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SB School Board Hopefuls Face Key Forums

“God made idiots for practice,” Mark Twain famously said, “and then he made the school board.”

We hasten to add, of course, that Newsmakers could not disagree more with such sentiments, as we emphatically and categorically dissociate ourselves from them.

That said, the eight candidates for two seats on SB’s Unified School District board are on their own, in terms of showing their preparedness to affirm or disprove Twain’s famous dictum, as they embark on a challenging course of campaign forums over the next 10 days.

Starting Thursday, no less than four – 4, count ‘em, 4 – such school, community and media events will be open to the entire field, organized to draw out and disseminate to the public the candidates’ views on crucial short-term and long-range issues that will confront the board.

For those who want to pre-game, or just can’t get enough of this stuff, a reminder that Newsmakers TV’s sessions with seven of the eight (UCSB graduate student Jim Gribble was out of the country at the time, but tells us he’ll attend all the upcoming events) may be found in our You Tube archive, here and here.

Here is a look at details of the upcoming forums.

Oct. 18 (Thursday) 7-8:30 p.m. San Marcos High School (auditorium). 4750 Hollister Ave/Turnpike.

Amid early concerns that the San Marcos event might be rescheduled, following this week’s lamentable incident, it’s set to take place as planned.

Questions for candidates at the forum, sponsored by the Associated Student Body, will be selected from those prepared in advance by students and staff. It should be an intriguing event, given the outsize role that last winter’s events at the school have played in spurring community debate about the board and shaping the wide-open race.

Oct. 21 (Sunday). 4 p.m. KEYT-TV.

Lined up on KEYT’s famous TV Hill deck, that of the zillion dollar view, the candidates will be questioned by a panel of journalists, including super-anchor Beth Farnsworth, Josh Molina representing Noozhawk and whatever geezer Newsmakers can scare up who’s not too hung over to participate.

News Director Jim Lemon advises that the program will be shown live “on the NOW Channel (OTA 3.2, Cable 13 or 1013),” re-shown several times and posted online the week after.

Oct. 22 (Monday). 6 p.m. Louise Lowry Davis Center. 1232 De La Vina Street.

“Our Youth, Our Voice, Our Vote” is the title of a forum co-sponsored by Future Leaders of America, the Santa Barbara Youth Council and CAUSE.

Some entertaining behind-the-scenes machinations going on here:

Candidate and appointed incumbent school board member Ismael Ulloa happens to be on the board of directors of Future Leaders. Several of the other candidates have expressed concerns about this, wondering if it doesn’t make the venue a trifle too, um, ethically complicated, so it will be interesting to see who shows up.

To which we say: More cookies for us, dude. There’s a meet-and-greet starting at 5:30 p.m., and the flyer for the event promises “Free Snacks!” as well as child care.

Oct. 26 (Friday) 5-6:30 p.m. Santa Barbara High School (cafeteria) 700 E. Anapamu St.

The Parent, Teacher, Student Association of the Dons will pose questions selected from “a diverse pool of vetted submissions” for the event, whose organizers promise to follow the “unbiased, impartial and nonpartisan format” of the California PTA.

“If a candidate gives an evasive answer, the moderator may ask a follow-up question,” the invite says. Forewarned is forearmed.

Game on.


Images: Buckeye Central; Go Royals!; KEYT-TV logo; Future Leaders of America logo; Go Dons!

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