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Six Degrees of Disputation: SB's Half-Dozen Candidates for Mayor Square Off for First Time


For the first time in the 2021 race, the six candidates for mayor of Santa Barbara appeared in the same campaign forum on Friday, in what one contender termed the "political equivalent of speed dating."


You can watch the event, featuring Mayor Cathy Murillo and the five challengers to her re-election responding to questions about politics and policy, via YouTube below or by clicking through this link (the audio version is here),


The fast-paced affair, co-sponsored by Newsmakers, the "Santa Barbara Talks" podcast and TV Santa Barbara, offers voters the chance for an extended first impression of the rivals, while considering, comparing and contrasting their top-line ideas on topics critical to our future: the state of the city; homelessness; economic development and State Street; housing; equity; and governance, amid the recent turmoil and turnover at City Hall.


The candidates were beamed via Zoom into TVSB's studio, where co-moderators Jerry Roberts and Josh Molina channeled their inner air traffic controller skills while posing several dozen questions, with the candidates providing less-is-more, one minute answers, before each delivered a two-minute closing statement.


Besides Murillo, small business owner James Joyce III, small businessman Matt Kilrain, downtown business owner Randy Rowse, city Planning Commissioner Deborah Schwartz and Publisher Mark Whitehurst joined the encounter.


So: 78 minutes, six candidates, two moderators, six topics, 36 camera switches between candidates and zero technical mishaps from the control room, ably managed by director J.P Montalvo, assistant director Ellie Stayner and Hap Freund, our producer..


No word yet on a partridge in the pear tree.


We'll be back later in the week with observations, analysis and context about the kickoff event for the final nine weeks of the campaign, but for now, invite you to review it unencumbered by our perspective and commentary. For a follow-up story, please email us your comments, insights and impressions: newsmakerswithjr@gmail.com.


Don't forget to vote.


JR







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