County Superintendent Forum Cancelled After Lozano Refuses to Sign Release Form
By edhat staff
The League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara announced their hosted County Superintendent forum has been cancelled the day before it was scheduled to take place due to a candidate refusing to sign their release form.
On Wednesday afternoon, the League of Women Voters released a press statement explaining that candidate Christy Lozano would not agree to sign the required Release Form, which spells out the protocols to "ensure a fair and civil discussion." The forum for the office of the Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools was to include a conversation with incumbent Susan Salcido and Lozano.
"Unless both candidates agree to these terms, the League cannot hold the forum, according to the League’s policies. The Forum was to have been held on Thursday, May 12 at 6 pm on Zoom," the League stated.
According to the League, Lozano was told, “Our policies and procedures for our Candidate Forum, such as not providing the questions to be asked of each candidate in advance, and not allowing candidates to use excerpts of the recording of the Forum rather than using it in its entirety, are in accordance with national and state League of Women Voters policies and procedures. Please be assured that all candidates who participate in our Forums are required to abide by the same policies and procedures.”
Susan Salcido, incumbent Superintendent of Schools and Lozano’s opponent, did sign the Release Forum and agreed to the League’s Forum rules.
In an updated report by journalist Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers, Lozano apparently is blaming the League for the cancellation.
"I did not drop out of the...forum," she said to Newsmakers. "I was surprised that the (League) cancelled the event and was unwilling to address my concerns with any sort of healthy discussion."
According to Newsmakers, Lozano stated she was not provided with a copy of the release form "until after they publicized the event." She said she strongly objects to the League's prohibition on direct criticism and confrontations between the candidates, a long-standing rule for League events.
"They were requiring restrictions on my ability to fully explain the problems in our county board of education, and my solutions," Lozano stated to Newsmakers.
In a separate statement to edhat, Lozano said is disappointed by the cancellation of the event. “I believe that the voters of Santa Barbara deserve a free, fair and open discussion on all critical issues involving our county schools. After 40 years without a choice of Superintendents of Schools, the voters deserve a fair and substantive debate, not just “happy talk” and artificial limitations regarding valid concerns and important issues. I hope another well-intentioned organization will fill the void created by the LWV’s unilateral cancellation and offer to host a fair, open and substantive debate or forum on the critical issues in our county education system,” said Lozano.
The League of Women Voters asserts their forum is not a debate to challenge an opponent's qualifications or experience, but rather a platform for each candidate to discuss their own qualifications and experience related to the position. (An updated statement from the League has been published here.)
[Ed Note: This article has been edited to include an update from Lozano by Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers, to change the word "debate" to "forum," and a statement from Lozano to edhat.]