Anderson, Epstein Build on Strong Leads in LCUSD Election

More than a week into ballot counting, the front-runners for two seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board appear to have solidified their positions, with Caroline Anderson and Josh Epstein maintaining their early leads and just 29 votes separating the two.
With a wide margin, Anderson has tallied 5,079 votes and Epstein has garnered 5,050. Candidates Jeremiah Arnold and Belinda Randolph have elicited 3,879 and 3,281, respectively. As of Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office estimated that there were 142,715 outstanding ballots still to be processed in the presidential general election, an estimate derived from the vote by mail ballots received in the mail on Tuesday and the estimated number of ballots returned at vote centers and official drop boxes on Election Day.
The next results update will be released this Friday.
While the candidate winners said they are fairly optimistic at this point that they can celebrate, there’s always a chance that the tallies change, albeit unlikely to tilt the tide of the election outcome.
Anderson sent out an email to her supporters and campaign team on Friday after the latest round of votes was announced.
“It has been my privilege these last several months to campaign for a seat on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board,” she said. “The campaign process was difficult at times, but the experience only solidified my commitment to help give a voice to every student, parent and teacher. Throughout my campaign, I enjoyed amazing conversations with people in our community who helped me gain new insights from different viewpoints. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the other governing board members to give back to our community.”
Anderson would be the first woman of color and the first female Asian Pacific Islander to serve on the LCUSD board, a privilege she said she’s proud to attain.
“It feels really good. Part of why I did this is so others can see that it can be done,” she said. “I hope a few more [people of color] will step up to do this in future … it’s great to have a representation of our community on the board. It can’t look any different if no one runs.”
The newly elected candidates will likely be sworn in at the LCUSD meeting on Dec. 15, and then hit the ground running at the beginning of the year.
Epstein, who said he probably won’t feel “absolutely certain” of his win until he’s told it’s official, did allow that “Results are definitely looking positive.” He’s ready to dig in and get started with the many urgent issues facing the district, he added.
“I think the most important step for me between now and the time I am seated on the board is to work really hard to get up to speed on the most pressing issues,” he said. “I have been listening to the board meetings for quite some time and serving on a number of pertinent committees as a parent volunteer, but I know there is a lot that happens behind the scenes and that takes time to understand. Jumping in to replace Ellen/Andrew and Brent is a daunting task as they were all highly respected board members who served our community well for a long time.”
Anderson and Epstein would fill board seats being left vacant by Brent Kuszyk, who did not seek re-election, and Ellen Multari, who resigned after moving out of the district. Andrew Blumenfeld was appointed to serve the remainder of Multari’s term.
As the likely winners await the final official vote count and swearing in, both noted they would continue doing what got them elected in the first place — volunteerism. Anderson recently took on a role as a member of the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada and will continue her work as PTA president of Palm Crest Elementary.
Epstein said he will continue listening to LCUSD meetings and will be paying close attention to the return of TK-2nd-graders to on-campus learning. A limited number of students will return after the district received waivers from the county.
“I’m excited to hear that we were granted waivers to get TK-2 back in the classroom, and I know there is going to be an enormous amount of work focused on making that as successful and safe as possible,” he said. “I am hopeful that some of the district staff and the current board members will take time out of their schedules to help show me the ropes, reduce the learning curve and make sure that my transition is a smooth one.”
This week, LCUSD has held listening sessions on the initiative for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which both Epstein and Anderson listened to as well, and which was a topic of discussion during the candidate forum. The listening sessions are required for anyone who is interested in applying to take part on the DEI committee, which will soon be formed.
“It’s great that the district has made this a conversation,” Anderson said.
Epstein said he was encouraged by what he heard after participating in the first session: “I listened and I was excited by what I heard,” he said. “There were a number of thoughtful comments and good points made by people with a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints, and, as I think is often the case when you cut through the noise of social media, it really felt like there was a tremendous amount of room for forward progress.”

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