|FLP Letter Guidelines, Summer 2003|
Friends of Lafferty Park has published the following guidelines for writing letters to key decision makers at the Caifornia State, Sonoma County, and Petaluma City level during the Summer of 2003.
UPDATE 7/16: A terrific number of excellent letters have been received and acknowledged by key public officials. Thank you all! We're now asking people to hold off writing any further letters to State officials on this topic until after the State budget impasse has been resolved. We'll let you know when that situation changes. Meanwhile, letters to the editor are still a great idea. See Newspaper Letter Guidelines, below.
Letters to Public Officials:
Letters seeking to influence public officials should always have a civil and respectful tone! Also, for tactical reasons, at this time we ask that you please do not over-emphasize the sometimes contentious aspects of the 11-year effort to open Lafferty Park.
10-minute email version:
- Click the link in this box once to open a pre-addressed email window (but don't send it yet!):
Note: If the above doesn't work for you, start an email as follows:
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subj: Mitsui trail and Lafferty
- Write the body of the letter, or paste in the following text as a starting point:
Dear Assemblyman Nation:
I want to express my enthusiastic support for strong State leadership in opening Lafferty Park to the public, and connecting it via the trail offered by Bonnie Mitsui to Jack London State Park.
Publicly-owned Lafferty Ranch is a magnificent treasure that has been denied to Californians for far too long. Bonnie Mitsui's generous offer to donate a trail across her property promises to make Lafferty part of an expansive Sonoma Mountain park and trail system of truly statewide significance.
Please provide your leadership to pull together all the state and local agencies to finally realize the public benefits of these splendid amenities.
- If you used the stock language above, rewrite AT LEAST the opening paragraph in your own words -- but make it very clear that you support opening Lafferty Ranch and the Mitsui trail connection to Jack London State Park.
- (Optional) Consider changing the Subject line of your message, so they don't all look the same.
- (Optional) Consider making use of one or more of the Suggested Topics below, or think of your own, to rewrite the letter further. Your heartfelt statement drawn from personal experience is usually best. Fact-based arguments can also be effective.
- Add a closing to the bottom of your message, such as the word "Sincerely," followed by your full name and your full mailing address (important -- tells Legislators if you're in their district!).
- Add the following Cc: list below your closing (it's important for officials to see who ELSE is hearing from you):
Cc: Senator John Burton
Sonoma County Supervisors
Ruth Coleman, Calif. State Parks Acting Director
Caryl O. Hart, Chair, Calif. State Park & Rec. Commission
Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer, California Coastal Conservancy
Petaluma City Council, c/o City Manager Mike Bierman
- (Optional) If you live in another Legislative district, it's a good idea to add your Legislators' email addresses here and in the message's Cc: line as well, e.g., Patricia.Wiggins@asm.ca.gov or Senator.Chesbro@sen.ca.gov
- Send the email!
(You might get a bounce message from Joe Nation's main Assembly address. Not to worry, the message should reach him via alternate channels.)
(Pick one that interests you or think up your own!):
For more impact:
- In addition to the electronic letter and copies, print and mail the letter or fax it to:
Joe Nation, 6th Assembly District
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0006
Phone: (916) 319-2006
Fax: (916) 319-2106
- If you wish to fax or write to other public officials, contact information can be found at:
- Follow up your letter to Assemblyman Joe Nation and other officials with phone calls.Reiterate your position, and ask what the official will be doing to further this effort.
- Send a letter to the editor! (See below.)
Letters to Newspaper Editors:
If possible, letters to the editor should refer to something the newspaper has recently published (see recent coverage in the PD and the Argus), and must be very brief.
For more information and help: Contact FLP volunteers Jerry Price (Jerry.Price@raymondjames.com 707-763-7610) or Larry Modell ( firstname.lastname@example.org 707-778-0629) for information, suggestions, editing, etc.
Letters to the Press Democrat and other local papers can be sent to:
Letters Editor, The Press Democrat
200 words or less, signed, daytime phone number and street address for verification. Limit one letter every 90 days.
Northern California Bohemian Letters
300 words or less, signed, daytime phone number and street address for verification.
Letters to the Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
250 words or less, signed, daytime phone number and street address for verification.
Letters to the Editor, Petaluma Argus-Courier
300 words or less, phone number and street address for verification. Limit one letter per month
Letters to the Editor, Sonoma Index-Tribune