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New faces join Rolling Hills City Council

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UPDATE: 3/7 Measure B failed by 5 votes.

When Tom Heinsheimer was first elected to the Rolling Hills City Council in 1972, Richard Nixon was still in office. On Tuesday night, after 10 terms and 41 years, he was finally unseated.

“They finally got rid of Nixon and me,” Heinsheimer said afterward. “We probably established a new term limit rule in Rolling Hills: 40 years and out.”

Winning election to the council for the first time with 32 percent of the vote was Bea Dieringer, an LA county deputy district attorney and Jeff Pieper, a planning commission member, with 27 percent.

Measure A, which would have allowed horse stables to be converted into a residence as long it looked like a stable, failed with 56 percent voting ‘No.’ Measure B, which dealt with view obstructions, failed by just five votes. On Tuesday night it was failing by just seven votes. The remaining 55 provisional ballots are expected to be counted Wednesday evening.

Despite the loss, Heinsheimer, who’s an aerospace industry consultant, said he was thrilled with the turnout of nearly 800 voters, almost double the usual number.

“This is what it’s all about,” he said. “This election woke up the town. People are interested.”

Bea Dieringer, a 10-year resident of the city, said she felt wonderful to be embarking on her first run at political office. She had been campaigning door-to-door since January trying to listen to residents’ concerns.

“It was really neat to meet so many people and get to know my neighbors and understand what issues and concerns they have,” Dieringer said. “A primary concern of mine is to be accountable and make sure we’re listening to people and considering their views in the decisions we make as a city council person.”

Dieringer said she hopes her experience as an attorney suits the city well when it comes to crime and legal matters. Last year, Rolling Hills had 49 property crimes, which is something Dieringer plans to address.

“I wanted to contribute to the community and add to the experience on city council,” Dieringer said. “We’re dealing with legal issues all the time dealing with lawsuits pending against the city. That breadth of legal knowledge is a virtue of working as an attorney for 34 years.”

Heinsheimer, meanwhile, said he’s looking forward to spending time with his family and watching his two grandchildren play little league.

“I’ve always been interested in the betterment of the community. When the people turn out in very large numbers and get enthusiastic and put in two people who are new and intelligent and capable of the job I can only salute.” ER


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