Debate This: We’ll Ask the Tough Questions — LIVE

By Nick Masuda   |   September 9, 2021

Four races. Thirteen candidates.

We’ll go ahead and shave that to 12, as Eric Friedman is running for Santa Barbara City Council’s District 5 spot unopposed.

But that leaves District 4 (Coast Village Road), District 6 (Santa Barbara’s downtown), and mayor (the whole enchilada).

These are critical races, responsible for major tourism corridors and the health of small businesses, as well as the tone of leadership this city is looking to follow coming out of the global pandemic — if we are indeed out of it.

But what do you really know about the candidates? You’ve probably seen a headline here, or an Instagram post there. But it also brings to mind a statement from one of the most beloved presidents, John F. Kennedy, in the history of our democracy:

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”

And it’s our job to make sure that no stone is left unturned, nor a question unasked.

And the pages of the Santa Barbara Sentinel are finite — although, take a read on the District 6 primer that starts on page 6, it’s nearly 3,500 words of direct-from-their-mouths goodness — so we are expanding our canvas, hosting a trio of live debates just days before locals will receive their ballots for the 2021 Election.

On September 29, we have extended an invitation to our Zoom stage to the six mayoral candidates, which includes James Joyce, David Matthew Kilrain, Cathy Murillo (incumbent), Randy Rowse, Deborah Schwartz, and Mark Whitehurst. We’ll host them live for 90 minutes starting at 7 pm, with our very own Gwyn Lurie taking on moderator duties, with a special guest to be announced in the very near future.

But the fun won’t stop there, as the next night (September 30 for those that want to insert into their iPhone calendars), Gwyn and yours truly will kick things off at 6 pm with a showdown between District 6 candidates Jason Carlton, Meagan Harmon (incumbent), Nina Johnson, and Zachary Pike.

We’ll let them debate key downtown topics for an hour before we welcome the one-on-one District 4 contest between Barrett Reed and Kristen Sneddon (incumbent).

Santa Barbara is at a crossroads, with some seemingly ecstatic with progress being made on key issues such as business vitality and homelessness, while others take issue (on both sides) with the idea of rent control or parklets around the city.

And before you cast those ballots, our debates will give you a look into how each candidate will address tough questions, with one of the ground rules that details must be offered and that platitudes can and will be challenged.

Sound like fun?

We can’t wait.



WHEN: September 29, 7 pm (90 minutes)

WHERE: Zoom (registration will open on on September 15)


WHEN: September 30, 6 pm (60 minutes)

WHERE: Zoom (registration will open on on September 15)


WHEN: September 30, 7 pm (60 minutes)

WHERE: Zoom (registration will open on on September 15)


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