It was Jon Landau (in May 1974) who famously said, “I saw rock and roll’s future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”
And it was.
Based upon what we’re seeing, hearing and sensing around town, the future of local education belongs (or should belong) to Christy Lozano, 47, who is running for Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools against incumbent Susan Salcido.
Dr. Salcido is facing Ms. Lozano in the June 7 primary because a revolutionary backlash appears to be under way by those who oppose critical race theory and sexual identity fixation (with its multitude of trendy if preposterous pronouns) as part of an elementary school curriculum. Add to that the current system’s long-running tolerance for sexual abuse of schoolchildren by errant “teachers,” along with a penchant for chipping away at parents’ rights over how their children should be educated.
Be aware that the singular, highly emotive issue of parental involvement resulted in the defeat last November of a popular state governor, Terry McAuliffe, running for re-election (from an earlier term) in the Commonwealth of Virginia against a dark horse candidate.
These are the precise words that torpedoed Mr. McAuliffe, sealing the fate of a man who, hitherto, had been considered a future Democratic presidential candidate: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Voting parents thought otherwise.
And now Glenn Youngkin is governor, and Mr. McAuliffe is a has-been. And thus far the new governor has signed over a hundred bills giving parents more control over what their children are being taught, including one that requires schools to notify parents if students are assigned books or materials that contain explicit sexual content.
One needs only witness the horrified reaction to Ms. Lozano’s candidacy by “The Club,” a country clubbish cabal of sorts allegedly puppet-mastered by longtime former county superintendent Bill Cirone, to understand how threatened its members feel by the possibility of a “non-club” member taking the helm of the Santa Barbara County Office of Education.
Two key events drove this home to us.
First: A well-known local columnist came out of mothballs in mid-February to mount an unhinged attack full of misleading spin against Ms. Lozano, a single mom who served in the U.S. Air Force and has taught all grade levels during 18 years as a teacher in Santa Barbara — and who was motivated to run for high office only after uncovering a distinct lack of transparency (more like willful concealment) with regard to parents knowing certain details about the “progressive” curriculum established by the Santa Barbara Unified School District — and publicly blowing the whistle on it.
On Jan. 15, Ms. Lozano posted to YouTube a video titled “Password-Protected Portal — What Parents Should Know” about the compulsory “equity training” imposed upon teachers by higher-ups in administration.
Second: A lawsuit was filed by a Democratic strategist and cannabis lobbyist named Mollie Culver (who has no children and thus no vested interest in schooling) trying to deprive Ms. Lozano of the right to run for superintendent over a matter of form rather than substance.
Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne quickly and wisely dispensed with the case, essentially with this dictum: Let the voters decide. (Gee, what a novel concept — isn’t that the way democracy is supposed to function?)
For many decades, education in Santa Barbara County has been a closed shop, lorded over by Mr. Cirone, now 83, who set a record for longest-serving superintendent (34 years) and whose spun-out tenure also ensured a politically lop-sided program, which was (and still is) vigilantly protected by its disciples, whose critics are unwelcome and almost always dispatched, it seems, through the deployment of obfuscation.
But it gets worse.
The lawsuit to deprive Ms. Lozano of her candidacy appears to be part and parcel of a strategized campaign orchestrated by the cabal of which we write, not the brainchild of some lone female crusader.
This is reflected by a contract signed by Mr. Cirone (while he was superintendent) in April 2013 (and which remains in effect), between the Santa Barbara County Office of Education and Capital Advisors LLC, a political consulting firm run by one Jack O’Connell, a former crony of Mr. Cirone in the school system and a former California superintendent of public instruction.
Add this to the mix: Mollie Culver is the manager of and “business contact” for a Sacramento-based entity called Friends of Jack O’Connell.
A source familiar with the situation told The Investigator that Mr. O’Connell’s firm, Capital Advisors, has a contract “with the Santa Barbara County Office of Education. We have FOIA documents proving this (reviewed by The Investigator). I have it from two sources at the highest levels that payments from the Santa Barbara County Office Of Education were made to Capital Advisors. In other words, it sure looks like our tax dollars are being spent on Democratic Party operatives to take away democratic choice right here in Santa Barbara.”
SBCOE has, over the years, paid Mr. O’Connell’s firm nearly $300,000, which in return provides “government relations,” i.e., lobbying services to county school boards. Again, that’s documented by the papers reviewed by The Investigator.
Moreover, according to Ms. Lozano, “The Sacramento law firm that sued me, Olson-Remcho, is on a retainer for the State Association for County Superintendents.”
Thus, Mr. O’Connell and Mr. Cirone, by extension, may well be the shadow phantom behind Ms. Culver’s lawsuit seeking to disqualify Ms. Lozano’s candidacy. And perhaps using YOUR MONEY to do so.
Speaking of money, The Investigator was told the following from another source who has been closely monitoring the dirty little secrets of those currently in charge of our children’s education: “We believe one very high profile nonprofit foundation purchases expensive commercial real estate all over the county and leases office spaces to their pet nonprofits, helps to promote, fundraise and secure lucrative local government contracts for them, and in turn they are able to cash-flow these buildings (over a dozen in all). Inexplicitly, this wealthy property-owning foundation is exempt from paying property taxes! I can’t think of anything more parasitic and unethical than these foundations and nonprofits shaking down our schools and local agencies while leaving the rest of us stuck with the bill. But remember, they are always ‘doing it for the children.’”
Our source continues: “There should be a very bright line between the nonprofit world and the schools and local government. These dubious public-private partnerships are toxic, risky and should be discontinued. The Fund for Santa Barbara, CAUSE and Just Communities are the most troubling. There is no daylight between these NGOs and Ethnic Studies BLM, NOW! and Healing Justice, which is nothing more than a revolving door of the same radical parasites who are responsible for the local Agit-Prop (agitation and propaganda) we have all grown accustomed to. The seminars, gala events, fundraisers are just an excuse to pat each other on the backs and extract money from legitimate government agencies and funnel it to themselves and their friends. It is one big bacchanal. Nothing scandalous ever really sees the light of day.”
There’s an old saying: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… well, you know the rest.
Or to use another adage on the basis that maybe this is not a duck but a skunk: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark — and, indeed, the rot smells worse than the Andree Clark Bird Refuge after being swarmed by stink birds on a steamy summer day.
Meantime, even more of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars are spent by the Santa Barbara Unified School District on such things as a “Pronoun Survey” so that teachers may learn how to address their students with pronouns other than “he” or “she.”
The options that students are asked to tick in the survey: She/her/hers or they/them/theirs or he/him/his or she/they or he/they.
Huh? This is how our “educators” spend their time? And our money?
Tragically, this is so.
One hopes that if Ms. Lozano is elected superintendent of schools the only words that will matter in this regard are these: was/were.
OK, then. Since education in Santa Barbara has evolved into a state of lunacy, we would be remiss not to point out that next Sunday is the Feast Day of St. Dymphna, patron saint of lunatics.
I’m going to toss this in because we are all history-deprived, but none more so than Santa Barbara Unified students, whose lessons seem instead to focus on “equity” politics — and whether they’re supposed to be boys or girls.
History is simple when boiled down to basics: People of ALL races and religious faiths, through the ages, have been oppressed and enslaved by others at one time or another.
Reparations for all?
Yeah, right. Print even more free money out of thin air so that the cost of household goods and services will soar beyond the 23.9 % inflation we’ve seen during the first quarter of this year.
(You can blame Presidents Trump and Putin all you want, but President Harry S. Truman had it right when he placed this sign on his desk: “The Buck Stops Here.”)
ST. DYMPHMNA, PATRON SAINT OF LUNATICS
Dymphna was born in Ireland, very early in the seventh century, the daughter of a pagan king named Damon and a mother who converted to Christianity to ensure she would be educated by a priest named Gerebern. (In those days education revolved around the classics, not pronouns.)
Dymphna’s beautiful mother met a sudden, young death. Her father, inconsolable, fell into a deep and very dark depression, leaving courtiers worried that their king’s mental health would further deteriorate unless he found a new bride, which they urged him to do. Thus Damon dispatched envoys throughout Ireland to find a woman as beautiful as the wife he’d lost.
When they returned without a new woman, a deranged notion struck the king: “My daughter, Dymphna, looks almost identical to her mother …”
Dymphna was horrified by her father’s proposal. Each time she refused his advances, the king’s rage grew worse.
Gerebern, the priest, was also perplexed by this situation — and he plotted an escape.
Assisted by the court jester, Dymphna and Gerebern crossed the English Channel by boat and sailed up the river Scheldt to Antwerp in what is now Belgium. Feeling unsafe near a waterway, they made their way inland to Zammel, a small settlement of about 15 houses, six miles from what would later become Gheel.
When King Damon realized his daughter and the pesky priest had fled, he went nuts. (Also, he no longer had a court jester to help him see the humor in this.)
With a small army of warriors in three boats, Damon set sail in search of Dymphna.
How did he know where to go? For two months Damon followed the money. Dymphna and Gerebern recklessly left a trail of their native coins as payment for services rendered along the way to a new life elsewhere.
When Dymphna and Gerebern learned the king and his warriors were near, they fled Zammel. But not fast enough. The king caught up with them six miles away.
Blaming the couple’s misadventure on Gerebern, Damon slew the priest without further ado (no trial necessary). Then he asked his daughter one last time: “Will you marry me?”
Damon commanded his warriors to execute his daughter.
Not one stepped forward.
So the crazed king raised his mighty sword and severed Dymphna’s head with one blow.
(No one knows what happened to the court jester.)
Adding insult to murder, Damon and his warriors left the scene without burying their victims, leaving Zammel’s citizens greatly distressed by the carnage they found at the scene. They interred Dymphna and Gerebern at the very spot they were slain and pronounced it sacred.
Word of what happened that tragic day in 621 A.D. traveled around Europe.
Within a few hundred years (word traveled slowly back then), the burial site became a shrine for mentally ill pilgrims, who discovered that if they prayed at Dymphna’s burial site, to her relics (bones), their mental illnesses gave way to sanity. (It sure beat an Abilify/Zoloft cocktail.)
After notching up a few such miracles, Dymphna qualified for sainthood.
A whole, thriving town grew up around it: Gheel. That’s where Belgium’s mentally ill citizens are fostered into local families as part of a program called Family Care System of Mental Patients, and it is now reputed to be the world’s most humane way of looking after the mentally ill.
SEXUAL ABUSE OF STUDENTS
This historical legend evokes another disturbing dimension of what has been going on within our school system. Thus, let us revert to one of our sources on this point: “Our city’s most shameful legacy is a systemic and long-term enabling and cover-up of the sexual abuse of children in our school district.”
The number of cases involving teachers accused of sexually abusing students being transferred to other schools instead of firing their butts and registering them as sex offenders is nothing less than mind-boggling — and deserves a full column all by itself. In fact, almost one year ago in these pages we told the story of Matef Harmachis, a leading activist for The Woke Curriculum.
It is worth repeating: Fired in 2005 as an economics and government teacher in SBUSD for putting one student in a headlock and hugging and kissing another (a female student, a minor), Mr. Harmachis was, inexplicably, reinstated as a teacher in 2006 and eventually stood accused of battery and sexual assault of a female student at Santa Barbara High School during school hours.
What is badly needed at this juncture is a cleaning of the stable, a shuttering of the club and the election of Christy Lozano as county superintendent of schools so that we may return to civilized education; an education that focuses on a rigorous academic curriculum of arts and sciences, math and history, inclusive of parental guidance and which is transparent to all (and perhaps a reassessment of the “confidentiality” laws administrators love to hide behind), instead of what is currently being served up: A Bolshevik bunkum burger devoid of seasoning, common sense and decency, hold the fries.
We stepped in to clarify an incident that left a Santa Barbara family feeling anxious and confused.
We are delighted to report that Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, the public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department, responded immediately and, almost as quickly, brought the situation to respectable resolution.
Kudos to Sgt. Ragsdale — and to SBPD, which, needless to say, deserves all the funding it can get.
Robert Eringer is a longtime Montecito author with vast experience in investigative journalism. He welcomes questions or comments at email@example.com.