Who is an Assemblyman?
For a refresher in government, there is a governor who runs the State like a president, a Legislature who writes the laws, and the Courts that apply those laws to cases. The Legislature is made up of two groups: the Assembly, who represent a smaller number of people in your district, and a Senate, who represent people in your County. Your Assembly representative is your best contact, generally, because he or she represents just the people in your area.
Why would they listen to little me?
Your assemblyman ran for office to be the hero. They have little idea what the people in their District want, because there are so many people. They ran on a general platform of "good government", but in reality, they need to hear from you about what you want. If you say we need better protections for renters, you may be only one voice, but who writes to their Assemblyman? Hardly anybody. Maybe a 1/10th of a percent of people actually write to their Assemblyman to say something needs to be done, so your letter or e-mail to the Assemblyman actually represents 10,000 people who feel as you do, but didn't bother to write.
When you write an e-mail or letter to the Assemblyman, you are speaking for many others who don't, but share your feelings. The Assemblymen know this, and someone summarizes these letters and says, "Mr./Ms. Assemblyman, we're getting a lot of letters asking for more tenant protections..." When votes come up on tenant issues, your Assemblyman remembers the message about renter protections, and [hopefully] votes in favor of renter protections. If not, we'll know, and not vote for him/her next time.
Who is Mine?
There are 80 Assembly Districts in California. The first step is to find yours, using your Zip Code.: Your Assemblyman That will get you to your Assemblyman's web page. From there, you find the link to Contact or E-mail the Assemblyman, and send that.
Say What you Want
Keep it brief and to the point. The Assemblyman will probably not read your e-mail, but an assistant will, and will summarize what the incoming e-mails are saying. Tenants saying "We need help" or whatever, tally in the intake. If you write, you probably vote, and if other tenants vote in your District, the Assemblyman had better pay attention to the renters. Re-elections are often won on slight margins, so a disappointed tenant population puts the Assemblyman out looking for a job.
There is no point putting a lot of detail into the e-mail. If they want more, they can contact you. That you write at all is the most important point. Stay to the point: you're having a problem with WHAT and you need laws to protect you HOW?
What good will it do?
If the Assemblyman votes to pass a law, or "sponsors" the law you need, it probably won't go into effect in time to help you current need. HOWEVER, it will help other tenants in the future, who will not have to go through what you are. If you look the other way, and do nothing, that is why you have a problem now: some other tenant didn't care about your future situation because the e-mail to the Assemblyman didn't benefit them right then. Don't think that way. Speak up now!
Last Updated 4/18/13