Marilyn Anderson, a long-time Placentia resident, community and school volunteer, defeated political professional LaShe Rodriguez for the open Trustee Area 2 seat on the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Board of Education. Joshua Correa, a local artist and preservationist activist, finished third.
Anderson is a life-long resident of Placentia, where she has raised her family and sent them to the same PYLUSD school she attended. She has been active in PTA for more than 20 years, and founded Blessing Boxes food pantry. She wants to re-open PLYUSD school for in-person, noting the deleterious impact of remote learning on students academically, socially and emotionally. Anderson is also supportive of parents who want education alternatives such as public charter schools.
Anderson was part of the Take Back PYLUSD candidate slate of candidates who favor a return to in-person instruction and are supportive of charter schools. The other two candidates – Shawn Youngblood and Leandra Blades, also won their trustee areas.
Rodriguez is chief of staff to 4th District Supervisor Doug Chaffee. She moved into the area from Riverside at the end of 2018, and a few months later opened a campaign committee to run for the PYLUSD school board. Rodriguez had no prior ties to the community, is single and has no children. Her politics are to the left of the mainstream. According to knowldeable sources, she has ambitions to run for the state legislature, making this a stepping stone move.
Rodriguez’ loss is part of a larger electoral defeat for Supevisor Chaffee’s politically active staff. Another Chaffee board aide, Jannelle Welker, lost her campaign for the Santa Ana City Council in Ward 5, finishing last in a five candidate field with 7% of the vote.
Both Welker’s and Rodriguez’s campaigns shared the same consultant, Gabriel Dima-Smith – who is married to Supervisor Chaffee’s office manager. Dima-Smith is legislative director for the California Association of Mutual Water Companies and also operates his own campaign consultancy. Dima-Smith also ran the campaign of Faizal Qazi, the great progressive Democrat hope for Fullerton City Council from District 2. Qazi was crushed by conservative Republican Nick Dunlap, a member of the city’s Planning Commission.