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September 3, 2003     The Julian News
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September 3, 2003

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September 3, 2003 The Julian News 9 --OPINION-- PROPOSITION 13 ANNIVERSARY RESULTS IN RETELLING OF MYTHS by ton Coupal As a consequence of Proposition 13 marking its 25th anniversary, we have seen numerous articles and commen- taries on the taxpayers favorite initiative in publications around the state. Sadly, this has provided the usual suspects -- those feeding at the public trough, left- wing pundits, and elitist academicians-- with the opportunity to regurgitate unin- formed opinions about Proposition 13 and have them published, in many cases, as if they were fact. Add Warren Buffet to the list of those who need to be educated on this important taxpayer pro- tection. We at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association find ourselves, as the legal and political watchdog over Proposition 13, responding to a lot of outright non- sense that gets into print. For example, a reporter for a Stock- ton newspaper recently did an article on Proposition 13's impact on education, using as the only source a local school administrator who claimed that the tax- limiting measure was responsible for the loss of local spending control over edu- cation. Because of Proposition 13, the argument goes, Sacramento controls the purse strings. This is a canard that we see often. The fact is that it was the California Supreme Court 1971 Serrano vs. Priest decision that removed the local property tax as a direct funding source for edu- cation. In this equal protection case, the court found that the result of the pre- vious system where the property tax funded education was an inequality of educational opportunity. A wealthy com- munity with a high property tax base such as Beverly Hills could provide much more money to educate each pupil in the school system than a city like Compton where the property values were much lower. To correct this prob- lem, it was necessary for the state to take over and set up a system in which all schools receive an equal amount per student with additional funding provided for students who fall into specific cate- gories like "English as a second lan- guage." Because the impact of the Ser- ranD decision began to take effect about the same time as the passage of Propo- sition 13, there are those in the educa- tion establishment who fervently believe that these changes were the result of Proposition 13, and they ar:e willing to tell this to anyone who will listen. Another common myth about Pro- position 13 -- and this one was recently printed'in an Associated Press story that was picked up by at least a dozen newspapers --is that Proposition 13 is responsible for the two-thirds vote for local bonds that must be repaid exclu- sively by property owners. In fact, the two-thirds vote for local bonds dates back to the California con- stitution of 1879 when the framers recognized that not all voters were obligated to pay the higher taxes that result from bond approval and decided to level the playing field. The two-thirds vote for these bonds remained in force until the year 2000 when a handful of Silicon Valley multimillionaires and bi- llionaires spent almost $60 million cam- paigning to change the law and suc- ceeded with the passage of Proposition 39 in November of that year. Still, many editorial writers continue to blame or credit Proposition 13 for the two-thirds vote passing standard. Proposition 13 authors Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann saw no need to add this provision to Proposition 13 because it was already in the state con- stitution. Instead, they used it as an example and wrote Proposition 13 to require a two-thirds vote for local special purpose taxes and for the legislature to pass new state taxes However, most homeowners justifiably regard the two- thirds vote for bonds and Proposition 13 as integral parts of the foundation of tax- payer protections in California. Then there are the pundits -- a former editor of the Sacramento Bee prominent amongst them -- who wistfully lament the loss of the "good old days" prior to Proposition 13 when state government, they maintain, performed responsibly and well and enjoyed a good reputation. They would have us believe that if the people had not interfered using the initiative process, government would have all the money it needs and our state and its residents would enjoy everlasting prosperity. After reading these flights of fantasy, one has to ask if these writers actually lived in California prior to Proposition 13 -- a time when Jerry Brown and his stalwart chief-of-staff Gray Davis presided over a chaotic government that accumulated a mas- sive surplus while turning a blind eye to the thousands of people who were losing their homes due to property tax increases that could double in a year's time. But in spite of all these groundless attacks, as Joel Fox, the author of the new book, the "Legend of Proposition 13," has written, "the people get it." They understand that Proposition 13 was a profound step made necessary when elected representatives ignored their pressing need for tax relief. They under- stand and appreciate that Proposition 13 for the first time gave certainty to the tax- payer instead of the tax collector. Two hundred fifty Proposition 13 supporters who gathered in Los Angeles on a recent Tuesday night to celebrate its silver anniversary ',get it" too. They enthusiastically welcomed economist Arthur Latter, Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund, United States Treasurer Rosario Marin, and Arnold "The Terminator" Schwarzenegger, who paid tribute to Howard Jarvis and Proposition 13. A common thread through the eve- ning was a discussion of the fiscal mess that the governor and the legislature have created by massive overspending. Regrettably the massive over- spending is putting huge pressure on our political elites to raise taxes even more. Thank heaven for Proposition 13, both as a constitutional amendment and as the frequently described "third rail" of California politics. Destroying Proposition 13 will not be easy, but they will try. That is no myth. ton Coupal is an attorney and president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association - California's largest taxpayer organization with offices in Los Angeles and Sacra- mento. He can be reached through the association's websffe, www.h. WE INVITE YOUR OPINION/ The views expressed by contributing writers are not necessarily those of The Julian News or Its man- sgemenL We invite all par. ties to submit their opinions and comments to The Julian News. AII contributed items are subject to editorial approval prior to accept- ance for publication. Julian Daffodil ProJect 2003 13th colorful year $115.00 per bushel, approxima bulbs Must be paid in full by Sept. 9 Drop money at Julian Feed Store. Open Monday through Saturday 8:30-5:00 or Mail to Sally Snipes, P.O. Box 775, Julian 92036 or Betty Bowman, P.O. Box 114, Julian 92036 Donations accepted and appreciated .Any Delivery near Halloween x, September 5, 1774, the first Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia for the purpose of calling for civil disobedience against the British. September 3,1783, Great Britain and the U.S. signed a peace treaty in Paris wherein Britain recognized the independence of the new nation. September 5, 1795, the U.S. bought peace from Algerian pirates by paying $1 million in ransom for 115 seamen; this was followed by annual tributes. September 7, 1797, the U.S.S. Constitution was launched at Baltimore. A LOOK BACK THIS WEEK September 4, 1886, the Apache Indian Geronimo surrendered September 6, 1901, President McKinley was shot in Buffalo, N.Y., by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. September 5, 1939, the U.S. declared its neutrality in the European war. September 3, 1940, the U.S. announced the transfer of 50 overaged destroyers to Great Britain. September 3, 1943, the U.S. and Britain invaded the mainland of Italy September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered to the Allies. September 1, 1951, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand signed a mutual security pact. September 4, 1951, transcontinental television began with an address by President Truman at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco. September 4,1957, National Guardsmen were called out by Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus to bar nine black students from entering an all-white high school in Little Rock September 3,1976, Viking II set down on Mars' Utopia Plains. September 3, 2002, Andrew Cuomo, son of the former governor of New York and himself a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, dropped out of the New York gubernatorial race. September 4, 2002, President Bush said that he would seek congressional approval for any military action against Iraq. September 4, 2002, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, in the midst of a re- election campaign, said that Germany would not support an attack on Iraq even if it had UN authorization. {cI 2003 DBR Meclio. Inc. 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It's me, or at least I think it's me, the Govemor is accusing of this right-wing power grab. I reach that conclusion based on the following facts: (a) In the last seven years, only one Republican has presided over either house of the legislature, and that was me. I presided over the Senate for twenty minutes in Decem- ber 2000, just one month before the electricity crisis hit the newspapers. Since I was the only Republican in control of anything in the state or federal government at that time, I'm the logical suspect. (b) Interestingly enough, the economic slowdown in California also began in Decem- ber 2000. According to Governor Davis, bad as it was this year. Once again, I must have been the Republican that misled him on the issue and ultimately caused him to mis- lead California. In May 2001 in my article "The Perfect Budget Storm," I predicted the drop in revenue was coming, and that we needed to cut back on spending because Republicans would never agree to a tax increase. While it could have been simple math and an understanding of economics that led to my accurate predictions, it also could be that I was secretly engineering the entire deficit myself just to make me look good, (d) I was at the first recall meeting (the recall meeting when Darrell tssa agreed to put up the money to fund the recall) and sub- sequent meetings where the recall was plan- ned. Since no telephone call came from any other "national" Republican figure, I guess I am the one who, by this recall, is trying to steal elections I cannot Win. According to one article I read, I single-handedly got the whole recall funded! I don't really remember it that way myself --but maybe the author's sources where Gray Davis has discovered this right- wing plot to remove him from office, take over power, and then systematically use that power to kill children, old people, pollute the water and air, indiscriminately shoot people with illegal guns, use corporate money to rape and pillage communities throughout the state, give Enron control of the capitol, and eventually tear the wings off of all the butter- flies in the state. I have been discovered. The plot is revealed. The electricity crisis, the budget crisis, the failed economy, the fTaud in the state's food stamp and unemployment insur- ance programs, the collapse of our workers' compensation system, the general failure of the state's government, and the entire recall was carefully planned and executed by one person to specifically deprive Gray Davis of his job: ME -- the Grand Poobah of the Cali- fornia Chapter of the Vast Right-Wing Con- spiracy?. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone else---I don't want to blow my cover completely... When he's not planning famines and plagues and the demise of our democratic form Republicans caused that too. Once again, are better than mine. of government, Assemblyman Ray Haynes . . represents the 66th Assembly District, which since Davis was in control of the state (e) lknowlwasm Palm Beach Florida . ' ' includes portions of Western Riverside County government and Clinton was in charge of the just a few months before the electon debacle and Northern *a Die C " - . .  n go ounry, t-or more national government, it must have been my =n that area n November 2000. I must have information, caflourofficeat909.699.1113. twenty-minute stint as the presiding officer in inadvertently met with some Democrats (who the Senate that caused the economic slow- run that county in Florida) when I was there down and began the slide that ultimately led and convinced them to screw up the election St3  to budget crisis that has so badly hurt the so that Republicans could steal it from them  ' Governor's popularity, later.  /t ,,-'l / (c) Govemor Davis also claimed that he You see, I am the common thread. 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