In Big Election Turnout, Locals Largely Favored Biden

Well, it’s official: La Cañada Flintridge residents care, and they show it by voting.
The final outstanding ballots from this year’s November general election were certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office this week, and vote tallies indicate more LCF residents voted in this presidential election than any in recent history, with the majority supporting the Democratic candidate.
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Epstein, Anderson Lead in Voting for Two LCUSD Board Seats

 

Early returns in the race involving four candidates for two seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board showed Josh Epstein and Caroline Anderson with sizable leads.

As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Epstein had 4,287 votes, Anderson had tallied 4,279, Jeremiah Arnold had garnered 3,093 and Belinda Randolph had 2,727.

The two seats were available because Ellen Multari’s term ended (after she resigned following a move out of the district) and Brent Kuszyk decided not to seek reelection.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office has stated it will update results by 4 p.m.

Grateful for LCUSD Candidates and Right to Vote (Use It)

Charlie Plowman

It’s election season … and we are in the midst of competitive federal and state races and propositions. But this article is going to emphasize “local,” and that obviously means our La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board race.
For starters, we should all be thankful to have four candidates who want to give of their time and energy to help our students. Caroline Anderson, Jeremiah Arnold, Josh Epstein and Belinda Randolph should be commended for their willingness to donate hundreds (or is it thousands?) of hours over the next four years.
The two open school board seats aren’t salaried positions. These four individuals care about our community and youth so much that they are willing to endure the criticism that is inevitable during a four-year term so they can “give back.”
This race for the governing board positions is competitive, to say the least. Four candidates, two seats.

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Governing Board Candidates Report on Donations

Jeremiah Arnold, one of four candidates looking to nab one of two open seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, raised more than $27,500 in campaign contributions through the most recent reporting period, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office.
Arnold’s campaign coffers, according to documents recording donations made through Sept. 19, were bolstered by a $9,500 loan from himself and about $2,700 in non-monetary contributions — such as bumper stickers and yard signs paid for by supporters. His campaign had also spent the most money for that period, with much of the approximately $15,600 — which also includes non-monetary contributions — going to advertising, including a rented billboard.
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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.”

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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.
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Environmental Prep Ordered for PCR Modernization Project

Photo courtesy Google image capture
The LCUSD Governing Board approved an environmental study of the Palm Crest Elementary modernization project on Tuesday. Part of the revamp calls for the demolition of the former Bullock residence known as Viewpoint.

Palm Crest Elementary School is one step closer to undertaking its modernization project after the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board approved an environmental study by a consulting firm during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
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LCUSD Governing Board Candidates’ Statements

Caroline Anderson
Caroline Anderson

I am honored to run for a seat on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board. I grew up in the Sagebrush area of La Cañada Flintridge, and as a longtime resident, I am proud to be an active leader in this community.
When it came time for my husband, Marcotte, and I to purchase a home and raise our family, it was an obvious choice to settle in La Cañada Flintridge. I am grateful that our two sons who are in 6th and 7th grades are able to attend LCUSD schools to learn in one of the top districts in the state. As homeowners, we know our collective real estate values benefit from outstanding schools. As parents, we see that an exceptional public school education is invaluable.
We are fortunate to have partners who support our students — from local businesses to PTAs, school booster groups, teachers, staff and the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, among many others. I’ve built enduring relationships with stakeholders through years of leadership roles volunteering in our community, including six years on the Educational Foundation’s board. I understand how vital these relationships and organizations are to our schools’ well-being.
I am running for school board to protect and advance our community’s culture of educational excellence. I bring empathy, service and innovative thinking to this important policy-making role, and I’ll be a vocal supporter of our kids and our schools. I am distinct from current school board members and the other candidates as the only mom with children attending LCUSD. Being a mom allows me to see and feel the impact of challenges firsthand, a vital perspective as we toggle between virtual and on-campus learning depending on how the pandemic unfolds.
As the current PTA President at Palm Crest Elementary School, my top priority is to ensure our students and families stay connected to each other and to the school. I have worked to reimagine programs and coordinated fundraising efforts to offset the impact of budgetary shortfalls for our elementary students. As a parent representative on our district’s reopening committee for grades 7-12 students, I have emphasized the importance of a safe return to in-person learning while simultaneously bolstering students’ social/emotional wellbeing. This passion is why I am proud of my work as a past president of the Educational Foundation, spearheading a campaign to raise funds for LCHS’ Wellness Center.
I respectfully ask for your support and your vote Nov. 3 as we move forward, building our future together. Visit my website for more information, carolineforlcusd.com.


Jeremiah Arnold
Jeremiah Arnold

As a father of two children at La Cañada Elementary, I am fully invested in the success of our schools and committed to honoring our district’s legacy of educational excellence. My priorities are as follows:
1.) La Cañada Flintridge. I have heard our community derided as a bubble implying insularity, but I see La Cañada Flintridge as a shining beacon. Most of us were drawn here by the high-performing schools. As parents, we share a devotion to our children achieving their maximum potential. Our schools launch kids into the finest colleges and into an array of careers around the globe. Our community builds leaders. It is a beacon, not a bubble.
2.) Future of Education. Technology is our current and future reality. I spent my career in the technology industry, and I am fully qualified (and excited) to leverage these skills to benefit our children and teachers. While no amount of technology replaces an excellent teacher, we are obligated to harness the power of technology to maintain our legacy of educational excellence.
3.) Equity Defined. I grew up in the inner-city of Los Angeles in an ethnically diverse family. I experienced socioeconomic challenges as a minority at underperforming schools. As a result of the perspective my childhood experiences provided, I love and appreciate the diverse and inclusive community built around our schools. However, I also understand and appreciate the importance of equal opportunity versus the false pursuit of equitable outcomes. This is a conversation I invite you to have with me.
4.) Special Education. As a parent of a child with special needs, I will always advocate for ALL students to ensure they are able to reach their full potential in a safe, supportive environment.
5.) Fiscal Accountability. La Cañada Flintridge families are incredibly generous. Year after year, we donate millions of dollars to LCFEF. We have approved parcel taxes and bond measures. In exchange, our community deserves more fiscal accountability and transparency. As an entrepreneurial real estate investor, I am committed to maximizing return-on-investment for our community.
For more information, visit arnold4lcusd.com.


Josh Epstein
Josh Epstein

The next few years will be full of significant challenges for public schools in La Cañada Flintridge: The immediate health concerns, looming statewide funding shortages and complex ongoing bond projects all weigh heavily on the continuing effort to provide the high-quality education our community expects. As a college professor, parent and longtime district volunteer, I am uniquely positioned to help lead La Cañada’s schools during this unprecedented time.
I have established relationships with key stakeholders. With daughters at three LCUSD schools (PCY, 7/8, LCHS), I know the sites well and I have volunteered on numerous district-wide committees. In 2010 I started as a board member of the Educational Foundation where I ultimately served as president. I co-chaired both the parcel tax and bond campaigns and sat on the facilities master planning, bond oversight and school reopening committees. At a time when we need newly elected board members to get right to work, I will be ready on Day 1.
I have distance-learning expertise. Beyond serving on the school reopening committee, I am a faculty member at USC. I have spent an enormous amount of time working to understand distance-learning as both an educator and as a parent, and I have developed a full and nuanced view of the challenges ahead.
I have comprehensive knowledge of the bond initiative. Although focus these next months will be on the COVID-19 crisis, there are going to be numerous crucial decisions on bond projects. With years of observation and experience, plus a background in design and public policy, I will be prepared to make informed, well-considered decisions.
I will approach a role on the governing board with the same focus on consensus building and communication that I have used extensively during my decade of volunteer leadership in the district. I’m ready to listen and learn about the issues that are of most concern to you, and I hope for the opportunity to provide support as we all work to help our children grow.
Visit my website epsteinforlcusd.com for more information and to reach out.


Belinda Randolph
Belinda Randolph

I have been an active participant in La Cañada Flintridge school board meetings for more than a decade — longer than any other candidate on the ballot — because I believe that involvement in the policy-making process and oversight of its implementation can make a real difference for our students.
It’s important to me that the needs of all learners are met, and I’ve worked with the board to improve policy, accessibility to instructional material, accountability, and teacher feedback to students so more students in our district can succeed — including special education students that I’ve worked hard to represent at board meetings. I’m proud of our district, and also a firm believer that all students should be accorded the respect and support they deserve and that includes examining our policies and work around diversity, equity and inclusion.
I’m passionate about parents having a voice in the process that so greatly affects their students and families. I post in parent Facebook groups to share board information with busy families, get parent suggestions and questions for board meetings, and help explain what I’ve learned being present in the board room for almost all of the monthly meetings.
On a personal note, I have two boys who attended La Cañada schools, where I volunteered and served as a site council president and survey committee member.
Professionally, I work as an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I earned my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Berkeley and a master’s in aerospace engineering from Stanford. My work with process and procedures has helped me assist in improving school board policy, and as a board member, I believe my involvement will lead to sound policy, greater accountability, and consistent results in communication, instruction and equity.
At the end of the day, students are a product of their education, and our entire community is stronger when the outcomes are improved and needs are met. That’s why I’d like your vote in November. Together we can continue to build upon the rock-solid educational foundation we have here in La Cañada and make our community even stronger.
For more information, visit belindarandolphforlacanadaschoolboard.com.

LCUSD Diversity Ideas Prompt Dissent, Calls for Caution

More than a month after a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant presented her extensive findings to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, and a week after the LCUSD entrusted Superintendent Wendy Sinnette with overseeing progress on DEI, parents and community members have galvanized over the matter — some in opposition.
Two LCUSD Governing Board members, President Joe Radabaugh and Kaitzer Puglia, have been tabbed to lead a committee that will help frame DEI initiatives, which ultimately will fall to the entire board to approve or not.
In a combined statement last week, Sinnette and Radabaugh emphasized there will be more involved discussion on the topic of any DEI objectives and priorities, saying:
“We listen carefully to all voices in the community and strive for the best possible outcomes. One of the consistent things we heard related to DEI is that we seek more in-depth community input on the objectives and priorities before we finalize and the board approves. We agree with that feedback and feel a DEI committee comprised of a cross-section of the community is a critical means to that end.”
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