Woodside school board challenger is 'suspending campaign'

Joel Hornstein drops out after board members endorse opponents

Woodside Elementary School District board candidate Joel Hornstein said on Sunday, Oct. 11, that he is suspending his campaign after many members of the current school board and the Woodside School Foundation board endorsed one or both of his opponents, incumbents Silvia Edwards and Kevin Johnson, in the race for two board seats.

While it is much too late to remove his name from the ballot, and he has not taken down his campaign signs, Mr. Hornstein asked the Almanac not to publish a list of eight endorsers he had earlier submitted.

"I have decided to suspend my campaign for WESD Board," Mr. Hornstein said in a written statement to the Almanac, "in light of the current board members' decision to break with historical practice and endorse in this race."

Three current board members -- Wendy Warren Roth, Marc Tarpenning and Claire Pollioni -- have endorsed the two board incumbents on the ballot. Mr. Johnson was also endorsed by a number of members of the Woodside School Foundation, although in both cases all the endorsers said they were endorsing the candidates as school parents or Woodside residents and not as board members.

Mr. Hornstein said in his statement that "there was concern that my criticisms (of incumbent Kevin Johnson) suggested I could not work collaboratively with other board members if elected." He said that his nearly 20 years of service on other boards, including serving as an officer, belie this belief.

"I would have brought much to the WESD Board, and regret that they felt it necessary to close ranks behind Mr. Johnson so as to keep accountability and criticism out of their Board meetings," he said.

Mr. Hornstein voiced some of those criticisms at a recent candidate forum, where he presented disputed statistics about Mr. Johnson's board meeting attendance record, and made statements about the school enrollment of two of Mr. Johnson's children that were not accurate.

Mr. Hornstein had originally said he was withdrawing from the race, but later changed that statement to say he was suspending his campaign. "I'll remain on the ballot, of course, and do expect I'll get a significant share of the vote," he said. "If elected, I'll gladly serve."

He said that he did not feel that it is "fair to those whose support I value" to ask them "to keep sticking their necks out for me."

See related story here.

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3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Woodside School
on Oct 12, 2015 at 10:56 pm

It sounds to me like Mr Johnson and Ms Edwards have all the support. It would be nice if Mr Hornstein showed respect towards those who support the other two candidates and to respect them for a job well done.
Mr. Hornstein should wthdrawal graciously and ask his supporters to cast their votes for the other two candidates.

23 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Woodside School
on Oct 13, 2015 at 8:20 am

[Multiple posters are using the name Parent. Comments made by posters using the name Parent are removed except for the original poster to use that name. You need to use different names so readers will know there are different people commenting.]

14 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Woodside School
on Oct 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm

[Post removed. Muliple posters using same poster name.]

7 people like this
Posted by Parent/Voter
a resident of Woodside School
on Oct 14, 2015 at 2:04 am

It is truly sad that this election has become so divisive amidst a community which is unusually polite and forgiving, very often through differences of opinion and party lines, in order to live the old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child.” The village has been asked to choose sides.

Mr. Hornstein was/is a qualified candidate who had a democratic chance of succeeding. Unfortunately he chose to launch his campaign by making personal attacks on another board member (incumbent Kevin Johnson, and publicly defaming his children) in order to un-seat him and gain his spot. It didn’t have to be this way. Hornstein didn’t have to choose such negative and divisive tactics in the very community he plans to serve.

Unfortunately for the school community a rift has been created which will now take some time to heal. Many parents who could have supported him are reasonably concerned enough to vote another way, or withdraw their support for him because they care more about the community, the kids, and the character of their leadership than to vote for someone who would take such aggressive tactics to win a seat on the school board.

Again, it’s a shame it's became so negative and divisive. Whatever folks (who have commented so far) hope will be accomplished by new school board member Hornstein, should think about what a sad setback his behavior is to their ambitions. Hopefully future candidates will learn from Hornstein’s mistakes and will be mindful and respectful of others in their campaigns.

7 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Oct 14, 2015 at 10:11 am

[mulitple posters using same name.]

20 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 14, 2015 at 2:23 pm

[multiple posters using same name.]

16 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Woodside School
on Oct 14, 2015 at 7:28 pm

[multiple posters using same name.]

15 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 14, 2015 at 7:45 pm

[multiple posters using same name.]

8 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Oct 14, 2015 at 7:58 pm

[multiple posters using same name.]

14 people like this
Posted by Stephanie Ashworth
a resident of Woodside School
on Oct 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

Anyone who is posting negative comments about Wendy obvioulsy doesn't know her. Wendy has successfully raised two amazing daughters both of whom went on to Menlo High School and Stanford and both of whom are successful, happy, contributing-to-society adults today. Her son, currently a high school student, is one of the nicest kids I know. She has served on the Foundation board for over 8 years, run two auctions, and been an active and involved parent for over 20 years. Those of you with "young" children should realize that she's been where you are and where you don't even realize you are going. Her wisdom and experience are enormously valuable and greatly appreciated by many of us.
It disgusts me that in our small town, people could write such despicable comments about someone who has done nothing but graciously serve. We are talking about an elmentary school board, people, not a presidential campaign. This is a small town. Think before you write. We are all trying to teach our children to be kind, thoughtful and gracious (remember SEL). Emulate those values before you put your fingers on the keyboard. Oh, and if you're just going to put "parent" for your name, you probably should ask yourself why you are ashamed of your own remarks.

5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 14, 2015 at 8:39 pm

[multiple posters using same name.]

10 people like this
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Oct 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Concerned Citizen is a registered user.

Stephanie, thank you so much for writing these positive comments about Wendy. [Part removed. Please make your point without negative characterization of other posters, or trying to guess their identity.]

I have known Mrs. Roth for almost two decades, and her dedication to the school pales in comparison to any of these people who claim to know anything about what works best for this school and community. [Part removed.]

Wendy Roth is dedicated, fair, and helps to facilitate the school conversations always in the direction of what is best for the kids. She has done an amazing job as the Board President, and Woodside is lucky to have her!

5 people like this
Posted by Woodside resident
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Oct 15, 2015 at 7:45 am

Woodside resident is a registered user.

Dear Parents,

This will be the last communication from this parent wanting change.

Apparently someone has connections with the Almanac Town Square.

Free speech has ended. By whom?

All comments supporting the current board and Kevin Johnson still exits on the Town Square comment board. If your comment did not support the current board, you have been censored.

Don't we all deserve an opportunity to comment? Anyone have ideas to keep the debate open?


1 person likes this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 15, 2015 at 8:24 am

pogo is a registered user.

No one at The Almanac is censoring your comments. You simply cannot use someone else's name (or pseudonym) when you make a post.

It's not that difficult.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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