Do you write letters? Not letters to family and friends, I mean letters to make your voice heard? I do, a lot of them. Not that I'm an advocate, obnoxious, or a huge pest. I'm more of a polite, inquiring mind, who's rarely snarky and tries to keep my letters short and to the point.
Over the years I've written letters to my elected officials encouraging them to vote on meaningful legislation. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have heard from me often. Thanks to the Internet, they're just a click away. And they always write back too-- With a nice form letter.
The Deli, that's also known as my "second kitchen" hears from me every year at the holidays. The staff is great and the food is fabulous so I send the owner a different kind of letter-- A note of thanks naming those that have been especially kind over the year. I know a copy of the letter goes into their file and hopefully is remembered come bonus time. Although I know the owner well, he's never acknowledged my letters. But that's okay, it's showing my appreciate that counts.
For the past year, I've been writing letters to the Controller of the State of California. They owe me $600 in escheated funds. I've been trying to get my hands on the cash for so stinking long that I think they owe me more in interest than the principle!
You might have read that California is a hiccup away from bankruptcy. I'm sure the state workers reading my letters were stressed out of their minds, so I tried to make it as easy as possible for them to pay me. Each letter included copies of all our correspondence, my file number and the relevant information needed to process my payment. Last month they wrote to tell me to leave them alone!
The Controller's letter said my $67,822 was already paid!
For the record, I so did not receive a check from the State of California for nearly $68K. I would have remember that and celebrated wildly.
I admit, my response to this "payment" was a tiny bit snarky. I wrote back asking what planet they lived on and if their accounting records had anything to do with California's current economic crisis. I'm still waiting for my 600 bucks.
I've written so many letters to Oprah that I'm probably on her "stalker" list. I always ask for a ticket to her big "favorite things" show where everyone in the audience goes home with a boat load of free merchandise. Not that I need all that stuff-- although it would be nice. No, I would like a ticket for all that loot so I can turn it into a fund-raising raffle for charity. There are a number of organizations I work with that could use a financial boost. But so far, no response from Oprah and her peeps.
The last letter I wrote was to the Los Angeles Times about their story on Raymond Lee Oyler, the arsonist recently sentenced to the death for killing five firefighters in the 2006 Esperanza, CA fire. You can read the article here.
No, my letter had nothing to do with the death penalty-- actually it was far from it. My letter was about his photograph that appeared in the article. That's Mr. Oyler below, in the orange prison jumpsuit, photographed the day he was sentenced.
I simply asked if California taxpayers were paying Mr. Oyler's orthodontist bills.
They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste and I think the same goes for questions too. If you don't ask, you won't know the answers.
Are you an inquiring mind?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna