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Blumenfeld leads fundraising race

Closely watched election has generated buzz about non-student days, lack of board transparency.

November 02, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com
  • La Canada school board candidate 2011 - Andrew Blumenfeld. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
La Canada school board candidate 2011 - Andrew Blumenfeld.…

Voters don’t go to the polls until Tuesday, but La Cañada Unified school board candidate Andrew Blumenfeld is already ahead in at least one race — fundraising.

The 20-year-old Princeton University student had banked $13,730 in monetary contributions as of Oct. 22, according to the most recent campaign finance disclosure forms filed with the county clerk’s office. He edged out fellow challenger Ellen Multari and incumbent Jeanne Broberg, who raised $12,837 and $11,445 in cash donations, respectively. Challenger Ernest Koeppen was a distant fourth, reporting $4,150 in campaign contributions.

Multari is leading the pack in spending, plowing $7,825 into newspaper ads and campaign literature, according to disclosure forms. She is followed by Broberg with $7,210, Blumenfeld with $6,733, and Koeppen with $4,044 in campaign expenditures.

The four candidates are competing for two seats in the most closely watched La Cañada school board election in recent memory. One of those seats is open as the result of a decision by current board member Cindy Wilcox to not run again.

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In a small community like La Cañada Flintridge, fundraising is one measure that can be used to predict the outcome of an election, Blumenfeld said, adding that he finds it encouraging to receive support from so many community members.

“Most importantly to me, it shows that we have been successful in the first and primary goal of this campaign, which was to get the conversation started,” he said.

Most of the contributions received by Blumenfeld, Multari and Broberg came in the form of $100 and $200 checks from La Cañada residents, although both women candidates received $500 each from state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge).

Koeppen said that he chose not to actively solicit contributions because he felt that community members’ money would be better spent on schools, adding that his campaign was almost entirely self-funded.

“If I run the campaign efficiently, I hope people would think I would run the board as efficiently,” Koeppen said.

Win or lose, the candidates have already been successful by generating buzz about issues such as the school board’s communication with the public and faltering high school math scores, Koeppen said.

“An election — if it does nothing else — raises awareness on points we need to address,” Koeppen said.

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