That was quick: the LA Times on Friday is endorsing Sheila Kuehl in the race to succeed Zev Yaroslavsky on the county Board of Supervisors. Just the other day I was wondering how the Times would handle re-endorsing in the race, now that Austin Beutner (a Bobby Shriver backer) is publisher of the paper and the LAT's preferred candidate is out. Writes the editorial board:
Of the two candidates for the Board of Supervisors' 3rd District seat, the one who best embodies the qualities needed for the new era is Sheila Kuehl. The Times recommends Kuehl in the Nov. 4 election.
Kuehl brings a solid understanding of the problems in the jails, in foster care and in other aspects of the county's work that is nearly unparalleled for someone not already working in the county arena. That's in part because she has devoted much of her life to championing people in need and on the margins of society — precisely the people county government is intended to serve. And it is in part because Kuehl served 14 years in the Legislature, mastering the intricacies not just of policy but of subjects as mundane yet crucial as funding streams and federal regulations and waivers.
As for Shriver, the Times is less negative about him as a potential leader this time around. Back in May the paper's editorial board called him "unnerving" and basically suggested he was over his head. Now he has "grown as a candidate."
Also vying for the job is attorney, entrepreneur and former Santa Monica mayor and councilman Bobby Shriver. Shriver has grown as a candidate since the primary and has done a better job articulating a thoughtful and creative approach to government.
The decision before voters is complex. Shriver argues correctly that he has solid hands-on experience in local government, yet that he brings a refreshing outsider's point of view. And it is no small matter that he has experience balancing a budget and, importantly, saying "no" to budget demands by public sector labor unions, as he did on the Santa Monica City Council on at least one occasion.
Bottom line for the LAT: "In the end...it is Kuehl's record of fierce advocacy for those in need that should provide confidence in her leadership. Shriver's experience in city government and the not-for-profit sector is valuable, but less suited to the needs of this singular district."
The paper had the opportunity to re-endorse in the race because the candidate the Times favored in the primary, John Duran, did not make the cut to get in the runoff. Duran has endorsed Shriver, as has former Malibu mayor Pamela Ulich, who also failed to make the runoff. The Daily News and BizFed have endorsed Shriver as well. Kuehl has been recently endorsed by Rep. Henry Waxman, the county Federation of Labor and by the county's chief executive officer William Fujioka.