I spotted the former state Senator Sheila Kuehl having dinner during last week's heat wave at an outdoor table on Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica. That got my party talking about the upcoming race for county Supervisor and how odd it is that the contest to replace longtime supe Zev Yaroslavsky looks like it will be a contest between two Santa Monica types. There's Kuehl, 72, who has been running for months already, and now Bobby Shriver, 59, the former Santa Monica mayor who many think has been spending the last few years pondering an office to run for.
Later this morning, Shriver will make his formal announcement with a photo op beside Pacific Coast Highway at Will Rogers State Beach. That's in Pacific Palisades, just over the city line from Santa Monica, so at least the negative mail won't be able to hit him with a charge of never leaving the gilded enclave he calls home. Both Shriver and Kuehl are going to have to convince voters in the Valley and across the Westside that they are bigger than Santa Monica.
Kuehl is a former actress — most famously Zelda in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" on TV — who became the first lesbian elected to the California legislature. She at least has represented part of the 3rd supervisorial district beyond Santa Monica. Shriver is the Kennedy family relation (brother of Maria Shriver) who was on the Santa Monica City Council and has championed housing and services for the homeless. He is a lawyer and philanthropist who told the LAT's Seema Mehta that he doesn't know his net worth. Safe to say he could bankroll his own campaign if he chose, and coming in late he starts well behind Kuehl in fundraising. But let's see who turns up at his unveiling at 10 a.m.
The district where they are running is a whopper, like all of those served by the five Supes. The supervisors have more constituents than any local elected officials in the country except for a couple of mayors. The 3rd district spans Calabasas and the west end of the Valley, West Hollywood and Yaroslavsky's Fairfax area, as well as Santa Monica, and has not been contested since he succeeded Ed Edelman in 1994. That alone makes the race interesting, from the perspective of political sport. The coming campaign may reveal some differences between Kuehl and Shriver, besides who their supporters are; both are liberal Democrats.
Noted: Another regular in "Dobie Gillis" was a young Warren Beatty.