Monday, May 05, 2014

Lesbian Dem Kuehl: 'Help Me Scare Away [Political] Competition'

Last November, three City-wide San Francisco offices were on the ballot -- the city attorney, assessor-recorder, treasurer -- and none of the incumbents faced either a serious challenger or even a protest candidate. It was a sad Soviet style election where there was an election and the people were allowed to vote for the only person on the ballot.

(Photo credit: Rich Pedroncelli.)

Down in Los Angeles, longtime lesbian political animal and former '60s TV sit-com star Sheila Kuehl is running for a seat on the LA County Board of Supervisors and she apparently would have liked nothing more than San Francisco, er, Soviet style race. Check this out from a story by Stan Sinberg in California Lawyer's May issue:

When Kuehl announced her candidacy more than a year ago, her approach was to build up such a formidable lead in endorsements and fund-raising that potential challengers would peel off from the race and leave her unopposed. "I run the same way if I have opposition or I don't," she asserts.

A relentless fund-raiser, Kuehl regularly sends out email solicitations, mining seemingly any occasion as a rallying cry. "Help me scare away the competition with a donation before Halloween," read one typical plea last fall. [...]

So much for putting herself out there and willing to face a competitive race and not use fundraising prowess to harm democracy. Her brand of thinking feeds into the electorate's cynicism and probably suppresses voter participation, but hey, that may be part of her strategy. If she's so fantastic a politician, wouldn't the voters see that regardless or how many folks vie for the seat? California Lawyer again:

When someone learns Kuehl is seeking yet another public office, the question she's often asked is "Why?" After all, it's not like she doesn't have laurels aplenty to rest on.

Kuehl admits that, financially, she needs to work, because those 14 years serving in the Legislature didn't come with a pension; she'll have to stay employed, she estimates, "until I'm a hundred." (The supervisor job pays $181,292 a year.) ...

For a while in her campaign for L.A. County supervisor, Kuehl's early-lead strategy seemed to be paying off, but eventually seven other candidates threw their hats into the Third District ring, including three lawyers: West Hollywood city council member John J. Duran, former Malibu mayor Pamela Conley Ulich, and, most significantly, Bobby Shriver, former mayor of Santa Monica, son of Sargent and Eunice Shriver, and nephew of President Kennedy. 

Color me beyond pleased for the sake of American democracy that her effort to frighten off competitors didn't work. Kuehl will face some stiff bold-name competition including another out LGBT politician, John Duran. Let's see how things turn out on June 3 after the voters have cast ballots and who wins that supervisorial office.

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