The League of Women Voters (LWV) Santa Barbara was scheduled to hold a candidate forum on Zoom at 6 p.m. Thursday for the Santa Barbara County Schools Superintendent race between incumbent Dr. Susan Salcido and challenger Christy Lozano.
The News-Press originally reported on May 12 that the forum was canceled because Ms Lozano refused to sign a release form, as stated in an LWV press release.
In the statement, the league said Ms. Lozano was made aware of “our policies and procedures for our Candidate Forum, such as not providing questions to ask each candidate in advance and not allowing candidates to use excerpts from the recording of the rather than using it in its entirety, are in accordance with national and state policies and procedures of the League of Women Voters. Rest assured that all candidates who participate in our forums are bound by the same policies and procedures,” as News-Press previously reported.
“LWV called me on April 6th asking me to participate and I responded right away and said yes. They sent me the first release form on April 29th after publicly announcing the forum on April 22nd. April or around that time. They sent me a revised release form on May 9,” Ms. Lozano told News-Press in an email.
The LWV said in a press release that release forms were sent to both candidates on April 27, but emails obtained by News-Press show the original release form was not sent to Ms Lozano until April 29. april. A revised version of the press release form was sent on May 9th.
Moreover, there were notable differences between the two forms of release. The April 29 version read, “I will not make any reference to other applicants or to any other applicant’s qualifications, character or activities in any way – either positively or negatively.”
The revised version sent out on May 9 read: “I will in no way make a negative reference to other applicants or their personal qualifications or character. I can disagree with their views on issues or bills, but only to give examples of issues on which we disagree. I will focus on my opinions, not those of other candidates. I agree to handle all discussions in a calm and civil manner.
Ms Lozano told the press that she emailed LWV’s Revea Moran and asked clarifying questions about the release form.
“Ms. Moran did not answer any of my specific questions. Instead, she unilaterally set an arbitrary time limit, and before I could even respond, she unilaterally canceled the forum and blamed me for the cancellation. I missed the short LWV deadline they left in an email at 9:15am stating the 10am deadline they gave me which would cause the forum to be cancelled, their call, not mine , which conflicted with a meeting I had with supporters,” Ms. Lozano says.
In a voicemail Ms. Lozano received from Ms. Moran on May 10, Ms. Moran gave her a 10 a.m. deadline the next day to make a decision about signing the consent form. Ms Moran told Ms Lozano that if they didn’t hear from her before the deadline, they would go live to the zoom link and say, ‘If you log into the applicants forum, we had to cancel, as Christy Lozano declined to participate.”
Later in the post, Ms. Moran told Ms. Lozano to “call me by 10 a.m. tomorrow and if I don’t hear from you by then I’m going to assume you’re not going to attend and we’ll cancel the forum.
“I’ve been very busy with my campaign and couldn’t get back to you sooner. I heard your voicemail and I’m a bit confused by the message you left me… That wouldn’t be a true statement, as I didn’t opt out. I agreed to participate and, after our agreement, no consent form was presented to me. The consent form came after you announced the forum to the public,” Ms Lozano said in an email she sent to Ms Moran at 11:01 p.m. on May 10.
The forum was announced to the public on April 27, but the first release form was not sent to Ms Lozano until April 29, while the revised release form was sent on May 9.
“Christy Lozano, who did not want to sign the form, says she only had 45 minutes to sign it before the decision was made to cancel the May 12 Forum. It’s not true. He was reminded of the need to sign the release form on May 9,” according to a May 13 press release from the LWV.
“I apologize if you sent it to me and I missed it, but I don’t seem to have the signed release form for you. I need to have the signed form in hand before Thursday’s Forum for you to I have attached a copy of the form,” Ms. Moran said in an email on May 9. The attached release was the revised edition and not the original form sent on April 29.
“If you still wish to participate in our forum, please sign the release form we sent you and return it to me by 10:00 am today. If we do not receive your signed release form by then, we will assume that you have decided not to participate and we must cancel the Forum,” Ms. Moran said in a May 11 email sent at 9:06 a.m. to Miss Lozano. .
Roseanne Crawford of the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools (CNS), confirmed Ms Lozano’s statement about the arbitrary delay: “The posting rules were only sent a day before Ms Lozano and she was told ‘you have 45 minutes to make a decision. , or we will cancel. Ms Lozano was in a meeting at the time and missed the deadline,” Ms Crawford told News-Press.
The CNS is an independent non-profit association, and has been for more than twenty years. The coalition does not endorse either candidate, but simply wants to give voters an opportunity to hear from both candidates.
When the LWV called off, the coalition stepped in on Thursday to try to save the zoom forum. The coalition contacted both candidates and Ms Lozano immediately confirmed. Dr. Salcido, however, proved unreachable. The coalition contacted Dr. Salcido, and the request was initially turned down by Dr. Salcido’s campaign manager, Ruth Loomer, who declined the invitation due to newly made commitments for that evening.
After Ms. Loomer’s initial refusal, Ms. Crawford contacted Dr. Salcido directly:
“I am very disappointed that your campaign manager, Ruth Loomer, declined our invitation. We would like to hear from you directly, Susan… We would need your response by 4 p.m. today for tonight’s attendance. We have media on hold and have given them the same 4pm deadline to let them know it’s off to a Zoom forum at 6pm If not tonight please give me a date so we can let you know candidate Lozano, she is ready to be flexible and stands ready as well,” Ms. Crawford said in her email to Dr. Salcido.
The coalition did not receive a response from Dr. Salcido before the deadline and even attempted to contact her by phone once again after the deadline.
The Santa Barbara Forum, produced by Michael Nicholson and hosted by the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools, offered to do an in-studio interview with Christy Lozano if Thursday’s Zoom Forum failed, which it did. The interview with SBTV was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, then SBTV rescheduled the interview, which is now set to be taped at 2 p.m. Monday. The recorded interview will air on TVSB Channel 17 at the following times: Thursday at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 22 at 5 a.m., Monday, May 23 at 11 p.m., and Tuesday, May 24 at 11 a.m.
Going forward, the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools has invited both candidates to an unbiased, neutral, and safe Candidates Forum on a date chosen by Dr. Salcido. Ms. Lozano accepted this. While confirmation of forum details is yet to be determined, pending Dr. Salcido’s response, the Coalition invites the public to submit direct questions to applicants at [email protected]
CNS has hosted candidate forums for the Santa Barbara Unified School District for more than 20 years and says no candidate has ever declined an invitation from CNS to participate in previous candidate forums. The CNS will not endorse a candidate in this election and says it aims to help the two candidates for Santa Barbara County Schools Superintendent get their message across to voters in a spirited face-to-face meeting. .
For more information about our organization, please visit our website at www.coalitionforneighborhoodschools.com.
Email: [email protected]