WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) —  The top two candidates vying to be the next supervisor on Los Angeles’ Westside faced off Tuesday night as the runoff campaign heats up for the seat now held by Zev Yaroslavsky.

Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl took part in the first debate in the 3rd District race in Westwood, where transportation and economic development were the main issues.

But KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reports it was the question of experience that dominated their attention both inside and outside the debate.

Former state Sen. Shiela Kuehl, who finished first in the June primary, said it was her experience in the state Legislature that was more valuable.

“I think the difference that I’m emphasizing really is experience in the very issues that the county covers,” she said. “It’s different, if I may, than working in the city.”

Kuehl’s opponent, former Santa Monica councilman and mayor Bobby Shriver, fired back in the debate, insisting the county Board of Supervisors doesn’t operate like the state Legislature.

“People who have done well in this town have been local people, not people from Sacramento,” Shriver said. “I don’t think people want to hear, ‘Hi, we’ve got a great idea. It’s Sacramento calling – let us come and fix your potholes.’ That hasn’t worked.

“I think it’s important to recognize that this office is a nonpartisan office,” he added. “So, the scoring of political points, the trying to posture as is frequently done in Sacramento and elsewhere, it doesn’t make sense here.”

“I don’t know if Zev would agree that being a part-time council member in Santa Monica is equal to being a full-time council member in the city of Los Angeles the way that Zev was,” Kuehl fired back. “Being on a city council, it’s a wonderful thing – even if you do it part-time every other Tuesday.”

When the topic turned to Santa Monica’s success with creating bike lanes throughout the city, Shriver once again made the point that Kuehl never dealt with bike lanes as a member of the state Legislature.

“This is an experience that could be useful in the county that my colleague does not have,” he said.

“In terms of working with people on the MTA, there were a number of people appointed from the City of L.A., most of whom have been my colleagues in Sacramento, though we were not posturers, I have to say, though we did have good posture when we had to stay all night,” Kuehl responded.

Yaroslavsky, who has represented the 3rd District for two decades, will term out in December. He has not endorsed a candidate to be his successor.

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