PERSPECTIVE-The campaign to replace termed-out Los Angeles County Supervisors has run largely under the radar even though the election is now just nine months away. The LA mayoral race sucked up the headlines for a year or so, then the IBEW contract controversy took center stage. Add to that, potential supervisorial candidates have stayed on the sidelines waiting for the fallout from the mayoral election.
But things are heating up as quickly as when Bert sensed the arrival of Mary Poppins: “Wind’s in the east. Mist comin’ in. Like something is brewin’, about to begin.”
And the campaign might be “something quite atrocious,” especially in Zev Yaroslavsky’s 3rd District.
As of now, the only two announced candidates are Sheila Kuehl, a former Assembly Member and State Senator, and former Malibu Mayor and City Councilwoman Pamela Conley Ulich.
Kuehl has already raised $250,000, probably enough money to discourage most lesser known candidates from entering the contest, but not enough to discourage bigger names who are veterans of high stakes races.
One of the potential candidates is Wendy Greuel. Her supporters are apparently urging her to run.
If Greuel had not run for mayor, she would have undoubtedly declared for Zev’s seat and would have accumulated a significant lead in money over Kuehl at this time.
But she ran and lost, leaving her with two problems – $680,000 in campaign debt and a damaged reputation, not exactly the foundation of a political force. She cannot afford another loss in such a short time span. It would mark the end of her viability as a candidate for anything but a Neighborhood Council seat.
Let’s say she decided to run, how would she match up against Kuehl?
She certainly has the advantage in name recognition, especially since Kuehl has been largely out of the limelight since she was termed-out in the State Senate in 2008. However, Greuel’s embarrassing mayoral campaign might make it difficult for her to raise money. Big pocket donors like to back candidates who are proven winners. Despite millions of dollars in her campiagn treasury and endorsements from some of the biggest names in politics, including Bill Clinton’s, she crashed and burned. The outcome is bound to give donors pause. They expect something for their money, but losers can’t deliver.
Kuehl has the track record of a winner, serving fourteen years in the legislature, with important committee posts under her belt. She would likely rack up big votes from the southern part of District 3, as far north to Ventura Boulevard and the 101 – some of which was within her old senate seat’s boundaries.
Greuel would need to score big in the Valley, but you saw what happened in the mayoral race. She barely eked out a majority, even in her own precinct. Although you can attribute her lack of success there to Kevin James, Valley voters will not soon forget how she pandered to the DWP’s IBEW 18 union, basically throwing the ratepayers under the bus in return for big money.
Greuel’s gender card strategy was not productive; it will be even less so against Kuehl. Her so-called achievements as City Controller were largely debunked by the media and opponents, so no help there.
Greuel’s candidacy will only add to her debt with nothing to show for it. Mary Poppins would be a more effective candidate. Even Zelda Gilroy.
Talk is that CD2 Councilman Paul Krekorian might run. Apparently, he considered running for City Attorney.
It would not surprise anyone if he did. He has a history of jumping from one office to another every three to four years, so why not from councilman to supervisor? It makes you wonder about his attention span.
If he does announce, Greuel’s chances go from slim and none, to none. Krekorian would cut into what remains of her Valley base. If John Shallman manages her campaign, her chances drop to less than none.
Ulich could play the Kevin James role in a tight race between Krekorian and Kuehl, but would probably not make significant inroads beyond Malibu.
Based on the continuity of her former legislative experience, Kuehl seems to be the candidate who offers the best commitment to actually serve the residents for the long run, rather than use the position as a stepping stone, as both Greuel and Krekorian would probably do.
(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village. He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at: [email protected]) –cw
Vol 11 Issue 77
Pub: Sept 24, 2013