Despite the appalling apathy on the part of voters living within the La Cañada school district boundaries (It looks like about three-quarters of those registered there couldn’t be bothered to cast a ballot. Really, people?), the hot topic of conversation around town for months — at least among the people I see and hear from — has been this one: Who will be seated on the school board?
I handicapped it this way: Jeanne Broberg and Ellen Multari would win. My reasoning was that Broberg would be reelected because she is the incumbent whose name is known throughout the valley. She’s had vast experience and when there is low voter turnout (it’s true I was not surprised, only disappointed, by this week’s pathetic participation rate), the incumbent generally prevails. She also had the most visible yard signs. And Multari’s campaign, I thought, was strong because she started out early, declaring her candidacy in the spring, got a quick start in social media and had the support of a whole slew of people related to the schools. That little typo on her campaign yard sign, the line “Commmited to Excellence,” was apparently in small enough font that no one held it against her. Besides, maybe the fact she didn’t reorder signs with the correct spelling perhaps shows her to be fiscally conservative, a trait that’s highly prized in these parts.
AJ Blumenfeld, a candidate I grew to have some admiration for over the course of the race because of his obvious passion for the job, was less likely to win, I thought, because of his tender age (20), the fact that he attends school across the country for most of the year, and because he entered the campaign months after Multari and Broberg had already thrown their hats into the ring.
The also-ran Ernest Koeppen seemed to have many fine people supporting him, but he was a quieter presence all around. Although he ran two years ago so had some name-recognition established, Koeppen got a late start this season, didn’t actively seek funding and had boring yard signs (sorry Ernest, but next time go bolder). While he made some excellent points during the forum, he did so in such a soft-spoken manner that I’m not sure everyone heard them.
Was I correct in my predictions? All was supposed to be revealed Tuesday night, when the county registrar’s office posted the election results. It looks like Multari has claimed one of the two open seats, but as of our press deadline this week, and with some provisional and write-in ballots still to be counted, incumbent Broberg was a mere dozen votes ahead of Blumenfeld. There is a possibility that when the dust settles, Broberg will be out and Blumenfeld in. Or maybe not.
So, it appears that it would be slightly premature to serve up hearty congratulations to the winners, or to take any pats on the back for my skills in prognostication. But I can offer these words to all four of our candidates: Thanks for stepping up. The challengers, in particular, added dimension to the race and made insightful observations and suggestions. Perhaps the sitting board will be able to use some of them for the betterment of the district.
My best wishes to both Broberg and Blumenfeld as they await final results. It can’t be much fun knowing you might be so close to winning, only to ultimately come up slightly short on votes.
To find out how the race results unfold check our website regularly for updates: www.lacanadaonline.com.
CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the La Cañada Valley Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.