School board candidates look to Facebook for votes

Facebook pages were launched and the first of the meet-and-greets held last week as La Cañada school board candidates set their campaign gears in motion for the two seats up for grabs in the Nov. 8 election.

Falling in line with recent national and local election trends, newcomers Andrew Blumenfeld and Ellen Multari, along with Ernest Koeppen — a candidate in the 2009 election cycle — will join incumbent Jeanne Broberg in using various methods of communication to get their messages out.

Blumenfeld, a 20-year-old student at Princeton University, is striving to have as many conversations with voters as possible between now and election day to establish, he said, a model of communication between the community and school board if he were to be elected. His hope: to convey a policy of open office hours.

“I’m a big believer in social media and new media because it has the power to reach people who have not been reached,” said Blumenfeld. “That said, it’s hugely important to pair that with the on-the-ground, eyeball-to-eyeball conversations we’re having with people in the community at our meet-and-greets, over coffee and over the phone.”

In addition to the traditional campaign Multari plans to run, she has launched a Facebook page and is readying a website to provide specifics about her campaign and the issues the district is facing. Multari said she looks forward to the learning experiences she will gain campaigning, and says she is eager for the community to get to know who she really is so that voters can turn out to the polls and vote with confidence.

“I have a committee in place and we have talked via phone and Facebook, but will wait for school to start to have our first formal meeting,” Multari said.

Given that Koeppen works in the field of technology, it might surprise some to learn that he prefers to be more personal, as opposed to running an online campaign.

“I need to get to know people and people need to get to know me,” said Koeppen, who filed his candidacy papers one day before the deadline last week. “I almost don’t want to do the big electronic thing — it’s too cold and impersonal. I like coffee.”

Veteran campaigner and incumbent Jeanne Broberg, who is seeking her second consecutive term as a school board member and fourth term overall, said she is focusing her last days of summer on her children living nearby, and on all of the school opening events. Broberg said she plans to use every avenue of outreach available that seems practical and effective for her campaign, but said she enjoys her personal interactions with residents when out in the community.

“This is a very special time of year, visiting with people at these [opening] events,” said Broberg. “My phone number is everywhere and I love people to call me, or chat with them at Ralphs or on campus. They know they can knock on my door and I’m always around.”

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