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."
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