Example letter – Allison Maires & Tomás Rebecchi: Letters to Editors in Sunday’s VC Star & Friday’s Ojai Valley News
Vote ‘yes’ on Measures A & B
Safe water for our homes and agriculture is a point we can all agree on, but recently a man knocked at my door and handed me a flyer that sabotages that goal. Not surprisingly, Aera Energy and Chevron corporations funded the flyer and, most likely, paid the man to walk my neighborhood. These corporations put profits ahead of the health and welfare of Ventura residents and our thriving agricultural economy. Because I care about water and am a lifelong resident of our county, I educated myself on Measures A & B, which are on our June Ballot; and I urge you to do so as well.
In the flyer, the oil corporations distort facts and appeal to our fears — raised gas prices, loss of jobs, lost tax revenue. All of this is false. Their primary argument, that Measures A & B raises energy prices, is not true. Gas prices are set by global/multinational oil cartels … and wars. “Yes” on Measures A (coastal areas) and B (inland areas) is a common-sense safeguard that doesn’t impact current oil production; it simply requires environmental review when new oil drilling, or expansion of old wells, is proposed.
Since the 1940s over 6,000 oil wells have been drilled in Ventura County. With this vote we can rewrite unfair rules to ensure clean water for Ventura County. A “yes” vote on A & B protects our water aquifers from cross contamination as oil wells are increasingly drilled near farmland and drinking water supplies. We are in a mega-drought; unchecked oil drilling threatens our county’s $2 billion farming economy and residents’ health.
Go to VCsafe.org for more information. Please join me in voting “yes” on Measures A & B.
Allison Maires, Ventura
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Deeper Dive – Vote yes on Measures A and B
Oil giant Aera Energy, owned jointly by Exxon and Shell Oil, has spent $5 million to fight Measures A and B — two Ventura County ballot initiatives that would eliminate loopholes which allow oil companies to drill in Ventura County with no modern environmental review. That could break the record for fossil-fuel-interest contributions to a referendum campaign in the county.
In 2020, Aera Energy spent upward of $1 million three days after the Board of Supervisors voted to eliminate the antiquated-permit loopholes for new drilling projects.
The money bought enough signature gatherers to put the issue back on the ballot in the form of Measures A and B.
Voting “yes” on Measures A and B will reinstate the protections against antiquated drill permits initially approved by the Board of Supervisors.This is just the beginning of a tsunami of money and misinformation Big Oil is going to flood Ventura County with.
But Aera Energy leaders are mistaken if they believe millions in misinformation will fool county voters into giving up protections for their water, farms and communities. We will not allow fossil-fuel interest groups with massive war chests to dictate our future and subvert our democracy.
More than 1,000 oil wells sit within half a mile of Ventura County homes, and 60% of them are in communities of color. This is a grass-roots fight for environmental justice, public health and a livable future.
Aera Energy’s fight is for their bottom line and corporate greed.
The VC-SAFE (Ventura County Save Agriculture and Freshwater for Everyone) coalition comprises environmental, social justice and public health advocates working to pass Measures A and B to protect Ventura’s aquifers, communities and farms from oil drilling using antiquated permits.
– Tomás Morales Rebecchi – Ventura
The writer is organizing manager of Food & Water Watch Central Coast and VC-SAFE campaign lead.
You Can Send a Letter, Too! Letters to the Editors of all Ventura County Papers:
Ventura County Star email@example.com maximum 300 words
Los Angeles Times (LAT) https://www.latimes.com/opinion/submit-letter-to-the-editorSubmit on webform, usually 150 words.
VCR (VC Reporter) firstname.lastname@example.org, Editor Nancy Shaffer
Pacific Coast Business Times email@example.com, Editor Henry Dubroff
Acorn: https://www.theacorn.com/letter-to-the-editor/ use webform, maximum 350 words.
- The Camarillo Acorn: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Moorpark Acorn: email@example.com
- The Simi Valley Acorn: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Thousand Oaks Acorn: email@example.com
Fillmore Gazette: firstname.lastname@example.org maximum 250 words
Ojai Valley News: email@example.com maximum 350 words, learn more HERE.
Santa Paul Times: firstname.lastname@example.org best if 200 +/-50 words
Tri-County Sentry: email@example.com letters should educate editor about issue for their news coverage
Ventura Breeze: firstname.lastname@example.org ~300 words or less
VIDA: email@example.com best if max 200, does not need Spanish, but might help
Always include full name, email address, street address, city, zip and phone, even though they only publish your name and city.
Tips for Best-Ever Letters to Editors
Indivisible has 3 simple tips for call scripts & letters: a couple of points on one topic, a statistic, and a personal note.
words that w!n gives training on effective messaging using a 3V Sandwich: VALUE, VILLAIN, VISION
Start with the VALUES we want, frame the issue to help our narrative fighting the VILLAIN who risks what we want, offer a motivating VISION of creating what we want.
- Start with what we want. Readers to vote and vote YES to protect aquifers for clean drinking water. This is our core VALUE.
- Personal story or anecdote (brief).
- Show how the issue affects the reader personally.
- Something about the problem and who caused it, i.e. the VILLAIN. Ascribe blame and harms and ‘expose the con’, i.e. how the villain benefits from the problem. Include one or two numbers or statistics. Use the active, not passive, voice Ex: Active = The oil industry is risking our water supply versus Passive = Our water is at risk.
- How will we win the referendum and solve the problem: VISION. Use descriptive outcomes, positive imagery (at this point in a letter, stop mentioning the harms and avoid abstractions).
- Call to action. Evoke positive emotions and a sense of community and power.
- Be creative through repetition, metaphors, wit, a play on words, or closing the circle from the letter’s beginning.
- Don’t repeat or amplify the opposition and always be respectful.
These tips are just tips, go with your gut, start writing!
Help organize a members’ “Day of Action” with VC-SAFE organizer Julie Henszey for an organization you belong to. Email Julie Henszey .