A Santa Barbara County Judge ruled that Christy Lozano, a Santa Barbara Unified teacher running for the position of Superintendent of Schools, may remain on the ballot for this upcoming election year.
Lozano filed for her candidacy right on the deadline of March 11, and soon after, a lawsuit was filed against her, the County of Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara County Clerk for the Registrar of Voters Joseph Holland by Mollie Culver, a former Democratic consultant.
The suit alleged that because Lozano did not have the Administrative Services Credential required to run, she was not qualified to serve in the position of Superintendent of Schools, and that the certificate of eligibility for the credential Lozano had received was also not enough to qualify her for the position. The suit petitioned the county and Holland to remove Lozano’s name from the ballot for this reason.
The case was heard by Judge Colleen Sterne on Wednesday, March 30, and Sterne ruled that the certification of eligibility was sufficient enough to qualify Lozano to run for the position. Sterne agreed with Lozano’s lawyer, John Thyne III, that the case brought by Culver and her representative, Richard Rios, was more “form over substance,” and that the decision made by Holland to allow Lozano to file should be upheld.
“I don’t see the harm in allowing the voters to weigh in,” Sterne said.
Thyne and Sterne also seemed to agree that Lozano has a fundamental right to run for office, and splitting hairs over certain types of credentials would serve no purpose.
Rios argued that the law was clear in its requirement of a potential candidate to possess the credential at the time of filing and to also hold a current administrative services position, but Sterne said the law was more ambiguous than he described. Thyne argued that Lozano serving as the principal of her child’s homeschool counted toward administrative service, and Sterne said running for an administrative services office would also allow Lozano to meet the qualifying employment required for her to receive the credential.
Lozano gained public attention before filing her candidacy after posting a video to YouTube titled “Password-Protected Portal: Culturally Responsive Curriculum — What Parents Should Know” on January 15. The video involves Lozano criticizing the school district for providing resources and articles aimed at educating teachers about racism and anti-Blackness. The resources also include articles on autism, gender issues, and sexuality.
In the video, Lozano is mostly going through the resources on discussing race and antiracism. She later appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show, The Ingraham Angle, on Fox News, calling the resources “divisive, cruel, and misguided.” In her video and in subsequent media interviews, Lozano frequently insists the resources are taught directly to students as young as 4, though district officials have claimed this is outright false.