Local Promoter Recalls Van Halen at LCHS, Lanterman Auditorium

By Daniel Sullivan
Special to the Outlook Valley Sun

Photo courtesy Daniel Sullivan
Eddie Van Halen, who died last week of throat cancer at age 65 and was widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists ever, performs as a 20-year-old at Lanterman Auditorium.

The news this past week hit me like it did so many who grew up witnessing rock guitar greatness: Eddie Van Halen, one of the finest guitar players, had passed away.
For those of us living in La Cañada or Pasadena during the 1970s and ’80s, this was especially difficult to bear because Eddie was a local guy who went to public schools, then Pasadena City College where he and his band played back yard parties and small concerts before stepping into the world spotlight and the pantheon of rock gods.
This past week took me back to a time 45-50 years ago in my life, when roads would intersect and memories were made on tape as well as 35mm grainy black-and-white pictures.
I was born in Pasadena in 1956, and my family lived in La Cañada. Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex were born in Holland. His family came to the U.S. and settled into a working class neighborhood of Pasadena.

Continue reading “Local Promoter Recalls Van Halen at LCHS, Lanterman Auditorium”

LCUSD Candidates Tackle Issues Head-On at Forum

During a two-hour forum Tuesday night, four candidates earnestly stated their cases to be chosen for one of two open seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board in the Nov. 3 election, answering questions on weighty and wide-ranging topics in rapid-fire succession.
In an event presented via Zoom and co-hosted by the League of Women Voters Pasadena Area and La Cañada Council PTA, the candidates fielded questions ranging from what makes them the best candidate to how they would speed the reopening of schools to improving the online learning platform in use because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also tackled queries on the implementation of any diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, potential changes in curriculum, methods to enhance the school district, ways to improve the LCUSD board, how to serve the students’ social and emotional needs, district policies the candidates may have disagreed with in the past, and many others.
About 226 viewers tuned in to watch the La Cañada School Board Candidate Forum in real time, as candidates were given two minutes to present an opening statement and one minute to respond to each question thereafter. No candidates were allowed to preview the questions, compiled in advance by the LWVPA. Due to the high volume of prepared questions, very few spontaneous questions by viewers were presented.

Continue reading “LCUSD Candidates Tackle Issues Head-On at Forum”

They’re Back Training Live on the Field, Court and Pool

Photo by Oscar Areliz / OUTLOOK VALLEY SUN
The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ volleyball team warms up by running around the outdoor basketball courts on Tuesday.

For the first time in nearly seven months to the day, La Cañada High School student-athletes greeted their coaches in person and trained with their fellow teammates on Monday.
Administrators and coaches’ detailed plan of reopening the stadium and facilities for outdoor practices in accordance to the county Department of Public Health’s Reopening Protocol for Youth Sports Leagues was approved by the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board during a virtual meeting on Sept. 29, and LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal said they “had a really great rollout.”
“First and foremost, it was great to see coaches and students we’ve missed for months,” Cartnal said over the phone on Tuesday. “We closed on March 13 [due to COVID-19] and today is Oct. 13. It’s almost kind of synchronicity to being away when we are back almost to the day.”

Continue reading “They’re Back Training Live on the Field, Court and Pool”

LCF Will Get a Vote Center, After All

L.A. County agreed to make the La Cañada Unified School District offices located at 4490 Cornishon Ave. a vote center, allowing residents to vote in person in the board room from Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

La Cañada Flintridge residents will no longer have to trek to La Crescenta or Altadena to vote in person for the Nov. 3 election. City officials announced on Tuesday that the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office signed a site agreement with the La Cañada Unified School District for a five-day vote center.
“With the change in how the county allocates vote centers around Southern California, I think it is important that La Cañada Flintridge has a vote center located in town,” said LCF Mayor Mike Davitt. “We want people to vote and want to create all reasonable avenues to assist people in that process. I’m appreciative of all the work that the city staff has committed to this priority, and it appears we have been successful.”

Continue reading “LCF Will Get a Vote Center, After All”

Obituary – John L. ‘Jack’ Dawson

April 28, 1931 – September 15, 2020

John L. “Jack” Dawson

John L. “Jack” Dawson, age 89, died September 15, 2020, from pulmonary fibrosis and respiratory failure. He leaves behind his loving wife of 65 years, Barbara, and two sons, David and Tim.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, he lived in 42 places throughout his life, but only four places after he was married. He graduated from the 12th grade at Pasadena Junior College in 1949. He served in the California National Guard four years, and in the US Army Reserve ten years. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1953 with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Jack became a licensed registered Engineer in the State of California in 1962. Later, in 1979, he received a Masters Degree in Engineering.
Continue reading “Obituary – John L. ‘Jack’ Dawson”

Remembering Van Halen’s 1970s Performances in La Cañada

Van Halen was an up-and-coming band in the mid-1970s, a musical journey that included performing on the steps in front of the La Cañada High School gymnasium during the 1975-76 school year.

The death this week of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen conjured up memories from La Cañada High School graduates and teachers of the band Van Halen, which had memorable 1970s performances in La Cañada Flintridge before attaining superstardom.
Eddie Van Halen, who died of throat cancer on Tuesday at age 65, was the master guitarist who teamed with his drummer-brother Alex to create Van Halen, one of the era’s most influential and memorable “hair bands.” Lead singer David Lee Roth and bass player Michael Anthony were other members of the band’s 1970s lineup, all of whom attended Pasadena City College. (Sammy Hagar replaced Roth as lead singer in the 1980s.)
They went on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, particularly following the release of their chart-topping album, “1984.” The band pumped out hits such as “Panama,” “Jump,” “Jamie’s Cryin’” and “Hot for Teacher.”
Continue reading “Remembering Van Halen’s 1970s Performances in La Cañada”

School Leaders Caution Against ‘Falsehoods’ About DEI

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board said this week that the diversity, equity and inclusion report given by a consultant at an August board meeting is being translated into Korean and Chinese, and that edition will be shared with the LCUSD community once completed.
In a joint statement, district Superintendent Wendy Sinnette and board President Joe Radabaugh also addressed questions the board has received regarding DEI and some of the rumors or falsehoods allegedly circulating ahead of the election for two board seats on Nov. 3. They recommended that residents who need clarification on the meaning of DEI or the district’s intentions reach out directly to a board member or staff.
Continue reading “School Leaders Caution Against ‘Falsehoods’ About DEI”

Divided Commission OKs Proposal on Short-Term Rentals

Under the urging of the City Council, the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission reluctantly approved a proposed ordinance regulating short-term rentals during last Thursday’s virtual meeting.
Susan Koleda, director of community development, presented an amended ordinance that included 15 operational requirements. The commission tweaked some of the language before a 3-2 vote in favor of the new regulations, which will be presented to the City Council in the near future.
Continue reading “Divided Commission OKs Proposal on Short-Term Rentals”

City Wants Local Polling Place for Nov. 3 Election

Photo by Keira Wight / Outlook Valley Sun
A drop-off box for mail-in ballots has been placed outside the La Cañada Flintridge Library, but city officials also are asking the county to place a voting center in the city. The nearest locations for in-person voting for the Nov. 3 election are in La Crescenta and Altadena.


In an effort to provide La Cañada Flintridge residents with more voting locations for the Nov. 3 election, City Manager Mark Alexander assured the community on Tuesday that municipal staff members are working with the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder office to possibly open a voting center here.
Continue reading “City Wants Local Polling Place for Nov. 3 Election”

Letters to the Editor

DEI Should Be Part of a Whole Education
DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) is necessary, and I am counting on LCUSD to provide a “world-class education” for my children. In order to do that, we need to think outside the box and intentionally enlist different perspectives from people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We need to be prepared for the world with true knowledge about how the world works (good and bad). We are all capable of greatness; we just need the opportunity.
We have an ugly history, but why not truly learn about it so we don’t repeat history. Recently, I read a survey of high school graduates from all over the country about their U.S. history experience and they reported that it provided breadth but no depth. I know this from my own experience with the new science standards because they create a space for students to think and be inquisitive about everything. This is especially important in our world today.
My experience in science shows me we need to change who the pioneers are that we learn about in all fields, but especially STEM. It took until 2016 to learn about “Hidden Figures,” the Black women who were hired as human computers that helped us get to the moon. In 2017, “Rise of the Rocket Girls” told the world of the women who helped create JPL and worked on America’s first ballistic missiles and space exploration. STEM fields still struggle to recruit and retain women, and this starts at the elementary level and society.
DEI is not a political issue, it’s a human issue. Learning, growing, evolving is necessary and making it part of our education is imperative. The information is out there to help LCUSD make a difference in providing our students a more diverse and inclusive perspective, a well-rounded experience, so they can go out and be the change we need in society, not the problem. When we include DEI as part of education, we will empower our children to be the best version of themselves and help them be ready for their future.

Amy Nespor, Ph.D.
La Cañada Flintridge

Dispelling the Myths of DEI
DEI should not be dividing our community. We need to understand that DEI is not scary or threatening.
Some myths dispelled:
1) DEI does not equal affirmative action for our children. We are a public school, educating children in our community. There are no slots allotted for outsiders based on race and DEI will not do this.
2) This is not about bringing outsiders in. DEI is not about busing or scholarships. We are a public school. This is about those of us who are here being heard, feeling welcome and safe.
3) This is about making sure our histories are told. I want my kids to learn about Mamie Tape, not at the exclusion of what is usually taught, but to include these stories.
4) The DEI report from Christina Hale-Elliott focused on 2 things: 1) stop fostering a fear of silence (we need to be able to speak up when people are racist, sexist, etc.) and 2) hire more people of color to reflect our racial composition (in LC it’s 30% Asian). This means that when my kids are told to “go back to where they came from” — especially if it comes from a prominent community member’s child — other children and teachers will be empowered to say “that’s racist” and not fear for their job or backlash from other kids. It means hiring more Asians in leadership positions and making sure that Latinos are not only in food services and grounds maintenance.
5) Restorative justice in our community means that when students in our school district call other students demeaning names, our district will facilitate the two groups sitting together and discussing why such behavior is hurtful and harmful. This is the alternative to expulsion or suspension. It is already being done at many other prominent schools, such as Poly. This practice has simply been given a name and now that name is being used by people who want to engender fear.
I urge you to think about who you will be voting for in our local election. We need people to unify our community — no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. Any spread of misinformation is a dirty tactic to divide us.

Patty Whong
LCHS class of 1993

Epstein Knows the Power of Local, Sustainable Funding for Schools
In a state like California where tax revenues and subsequent funding for public schools can fluctuate dramatically from year to year, it is imperative that public school districts have reliable and local means to supplement public funding. As someone who has spearheaded local parcel tax efforts in support of our public schools, I know first-hand how important and how challenging these initiatives can be — requiring a 2/3 majority of voters to sign on.
Just over six months ago, Josh Epstein served as co-chair of our most recent parcel tax campaign. Under his leadership, this initiative passed with a 70% majority, raising in perpetuity about $2.5 million per year for our public schools. Prior to this successful ballot measure, Josh also co-chaired the 2017 bond measure, which generated $149 million in locally controlled funding, without increasing the current tax rate, to repair and update classrooms and school facilities, and help qualify LCUSD for state matching funds.
These campaigns are a true labor of love. Love for the community and love for our schools. Josh Epstein has the passion and love for our schools and our community to be the best choice for a position on the LCUSD Governing Board.

Barry Reed
Chair, 2009 and 2014 LCUSD Parcel Tax Committees

Support Arnold on Behalf of the Kids
Nineteen years ago when my husband and I were deciding where to buy a house and raise a family, there was no doubt that it was going to be La Cañada. We have loved raising our kids here for the schools, the community and the friends we have made. We have been very involved from the start with our time and resources and are proud of LCUSD and all that it has accomplished and strives to do for its students. I want this tradition of excellence to continue, and that is why I am writing in support of Jeremiah Arnold.
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet with Jeremiah about a month ago. I could not be happier that I took the time. He immediately impressed me with his story that included struggles and triumphs in school, work and family. He is a successful businessman who knows the importance of fiscal responsibility, is a strong negotiator, works well with others and knows how to quickly ascertain what is working and what is not. But what really struck me was how humble he is. It is rare to find an individual who has accomplished all that he has but remains humble. All of these attributes are what we need on our school board: a goal-oriented, clear-thinking person who will not lose sight of what is important for the kids. This is the kind of person our school board needs.
Jeremiah’s vision for LCUSD is perfectly aligned with what makes LCUSD so great … academic excellence where all students feel safe to share different points of view, heritage, experiences, etc., so that all students can become critical thinkers and responsible citizens of their community, country and world. This is why my parents moved here in 1973 and why my husband and I moved here in 2002, and I have no doubt that this is what every parent strives for in this community. The kids need someone like Jeremiah working every day to ensure they are receiving the best education possible in the best possible environment. He has proven through his success as an entrepreneur that he works very well with others to accomplish goals. Jeremiah Arnold is absolutely our best choice for school board. Please join me in supporting him so that our kids will continue to receive an excellent education in an environment that fosters growth. Our kids need us!

Julie Milbrodt
La Cañada Flintridge

Endorsing Caroline Anderson for School Board
In the La Cañada School Board election, one candidate stands out to me for the depth of her involvement and commitment to our schools and our community, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share my support for Caroline Anderson for school board.
In reviewing her history as it relates to the support of our schools, it is nothing short of amazing: from her hands-on classroom support as a room parent for many years; to her involvement with the PTA (currently serving as president at Palm Crest Elementary); and her ongoing work with the La Cañada Educational Foundation as a board member for six years, president, and gala chair, and so, so many other positions and contributions too numerous to list.
I cannot think of anyone more involved in multiple aspects of our schools. However, her volunteerism and contributions to La Cañada Flintridge go beyond her work for the school district. Her outreach extends beyond LCUSD to our community at large.
I met Caroline when I was running for City Council and I was immediately impressed by her energy, organizational skills, and “let’s get it done” attitude, backed up by her hard work! I felt so fortunate to have her as part of my team. Her outreach into our community was obvious and she clearly had the respect of those who knew her and had worked beside her and I feel fortunate to consider myself part of that group. Having grown up in La Cañada Flintridge, she has a deep-rooted feel for our community and an extensive network, which you all know is extremely valuable when trying to further advance the quality of our schools.
In addition, as a Chinese American and active member of the La Cañada Chinese Club, her representation of our Chinese families brings a welcome diversity to our school board and can play a vital role in further engaging the Chinese community in our schools and in our city.
As a City Councilwoman, I believe the City Council and the school board enjoy a very productive and mutually supportive working relationship, which is so important to the cohesiveness of our community. Having worked with Caroline, I feel confident that her election to the board would further enhance that relationship, and I would more than welcome the opportunity to work with her.
I cannot imagine another candidate with Caroline’s proven track record of hard work and dedication to not only our schools but to our community as a whole. She is up for this challenge and has the background and experience to be a contributing and impactful member of the school board. It is my sincere pleasure and honor to endorse Caroline for school board, and I strongly urge you to join me in voting for Caroline.

Terry Walker
La Cañada Flintridge
City Councilwoman

Candidate Josh Epstein Is a Community Builder
My husband Ali and I came to La Cañada Flintridge in 2008, when our son was just a baby and the world came into sharp focus, as it tends to when we become parents. We knew that LCF schools enjoyed a strong reputation, which prompted our home search here and this gem of a community, so small-town peaceful and so un-L.A., captured our hearts the moment we took the exit at Foothill.
This sense of community that sold us on LCF does not happen by accident. The actual community that powers our everyday lives is here because there are those working hard at making LCF what it is. It is the volunteers who coach the teams, den and troop leaders, PTA, LCFEF, and many others who make up the army of doers in this community, all working toward building and sustaining LCF. That coming together of community is responsible for what LCF promises to all of us, a fantastic place to live for our families and excellent schools for our children.
Josh Epstein is an especially notable community builder, who has worked tirelessly at making sure that our schools offer outstanding opportunities to our kids. For the last decade, he has been involved in every major part of the system that supports our schools on a leadership level. In these roles, Josh has enthusiastically dedicated his time to advocating for the students of this district.
On a personal level, Josh is thoughtful, principled and considerate. He’s not one to be in the front, talking the loudest, but when he does speak, he conveys an astute understanding of the issues, a deliberate and conscientious approach, and the willingness to be open to all perspectives. His empathy and appreciation for nuance contributes a valuable voice to district matters on behalf of all students. Join me and the many La Cañadans who know and believe in Josh. He is the most capable candidate, and he is the clear choice for LCUSD School Board.

Sunyoung Fahimi
La Cañada Flintridge
Former member of LCFEF Executive Board and LCFEF
Endowment Board of Trustees

Jeremiah Arnold for School Board

Of all the choices voters are required to make this November, one stands out as having a tangible, definitive impact on this community: Which individual will the citizens of La Cañada Flintridge elect to the school board?
La Cañada is fortunate to have talented and respected board members and school administrators. However, even the best organizations are prone to suffer from groupthink and a, “this is how it’s always been” bias where a new perspective is warranted. Some examples include:
Despite execrable restrooms, outdated classrooms and enough discarded chewing gum on school property to sink the Titanic, the top priority for bond monies is … a pool.
Given the COVID pandemic and the daily challenge students and parents face from distance learning, a top 2020-21 priority is implantation of a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” program.
Significant gaps in instruction exist, particularly with the high school math program, which results in students eschewing higher level coursework and parents spending large sums on tutors.
While not an indictment against what is largely a solid school district, it’s clear an outside voice with fresh ideas is warranted. To this end La Cañada should elect Jeremiah Arnold. Having spoken at length with Jeremiah and heard others speak about him, it’s clear that he will bring a new voice and new ideas to the district.
With this election, what happens in Washington, D.C., is important, but what happens in La Cañada is far more so. Elect Jeremiah Arnold to make this occur.

Andy Decker
La Cañada Flintridge

Epstein Has Positive Vision for Schools
There are few things more important in our community than our public schools, so I take the upcoming school board election very seriously. With all the challenges currently facing our schools, and the growing tensions in our society, I think it is important to be especially scrupulous this year about how we cast our ballots in this important election.
Candidates should be able to articulate a positive vision for our schools, but that’s not enough. They should also be able to demonstrate their ability to turn that vision into a reality. It concerns me when I see a candidate stoke agitation around issues, but who cannot provide evidence of the work they’ve ever done to address those concerns prior to running a political campaign.
But longevity isn’t everything. I’m also skeptical when I see candidates who have been involved in our schools for many years, but still lack that positive track record. School board members must be independent thinkers and analytical. They must persuade one another, district leadership and the community if they are to effect any change or provide real leadership. No matter how hard-working, well-intentioned or right a single school board member may be, our students are not served if that individual cannot bring people together and move the district in the right direction.
That’s why I’ve ultimately decided to vote for Josh Epstein. Josh represents exactly what our school district needs right now. We know he has the capacity to work with every part of our community to serve the kids of La Cañada Flintridge, because he’s done that. He doesn’t just go along to get along. He pushes the district to improve — and then he is a productive partner in bringing that improvement to fruition. He will be a huge asset to the district, so please mark your ballot for Josh Epstein.

Paris Cohen
La Cañada Flintridge

Best Candidates for Our Students

After speaking with school board candidates, watching their public interviews and reviewing their public statements, I believe that our school district will be best served by Josh Epstein and Belinda Randolph. Both candidates are knowledgeable, informed, transparent, and have offered concrete solutions about steps that should be taken to make our school district a better school district for all of its stakeholders and, most importantly, for all of its students. I am proud to formally endorse Josh and Belinda.

Kim Hershman
La Cañada Flintridge