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Karsen Luthi

Thank you for creating Alhambra Source and providing timely reporting of important local news. Fight on!

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Know Your City Council Candidate: Karsen Luthi

Image courtesy of Karsen Luthi


The Alhambra Source reached out to each candidate, asking for a biography, platform statement and a few reader-generated questions. The Source does not endorse any candidates nor statements.



I attended California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA) after graduation from Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra (class of 1975); my wife, Joanne Shiroma (Alhambra High School class of 1976), is also a CSULA alum.

After college, I worked for the County of Los Angeles analyzing census data, arranging direct deposit payments for retirees, and clerking in the Superior Court.  I then administered attorney disciplinary hearings for the State Bar of California.  After that, I moved into the private sector and eventually sold a profitable business.

I now volunteer my time. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Alhambra Business Association since 2015 and Alhambra Committee for Arts and Cultural Events since 2017.

Joanne is a Registered Nurse.  We married in 1983 and have three beautiful children.  Andrew graduated from CSULA and owns his own business, Ohana Brewing Company.  Kara graduated with a Masters Degree from USC and works in behavioral health.  Christine graduated from USC and currently attends dental school.


This election is a matter of economic survival for many small businesses in Alhambra.  This is not hyperbole; it’s a fact.

I spend a great deal of my time in this campaign on that issue because it is vitally important; it affects everyone and every issue in this city.

Small local businesses generate much needed tax revenue to help fund vital services such as public safety, create good paying jobs, and provide essential goods and services to residents and visitors.

No other candidate will do more for our small business community than I will – and that means improved quality of life for you.

In District 4, your three candidate choices are very different.

I have real world experience to lead in revitalizing small businesses and recruiting new ones, and I’ll begin by pushing hard for change in the management of our Community Development Department.  I will create needed change.

If you re-elect the incumbent, you maintain the status quo.

If you elect the third candidate you will definitely have change – but the city will move in the opposite direction.  This candidate supports Proposition 15 which will severely impact small local businesses – forcing many to close or relocate.  Her close supporters, Grassroots Alhambra, once even called for a boycott of small downtown businesses!

Choose wisely, Alhambra.


The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated small businesses in Alhambra. What is your plan to help these businesses and reinvigorate the local economy?

This election is a matter of economic survival for many small businesses in Alhambra.  These businesses generate much-needed tax revenue to help fund vital services such as public safety, create good-paying jobs and provide essential goods and services to residents and visitors.

No other candidate will do more for our small business community than I will – and that means improved quality of life for you.

How do we begin to fix things?  We change the management of the Community Development Department.  We reverse course on building a homeless/low-income housing project in a municipal parking lot vital to small local businesses which, incidentally, universally oppose the project.  We fight Proposition 15 which will devastate many small local businesses; sadly, the council took a “neutral” stance on this proposition.  We work hard to recruit and support small local businesses rather than driving them away.

How will you help Alhambra reach its affordable housing goals?

Housing is a complicated issue involving economics.  We need to encourage responsible development and improvements so that there are adequate amounts of quality housing.  Housing costs are high because supply is short and many buyers/renters are willing and able to pay the asking price – or even more.  For those not able to afford housing costs we should look at a program of either providing a government subsidy to qualified applicants or tax incentives to developers/landlords.

How do you plan on increasing the city’s green space and tackling sustainability issues?

I would support converting the land currently part of the 710 freeway from I-10 to Valley Boulevard to a large green belt/parkland.  As to sustainability, we need to begin by addressing the issue of non-biodegradable plastics and their popular use by businesses and consumers.

What is your plan for improving the air quality for Alhambra residents?

Air quality management is a responsibility of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  I believe they are doing a good job, but I am committed to doing what I can to help residents and businesses join in protecting air quality.  We’ve come a long way from the 1960s when Los Angeles was truly “Smog City, USA”.

How will you improve traffic safety for both drivers and pedestrians?

We need to study intersections and streets in the City of Alhambra and come up with a plan for improved signage (e.g. flashing lights in various locations with heavy pedestrian use), traffic monitoring (cameras and other sensors) which would lead to enforcement through our local police department, and speed bumps on certain streets where motorists tend to speed.

Visit Karsen’s website.


Return to the main page for the other candidates’ biographies, platforms and responses.