Kennedy cousin running for local office
Fight over untidy hedges prompts Shriver to seek council seat
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Kennedy clan member Bobby Shriver, who got involved with local politics in a fight over untidy hedges, declared himself a candidate Sunday for the City Council in Santa Monica, a Los Angeles suburb.
Shriver, 50, is the son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President Kennedy, and Sargent Shriver, founding director of the Peace Corps and Democrat George McGovern's vice presidential running mate in the 1972 election.
His City Council candidacy is his first bid for elected office.
His mother and sister -- California first lady Maria Shriver -- joined him at his campaign kickoff Sunday. He is one of 12 candidates seeking the open seat in the nonpartisan race.
He said he determined to run for the council seat after building officials in Santa Monica cited him and other residents for overgrown vegetation, threatening him with fines up to $25,000 a day.
Shriver helped lead an effort to get the ordinance changed, and he said he wants to bring common sense to City Hall.
"I've realized that the hedge 'crackdown' is merely a symptom of a pervasive problem: a city government that has lost sight of the reason it exists -- to serve its people," he said in a campaign news release.
"That's why I decided to run for Santa Monica City Council. It's not about my hedges."
Shriver serves as chairman of California's Parks and Recreation Commission under his brother-in-law, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He was appointed to the commission by former Gov. Gray Davis and became its chairman in July.
If elected to the council, he said he hopes to work on moving the homeless off Santa Monica's streets and improving traffic in the city of 85,000.
He is the co-founder of DATA, a foundation to alleviate AIDS and poverty in Africa, and has raised more than $60 million for the Special Olympics, which his mother founded.
The Democratic Party, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Monica firefighters' association have endorsed him.
CNN's Donna Tetreault contributed to this report.