SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Bobby Shriver, whose family tree includes President John F. Kennedy and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is making his first bid for political office as a candidate for Santa Monica City Council.
Shriver, a 50-year-old lawyer, entered the race after a dispute over the height of the hedges around his home in this Los Angeles suburb, known as much for its liberal politics as its coastal beauty.
Shriver’s presence has injected some star power in the race for City Council, which handles issues such as traffic and schools. He is the son of one-time vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, nephew of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and the late John and Robert F. Kennedy. His sister, Maria Shriver, is married to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
His mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, recently joined him on a canvassing walk.
Thirteen candidates, including four incumbents, are seeking four seats on the council in the nonpartisan race on Nov. 2.
In a campaign mailing, Shriver said his interest in local politics came after he and some neighbors received city citations enforcing a 1948 ordinance governing hedge and fence height. The city gave them just days to comply before issuing misdemeanor criminal charges.
Shriver persuaded the city to retreat, but he and others received civil compliance orders, which give them a month to trim their shrubs or face a $25,000-per-day fine.
Shriver has vowed to get diverse groups together to try to solve problems. He did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Herb Katz, an incumbent running for re-election, said Shriver’s effect on the race has been a boost in contributions to his own campaign as voters become more aware.
“It’s waking them up,” he said.