Appeal Letters

December 2013

Posted by on 10:12 pm in Appeal Letter, SOS California | 0 comments

A Year For the Environment



Dear friend,

We come to you in this season of thanks to express how grateful we are for your support of our mission to enhance and protect the environment while providing the energy necessary to drive an improving California economy.

With you as our base we at SOS continued to expand our reach during 2013:


*Social Media: Our postings on Facebook have raised the public’s awareness of SOS and our mission and we are ever more a part of the conversation on energy and the environment.  We have also started a blog, California Oil, with witty fact-based discussions like: Why on Earth, States of Wonder, Shake-n-Bake, Son of a Beach, and more. We encourage you to check it out ( and peruse our redesigned website (


*Documentary Movies: We’ve created 8 trailers from our movie, Road2Energy Independence, that can be accessed through YouTube. Now both of our films can be shared with a much wider audience (


*Political Discourse: Co-founder Bruce Allen was asked by the US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee to testify at a legislative hearing on offshore oil.  This is the second time Bruce has been asked to speak at such a hearing and his fourth visit to Washington, DC.  On previous trips he met with John Boehner twice and later meetings included Doc Hastings and Fred Upton, both key members of the Natural Resources Committee.


*Community Outreach: We have presented the SOS message at numerous community events sponsored by such organizations as the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Science and Engineering Council and the Santa Barbara Technology and Industry Association.  We again offered SOS supporters a tour of the Seeps area in the Santa Barbara Channel; and were an exhibitor at the Western States Petroleum Association Issues Conference in October, where we provided 350 copies of our films in the attendees’ gift bags.


*Environmental Discourse: We continue to be a voice in traditional media as the “go to” organization for local TV news programs and press stories regarding oil and energy issues.  The Wall Street Journal published Board member Jim Nelson’s letter contrasting the approach to energy production in California versus Texas. UCSB geology professor Jim Bowles wrote a series of articles on the environmental benefit of offshore oil production, which appeared in both the Santa Barbara News Press and Noozhawk.


*Salons: SOS launched a series of small, intimate gatherings for interested members of the community. The limited size and casual atmosphere encourages open conversation and exchange of ideas. Please contact me if you would like to schedule a salon for your friends, neighbors and colleagues in 2014.


We are proud of the fact that 2013 represents our seventh year of offering a common-sense perspective and alternative approach to environmental and oil issues.  It is very much a David and Goliath story, however, as our little group of volunteers faces off against the Santa Barbara-based elite environmental groups that come fully equipped with a large paid support staff and pro bono legal firepower. Please help us re-load our slingshot as we really need and would appreciate your tax-deductible contribution today.  We are also at a stage where the IRS requires that we demonstrate a broad base of financial support so a contribution of any amount – from a lot of people – would be especially helpful this year.


On behalf of SOS Co-founders Lad Handelman and Bruce Allen and our Board of Directors, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!



Judy Rossiter

Executive Director

SOS California


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December 2012

Posted by on 2:58 pm in Appeal Letter | 0 comments

Santa Barbara Pier Christmas Tree

Dear Friends,

That seems to be the theme every time we get together for SOS California.  We occasionally ask ourselves:

  • Why are we promoting an idea that is the opposite of popular in our local community, in this state, and across the nation?
  • Why are we still continuing to produce informative, real-time documentaries that educate the public on this most complex of issues?
  • Why do we continue to speak at every meeting, small or large, influential and moneyed groups or not, to explain what seems so logical and doable?
  • Why do we continue to search for cutting-edge ways to broaden our reach through social media?



Each of us at various points in our lives has been faced with a situation that tested us. We all have had those moments.  Something in us suddenly surfaces and we know what our actions should be, often not the easiest or likely to succeed choice, but we go for it anyway, because we know – it is the right thing to do.  

For us few SOS-ers…

  • …like Co-Founder Lad Handelman, an abalone fisherman and diver
  • …like Co-Founder Bruce Allen, a retired physicist and current author
  • …like Jim Nelson, a retired energy industry executive
  • …like Peggy Ewing, a marine biologist
  • …like Byron Ishkanian, a retired engineer
  • …like Alice Green, an environmental consultant
  • …and like me, an educator

…it has been the belief that even our tiny organization can make a difference!

SOS’s position is not to change the current regulatory laws – or even try to.  SOS’s mantra is simply that through education, and by letting the facts be known, a groundswell of peoples’ voices will eventually be heard. Lawmakers will take notice and put in place sensible energy policies that will not only benefit our coastal environment, but also strengthen our state’s financial position and provide a bridge to a renewable future.  Our mission has been to educate individuals at every level – from students, to officials, to politicians, and via the hundreds of organizations who have asked us to present at their gatherings.

SOS has had a significant impact on public perception over the last five years.  Now, as a direct result of SOS’s hard work, our community is no longer blaming oil platforms for tar on the beach nor for noxious odors in the air we breathe. Meeting by meeting, article by article, voicing the truth to all whose ears were open, SOS’s information and fact based research has documented that these pollutants are the result of the offshore seeps, seafloor cracks emitting raw oil and methane gases, and that extraction of the underlying oil and natural gas has actually benefited our coastal environment.

We continue to bring that message to an even broader audience.   And with the 2012 release of our most recent documentary, The Road 2 Energy Independence, we are communicating our ongoing message – that offshore development would create an economic windfall so large that each and every California citizen’s quality of life will improve. There is still much work to be done to bring this message to the broadest possible audience and, for that, we request your support.

Why should you send your tax-deductible donation today? Not only because…


On behalf of SOS Co-Founders Lad Handelman and Bruce Allen and our Board of Directors, we wish you a happy holiday season!


Judy Rossiter

Executive Director


December 2011

Posted by on 9:25 pm in Appeal Letter | 0 comments

Christmas Trolleys in Santa Barbara

Dear Friends ,

Since our 2010 annual letter to you, California and its citizens have continued to struggle economically. Our unemployment rate, at 11%, is the 2nd highest in the country. Our public education system is ranked #49 – 2nd lowest in the country. Gas prices are nearly $4 per gallon and climbing. And with overall state revenues coming in much lower than expected, additional state budget cuts could decimate the already destabilized infrastructure that supports essential services.

Our film, A Crude Reality, documents the environmental benefits associated with producing oil and gas reserves offshore California. We all know that this new production would create significant revenue, with both royalties and tax dollars going to the State and to Santa Barbara County. Increased revenue leads to job creation – more income means more spending – with oil and gas extraction supplying the economic boost that Californians so desperately need.

SOS California is in the final stages of producing an update to our film. The new segment, titled 21st Century Realty, addresses the BP blow out in the Gulf of Mexico and takes a deeper look into the County and State’s economic crisis. Citing the active development in those states with shale deposits, we explain that North Dakota is reporting 3.5% unemployment – which means that nearly every person who can work IS working – because they’re extracting their energy resources. We all know this could be true for California. We believe the new segment of our film identifies a reasonable and responsible plan to develop energy resources offshore California while cleaning up our environment and rebuilding our economy.

As we enter this season of giving, we’d like to ask you to consider making a donation to SOS California. Our immediate need is to raise the funds necessary to complete production of our film’s new segment. A Crude Reality has opened many important doors for us thus far, proving to be a tremendously effective and valuable tool. With the upcoming election year, we’re eager to complete this project and make this educational message widely available. We hope you will help us meet our goal by sending your tax-deductible donation today.

On behalf of SOS Co-Founders Lad Handelman and Bruce Allen and our Board of Directors, we wish you a happy holiday season!


Judy Rossiter
Executive Director

December 2010

Posted by on 1:40 pm in Appeal Letter | 0 comments

Mission Santa Barbara with snow in backround

Dear Friends,

As we reflect on the year, SOS California is happy to report that our activities started out with a BANG in 2010. Our film A Crude Reality premiered in February in Washington D.C., hosted by The Heritage Foundation, during which time SOS co-founder Bruce Allen was able to meet with many key members of Congress and the House, including Reps. Doc Hastings, John Boehner and Eric Cantor. The film was received with great enthusiasm and support by all, with Doc Hastings asserting if the House changes in November they will re-visit the issue of offshore production and that he’d like to “hold an energy policy hearing in Santa Barbara early in 2011” . . . what an incredible opportunity this would be for SOS!

Since the tragic Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, SOS California has been quietly studying the environmental and safety aspects of the incident and waiting for the hoped-for results of the midterm elections. Now, with the historic takeover of the House comes a “new majority” to Congress and the opportunity for SOS to vigorously take our message to all corners of the state and country to educate the public and policy makers about the environmental benefits of expanded offshore production in California.

It’s important to note that within hours of the elections, a leading storyline in media sources across the country is just that: anticipated policy changes in offshore oil production led by the “new majority.” The following quote is from the New York Times, November 3, 2010, which reiterates what Bruce Allen learned first-hand last February:

 “Rep. Doc Hastings likely to be the new House Natural Resources Committee Chairman… Will hold hearing on offshore oil production with a new focus… Positive Change…” 

Again, with this change in the political landscape SOS is uniquely positioned to play an important role in re-shaping the public perceptions of the historical and future role of oil and gas production in California/U.S. waters. We have critical relationships in place throughout California and in D.C. and a strategy to take advantage of this unique opportunity to create new public awareness of the true environmental and economic benefits from expanded domestic offshore production.

As we enter this season of giving, we’d like to ask you to consider making a tax-deductible donation to SOS California. Our immediate need is to raise funds to update our film, A Crude Reality, to incorporate and address all of the aspects of the BP spill. The film has opened many important doors for us thus far, proving to be a tremendously effective and valuable tool. Our goal is to have the documentation and updated film in hand, ready to premiere in Washington D.C. early in 2011. We hope you will help us meet this goal by sending your tax-deductible donation today.

On behalf of SOS Co-Founders Lad Handelman and Bruce Allen, the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, we value your friendship and greatly appreciate your anticipated support – Thank you!


Judy Rossiter

Executive Director

December 2009

Posted by on 1:37 pm in Appeal Letter | 0 comments

Fireworks Over Santa Barbara

Dear Friends,

It’s December, that time of the year when many of us will evaluate our investments of time, money, and energy over the past 11 months — What worked? What didn’t work?  We’d like you to know that whether it was your time, money, or just positive thoughts you sent our way… it ALL worked, making 2009 the best year yet for SOS California!

Our 2009 highlights…

  • Washington D.C. – SOS Co-founder Bruce Allen accepted an invitation from the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources to testify before Congress regarding “Environmental and Commercial Perspectives on Offshore Drilling.”
  • San Francisco, CA Bruce participated in the last of four regional pubic meetings held by the U.S. Department of Interior (Secretary Ken Salazar) regarding a comprehensive energy strategy for the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • The Heritage Foundation – SOS article, “How Offshore Oil and Gas Production Benefits the Economy and the Environment” was published in the Heritage Foundation’s Backgrounder, November 18, 2009.
  • Save Our State Fundraiser – This was a surprising success… good turnout, great food, and $50,000 raised for SOS – not bad for a first-time effort!
  • SOS FilmA Crude Reality was produced in partnership with an Emmy Award Winning media group. It’s being shown throughout California by way of numerous events, partner organizations, political platforms, schools, and more.

With the relationships SOS has established at the national and state level, the support we continue to gain locally, and our new film – a powerful media/educational tool – SOS is well positioned for our next goal: a California State Initiative – a ballot measure that would call for opening California State waters for exploration and development. We expect the film, which details the environmental benefits and safety aspects associated with offshore production, to play an important role in this effort, educating voters as they assess the position of candidates for state and local offices in 2010.

SOS takes great pride in the development of our organization over the past 2.5 years. We’ve achieved many goals and have made remarkable progress. That said, we need your help to continue this grassroots movement and affect the change our state needs… a new significant source of revenue, increased jobs, money for public education, and a cleaner coastal environment.

In this season of giving, we hope you will support our organization. Your tax-deductible donation will help SOS bring the many overlooked benefits of offshore oil and gas production to greater public awareness.

With appreciation and wishes for a wonderful holiday season,

Judy Rossiter

Executive Director