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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

County Schools Supe Rivals (Finally) Agree to Campaign Forum -; Salcido-Lozano Zoom Event on Tuesday

Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido and Christy Lozano, the PE teacher challenging her in the June 7 primary, will jointly appear to answer questions at an online election forum on Tuesday, Newsmakers has confirmed.

One week before the election, the event will mark the first time the rivals in the superintendent's race will face off, albeit online, in the campaign. An earlier scheduled forum was scrubbed over a dispute about the rules between Lozano and the League of Women Voters.

You can watch the forum live via Zoom by clicking on this link at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31:

Lanny to the rescue. The forum came together over the weekend due to the determination and Kissinger-like diplomacy of community advocate and former SB school board member Lanny Ebenstein, who not only forged an agreement between the two campaigns but also persuaded two community non-profits to serve as official sponsors of the forum.

The 75-minute affair is sponsored by The Resource Santa Barbara, a 501(c)3 which provides necessities directly to homeless people, among other projects, and the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, a 501(c)4, which champions low-tax, low-regulatory policies in local government.

The forum will have a straightforward format: Ebenstein, joined by Newsmakers' own genial host, will pose questions on subjects ranging from school safety to education finance, alternating between candidates, who will have two minutes to answer each query.

If you have questions you would like posed to the candidates, please email them to us at

State of play. In a primary election season marked by little competition - two Board of Supervisor candidates and the next District Attorney all are running unopposed, for starters --the Superintendent's race has drawn the most attention.

This is largely because Lozano has introduced national culture war themes -- assailing curriculum materials about racism and gender identity that the SB Unified School District suggests for teachers, for example -- into a contest for a traditionally low-profile, local office that provides resources and services to the 20 school districts in the county.

The job was long held by educator Bill Cirone, who was elected 10 consecutive times before he retired in 2017. The county board of education appointed Salcido to serve out the final year of his last term and, facing no opposition, she was elected to her own four-year term in 2018.

Perhaps because there are so few contested races, the county appears headed for a very low turnout election; as of Friday, only 11 percent of the 234,883 ballots mailed out have been returned to the voter registrar.

Don't forget to vote

P.S. Newsmakers previously conducted in-depth interviews with each of the candidates.


Image: Santa Barbara Independent.

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