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Former County Supervisor Candidate Calls Democratic Club Un-Democratic

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

July 23, 2013 -- Pamela Conley Ulich might have been forced out of the county supervisor race when she failed to become one of the top two vote-getters in last month’s primary election, but the former Malibu mayor is not staying quiet about the contest.

She issued an email this week to the Malibu Democratic Club and various media blasting the club for not letting its members decide on an endorsee for the election between finalists Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl.

A board member told Conley Ulich that Malibu Democrats will back Kuehl because she was endorsed by the Los Angeles County Democratic Club, and it would be highly unusual for the local group to support another candidate. This did not satisfy Conley Ulich, who has started an online petition.

“We are the Malibu Democratic Club and democracy matters,” wrote Conley Ulich in the petition, which was posted Saturday and had received one signature as of Monday afternoon. “Please practice democracy and allow us to use our own voice and vote.”

Dorothy Reik, who like Conley Ulich sits on the club’s board, told The Lookout the group was unable to schedule a forum and membership endorsement vote prior to the primary election. She said at this point, it would be expensive to hold the event, and it was no longer necessary because the county club had made an endorsement.

Reik made a similar statement to Conley Ulich in response to her email, which was also sent to the various media members who received the former candidate’s message.

“[The Malibu Democratic Club] is doing what chartered Democratic Clubs always do except in very rare cases -- going with the endorsed candidate of the party,” Reik wrote. “Sheila was endorsed with 80% of the vote of the [county club] at their meeting.”

Reik added, “As the [New York Times] pointed out in their article -- Sheila came early; Bobby came late. We need a worker at the County, not a drop in.”
If club members voted on an endorsement, they would choose Kuehl, Reik told The Lookout. She said the majority of the people in Malibu support the former State legislator.

The city’s results in the primary election show Malibu could be divided on Kuehl. She received 621 votes, just two more than Shriver earned. It is unknown who the 766 voters for other candidates, including 412 for Conley Ulich, would favor in the two-person November election. And more people are expected to vote in the fall.

With a little more than 9,000 registered voters, Malibu includes a small fraction of the county district’s population. But some political observers say the final results could be close, so an endorsement by the Malibu club has the potential to make a difference.

Meanwhile in Santa Monica, there is no controversy about the Democratic Club endorsement. Kuehl earned the nod in April when 84 percent of the members in attendance voted to back her (“Santa Monica Dems Back Kuehl for County Supervisor,” April 25, 2014).

Board member Sion Roy told The Lookout that the endorsement stays in effect for the general election.

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