.”
Short, who passed the honor at the end of his term to Anthony Hopkins, touched on the fact that the list of honorary mayors of Pacific Palisades is an “amazing group.”
Bonin was on hand to swear Levy in, but first offered some advice: “The secret—which I’m surprised they didn’t tell you—that each mayor passes on is that, in a real mayor or a fictitious honorary mayor, the trick to success always is just blame the City Council.”
He then led Levy in the swearing in ceremony, which included Levy raising his hand and repeating an oath.
“Being honorary mayor is one of the biggest honorary honors that I’ve had in my young life, and looking down the list of past honorary mayors, I know I have big shoes to fill,” Levy shared during his first address as honorary mayor. “It’s a heavyweight list of Palisadians, and I want you to know that I will take this job as seriously as I can—and for those that know me, that doesn’t necessarily bode well for the Palisades, unfortunately.”
Levy, who has lived in the Palisades for 14 years, explained that during the Crystals’ first year of mayorship, Palisades Village saw its grand opening.
“I’ve got some ideas for the rest of the Palisades,” Levy joked, “and I don’t want to give away too much right now, but think Dubai.”
Another goal, Levy shared, is to ride in a parade.
Levy then took a handful of questions from constituents, including what it was like to work with his son on the multi-Emmy Award-winning “Schitt’s Creek.”
As Levy was taking questions, Benton reported that Catherine O’Hara, Levy’s co-star on the show, was having trouble entering the Zoom, but that she wanted to extend her well wishes to Levy—especially as she recently accepted the role of honorary mayor of neighboring Brentwood.
As the inauguration wound down, jokes were made that Levy’s first official order as honorary mayor would be to bring back outdoor dining that Friday, a decision that had, in reality, been announced by Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted across the state Monday, January 25.
Benton shared with the Palisadian-Post the next day that it was “enjoyable” getting to know Billy and Janice during their time as co-honorary mayors.
“They did such a great job, they will be a tough act to follow,” Benton said, “but I am looking forward to working with Eugene as our mayor for the next two years. He really seems to be going into this with an eager and positive attitude, so humble, warm and funny. We are lucky to have him.”
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