I attended last Thursday’s debate in Isla Vista, hosted by KCSB, between the candidates for county supervisor. After making my way through the hecklers at the door, I sat beside two students from this great university. For the first time in this ridiculous election season, I was truly hopeful, as my two seat mates were polite and genuinely interested in hearing both candidates and making an informed decision.
This proved to be challenging as Hartmann supporters seemed intent on disrupting Porter’s remarks. Equally discouraging was the intimidating and nasty tone of the disruptive students, and yet my seat mates remained undaunted in their effort to hear from the candidates.
My faith was restored when after a highly disruptive and rude departure by Hartmann’s supporters during Porter’s closing statement, a clear majority of the audience remained to hear him complete his remarks. Most surprising was the vocal applause at the end of Porter’s remarks, and I sense he struck a chord.
Porter was approachable, well researched, and informative about what he would do if elected. He spoke less in generalities than his opponent and showed a particular drive for improving the lives of citizens of Isla Vista, and it seemed to resonate with my seat mates.
As we made our way out of the event and through the crowd of activists, we agreed that despite the distractions, Porter made a compelling case and was a genuinely nice man. They were moved by concern for the environment and for a safer Isla Vista, and they were embarrassed by their peers’ behavior.
For myself, I am interested in solutions and Porter has my vote. I am pleased that my seat mates shared my enthusiasm.