Dear Sierra Club California Members and Friends,
It’s no secret that the strength of Sierra Club California is its members, including its active volunteers.
The importance of that strength becomes evident here in Sacramento from January through early September, when lawmaking begins and the lobbying gets intense. Over those months, the oil industry, real estate developers, solid waste companies, and big electric utilities–among others–spend millions of dollars in direct giving to influence legislators.
Just this morning, I saw an invitation to a breakfast hosted by a Democratic legislator from Fresno. Entry price: $1,000. Must be serving eggs from a golden goose.
Here, at Sierra Club California, we’re famous for spending sweat equity.
That means we’ll be relying on our volunteers to drive the environmental message home to senators and assembly members through emails, phone calls to district offices, old-fashioned letters, and visits to legislators in their home offices and, during our annual August lobby day, to their Sacramento office.
More specifically, we’ll be relying on you.
My staff and I can do a lot of work trying to stop bad bills and promote good bills here in Sacramento. But you are the closer. Your communication with a legislator at the right moment, from the home district, can make the difference.
That’s why, within the next two months, after all the bills have been introduced for this session, you’ll start receiving alerts asking for action. Most of the time, we’ll ask you to send an email and provide an easy way to do that. Sometimes, if an issue is especially urgent and we’re very concerned about a bill’s fate, we’ll ask you to make phone calls or write your own letter in your own words. That kind of personal touch can make the difference between an aye or a no vote.
We also ask our active volunteers to watch for newspaper articles and blogs about issues we care about, and then to write letters to the editor and thoughtful comments expressing support for the environmental view. We know that legislators pay special attention to the opinions that show up in their local newspapers.
If you follow state news, you know that California’s environmental review laws have been under scrutiny. Other news topics that keep popping up include the state’s implementation of the rules designed to reduce global warming pollution, the proposal to construct giant pipes to suck more water out of the Delta, and efforts to transition the state to clean energy and more rooftop and local solar energy.
We’re working on these and other issues—such as wetlands protection, cleaning up groundwater, state parks access, and stopping clear cutting of forests—at the legislature and regulatory agencies.
When we succeed and chalk up a win for the environment, it’s because you helped. So thanks in advance for the letters, calls and emails you’ll be sending to legislators in 2013.
Kathryn Phillips, Director
Sierra Club California is the Sacramento-based legislative and regulatory advocacy arm of the 13 California chapters of the Sierra Club.