This year, the race for the Third District of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors promises to be a donnybrook.
The district includes Santa Monica and parts of the Westside, Beverly Hills, Fairfax, Hollywood, Agoura, Malibu, and areas of the San Fernando Valley ranging from Northridge and Woodland Hills to Studio City
Zev Yaroslavsky has finally termed out and the front runners to replace him are former Santa Monica City Councilman and Mayor Bobby Shriver and Sacramento legislative veteran Sheila Kuehl. A few weeks ago, I endorsed Shriver because I know he’ll do an awesome job.
Shriver is an imaginative thinker, successful businessman and solves problems “out of the box.” Unlike most “spend and tax” politicians, he regularly utilizes entrepreneurial methods and taps private enterprise or his worldwide resources to achieve amazing outcomes.
Tackling poverty and AIDS in Africa is a huge undertaking. Instead of relying on slow-acting governments to step up, Shriver created several global organizations including “RED,” “One” and “Data” to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fight AIDS and improve human lives in the poorest places on the planet.
“A Very Special Christmas,” co-produced by Shriver, is the single most successful benefit recording in musical history with over $116 million in royalties and investment proceeds generated for the Special Olympics.
Shriver pushed hard to get the Veterans Administration to renovate derelict buildings on its West Los Angeles campus to provide much-needed housing and health services for homeless vets. Through Shiver’s efforts, the VA is close to opening one of three renovated domiciles expressly for mentally impaired, homeless veterans.
While on City Council (2004-12), he worked to fight traffic, resolve homeless problems, clean up the Santa Monica Bay and make City Hall more responsible to the people. Shriver wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo.
He supported Measure T, a citizen-created 2008 ballot referendum. The 15-year measure would have limited commercial development to 75,000 square feet annually in an effort to manage traffic. It was strongly opposed by developers and Downtown business interests.
Sheila Kuehl served 14 years in Sacramento. While there, she authored 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave, overhaul California’s child support services system, protect domestic violence victims and their children. She also worked to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education among many others according to her campaign website.
Yet, there’s something about Kuehl that really bothers me.
Previously, I mentioned Measure T (also known as RIFT or Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic) that capped commercial development — like the 770,000-square-foot Hines project that’s now the subject of a citizen referendum. Unfortunately, it failed that November, but it was a watershed event in Santa Monica politics.
Developers spent $800,000 to defeat it — a record for a local campaign — through contributions to “Save Our City” (SOS) the anti-T committee headed by present Mayor Pro-tem Terry O’Day and Judy Abdo. Abdo is a former Mayor and councilwoman (1988-1996) and a member of the powerful Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) Steering Committee. She’s been the developers SMRR “go-to” person for years.
I dove into my extensive campaign literature collection and found a pile of SOS propaganda. One mailer quoted Kuehl: “I oppose Measure T because it further encourages landlords to demolish affordable apartments and displace renters. Vote No on T to protect renters.”
Kuehl had to know that Measure T addressed only commercial development and specifically exempted residential property. It had nothing to do with renters and it didn’t encourage landlords to “demolish affordable apartments.”
Nevertheless, she continued to lay it on thick. “It will put the security of seniors and working families at risk and will jeopardize our already diminishing supply of affordable housing,” screamed another Kuehl mailer. This was also complete and utter nonsense.
Kuehl is a smart woman, She must’ve known that her statements completely misrepresented the measure. So, why did she participate in this scam? Developer money for her next political run, like for supervisor? Maybe. But, take a look at a quote on yet another misleading SOS brochure headlined, “Measure T will harm renters and working families.”
“Measure T will allow landlords to displace existing renters and replace affordable apartments with expensive condos. It will not reduce traffic like it claims.” It’s not Kuehl’s quote but that of her BFF (Best Friend Forever), SOS co-chair Judy Abdo identified on the mailer as “Steering Committee Member, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights.” Ouch! Somebody else’s pants are on fire, too.
I think that Kuehl made a bad decision in doing a favor for Abdo and blew her own credibility by parroting the lies. Did they think we are too stupid to recognize a blatant deception?
Despite the sorry history, of course SMRR endorsed Kuehl for Supervisor. I wonder whether her other political endorsers were/are aware of how she tried to mislead an entire electorate.
What else will she misrepresent if she wins Yaroslavsky’s seat? The County Board of Supervisors is one of the most pro-development entities in all of government. That’s why we need Shriver.
He supported Measure T and flew in the face of the SOS developer clique. Shriver proved that he’s independent and can’t be bought. Kuehl on the other hand supported big money developers and their cronies by deliberately misinforming voters about a ballot measure. She should be ashamed of herself.
The Third District needs a supervisor with integrity who won’t prevaricate and flim-flam us. Kuehl? No way, Jose!
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org