Let me add to Jessica Mathews's commentary on California's environmental initiative {op-ed, Nov. 16}. Big Green lost because it failed to address people's deepest fears -- fear of higher prices and lost jobs, fear of more bureaucracy and inefficiency and fear that environmentalists are too rich and too narrowly focused to represent regular people.

The Big Green coalition missed many of the people of California. Ads and outreach were aimed mostly at white, upper-income voters. In a state that is 40 percent people of color, this bias was fatal. It allowed industries opposed to Big Green to exploit people's economic unease and distrust of government instead of hammering home the fact that many of these industries destroy public health, undermine communities and get off cheaply.

Big Green was born with almost 70 percent support in the polls. It died with 45 percent, unable to translate widespread environmental support into votes. This suggests that environmental efforts need not just more money but more message, not narrower initiatives but broader coalitions. When environmentalists start protecting workers as well as wildlife, preserving jobs as well as forests and addressing the needs of low-income and minority communities, the support for Big Green 1992 will be overwhelming. SASHA NATAPOFF National Environmental Coordinator National Rainbow Coalition Washington