By James Lacy, California Political Review
In the mid-1970s, when I was a law student at Pepperdine and California state chairman of a conservative volunteer group, the Young Americans for Freedom, we began to get visits at the YAF offices from a brusque older gentleman named Howard Jarvis.
I had heard Jarvis during his appearances on Ray Briem’s late-night talk show on KABC radio, on which Jarvis made the case that real property taxes were too high and that somebody damn well ought to do something about them. When he started dropping by our offices, at 1250 Wilshire Blvd, just west of downtown Los Angeles, he emphasized how important it was that our members’ “college-aged students” know all about real property taxes and help him circulate petitions to qualify a ballot proposition to lower them. When I invited Howard to speak to the University of Southern California chapter of YAF in 1977, he readily agreed — and managed to convince about 20 clueless teenagers that they should be concerned about real property taxes that none of them even needed to pay.
The story of Howard Jarvis, when it is recounted on occasions like this week’s 35th anniversary of Proposition 13, is rightly remembered as the enormous political moment it was, when California and the nation were turned upside down by the largest tax cut in state history, giving momentum to Reagan’s historic election as president two years later and changing politics and government in the Golden State forever.
What is forgotten is that Jarvis was in most ways an ordinary man and very much a person of a time and place: Los Angeles of the 1970s. He could drop by our office because he was usually around. He lived not too far away, on Crescent Heights Boulevard, and had an office in mid-Wilshire at the Apartment Association of Los Angeles.
Source: California Political Review