Dear Bruce Porter,
I wanted to take the chance to publicly thank you for your generosity. Today I opened the front door of my university apartment to find two five-outlet USB power adapters — brand-new and tastefully emblazoned with “Bruce Porter for Supervisor” — at the doorstep. Looking up and down the hallway, I was delighted to see that every apartment in the complex had been a recipient of your benevolence.
Careful not to forget my manners, I looked you up so that I might send a thank-you note. To my chagrin, however, the online search results only turned up other instances of your philanthropic efforts in our community, like how you’ve been paying debt- and rent-burdened UCSB students to canvass for you. Meanwhile, your opponent, Joan Hartmann, is selfishly running a volunteer-based campaign and isn’t paying those poor kids a dime. And it turns out that you’re humble, too; you even secretly created a fake organization called Rock The Vote SB to dissuade people from voting for your opponents under the guise of nonpartisan voter registration. It’s only the narcissistic millionaires who want to slap their name on everything.
I finally found your website, which describes you as “an independent voice for Santa Barbara”. This makes sense, since between your independent wealth and your funding from oil companies, you won’t be dependent on special interests like community organizations or the needs of the people. You already know what I need, clearly, and that is a USB power adapter with five outlets. It’s a shame that I only have one cell phone. I’ll have to throw out my current, perfectly functioning USB power adapter that only has one crummy outlet, and go buy four more devices so that I can take full advantage of your altruism. Please tell your oil industry friends to keep drilling, because I’m going to need the energy. Also, it was smart of you to give out plastic-encased consumer electronics; those heavy crude fractions have to go somewhere. Appropriately, your website lists “ethical environmental stewardship” among your priorities, a commitment that was evident in your decision to distribute this unsolicited future landfill waste throughout my building.
An establishment politician might have worried that such a kind gesture would be read as a transparent, cynical attempt to buy my support, thereby making me suspect that you could not win this election on the merits of your policy positions alone. Fortunately for me, you are an independent thinker, so now I have all the USB charging ports I could ever want. Although, I do wish you would have future-proofed it a bit and gone with USB-C. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.
In all honesty, I had no strong feelings about the County Supervisor election before today. Now I do. For that, Bruce Porter, I truly thank you.
Josh Kenchel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomolecular Science and Engineering at UCSB.